The gentlemen and ladies at the Vancouver Hack Space are truly worth their weight in gold. Certainly more than the $50/month membership! I have been hanging out in IRC freenode #reprap fighting with this Makerfarm Prusa for a week. VHS found the issue(s) in a single evening. Go visit your local hackspace! They are probably even more incredible.
Before I go on, I want to be clear: Makerfarm make a great product and have excellent support. Truly! I had to get a couple of parts that I knew weren’t in the kit and, naturally, documentation couldn’t cover them. The mistakes I made were entirely mine.
The biggest thing was with my power supply. I have one of those ugly ATX boxes from a computer. (A ThermalTake TR2 600W.) It’s the part you plug the power cable into, and on the other sides it has a giant fan and 50 smaller colored cables of different types coming out. As a safety measure the box won’t turn on unless it’s connected to a PC. The way to trick it is to close the gap between two of the wires with a “bridge”. I bridged the wrong two so it was constantly turning on and off very very quickly. Whoops.
Then we found the polulu carriers – the chips that make the steppers move – had to be adjusted. There’s a little knob, called a pot, that needs to be turned very gently with the tiniest of screwdrivers to tweak the amount of juice going to each stepper.
The next thing was the greg’s extruder – it was moving backwards! Thankfully this is also an easy fix: The plug goes in two ways, and I guessed wrong when I put it together. Then I tried extruding some plastic from the hot end and found that there was some slip in the toothed gear that grabs the ABS filament. A drop of gorilla glue later and the gear was moving great.
So happy days! I got my first night of real sleep in about two weeks and woke up feeling fantastic. I felt so good I cleaned the tub while I was in the shower. The relief is palable. (go on, touch it. ha!) The very next thing I do after I hit post is starting making test prints to calibrate the machine. More updates on the way!
PS: Can you think of any tech blogs that are looking for news? I’d love to get my indiegogo campaign mentioned on them. It would mean far more coming from you than from me. Think Endgadget, Slashdot, io9, Hack-a-day, IEEE spectrum, Reddit, etc. If you submit one, please comment below. I’d love to build a list of related blogs for future media blagging.
Update 15:40 – I think I have it fully calibrated for XYZ movement. I’m trying to check extrusion now but Slic3r (the program that makes my model into gcode) is being stupid and doesn’t want to talk to Repetier (the program that runs the printer).