Training - 3D printers
Training on Makerspace equipment needs to be formally given and recorded. It is not acceptable for members to read this material and assume they are trained. Please speak to the relevant equipment owner to become formally trained and registered as a user before using equipment.
Below is the general training material on the safe use of 3D printers at Ipswich Makerspace, it is not intended to be a full guide on the intricacies of additive manufacturing techniques, although we will aim to provide useful links for further self learning. If specific issues are arising and further knowledge is required please attend one of our talks (if available) or speak to the equipment owner or nominated trainers. They will point you in the right direction.
The 3D printer equipment owner is Keith Ellis, he is responsible for ensuring equipment is safe to use, in good working and ensures users are trained an competent. He does not necessarily do this all himself.
If you need any assistance or need to report any issues please see Keith at a meeting or email email@example.com
At present the 3D printer appointed trainers are:
- Keith Ellis
Once this training material is complete we will quickly look to appoint further trainers.
3D printers can be dangerous, some or the equipment we have at the Makerspace is consumer level equipment or kits and have exposed moving part, heaters and in some cases live 240v contacts (we shall be rectifying this soon) Things to be aware of:
- Live electrics, the Turnigy Fabrikator is fed via a standard 'kettle' lead into the back of the printer. Inside the printer the terminals on the back of this printer are exposed (240v). Wires then travel to the power supply in the base of the printer, again these terminals are exposed. DO NOT put your hands inside this printer below the build platform (bed)
- The hotend is the component of the printer that heats up the plastic to allow the extruder to push the plastic filament through the nozzle. DO NOT TOUCH the hotend or nozzle, temperatures will be between 200 dec. C and 275 deg. C. Never assume the hotend is cool, someone could have previously controlled the printer via OctoPrint without your knowledge.
- 3D printers contain powerful stepper motors, do not put your hand/fingers in areas where they could get trapped. The printer could start moving without warning, i.e. if it was waiting for hot end to reach temperature.
- When removing prints, sharp paint scrapers are often used, never scrape towards your body or hands, many injuries have occurred around the world whilst removing prints from print beds.
- When removing support material from prints, wear safety glasses and use point nose pliers or similar. Support material can be very sharp and it is easy to cut or embed support material into your hands. It can also ping with great speed, hence the requirement for safety glasses.
- After use, ensure all heaters are turned off (hotend/bed)
- Do not leave printers running unattended (we hope to get some remote monitoring systems installed, but cannot allow this at present). If you don't understand what this means, ask for help before booking out a printer.
The general process for using the 3D printers is as follows
- Ensure you have booked out the printer
- To print something you will need to provide a file, either a
.gcodefile created explicitly for the printer you intend to use. If this makes no sense, see our 3D printer 101
- Turn the printer on, there is a row of sockets on the wall, with pairs of labelled plugs. One plug will be for the 3D printer, the other will be for the Raspberry Pi which hosts the OctoPrint control software. Wait for a minute or two for the Raspberry Pi to boot up then connect to OctoPrint through your web browser, IP addresses are shown on the printers
- If you intend to print from an SD card, you do not need to turn the Raspberry Pi on. Not all 3D printers have SD card printing facilities
- Ensure the print bed is clean, if it needs cleaning raise the print head using the printer controls or OctoPrint (increase the 'Z' height) to give you room. Using the supplied scrappers, scrape the bed using the scraper blade flat on the bed, do not gouge the bed with the corner of the scraper
- Most beds only need to be clear of plastic and can be wiped with IPA
- The glass bed only may require preparation to enable the print to stick, this could be tape, hair spray or glue stick, this will be described during your training
- Load your chosen filament into the printer, follow the change filament process
- Upload your file, slice if necessary and start the print
- Always carefully monitor your print, the first couple of layers are critical and if it goes wrong, the print should be cancelled quickly to avoid damaging the printer.
- Once the print looks like it is running successfully do not leave it unattended, you should check all is well regularly. If the print is not going well, see the trouble shooting page
- Once the print is successfully completed, ensure the bed and hotend heaters are turned off
- If the printer has a heated bed, do not try and remove the print until it has cooled down, often once the bed cools the print will pop off easily. If not carefully use the paint scraper to remove the print. Ensure you do not put force on the printers mechanics and make sure your hands and body are not in the path of the scrapper should the print suddenly become free
- Clean the print bed and remove filament,again follow the change filament process
- Before shutting the printer off, please ensure the hotend is below 50 deg.C, turning it off when hot will turn the heat sink fan off, potentially allowing the cold end to get hot creating a filament jam.
- Shutdown OctoPrint and wait for the Raspberry Pi to shut down
- Turn off the plugs for the printer and Raspberry Pi
- Weigh your print and pay for the filament used
- Report any issues with the printer as detailed above