Tag Archives: printing

New Printer!

I’ve been out of the 3D printing game for the last few years – gave it up after I had yet another hot-end meltdown on my Prusa. It’s been bugging me though, and I wanted to get back into it.

Rather than fix up the old printer, I thought I’d buy a new printer and see what sort of improvements the last few years have produced. I spent a bit of time looking around at the cheaper-end printers, particularly the highly-popular Ender 3.

In the end, I selected the Tevo Tarantula Pro. It’s slightly more expensive than the Ender 3, but comes with some features which put it above the Ender:

  • Print cooling fans
  • Integrated design (all-in one)
  • Better electronics, with replaceable stepper motor drivers.

Most of these features are often after-market upgrades people make to their Ender 3. I figured by spending a bit more money up-front, I’d have to spend less down the road.

There’s been quite a bit of improvements in the general designs of 3D-printers in the last few years. Some of the most obvious improvements which seem to be common these days:

  • Improved electronics (usually with screens) MKS-Gen-L and the like is a big step up from an Arduino Mega with Ramps.
  • The extruded aluminium sections are almost universal these days (though the Prusa’s still use two smooth rods for the x-axis, though they are now aligned vertically, instead of horizontally)
  • Bowden extruders (though again, not with the Prusa)
  • Cooling fans, both for the extruder and the print. I’d probably have prevented a couple of hot-end meltdowns with an extruder cooling fan.
  • GT2 belts and pulleys. My old prusa was using T5, and when I stopped, a few people were moving to GT5 belts and pulleys.
  • 1.75mm filament. 3mm was the standard back in 2012.

I ordered the printer from Banggood, and it turned up in less than a couple of weeks. I’ll make a couple more posts about the build, but for now here’s an image of the final product:

Current Settings

I had this comment a while back on one of my older posts:

Hi, your prints are really nice. I am trying to get that with a Prusa Mendel but it is impossible. Could you help me with Skeinforge settings?

I don’t use much in the way of settings these days. I use SFact on pretty much its default settings. The only changes I make are to the layer height (0.33mm), and the number of extra shells (0 to 1, depending on the print). Even the retraction is now kept on the default settings.

I keep speed very low for the first layer, 15mm/s for the perimeter, 20mm/s for infill. This ensures excellent adhesion with the heated bed, at 220 degrees. After the first layer, I turn the temp down to 197 degrees, and set the speed to 30mm/s for perimeter, and 60mm/s for infill.

When I was complaining about the print quality of the Prusa in a recent post, I didn’t really mean it. Look at these photos.

Fantastic. X, Y and Z axes are all spot-on with their precision. But I’d like to do better still, particularly in getting rid of ‘dribble’ from the hot end.