Beginning 3D Printing with the Tevo Tarantula

27. January 2018 17:24 by Cameron in 3D Printing  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments

After selling the Monoprice printer, I still wanted to venture into 3D printing, but I wanted something with more accessible parts if servicing is needed. I researched some DIY kits for a little while and ultimately chose the Tevo Tarantula. The Tevo Tarantula is a Chinese Prusa i3 clone. I ordered from Gearbest and the printer kit arrived in about 10 days from Malaysia. Note, I had to get a shipping upgrade for the 10 day speed. Your mileage may vary depending on different shipping conditions. Once I had the printer in my possession, base assembly and calibration took about 15 hours. I struggled a little with the initial steps of getting the frame put together. Some other challenging parts of assembly included the T-nuts that were difficult to lock in place on the frame. They would tend to slide around and come lose after I had tightened up the bolts.

After I assembled everything and hooked up the electrical, I flashed Jim Brown's fork of Marlin 1.1 and went through the initial setup of the firmware and began the bed leveling. Be sure to copy/paste the example configuration from the repository over the existing configuration in Marlin. The bed leveling was a little difficult with the small thumb screws on the corners of the build plate. You can improve this design by printing plastic pieces to make the screws a bit larger for easier adjusting. I ran through the homing of the axes one at a time. When I got to the Z-axis homing, the acrylic bracket snapped in half and I was unable to continue without a new part or fixing the existing part. The good thing is that acrylic parts can be glued back together, but I recommend printing a new set of brackets or getting aluminum or carbon fiber replacements. I have ordered an aluminum set of brackets that I will use to replace the acrylic pieces. After I glued the acrylic Z-motor bracket back together, I was able to successfully get it re-installed onto the frame of the printer.

I leveled the bed one last time and printed a calibration cube. I had attempted to print from the supplied SD card directly from Marlin, however, I couldn't get a good print so I opted for Cura instead. Cura 3 has a profile for the Tevo Tarantula which is nice as I didn't have to configure too much to begin printing. In the near future, I will be using Octoprint to do printing remotely.

My upgrade journey is far from over! I have many improvements that I would like to print that will improve print quality and electrical safety. I plan to print a nice case for the screen (large full graphic screen), main board, power supply, mosfets (currently only have one for the heated bed), and Raspberry Pi 3 (Octoprint). The case will be good for cable management and keeping the dangerous high voltage power away from my hands. Currently, my printer is a bit of a hot mess with wires hanging all over (none are touching the print bed as that would be a fire hazard!) and the power supply has a small piece of plastic covering the exposed terminals for the electrical connections. I don't like the power supply design as it stands. I wish they had at least hardwired a power socket to cover up the exposed terminals.

I expect that printing these upgrades will take most of the week and I should have most upgrades in place soon! I will continue to post more updates for the printer!

The Short Life of my Monoprice Select Mini v2

27. January 2018 16:46 by Cameron in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments

This past Christmas, I asked for a Monoprice Select Mini v2 printer. This printer is highly rated on Amazon and has little to no setup time required to begin printing. It comes pre-assembled and is ready to print using the provided models on the SD card or by using a USB cable with a PC. Being that this is a mini, the build volume is 120mmx120mmx120mm. It's a good starter printer if you want a low hassle entry into 3D printing.

I happily used the printer for about a week before I ended up damaging the printer by leaving a print unattended for a few hours. I came back home, after working out, and found a big pile of stringy filament on the corner of my desk. Additionally, the printer had gotten stuck and the motors were attempting to move beyond their physical capacity. I wanted to fix the printer by taking it apart to replace specific components, however, due to its pre-built nature, this was more difficult than I had hoped. I couldn't get to the stepper motors without taking the full base assembly apart. This was more involved than I wanted so I ended up selling the printer on eBay for parts.

I still do recommend this printer as a good starter printer. However, take my strong words of advice to not leave a print unattended as you never know what you might come back home to! If you were to setup Octoprint, you could monitor your prints remotely. Some higher end printers have crash detection, but these printers are easily 3-4 times more expensive than the MP Select Mini v2.

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