Builders/Config/Getting Started

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Getting Started

You've built the electronics, and all the LEDs light up. You've assembled your kit/finished your home build. You've plugged your electronics into the completed mechanics, and wired the electronics to the Arduino/Sanguino using the wiring diagram (note the pin numbers)

Now you need to turn it on and test stuff.

NOTE: Keep your hand on the 'Emergency stop' - this is the RepRap power supply plug or switch. Make sure you can turn it off easily. IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG turn it off. Turn it off first, then work out what's wrong after.

STEP 1: Do a pre-flight check. Look round all the RepRap joints and mechanisms, looking for anything broken or out of place. Give the electronics a once-over, looking for loose wires, cables in the wrong place. Move the x and y axis by hand, and check over the z-belt. Check that your endstops line up with the endstop flags.

Turn the host PC on and plug in the Arduino. Upload the SNAP or GCode firmware. (Shut down the arduino software before starting the host software)

Turn on the RepRap.

The LEDs should come on. You might get a 'click' as the steppers power up and move slightly. Nothing else should move.

Load up the host software. Click on the xyz tab.

Jog the X axis 1mm. It should move a very short distance. Jog it back 1mm.

Jog the Y axis 1mm back and forth.

Check that your extruder head is *well* off the platform. Jog the Z axis 1mm up and down.

If you see backlash, see Mendel Troubleshooting for some tips on figuring out exactly where the slack is between the stepper motor and the head, and fixing it.

Assuming all has gone well: if not, stop, diagnose the problem (check leads, mechanics, voltages), repeat test until working

Repeat X,Y and Z tests with 10mm or 20mm steps. Don't worry if it moves a bit more than 10mm, that config comes later.

Be careful with the Z axis - don't run it into the extruder (too far up) or into the bottom (too far down). Check the belt/chain is smooth and works properly.

Check your Z Axis endstop. make sure the distance between your flag and endstop is LESS than the distance between your extruder nozzle and your platform. Once you press HOME, the X carriage will move down the Z axis until the Z endstop is triggered. If your printbed is is in the way, the printbed or the extruder might be broken off or damaged.

If the endstop fails, or the flag misses the gap in the endstop, you have to turn the power off before it crashes into the end and makes horrible grinding noises.

  • Test 1 - direction. Carefully press X-axis HOME button keeping your hand on the Emergency stop. Note the direction, and POWER OFF. Hopefully, your extruder head moved towards the endstop. If your head moves away from the endstop, turn the power off, edit the arduino settings for x-axis direction, and re-upload (or alternatively re-wire the stepper - see Stepper wiring). Re-test.
  • Test 2 - Endstop. Carefully press X-axis HOME button keeping your hand on the Emergency stop, and block the endstop using a screwdriver/bit of card/something. The axis should stop immediately. If not, POWER OFF and find out why.
  • Test 3 - Turn the POWER OFF and move the x-axis by hand to check the flag lines up with, and goes into, the endstop. (If you leave the power on, the stepper motor stops you moving the axis)
  • Test 4 - HOME. Press X-axis HOME button keeping your hand on the Emergency stop, and watch the axis move to the endstop and stop.

If your head moved to the end and stopped - great!

Repeat for the Y axis, and then *Carefully* for the Z-Axis. There's more to go wrong with the z-axis because it has a lot more mechanical advantage. It is more likely to do damage rather than the stepper just skipping steps, so be careful.

You should now have a working cartesian robot.

(Later you may want to do some tweaking as described in the RepRapSoftwareTweakingManual).