My latest toy is a 3D printer. Basically it prints 3D objects using plastic extruded through a hot nozzle. They’ve been around for years, but have cost tens of thousands of dollars. In recent years, however, a variant has emerged that is orders of magnitude cheaper, making it affordable by mere mortals. Very much like the early days of desktop computers!
So anyways, after doing a lot of reading and even more lusting-after, I finally bought one! It’s made by a local company called Eckertech (http://www. eckertech.com). Although tempted to buy the kit version and save some money, good sense triumphed and I bought the assembled version. It really is a well put-together unit, and came with a figurine printed as a final test, 1-lb of plastic filament, and a few other useful bits and pieces. Here’s what the Eckerbot looked like out of the box :
After carefully unpacking :
I installed the required software (Repetier) and … and … nothing worked. ACK! ACK! Long story short, it didn’t work under Linux (my o/s of choice) but worked fine under Windows XP (my secondary o/s). Ok, so with the printer talking to the software I printed a simply test object (a cube) and got :
Not too impressive, is it? In fact, it is crap. The printer came with no instructions of any sort , so I glared at it, read some more stuff on the Internet and realized that the extruder head was too high off the bed. Well, that didn’t make any sense. After a couple days of emails with the manufacturer, we determined that the home-switch for the Z-axis (vertical up/down) was too high. It probably got bumped while I was unwrapping everything. Pretty obvious after the fact, but tough to diagnose for someone unfamiliar with such things. So then I had to move the switch … which was set too low, and the head drove itself off the shaft. ACK! Long story short, I have become pretty good and re-aligning everything! And have managed to get some stuff printed off :
AAs you can see, some attempts were more successful than others! But each failure is a step along the path of learning.
The journey begins.