Reality Check and help for Printrbot Plus

Reality Check and help for Printrbot Plus

Postby macaroni74 » 2019-Oct-Thu-11-Oct

I could use some quick guidance or just a check. Long Story Short I bought a 3d Printrbot Plus back in Feb 2013. I had it together I made one print and got sick. I had other life Changes but, the printer got placed on a self in the closet and now after moving and deciding to get back into things all being CNC. I'm trying to figure out if this thing will be salvage for another cnc machine or if I can wake it form the dead. My question is now that Printrbot as a whole is gone. Trying to track down a Start over point for the old Equipment, and is becoming a tad annoying or overwhelming to find stuff.

At this point I need to a point to start with What software should I be running seeing that there has been changes over all these years. The only thing that ticks me off is I had all the software backed up and stored until the drive died.

I know its a Rev D. board with a 2012 inked dated on it. I can not remember if I ever had or made an attempt to update the firmware during the very short run time it had.

anyone got some pointers where I should be?

I can remember and that is the next step for me is I found a Getting Started Doc mentioning the need to use Pronterface. I just wanted to get a comment or two if maybe I can make a jump to something newer or better control interface.

Thanks in advance
Wayne
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Reality Check and help for Printrbot Plus

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Re: Reality Check and help for Printrbot Plus

Postby macaroni74 » 2019-Oct-Fri-13-Oct

Seems like Ye Ol Printrbot Plus has a heartbeat. I haven't fully tested the extrusion yet or heat bed but at least I know this thing still seems to work. I'm rather surprised how well the Old Laser Cut Wood Held up on it. It does have some Warping on some of the larger parts but that is ok for now. I will probably Gut the Whole thing and make a Replacement out of Extruded Alum.
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Re: Reality Check and help for Printrbot Plus

Postby RetireeJay » 2019-Oct-Sun-14-Oct

I have attached the 2013 Getting Started Guide to this answer. Note that you don't have to "install software" on your printer; it's already there.

Although there were some small improvements made over the years, the original firmware on my Printrbot Plus with a Rev D board worked quite well. I think there might have been one obscure bug, but nothing that really prevented it working. So there's no great urgency to update your firmware. However, it's a good idea to try to find a copy of the hex file so that you can re-flash it in case something messes up the program.

Please take note of how the EEPROM works, viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2763. There are lots of things you can tweak without having to re-compile or re-flash the firmware.

My workflow then and now (even though I've switched over to a Prusa MK3 printer) is to design in a CAD program, use a stand-alone Slicer (e.g. Slic3r) to slice the model, and then use Repetier Host to control the printer and send the G-Code for the model line by line. Pronterface works, but Repetier has a nicer User Interface. Printrbot originally recommended Repetier, but stopped when Repetier started asking for donations instead of being entirely scot free.

Technically, you can transfer one G-code file at a time to the printer on an SD card, if the file is named something like "xxx0.g" (replace the xxx with your own name, but only one file ending in "0.g" can be on the card). Then when you start up the printer it will warm itself up and execute the code on the card - but you have no controls or user interface at all when you do it that way. A third path is to put a Raspberry Pi in between your computer and the Printrbot, with the Pi running Octoprint. I've never done that, so I have no advice on how to do it. But it does have a User Interface for you to use in setting up the printer and monitoring the printer as it works. There's a post in the forum about setting up Octoprint that makes it look like you can accomplish the task in something under one week of geeky programming. But maybe it's easier now.

One of the trickiest tasks you will encounter is setting up the Z axis "zero" screw adjustment. Once you get that right, you should be good to go. Many of us used a glass cover over the heater because glass is very flat. But you have to clamp it down. And you have to use shims and whatever technique you can to get the bed leveled (trammed) relative to the X and Y axes of motion. A ton of info about that is in the forum.

-RJ
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3, upgraded to MK3S
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Re: Reality Check and help for Printrbot Plus

Postby MartyS » 2019-Oct-Fri-20-Oct

The method of putting a single file on the SD card so it prints that file when you turn on the printer is what I always use. I use Cura to slice and then rename the file to auto0.g (zero.g). If you are doing a 12 hour print I do not trust windows to stay connected the entire time, especially windows 10. At work we have a few pieces of equipment that need to run for days with constant computer control, the ones that have Linux versions of their software are never a problem, windows 10 machines are always a problem, windows 7 was fine sometimes for weeks straight, but 10 is horrible at rebooting itself overnight even if you tell it not to.

I do have a laptop next to the printer for manual control when changing filament or doing maintenance.
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Re: Reality Check and help for Printrbot Plus

Postby RetireeJay » 2019-Oct-Fri-21-Oct

Just FYI, if you have Windows 10 Pro you can control when it reboots. In fact, I recently upgraded this computer from 7 to 10 because of the impending loss of support (and safety) for Windows 7. I immediately implemented controls on when Win 10 would upgrade - and instead of it rebooting unexpectedly, it actually does NOT reboot when I thought it would. I've been manually telling it to reboot, just like I did in Windows 7. I don't think W-10 Home has controls quite as capable, but I think that you do have some control.

Still, the choice of running the printer via USB from a computer versus running it from a Raspberry Pi running Octoprint versus running it from an SD card is a personal one, depending on a number of factors unique to your own situation (proximity of the computer to the printer, operating system, your familiarity with particular technologies, how close you can stay to the printer to monitor it, how much you want to "play" with the computer's settings in real time, etc. etc.).
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3, upgraded to MK3S
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RetireeJay
My next printer is...
 
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Re: Reality Check and help for Printrbot Plus

Postby MartyS » 2019-Nov-Sun-14-Nov

Yes, if you just need to delay windows 10 from rebooting for a few days you can usually do it, longer than that it will just do it on it's own, you can also set the "active hours" so it won't reboot during the day. But if you need a program to run all week windows is no longer an option unless you disconnect it from the network so it can't get updates.
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Re: Reality Check and help for Printrbot Plus

Postby Mooselake » 2019-Nov-Wed-09-Nov

W10 updates are usually posted on Tuesday, just do a manual check for updates before a critical no-reboot period.

Alas, the vast majority of users who have no idea of what an update is, the plethora of holes and bugs found (big complex product, many legal and illegal non-ET alien probers), make the wretched update process necessary. Even fruit and Linus OSes have essential updates, the M$ gorilla never discovered how to do them in the background without a reboot

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Modified KickStarter Classic Plus 7/2012
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