Monday, January 21, 2019

Ender-3 First Print/Project

For our first project we decided to build a Raspberry Pi Print Server (OctoPrint) and 3D Printer Monitor using an ESP8266.

This was a project I found on YouTube over the Christmas holidays and began the electronics portion before the printer arrived.  We used an old Raspberry Pi and setup OctoPrint on it to manage job submissions and host a web stream of the printer. 

OctoPrint is very straight foreword you can pull an image from the OctoPrint site and burn it to a micro SD card in a few min and follow the setup steps.   For a camera I'm currently using the v2 Pi Camera, but will be adding a Borescope which will be positioned to look closely at the print head to see how the adhesion is going.  Using the wide view camera time lapse of prints can be made.

Now that the OctoPrint server was setup we decided to use an old ESP8266 I had and use it to relay printer information to it as a remote station. This can be moved around the house and just needs a USB wall wart to power it.    The ESP8266 is a Ardunio development board with builtin wifi. Paired with and OLED we are able to see the progress done of a print as well as base plate and print head temperatures.   While it does not provide an image it will allow us to see if there is a temperature problem. Also when the printer is not running it shows the current time and weather.

The instruct able was excellent and we had no trouble following it. 3D-Printer-Monitor-Wemos-D1-Mini-ESP8266. This also proved to be our first real print for the case and it went well.

Ender-3 3D Construction

The build of the Ender-3 was very easy. The longest part was the replacement of the crimped on imitation XT60 power plug.

Unboxed and ready to install
First off we inventoried all the parts needed. Creality had each screw/bolt type separated in to labeled bags so that helped.  They also provided extras of every screw/bolt.

Crimped connectors on XT60
Then we had a close look at the XT60 Power plug. They are known to have problems with being badly crimped and not providing a good connection, sometimes leading to over heating and catching fire/melting the plugs.  We had a look and sure enough they had used the crmiped connection and a cheep knock off plug.  The walls of the plug were much thinner and the connection poles were not as beefy.  They also had the male end on the power side which is not suggested as it can more easily short if it was unconnected and the poles touched something.  So we cut them off and replaced them from out supply for our RC aircraft.
Stock fake XT 60 connector (left) vs. real (right)

When we returned the next night we began construction and were able to do a quick test print that evening. All and in all it took about and hour and a half to build it.
Jadon attaching control panel.

We followed along with the the instructions from Tomb of 3D Printed Horrors - Creality Ender 3 assembly and pro build tips.

Install went smoothly. We printed a level test print and all was good. Except that the filament stuck far to well to the stock Ender-3 bed.  We are still trying to scrape it all off 3 days later.  However the Glass plate works much better and give a very flat surface (almost to flat)

Jadon checking travel of the Z access.

Jadon and Eric with completed Ender-3 3D 
Printing part the Test Dog.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Ender 3 Arrival

Last week we received a Creality Ender-3 3D printer, thanks to my lovely wife for our X-mas present.  Last night we unboxed it and began the inventory of parts.
Creality Ender-3 3D Printer

This was rated the best printer under $200.

Assembly will be begin this evening and hope to have a first print by the weekend. So far this new hobby has generated quite a project list.

  • Build and upgrade Ender 3
  • Build and install OctoPrint 
    • Investigate camera options (picamera, endoscope, time lapse)
    • Plan out temperature, voltage, humidity, smoke/fire detection systems.
    • First glimpse Ender-3
    • Design and plan for remote power cutoff for printer.
  • Build and install 3D Printer Monitor with ESP8266 Wemos.
  • Build and install remote fire/smoke detector and alarm system.
  • Design and build/buy enclosure for printer for better temperature controls and fume/particulate control. Possible venting out of the house.
  • Design and build ESP8266 Temperature/humidity monitor for PLA storage, using for alerts when humidity is getting to high.
  • Design and build Pi/Arduino system to monitor relative pressure in the enclosure to keep a negative pressure to contain odors and particulate out of the house and vent it to the outside.
Primarily this printer will be used to print quad copter parts, ham radio parts, and some random prints.

Jadon with parts!
All of it unboxed

Dayton 2016

Very LATE post.
K3YV (Woody) and I (W3EDP) made our trek to the Dayton Hamvention 2016.  As usual the trip began with our customary day at the Air Force Museum and a visit to John Silver aka "Stumpy", the legendary war pidgin. With most of the day spent wandering the fist set of hangers with "Real Aircraft".. you know the ones with props!! And a few movies and a quick visit to the modern aircraft. We followed up with a dinner with a few members of the Rooster Net.  It was a good day.
John Silver -War Pidgin

 Friday-Sunday we spent our days looking at interesting junk/treasures in the booths in the parking lot and finding new and interesting items that we never knew we needed in the Hara Arena.

  The goal of this trip was to find a QRP radio that I could use while traveling/hiking/car camping.   Contestants were the Yeasu FT-817ND, The Elecraft KX3,  or something new and small.
The requirements were:
  • Small size (including additional items needed)
  • Weight (my back is heavy enough with medical gear)
  • Operating time. (must use LiPo batteries or something similar for weight)
  • Cover 10-80M   ( I have not used 160m or 6m and don't expect to soon.)
  • SSB and CW. (Not CW operator but plan to, hence the need SSB to start with)
  The Elecraft KX3 had the advantage of a larger screen and built in ATU, but disadvantage of price, and it did not seem to rugged. The Yeasu 817ND had ruggedness that I liked but long in the tooth and the small screen and nested menus with lots of dial spinning turned me off, despite the price and I would need to buy a tuner to go with it.

KX3 beside KX2
  Luck! Elecraft brought out a new radio this year the Elecraft KX2, It fit the bill nearly perfectly. It's almost half the weight of the KX3 and a bit smaller. It does not have 2m option or AM, but  I have no ambitions of doing weak signal FM from PA mountaintops, and if I do want to I can use an HT.  The K2 uses the same screen as the K3 so it's easy for my aging eyes to read.

Elecraft KX2
  I put in an order for the KX2, with ATU and paddles.  Time to learn the code again. Come on brain.. you heard a bunch of it in Augsburg and used to be able to decode a fair amount on the fly. You can do it again!
  So now comes the wait for delivery. Sadly I did not make my choice till later in the weekend and missed out on the 50 they sold at the show. When I first stopped by at 14:30 on Friday there were 2 left.  First impressions to come hopefully shortly.

   I was followed home by a few other trinkets to include:
  • Arrow Antenna J-Pole - for working public service events to be mounted on a tripod for easy use of my Kenwood D710 go box. 
  • Arrow Antenna 146/437 - to try my hand at satellite and ISS.
  • Book on Introduction to Amateur Radio and Satellite. 
  • Heil Cables to connect a Heil HM-10 mic/boom setup, I picked up at an estate sale, to my Icom 756Pro.
  Things that failed to follow me home but maybe should have:
See you next year Dayton!!