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Some links about me. Many of my 3D designs are free. I also post on Google+ and in another blog, oz4.us

Friday, June 27, 2014

Four in the morning. Just had a few tweaks to finish my upgrade...

Eventually "implemented" my upgrade! I certainly did not think it would take me so long, but once you start to sort the mess that's below a 3D printer you just can spend days on it! There is a brief list after the break.


I am sure a lot of 3D printer owners share the "two minutes into two hours" syndrome.

What I did...

  • Sorted some cables: cleaned up the mess, shortened some, refreshed the aging connectors before they start to fail. Fully replaced the main cable from the bottom to the head, by means of a high quality Ethernet cable (I feel confident). Used lots of JST 2 and 3 pin, with a high quality crimping/terminal pliers (ref. "Engineer PA20" worth its $75, ouch -- also have a very good wire stripper from the same Japanese brand). I failed to select the proper crimps at first (I was "close" but it is clearly not enough to be close!). I should have payed more attention.
  • At last I now have a proper dual power supply (5V and 12V, based two high efficiency, low temp and cheap LM2596). Will power whatever I need without having to deal with 19V or to load further the existing inefficient linear regulator on the RAMPS.
  • Re-did my secondary Arduino Pro Mini. This time it is clean! I used some proto board.
  • Added a secondary OLED display (128x64 pixels, $8 on ebay) with its own rotary encoder and probably too short a cable (I recycled both the cable and its connectors...)
The secondary Arduino, screen and encoder will give me a lot of freedom for further enhancements. Too bad I have only one wire left from the Ethernet cable to the head, but at least I now have proper 12V and ground, with one more free wire (eg. I could multiplex control signals with I2C and an ATtiny when I need it).

For now I can tune the bed temperature (was either 0 or 55°C before), PWM for the hot end heatsink fan (was very noisy at 100%), and PWM for the LED lighting (quite useless but I can switch them off at least now). I know, I should switch the bed control to the main board & firmware. At least I do not interfere further with Marlin even though it is trivial to disable the bed PWM. Going "bang-bang" with a 2°C hysteresis on a mechanical relay really is enough for me. I can even hear when it is heating (but now I have it displayed on the pretty little oled screen).

What I should do...

  • Shorten all these long stepper cables. Why are they so long in the first place?!
  • Print support and boxes for the 3 boards (dual power supply, secondary arduino, mini screen and encoder)
  • Print cable ducts
  • Ditch my flexible led strips and use led bars instead
  • Add a watchdog on the printer to shut it down when nothing happens (eg. vibration/noise sensor), or when heat or electric power reach unusual values (as a security)
I could keep on listing tens of ideas here... stay tuned!

About Me

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If you know me and you cannot tell exactly what my real job is, then you probably found the right Jeremie. Check zax.fr for some pointers.

I am self-employed and I help start-ups, research centers, small companies with their needs related to computers, sensors, data processing and mechatronics. If you have a project and know what "R&D" is, then you already sparked my interest ;)