Up Mini first experiences

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fcohen
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 9:35 pm

Up Mini first experiences

Post by fcohen » Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:47 pm

Hi Up folks,

I posted my first experiences using an Up Mini to http://votsh.com/2014/06/01/up-mini-3d- ... xperience/

Here is a summary:

Up Mini comes with its own software. It runs on Windows and Mac. It takes STL files as input. It does the slicing and dicing. It sends the files over USB to the printer. The printer does not need to be connected once the transfer completes. The software lets you import multiple STL files and print them as one job. The software lets you manipulate the objects (rotate, scale, move). The software lets you calibrate the print platen height to the extruder head.
I used the software to import an STL file, positioned it, calibrated the platen height, configured the job to print in “fine” mode, clicked print… and the software crashed. Not a good out-of-box experience.
Support comes from a Web-based forum. It looks like pp3dp people participate in the forum. Don’t expect immediate answers – think a day instead of an hour. Also, the forum requires approval before you can post a question and that took me an extra day.
I read on the forums that the Mac software has crashing problems. The work around was to save the project before printing. I did that and was able to print.
The printer is basically blind and dumb. The on-off switch has a status LED that blinks depending on the operation. A speaker signals the start and end of a print job. Anything else is not available: no way to pause a print, no way to stop a print. The software allows you to add print pauses based on time during the print.
The printer supports ABS and PLA. It comes with a spool of white ABS. I was not able to get anything to print correctly at first. The print head acted strangely – printing in the air, printing globs of plastic in random patches. I thought maybe I had a bad unit.
The printer comes with 3 sheets of pc board like material with a grid of holes drilled through. These load into the print platen and the extruder head prints onto the pc board. The boards holes fill up with plastic and that forms the stickiness your objects need to grip to the platen. The system is kind of silly as trying to retrieve printed objects from the board doesn’t work for small objects. I found the small objects crumbled as I used the provided spatula to remove them from the board after printing. My solution was to buy a roll of blue printers tape and cover the pc board. That even works for ABS when the pc board is heated by the printer.
Temperature controls are limited by the software. It chooses for you PLA at 220 C and ABS at 255 C. For ABS it turns-on the bed’s heater. This is supposedly to encourage you to only use plastic purchased from pp3dp. There are hacks to get around this and set your own temperature, for example http://thevariableconstant.blogspot.com ... -hack.html
The software ignores the “No Raft” option for one of my print jobs. It doesn’t print the full raft, instead it prints a mini single-strand of waves around the base of my object. Still have not found a way to have it only print the object.
I printed from a spool of MakerBot PLA TrueBlue I had purchased and had a really bad experience. The extruder head jammed on feeding the PLA. It was so bad that I had to disassemble the head, remove the PLA, and assemble it again. I believe it is the fault of the PLA and not the printer as I have had problems with this spool on a MakerBot Replicator 2 before.
The printer head is held onto the printer by 3 magnets. I have seen the head hit the object is was printing so hard that the head temporarily came apart from 2 of the 3 magnets. The printer continued to move the head and it reattached. Maybe that’s the design, but it was shocking to see this happen.

I would be glad for any feedback or ideas from the above. Thanks.

-Frank Cohen
http://www.votsh.com

ming
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:06 am
Location: Georgia USA

Re: Up Mini first experiences

Post by ming » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:42 pm

Give it a few more chances i think you will get more experience and start to like it more.
I think your comment did not give the printer achance, though i dont have the mini i think it shares a lot of the good features with the UP plus.

You may also rush to start printing without fully setting it up and understand some of the "quirks" the printer has - all of them do just some more than others. My experience was ery different i was amazed how quickly i was able to print with great results and the few times i didnt print the part as expected it was mostly my fault or being too ambitous.

Read some of the postst here and get familiar with your new toy you soon will have a different impression.
Dream@night / Holdit@sameday

roller
Posts: 1622
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:09 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: Up Mini first experiences

Post by roller » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:49 am

Foremost, the forum is rarely attended by anyone from PP3DP - responses you receive are from other users of Up printers as well as some resellers. The forum, like most today, does have a delay on approval to keep the spam at bay and make the forum as usable for real users as possible. It never used to have this and spam was starting to become a big problem. I am a moderator on other (CNC) forums and this issue is almost universal and it's a result of the world we live in. The alternative solution was to only provide access on purchase (some other 3D printer and CNC forums do this) but it stops people who want to buy getting a genuine answer to their queries from real users rather than just getting the official company line. Personally, I think the delayed solution is the friendlier choice.

The Mac software is a poor cousin to the Windows software. It is clear the focus or strength of development is with the Windows software and if you want the most up to date stable experience you really need to use this software with Windows. That said, I am primarily a Mac user and one of its harshest critics but it is also pretty much in keeping with most commercial Mac offerings for 3D printers and CNC hardware. Unfortunately our platform just isn't taken seriously by manufacturers of this field of hardware just yet. Even the Open Source software from the reprap community is less stable on Mac.

The Up printer, unlike most of the cheap printers which are based on open source initiatives, has removable support so printing raftless isn't necessarily as necessary or desirable as a raft makes prints more consistent and more accurate (printing raftless always means your Z will be out an unpredictable and inconsistent amount). When you want to print raftless, the printer will provided your model is properly located and flat. If not the software will fill in the base with support material. Also, there may be a bug in this regard with the Mac software - there has been an occasion where I can't rid myself of a raft but the base was complex and likely the issue. STLs are an absolutely rubbish format for 3D prints and small errors can give you weird behaviour. You find some pain no matter what 3D platform you use (speaking from experience of using many).

With respect to the Mini in particular, I am not sure if you can print true raftless on the Mini if you are using software levelling as it uses the mini-raft to make the base flat. Try setting the bed as flat and levelling with shims. Someone else will need to verify the status of that in present software.

With respect to using the perfboard - the perfboard is intended to be used with a raft. You will not have problems with printing when using a raft - this is a choice because the of the potential for this printer to do snap away bases/rafts and support. It improves print quality to print with a raft. It is only in the last year that the option to actually turn it off has arrived but using no raft is intended by the manufacturer to support occasional exceptional circumstances rather than the normal use of the printer. Oh, and I was one of the voices crying out for the addition of raftless so I completely understand why you might want to.

Temp controls are limited to support the OEM filament - this is intentional by the maker - we have asked for custom temps many many times but I don't see it coming. Expect to see the same from Makerbot in the future too as they are distinctly heading in the same direction. The stock temp is 255C for ABS - this is just the last temp shown in the Mini software before it switches over to 100%. No idea what the PLA temp is anymore but there were recent updates for the new PLA which only just made it into the latest Mac software in the last few weeks. You might want to try it.

Don't know about OEM PLA as I don't use it - I use aftermarket PLA with my own temp mod. There are plenty of designs for them posted here and there are simple plug and play setups you can purchase (I'll happily make anyone who asks a thumbwheel mod for a small fee). You might find you are not printing the PLA hot enough on the Makerbot. The PP3DP OEM filaments are composed to print hotter than most common filaments - they do this to raise the filament softening point which improves reliability and print quality. Also you cannot compare one temp on one printer (Up) to the temp on another printer (the Makerbot) due to the calibration of their temp probes and the design of the hotends. This can vary as much as 20C in either direction so you might need some trial and error on the Makerbot to get the filament working. The big problem with PLA is once it jams a little it shreds into a fine slippery dusts that makes future feeding fail especially with fine teeth like those on the Up.

You can stop and pause the print while it is printing through the software. You cannot pause the print during the raft only - the button will activate after that. I suggest you take some time to sit down with the manual. 3D printers are not really an "end user" device in that you need to build up some skills and knowledge with any printer (except those starting over $20K) before you really get productive with it. Even then there may be some trials and tribulations. I leapt into the Up Plus without fuss primarily because I had years of experience with reprap and found the printer a delight to use by comparison. That said I also had a Mini in the early days and was scathing of it until some changes were made. I still don't think the bed is hot enough and I didn't like the magnetic head though most issues with the latter are the result of not properly setting up the printer and having faulty STLs.

If you think you have a faulty printer you certainly should seek help here but also from your reseller as they are responsible for supporting you with your possible hardware issues.

Chris botha
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat May 03, 2014 7:30 am

Re: Up Mini first experiences

Post by Chris botha » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:26 am

quotes from that blog that pretty much sum it up!

This engineer is good at saving money.
This is so ghetto, I decided to hack it.
:shock: :lol: :shock: :lol: :shock:

i LOLed!

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