Hello Reprap. My old friend.


I watched the video below on DriveTribe and was inspired. The presenter found his first car and has taken it upon himself to revive it to mint condition. After 6 years of sitting in a Glaswegian army barracks car park, the car started the first time it was turned over at the mechanic’s shop.

And so, I thought I might dust off my original self-made Reprap Pruse i3 and give it some TLC. I did attempt a revival back in April 2020 when there was a push to 3d print COVID PPE but reached an impasse (no filament & a global supply breakdown). Incidentally, my sister, a GP in the UK, did use PPE printed by the local school.

Spot the (lurid pink) 3d printed component on my sister’s face shield.

RPi4b, OctoPi upgrade & WIFI

Previously I had OctoPi running on an RPi3B with a wired LAN connection. Have upgraded to RPi4B and a wi-fi connection (I think RPi4 a reasonable recent thing?). Also opportunity to update Octoprint etc.

  • Download latest (v0.18 at the time of writing) & flash zip to SD card with BalenaEtcher (or whatever)
  • Boot RPi from newly flashed SD with wired LAN connection
  • Setup up at http://octopi.local in the browser on your client (assuming you have Bonjour/Zeroconf on your client computer – Macs & Ubuntu do. Windows user will need to install – Google it. Otherwise use the local IP address, if you know it. Bonjour/ Zeroconf considerably more convenient!
  • Follow the setup steps in Octopi UI.
  • SSH into octopi RPi host to setup wifi. Octopi is not the same as the RPi OS, so the login details are for SSH are not the ones you just setup in Octopi. Use the Raspbian defaults, so: ssh pi@octopi.local, then enter the password as raspberry.
  • Once you have SSH, navigate to boot/ in the root directory and edit config file: sudo nano octopi-wpa-supplicant.txt You’ll have to enter your p/w again (still raspberry)
    • Uncomment WPA?WPA@ secured section & enter your wifi SSID & password/psk.
    • sudo shutdown -now to safely shut down RPi, then unplug the LAN connection and restart to initiate wifi connection.

Test your wireless connection by navigating to http://octopi.local in your client computer browser.

🍾Magic (if it works!).

Can hook up printer to RPi at any stage here (USB connection). I did it at the end. To get the two talking all I had to do is click the CONNECT button. Checking the Save connection settings and Auto-connect on server startup boxes before clicking CONNECT does the obvious.

Just like DriveTribe’s Rover 25, I was back moving axes remotely first time.

That’s not the same as printing something though.

Filament

Seems to be difficult to buy 3mm filament from a retail store in New Zealand – a 1.75mm. Not sure if the smaller diameter has become the defacto diameter or a NZ-market thing. Not sure what the pros-and-cons are of 1.75mm are other than that you can buy it. Seems to be that it’s going to break more easily. Anyway, I am sticking with 3mm.

I took a trip to imagin plastics and picked up two spools: One ABS, one PLA. They actually extrude the filament in-house and have some connection with 3D-printing-with-PLA lore. Support local and all that.🥝

I plan do make some enhancements:

  1. PLA (and maybe ABS?) are affected by moisture. This affects print quality. A hermetically sealed spool holder should retard the effect of this.
  2. Jamming of the print head, catching of filament on the spool and filament runout are common issues that have marred my 3D-print experience. A filament runout/ jam sensor would help and I THINK my RAMPS 1.4 board support this.

Item (2) a little more involved – needs a 3D printed part and maybe some mods to the Marlin firmware on my machine.

Other potential enhancements

  1. Software control of extruder fan (currently on a manual switch)
  2. System power down button (for safe power down of RPi & relay power down/up of printer.
  3. Another go at auto-bed levelling.
  4. Upgrade Z-axes with proper drive screws etc.

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