This is a simple guide to get you started with 3D printing with the Prusa i3 3D printer.
We are going to use Netfabb basic, slic3r, and pronterface for our software interfaces so if you don't already have them downloaded you can click on the links below to get those.
In this tutorial you will be printing out a space invader guitar pick.
To start, head over to http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:40621/#files and download the file.
Step 1: Loading in Netfabb
Open the downloaded pick file and you will see it in a solid green color. Don't worry if it is not positioned on the yellow bed, it does not matter.
Click: PART, then EXPORT PARTas .STL
Step 2: Slicing With Slic3r
Open Slic3r and click the ADD button that looks like a lego piece.
Select your pick file and click OPEN.
Click the PRINT SETTINGS tab and change your settings to match mine.
Click on INFILL and match my settings.
Click the SKIRT AND BRIM and match my settings.
Click the FILAMENT SETTINGS tab and match my settings.
Click the PRINTER SETTINGS tab and match my settings.
Now click PLATER at the top and select EXPORT G-CODE
Step 3: Checking With Pronterface
Open Pronterface and select FILE then OPEN and select your pick G-code file.
Click on the image of your object and a bigger window will open with a yellow grid.
Click the UP arrow and watch as pronterface shows you how your file will be printed layer by layer. This step is crucial in identifying errors in your print. Keep clicking the up arrow and make sure you don't see any anomalies. As long as you don't see any problems, close the program and load your pick file on your Prusa.
Step 4: Get Printing
To get started, get a flashlight and have a good look at the filament drive. Look at the hobbed bolt to see if there is any plastic stuck in it. If there is, use an allen wrench to loosen the extruder head bolts. From there, take the filament out and clean the gear with a nail or a paperclip. Once you have that section cleaned out, click the metal knob and go to PREPARE then MOVE AXIS then MOVE 0.1 mm then EXTRUDER. Now rotate the knob bit by bit while cleaning out the entirety of the gear until it has no traces of plastic in it.
Now click the knob and select PREPARE then PREHEAT PLA. Wait until you get to 180 degrees and gently feed the filament down through the extruder until you see it come out of the extruder nozzle. Once you get a little pile of plastic on the bed, use the allen wrench to tighten your extruder idler bolts back around the filament.
Now click the knob and select PREPARE then AUTO HOME. Take a regular piece of printer paper and place it under the extruder head while it comes to its home location. Take the piece of paper and gently slide it back and forth to see how close the extruder head is to the bed. You are looking for it to just slightly dent the paper but not tear it. If you can move the paper to easily and it does not come out slightly bent, you need to lower the z axis. If it tears the paper, you need to raise the z axis. This can be a bit frustrating but with a little finesse you can do it fairly quick. To do this, loosen the z axis to where it stays in place but doesn't require the wrench to move it. Then position your paper underneath and select PREPARE, AUTO HOME, then adjust the z axis accordingly. After every attempt to move the z axis, you must do the PREPARE, AUTO HOME process. Once your printer passes your paper test, you are ready to print!
Select CARD MENU and find your pick file and select it to print. The printer will begin printing once the extruder head and the heated bed are to the temperature you selected in slicer.
Now you are going to watch to skirt print first to see what temperature you need to be at. If you get a dotted line after the third circle, then select CONTROL, TEMPERATURE, NOZZLE, then turn the knob clockwise a few degrees.
If you get a bit of a goopy print, the select CONTROL, TEMPERATURE, NOZZLE, and turn the knob counter-clockwise a few degrees.
DON'T BE DISCOURAGED IF THE FIRST PRINT DOES NOT DO WELL. THIS IS NORMAL WHEN THE PRINTER HAS BEEN SITTING FOR A WHILE.
TO CANCEL A PRINT, CLICK THE KNOB, GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THE MENU AND SELECT STOP PRINT.