The first thing to do is find some objects to print.
You do not have to look far because there is an ocean of objects on Thingiverse! => http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:648
I have printed the following items successfully:
Maker Bot Coin
The Pink Panther Woman
If you want to create your own objects then poke around on Thingiverse to see what everyone else uses (probably OpenSCAD?) ... OR... you can use a relatively new program on the block called Autodesk 123D
. It is beta right now and from my experience is a very easy to use 3D modeling program. It works similarly to other software but has a really easy to use interface. 123D also has a wonderful online community that hosts 3D models too! So if you find Thingiverse frustrating and want an all in one 3D model catalog and editing software then try 123D
out, I highly recommend it. Not sure if you want to... have a look at their YouTube channel. => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimFBvqDyR8&feature=plcp
I will be learning how to use 123D now that I have something to realize the models in real life with.
If you do not want to install anything but just want to tinker around... try TinkerCAD
. It is in the cloud and appears to have a lot of people that like it. There are a few others like this however I cannot recall what they are. I am sure Google or Bing can tell you though.
Now that you have a model it is time to run Pronterface and Load a model (slice it). Here are the steps that I use when starting a print.
1) Plug in your stuff and let your hot glue extruder warm up a couple of minutes.
2) Start Pronterface.
3) Jog to the X/Y home position (where ever that might be). I recommend putting a sheet of white paper under your glass and mark on that your home position and axis labels and maybe some goofy drawings....
4) Press the Extrude Button until a little bit of Hot Glue comes out. I have my settings to extrude 1 mm at a time.
5) Jog to home Z in... squish the little blob of hot glue flat on the glass.
6) Disconnect then reconnect and Reset the printer (all buttons on Pronterface). This set the ZERO for X,Y,Z axis. This is very important.
7) Jog Z up 10 mm (just to make sure it isn't stuck or anything).
8) Load your STL file (you should have already set your Slic3r settings in the previous step).
9) Edit your GCode file to remove the Set and Wait for temperature. IF YOU DON"T YOU WILL WAIT A LONG LONG TIME.
*** Before you click print make sure you check out how big the model is and make sure you are willing to wait that long for it to be printed. Slic3r lies to me about how long it takes. Pronterface will tell you in the Status bar!
10) Wipe your glass down with a liberal amount of Isopropyl Alcohol. This should help in making the hot glue easier to get off once the print is gone. If you skip this step be prepared for it to be S T U C K.... this is glue after all.
11) Click the Print button.
If you have not printed much then keep your fingers near the power OFF switch to the XYZ axis so you don't wreck something. Please remember that this is a DUMB machine and will do exactly what you tell it. For example ... I was printing out the Pink Panther Girl (for 2 hours) and when it finished ... the machine decided it was a good idea to run the extruder right down the middle of it (Z down first in homing). I managed to save most of it because I turned the power off. Do not depend on the Pause button in Pronterface to save your butt. The Teacup firmware buffers your commands and it may take a little bit of time for the machine to actually stop. Imagine if that was your hand instead of your model!
Hopefully a little bit (or a long bit) later you will have a Hot Glue 3D object.
Now comes the Fun part of getting it off of the Glass. Wait a a few minutes for it to cool some more. Take a flat razor blade and scrape your model off. CAREFULLY. The model should be somewhat sturdy but it is also somewhat squishy and it might deform. Scrape off any extra leftover glue too. Reclean the glass with the alcohol.
Be sure to look at the Notes and Links after this step.