Over the last few years 3D printing has become far more accessible to the average person. Prices for both the materials and the printers themselves have gotten much cheaper, so if you're interested in trying it out for yourself this instructable will help to get you started with one of the more common entry-level printers currently on the market.
- Prusa i3 Mk2 original printer
- Lead screw nuts (already attached)
- Prusa Control Software
- Sheet of paper
- Filament and spool
- Alcohol prep pads
- Isopropyl alcohol
- SD card
- Power Supply and Switch
- Control Knob
- Print Fan
- Nozzle Cooling fan
- Heated bed
Step 1: Toggle on the Power Supply Switch
Find the power supply switch located on the back side of the printer and toggle it to the "on" position.
Step 2: Select Language on the Control Wizard and Confirm
Now back around to the front of the printer. The small LCD screen on the bottom front right is the Control Wizard. It will prompt you to select your language of choice. Once you have done so press confirm.
Step 3: Self Testing
Check if the nozzle is clean. If not wipe it off.
Place a sheet of paper between the nozzle and the heated bed and hold it in place.
The Control Wizard will then prompt the user to begin the self test: a major component of the process. Thankfully it is mostly automated.
The printer heats the bed and waits for the temperature to rise to proper levels. This checks the print fan and nozzle cooling fan by monitoring the temperature change on the hot end.
It also begins running the XYZ calibrations by tracing back and forth to measure the x- and y-axes, as well as up and down to measure the z-axis. This process takes approximately 12 minutes.
The printer then does the nine point mesh bed leveling.
You'll know that the XYZ calibration is complete once the results are displayed on the screen.
Step 4: Loading the Filament
Take the PLA filament and check which way it runs around the spool.
Load the filament onto its receptacle on the printer. Ensure that it is loaded top-to-front.
Warning: Some filaments come tangled from the factory. Check that your filament is not tangled before proceeding.
The nozzle will now start preheating to 215 degrees Celsius. Don't touch it.
Insert the filament into the top of the extruder and select "Confirm" on the Control Wizard.
Step 5: First Layer Calibration
Move the printer forward along the y-axis and clean the bed with the alcohol prep pads and isopropyl alcohol.
We are now ready to begin the first layer calibration. The control wizard will now jump into the main menu and start preheating everything.
During the first layer calibration, the printer will print a zig-zag pattern, followed by a small square piece to check that the distance has properly been set.
On the Control Wizard, the "Adjusting Z" screen will be displayed. During the first layer calibration, you must use the knob to adjust the z-axis. Move the nozzle down to get the printed line stuck into the bed at all nine points.
The line should look like the picture below. If it does not, select yes on the control wizard to restart the first layer calibration.
Once complete, clean everything from the bed.
Step 6: Printing
You are nearly ready to print! In order to do so find the file that you want to be printed. If it is an STL file, convert the STL file to a gcode file. This converts the 3D model into actual printing instructions for your 3D printer. Do this by downloading Slic3r: Prusa Edition, a gcode conversion tool.
In the main menu of Slic3r: Prusa Edtition open the STL file you wish to convert. From here, find the "Export gcode" button. Select the file that you want to convert and save it as a gcode file.
Once your gcode file is ready, load it onto your SD card.
On the Control Wizard, go to the menu, select "Preheat" and then select "PLA".
Insert the SD card into the printer.
On the Control Wizard, select "Print from SD".
Your Prusa i3 Mk2 printer will now begin printing your chosen object! No further work is required from you after this point, just remember that the printing time for your desired object may vary based on the size and intricacy of your file.