The M3D Software is windows only, which causes a lot of wasted power by running a windows machine all time. After several and some successful attempts of running this software on a virtual machine inside my Linux, I figured out a much more easy way to print from a Raspberry Pi. It’s called Octoprint, but on an armhf basis requires a bit attention. In combination with the M33-Fio Plugin its serving perfectly as a printing server for the M3D-Micro I own.
Setting up your Raspberry Pi 3
To save me and you some time in future, I share the step by step code to set up an Raspberry Pi 3 with Octoprint from scratch. (even if there is an image down-loadable from Octroprint Website)
#allow pi user to communicate with printer via tty
sudo usermod-a-Gdialout pi
#install cura slicing engine by compiling it from source
The M3D printer is the result of a successfull kickstarter campaign where 11.855 founders backed 3.401.361 $ USD. I came across this beautiful little device at the Chemnitzer Linux Tage 2016 and somehow fell in love. I immediately ordered the device from the companies website printm3d.com, which was possible because the company started selling various models shortly before. Having the choice I’ve ordered a crystal clear case with 349 $ USD + 25 $ USD fee for beeing clear, 49 $ USD for packaging and worldwide express shipping.
Only a few days later a little package arrived at my door, held by an UPS delivery guy asking for an additional VAG of about 80 € EUR. Which I expected, but never was prepared for by the manufacturer.Overall in germany the printer not as cheap as promoted everywhere, but still unpackaging was really pleasant:
The M3D – box in a box
The M3D – main box bottom
The M3D – opening the inner box
The M3D – power adapter
The M3D – bubble wrap
The M3D – freeing the printer
The M3D – with blue securing tape and holding clips
The M3D – on my laptop
The M3D – close up
I’ve taken this pictures a while ago, nowadays there are nice videos of the unpacking process I highly recomment:
Beside the price, there are other pros and cons of the printer. First of all its software is genius and catastrophic at the same time. From a beginners point of view having a nice catchy windows application which runs on the latest plattform and service pack is perfect. But having no Linux interface, no reliable instructions for setting it up a working setup is nothing M3D should be proud of. It took me several days to connect the printer to my virtual box windows emulation environment. It never worked stable and embarrassed me and my enthusiasm in front of friends I wanted to show the little magic cube.
Nevertheless, there is hope! A nice plugin called M3D-Fio for multi-printer software Octoprint. It can be installed on a simple Raspberry Pi and offers a website where you are able to upload .stl files, slice them to the m3d gcode by using the ultimaker slicing software called Cura, and flash the current M3D firmware. Only by that, the printer is usable to me. And it has the nice side effect of beeing able to leave the room taking my laptop with me, and saving a lot of energy by not beeing required to run a dedicated windows machine while printing.
My Octoprint setup.
For the sake of completeness:I can’t evaluate the MacOS Version of the software, because I do not use an apple laptop.
M3D – while printing
Overall i can say, the M3D i brought was really worth it.
After a long period of ups and downs and a relationship which best gets described as “complicated” with my Mendel Prusa i2 the results are really getting better and therefore also bigger. It also starts ti feel like fun to print stuff instead of beeing tensed up all the time.
So today I printed a fillament holder roll, which when assembled consists of two bearings and a plastic bearing holder (8*3*4cm). I also got in touch with blender to edit the STL files other than the non linux Sketchup, which lately tends to produce broken CAD models which cause slic3r to crash.
See the results below:
2015-09-07 Current 3D Printer location on top of a IKEA shelf
2015-09-07 Blender 3D Model of the fillament holder
it has been a time full of up and downs with the assembly of second iteration of Reprap Prusa Mendel printer BetaPrusaV2. The not p reassembled “deluxe” Kit I ordered from 2Print Beta contained several improvements in comparison to the original Mendels, but also some things that forced me and everybody who helped my to think very hard to fix certain issues. For example some of the parts had misplaced drill holes, or not enough glued nuts which resulted in incorrect placement of axis and as a consequence stepper motors to block or not working reliable. The problems got on their top when the z-axis (up and down) was unable to move completely because of the threaded rod. Even if a certain degree of this issue is calculated into the design of the printer, the not fine pitched threads needed to be replaced entirely by several tries i did by rods bought in home improvement stores and cut at home.
Finally, after more than 40-50 man hours I now gained all the information and experiences to print the first thing – but wait, the kit did not offer any testing filament. This would have been very nice in order to avoid problems with material and thickness decisions that are not really well mentioned in the in all other belonging very well documented kit. So I ordered some ABS 2.75 fillament additionally which was way trickier to print than it would had been with usual PLA.
The first 2*2 calibration cube in ABS
Since then, progress is happening – after ordering some PLA and about 2-3 hours for figuring things out I am not able to print whatever I can imagine.
An additional thought I might give is the printing speed to printing quality relation, the possible 100% usually leads to massive quality problems, which is why my usual printing job starts at 25% for the first layer to stay on the heated bed and after that on 75% giving me a good result.
Slic3r and pronterface to create and guard the printing process