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Join Us at the Tool Swap & Expo!

Twin Cities Maker will be setting up a booth and bringing the life size operation game to the Twin Cities Tool Swap & Expo Oct 19 from 10am-4pm

Stop by to say hi, and test your operation skills 🙂

Location: Bloomington Armory, 3300 W 98th St., Bloomington

Where to Go to See More Info On the Event: https://www.mnwwg.org/

IT interest group meeting: Thurs 10/24 @ 7pm

coding on a smartphone

World’s smallest development machine

Are you an IT-type person? You know, computers, servers, networks, coding, that sort of thing. If you are, I’m looking for you! TCMaker has a lot of tech-related things to take care of, and we also want some shiny technological wizardry to make various useful things happen. If you’d like to help out, please come by the IT interest group meeting on Thursday 10/24 at 7pm. If you’ve got any questions or ideas please let me know either in person or at it@tcmaker.org. I’ll have an agenda up a few days beforehand.

2019 Member Meeting official notice

Download the meeting information packet:

https://wiki.tcmaker.org/_media/governance/2019membermeetingpacket.pdf

Annual Member Meeting

When: Saturday, September 21, 2019 at Noon
Where: The Hack Factory, 3119 E 26th St, Minneapolis, MN 55406 

All members of Twin Cities Maker are invited and encouraged to attend our annual membership meeting. We need a minimum of approximately 30 people to reach quorum, so your attendance is important. This is your opportunity to talk about organizational and shop issues that are important to you. The meeting will probably be wrapped up by 2pm, if not earlier.

Current items on the agenda include:

Recap: We’ll have a brief review of the past year of the organization, and discuss what we’d like to see for the coming year.

Dues: Our rent was raised this year. We’re going to talk about raising membership dues and would like to hear your thoughts and questions.

Payment processing: Twin Cities Maker currently offers nearly unlimited ways to pay your dues. We want to talk about possibly changing some of this to better serve the membership and organization as a whole. Limiting payment methods may come to a vote by the membership at this meeting, so you might want to attend.

Board Elections

Two board members will be elected to serve three-year terms on the board of directors. We will be voting for individuals to fill those positions at the meeting. Download the information packet (linked both above and below) to read profiles of the candidates. Members in good standing (i.e. your dues paid up) as of Saturday 9/21/2019 are eligible to vote.

If you can’t make it to the meeting…

…you can still cast your vote! You can mail in your ballot, or you can grant proxy voting rights to another member. Forms for both options, along with instructions, are in the information packet.

10th Anniversary Shindig

Twin Cities Maker is officially celebrating its 10-Year Anniversary! So, we’re throwing ourselves an anniversary party following the annual meeting. We’re planning to have food, drinks, and live music. Other activities may include a show-and-tell for all your awesome projects, robot demos, and an amateur radio event.

Invite your family and friends! The party starts at 2pm and goes until we’re all too exhausted to continue.

Download the meeting information packet:

https://wiki.tcmaker.org/_media/governance/2019membermeetingpacket.pdf

Volunteers Needed to Staff Info Booth

Jon (Wood Shop Manager) is looking for volunteers to staff an informational booth at the upcoming Tool Swap & Expo being held by the Minnesota WoodWorkers Guild Sat Oct 19, 2019 from 10am to 4pm.  If you have interest in sharing your excitement about Twin Cities Maker, please sign up for  a time slot by clicking here or emailing WoodShop@TCMaker.org.  We are looking for at least 2 people to staff the booth during each 1 hour time slot.

MEETING AND PARTY!

ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING AND PARTY

The annual Membership Meeting will be held Saturday, September 21, 2019 at Noon. We need a minimum of approximately 30 people to reach quorum, so your attendance is important. This is your opportunity to talk about organizational and shop issues that are important to you. The meeting will probably be wrapped up by 2pm, if not earlier.

Agenda items of interest:

Board Elections: Two board members will be elected to serve three-year terms on the board of directors. We are still looking for individuals interested in participating in our governing body. If you are interested in running for a board seat, please email board@tcmaker.org.

Dues: Our rent was raised this year. We’re going to talk about raising membership dues and would like to hear your thoughts and questions.

Payment processing: Limiting payment methods may come to a vote by the membership at this meeting, so you might want to attend.

10th Anniversary Shindig: Twin Cities Maker is officially celebrating its 10-Year Anniversary! So, we’re throwing ourselves an anniversary party following the annual meeting. We’re planning to have food, drinks, and live music. Other activities may include a show-and-tell for all your awesome projects, robot demos, and an amateur radio event.

Keep an eye out for more information! Hope to see you all there.

Incorrect Printer Error

The 3D printers in the lab will now inform you when you have sliced a file with a printer profile meant for another printer. If this happens you will see an error message like this on the Ender3 and Prusa MK3s printers and your print will not start. You have to reset the machine to get it out of this state.
image of Ender3 screen showing error message
Ender-3 hitting the error

Why?

It is pretty easy to accidentally select the wrong printer profile and then start printing something only to get unexpected results because the settings are all wrong. In the best case you get a bad print and it is no big deal. In the worst case it can cause sever damage to the machine and break nozzles, beds, or other parts.

How?

I made some modifications to the Marlin firmware to add a new gcode command to let me do this. If you are interested in checking it out you can look at my github page. I also have a pull request up to get this back into the main branch of Marlin so it may be there soon too.

What should you do if you see this message?

Simple. Just go back and re-slice your file making sure to select the correct printer. Reset the machine and start the print again and you should be all good.

Anything else?

There is one quirk of this on the PowerSpec Duplicator i3+. It behaves correctly but it does not display the error message. It just sits on the print screen and the pre-heat does not start. If you were happened to be connected to it via a computer you would see the errors in the console but that is not much help for nearly all lab prints. I am working on some modifications to get it displaying but it may take a bit. Just be aware that you should check if you print is actually preheating when you click on the file to start it. If there are zeros on the bottom set of numbers it is not preheating (that is the target temp).

This is what it looks like when you have hit the error:
PDi3+ hitting the error

This is what it looks like when all is good:
PDi3+ Starting normally

0.6mm 3D Printer Nozzle Installed

The new 0.6mm nozzle

The PowerSpec Duplicator i3+ printer in the lab has been updated with a new nozzle that is 0.6mm up from the default 0.4mm one. The print profiles in PrusaSlicer on the computer have been updated and the profiles have been backed up to Google Drive if you want to import them to your personal computer.

Why a larger nozzle?

So why would you want to use a larger nozzle? The simple answer is so that you can print large things faster. A lot of mechanical parts do not need a lot of fine detail so you are not really gaining anything by printing at very fine layer heights. In fact, you are generally making your mechanical parts weaker by printing them at very fine layer heights. Very fine layer heights tend to have worse layer adhesion than thicker ones.

A 0.4mm nozzle has a bore with an area of 0.13mm, a 0.6mm nozzle has a bore with an area of 0.28mm, that is 215% bigger. What that gets you is the ability to print much thicker layers and print fewer perimeters to get the same thickness of walls since you are extruding so much more plastic with the same set of moves. Since you can reasonably print at 80% of the width you can get up to 0.48mm layer heights with this new nozzle and I would say a reasonable middle ground is 0.35mm or 0.4mm.

This print was done as a test and it took 25 minutes to print at 0.4mm layer height with 2 perimeters. This model with a similar wall thickness at 0.2mm layer heights with a 0.4mm nozzle would have taken well over an hour. Consider giving this printer a go when you have some mechanical parts that are large and you would like to get them printed quickly. The layers are more visible but the layer adhesion is also extremely high and you can get some very, very strong prints in less than half the time.

July 3D Lab Update

Slicer Updates

The default slicing software we are recommending you use has been updated from Slic3r PE to PrusaSlicer. Do not worry about learning too much new, though. PrusaSlicer is just the next edition of Slic3r PE, it just was a large update and came with a name change.

The lab computer has been updated so PrusaSlicer is now the application with shortcuts on the taskbar and it is the default application to open STL files now. I have also moved over all the profiles but should you absolutely need to use the older Slic3r PE it is still on there for the moment.

Slicing Profile Updates

We have been having some confusion about what profiles to select when since it was set up that the Prusa printer was “system default” which was good for getting profile updates from Prusa but it was confusing and inconsistent for the lab process.

I have now set up all the printers to use the same format so the process is:

  1. Select your printer
    1. This is the bottom drop down on the right hand side of PrusaSlicer, the same place as it was in Slic3r PE. Pick the printer you are going to use and note the abbreviation in the parenthesis at the beginning of the printer name, that will be at the beginning of the print profile names meant for that printer.
  2. Select your print profile
    1. This is the top drop down just like in Slic3r PE. Select a print profile that matches the printer and filament type you are using. This is REALLYimportant. The print profile has a lot of fine tuned settings for the specific printer and you are not going to get the results you expect if you use a profile for a different printer than the one you are using.
  3. Select your filament profile
    1. This is the middle drop down, just like in Slic3r PE. Just select the filament you are using. If there is not one for your filament you can make one. Your spool should have some reccomendations on settings  for you to use. Always remember that a good place to start with a filament is right in the middle of the ranges that the manufacturer suggests.

Wench Welding Night is Back (7/25 @ 6pm)

Wench Welding night is back at the Hack Factory! We’ll have a project and get re-acquainted with the space and machines. We’ll meet July 25th @ 6pm in the classroom space at the Hack Factory and transition to the shop! We’ll have jackets, welding hoods, and some spare gloves but if you have your own set, we encourage you to bring it!

If you have any questions, you can email metalshop@tcmaker.org

–Clara and Cory