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Part 10 - Commissioning

The commissioning stage of the build is absolutely critical, and clearly shows up all those "that'll do.." and "this is a a quicker way..." moments that you thought you'd get away with - bottom line is that more often than not, you can't get away with sloppy work and short cuts, and the commissioning process clearly illustrates the error of your ways!

The other thing about commissioning to remember is that you'll likely be doing it many times to some degree or another - there are certain tasks like Z-height adjustment for first layers, bed levelling, checking the frame is still square after transporting, e-steps per mm adjustments and retraction rates for different filament types etc etc will all crop up again and again to allow you to get that perfect print. I believe the sensible money is on creating a list of things to check before each print session - kind of a pre-flight check if you will. I'll blog mine in a separate linked page here as I get the hang of it, but for now, here are my basics:

  1. Check wiring and connections, especially end stops.
  2. Make sure said wiring isn't getting in the way of anything (must move it all...)
  3. Check Z-height end stop hasn't slipped
  4. Check X/Y/E grub screws to ensure that they are tight
  5. Check belts for a nice 'twang' to ensure they haven't slackened off
  6. Attach Sangololu fan to helping-hands and point at electronics (frame and holder printed, need long M3 screws to assemble)
  7. Has PronterFace loaded the right profile? PLA? Yes, there you go..
  8. Do I have the bloody 'Idle' button in PronterFace? No? Delete that '.h' config in C;\users\<USER>\ (This is due to a bug in the software and it randomly changes my custom buttons - deleting the above file fixes it)
  9. Do I have enough filament loaded for the print?
  10. Load the .STL in PronterFace - does it look within the build grid or has the multiply plugin randomly created 8 objects again?

I think that as I get to know the printer, a lot of this stuff along with on the fly modifications to plug-ins and other parameters will become second nature, but for now it's all new and exciting!

The official eMaker commissioning page is here, and I also found that the RepRapPro pages and the RepRap Wiki to be very useful during this process.