I’m a rank newbie, trying to find my way alone through the learning curve for my Taz 5. Everything I read talks about how important it is to have everything calibrated properly. Figuring out HOW, though, is another matter entirely. The manual isn’t much help. It says I don’t need to calibrate my printer, because that was done at the factory. So why aren’t my prints perfect, and why is everybody saying I need to take the time to calibrate properly?
I’ve read everything online I can find trying to find out about calibration, but half the stuff is unusable to me because everyone assumes you know what stuff is. Backlash, and wobble, and all sorts of things to measure or adjust that I don’t know how to find because I can’t find anything that tells me what or where they are. There are all these words that get thrown around, like hex and Budaschnozzle and hotend and E3 and Marlin and pronterface. There are times when pronterface sounds like it’s probably the answer to all my problems, but where to find the elusive beast? I get that it’s some kind of software, and maybe a subset of something else everyone assumes I know about, but I don’t know where to find it. And there are some great posts telling me in general what to do, like “nail the first layer,” but HOW? I’d LOVE to nail the first layer. Some hints would be helpful! Or the detailed article I found about Z-axis wobble, and how to calculate layer height based on your full step length. I have no idea what full step length is, except that it has something to do with the diameter of some screws. Which screws? My printer is full of screws!
I’ve been using Cura since I got my printer, but while trying to figure out this “nail the first layer” thing I’ve been having issues with the one-layer test prints I’ve found just simply not printing at all. I started wondering if maybe my Cura settings are the problem. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find information and tweak them properly, and in the process have lost faith in the Lulzbot profiles I downloaded, because they don’t seem to follow most if any of the advice I’ve found for how different settings should relate to each other (first layer thickness = nozzle diameter, 200% first layer width, first layer speed, etc. etc.). Since the manual goes into exquisite detail on Slic3r settings, I decided today that maybe I should back up and start over using Slic3r, even though I saw somewhere on the website that it’s for advanced users, and see if some of my problems might be eliminated that way. Not trusting myself to build a profile from scratch (I’m not an advanced user, after all), I thought I’d better start with the Lulzbot-provided profile and go from there. Guess what? There aren’t any Slic3er ABS profiles on the Lulzbot site for my 0.5 mm nozzle. Yeah, I have a 0.35mm nozzle, but darnit, I can’t even get good prints from the 0.5 mm right now, I don’t need to add any more complexity!
And then there’s bed leveling – sheesh! The Lulzbot Website instructions were apparently written for a model that had the Z adjustment knob and stop-switch positions reversed, based on the photos it shows. If I stick a piece of paper under my nozzle and home it, as instructed, it seems to me like it adjusts the nozzle height based on the fact the paper is there. So to avoid that, I have to home, try to slide the paper under, raise the nozzle so I can get to the knob, adjust the knob, home, and try again, and somehow through that entire process retain the muscle memory of how it felt to slide the paper under the last time. Who knows, I’m probably doing it all wrong – but since the instructions don’t work, it’s the best I can do. I WISH I could do it by having the paper there to begin with, and pulling it out – that seems like a much more accurate way to judge the feel. sigh
Another frustration is the fact that every possible useful search term gets eliminated from forum searches here. I know I’m stupid about 3D printers, but I’m NOT stupid about combining search terms to refine my searches so I don’t return every post in the entire database. So why is the forum set up to just assume we’re all too stupid to build proper search queries? Since I can’t search for specific problems I’m having, like where the heck to find Slic3r ABS profiles for my 0.5 mm nozzle, or what settings someone else has found that would help me get my metal filaments to perform better, the forum is next to useless, because I just don’t have time to spend hours browsing the thousands of posts in hopes of randomly running across one that might happen to tell me what I’m looking for.
Okay, enough ranting. I’m going to go try to print something again.