How to get started with Lulzbot Mini 1

Hey everyone - someone gave me a lulzbot mini, and I’m trying to get it working to give to a boy on the robotics team I coach. I was told “it worked last time I used it”, which was quite a while ago. I have quite a bit of experience with 3D printing, but I’m trying to figure out how this one is supposed to work.

The book says to download Lulzbot-edition Cura. I did that (ver. 3.6.29) but it cannot connect to the printer via USB. So I found a forum post to try Cura 14.09. That one can connect, start a print, upgrade firmware, etc.

But I don’t understand this printer’s pre-print procedure. The user guide says this printer will tap each metal corner on the bed before the print, but using Cura 14.09, default install, it doesn’t do that. So I found some start gcode for a mini using a different version of Cura, 19.08, and it did the probing but it didn’t print properly. It did a huge retraction before the print, a series of wipes, then when the print started it wouldn’t extrude because it retracted too much I think.

So my question is what’s the best way to set this printer up? Do I need to use an older Cura or should I be able to get the latest one to work? If I use Cura 14.09, is there an official start GCODE I should be using?

Other users were able to upgrade their firmware with the latest version of cura ( you can try upgrading even if the connect button does not connect properly) . I would try that then try another test print then go from there to make sure the x axis is level and that nozzle is clean so that it can properly contact the probe points.

Thanks. I’ve eventually had some success. I downloaded Cura 21.08, and did the firmware upgrade within that tool. I removed and re-added the printer and now it’s got the proper start-gcode. I think “remove and re-add” was the key. Still can’t get the latest Cura to connect or upgrade firmware. But I’m not sure I need to do it.

I have found that older Mini 1 printers with very old firmware versions don’t want to connect with the newer versions of Cura unless you go into machine settings and change the communication speed to 115200. Then you can connect in the console and enter g codes like M115 to check your firmware version, and you can upload new firmware to the board. After getting the new firmware uploaded you can then change the speed back to the default of 250000.

But if you managed to get the firmware updated with the older version of Cura you should have fixed this issue. But it might be worth trying 115200 to see if you can connect in the console.

I have identified another issue with the current Lulzbot Cura version that prevents automatic updating of the Mini 1 because it appears that the firmware hex file that Cura is trying to upload to the printer is not actually present in the Cura install. It says it is going to update to 1.1.9.34 but that file is not there. I had to download it from download.lulzbot.com and place it in the firmware folder. You can read details here: Automatic firmware update fails for Mini 1 with no LCD and Single Extruder or SL tool head due to missing firmware files. (#88) · Issues · LulzBot 3D / Cura-LE / CuraLE · GitLab