the 3D printer is nearly completed. or so I thought. the wonderful Prusa builders guide which has made this project possible was all fine and good until I got to step 19 22% of the way to the end. there it said, “bolt the extruder onto the X carriage plate.” okay. but WHERE are the steps for building the extruder? I guessed that I missed them when the stack got dropped and shuffled. so I flopped back some pages. nope. no extruder steps. maybe forward? a different section? huh? nothing in those 87 pages detail the extruder.


turns out, the Wade’s Extruder steps are in a similar document but not included. think batteries. oh. here is the LINK to the BOM, manual, and photos for what was missing.

in looking this over there is bunch of parts I do not have. specific length screws, more springs, and something called a “hobbed” bolt. this thing turns to be a bolt, just like any other, mod’d to so it will pull filament which will get stuffed into the HOT end of the printer. I wonder if I have the stuff to make this bolt? sure. I can use the Dremel. it will make this. easily. except I lazy out nearly immediately. a search on eBay finds that somebody is making them. and for SIX bucks it will be here in a day. fine. BUY iT NOW. done. plus, it looks like a better part than I could ever make.

I pulled out the ‘lectronics from the bags: 240W 5V power supply, steppers, Arduino MEGA, RAMPS 1.4, stepper drivers, and an LCD panel. it all snaps together. the cables even have pin 1 guides. nice.
plugging POWER to the Arduino showed that it was not programmed by the Chinese. guess they power the MEGA, see if the LED lights up, and call it working. so I need to program the MEGA to make it talk.
the FIRST problem was revealed that my stupid Mac could not see the board. in fact, it could not program ANY Arduino or Ti430 boards. this caused a big delay. you’ve heard me RANT about how bad Apple tech support forums are about passing on a solution. the Arduino posts for help are just as bad. cue the XKCD WHAT DiD YOU SEE cartoon.
it turns out that the Serial driver over USB gets Steve’d by the Apple kids for no apparent reason. turning it back on requires downloading a driver and then rebooting. I found this out after reinstalling the Arduino IDE, deleting preferences, and otherwise trying all the dismal ideas that people posted. WHY do forums let info rot like this happen? the solution should be the SECOND post. always.
the steps to getting the Arduino programmer working made me annoyed. I want to blame my Mac but I see that every other platform has similar issues. nobody will win here. I forget the idea of busting over to Windows just for this session. that said, there is a rocking build for a Windows box in my future. something that will rival my 600 buck Frankenmac. it will be made out of cheap three year ago XEONS. wholly hello coming soon…
back to making RAMPS work. there are a few firmwares to use. Marlin, Smoothieware and Repetier. I have no idea what the differences are. I’m sure there is a reason to know however the goal for the night was to see the LCD work. I went with Marlin RC6 build. why not…
it’s source code. and it’s complicated. I start reading the Marlin.ino file immediately it points to the Configuration.h which has a million options. I read down the list. electronics, sensors, printer type, endstops, LCD… there it is. and it turns out to support 15 different panels. “so what do I have?” and then there is magic. the source lists a LINK to the LCD in question for each type. somebody had a GREAT idea and then made useful comments in the code. I have ALL THE HIGH FIVES for this person.


uncommenting the line then clicking the ARROW bumps the first errors. evidently I accidentally some other code already when I was using SEARCH. I whatever’d it. never mind fixing this borked I just delete the folder, unzip it again, and make the changes one more time. ARROW, it compiles, and uploads. the LCD glows blue with a logo. then it displayed ERR: MINTEMP



I wanted to see other parameters working so I turn stuff ON. NYET! nothing is working. the spin knob does nothing. the beeps do not. the SD card status does not change. then I remember the CONSOLE in the airquotes IDE. looking at output reveals that MINTEMP error is likely the worst thing that you can have. the program is HALTED. of course nothing will work.


 looks like I need to hook it all up at this point. OKAY… GO!