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3D Printer Firmware Discussion

Hey there everybody. As you may or may not know me and, know or not know that I ordered a Solidoodle 2 Pro. Just like Josh's. Sans warped bed I hope. I did. It was marked as OK To Ship today. (Whatever that means. I try to never get my hopes up too much.) So I figured I'd be ready to use it before it got here. I'm feeling pretty confident so far. I also expect setbacks.

In my research I've come across a few mentions of alternate firmware. RAMPS and MARLIN seem to be mentioned the most often. The only thing I've really gathered, other than that they are alt firmwares, and possible hardware setups, it appears that MARLIN has an auto-leveling feature. I saw a video and it's really more of an adjustment to the printing to compensate for the unlevel bed as opposed to automatically leveling the bed. Cool none the less, just not what I had expected.

Does anyone have any info the could share on this subject. I'd really appreciate some info from people I trust.
Thanks in advance.:)

-Anton

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#1  
I don't have experience with the model you ordered but in general there is a small microprocessor that is pumped with a program that then controls how a print file is executed. There is a heated print bed that must be level in order for the plastic, (usually ABS) that is extruded from the print nozzle to adhere correctly and become a 3D image that was defined during the slicing stage of your 3D design image. Leveling is a very important procedure but I am not aware of any firmware on any 3D printer that does this automatically.

On the FlashForge 3D printer the print bed is leveled by using 4 spring loaded screws (1 in each of the 4 corners) of the 6" x 9" HPB (Heated Print Bed) There is a firmware procedure that can be used to help during the leveling process but the actual leveling is a mechanical effort that involves sliding a small sheet of paper beneath the print head nozzle and making sure that just a bit of friction is encountered no matter what area of the HPB the print head is at.

There are some 3D printers that have a triangular mount and only use 3 points to level the HPB and lots of folks seem to like that over the 4 corner mount.

Let us know how you do once your 3D printer arrives and you get it set up.
#2  
@Robot-Doc- Thank you. I'm familiar with the paper method and the importance of leveling. I'll find the video of the marlin auto leveling and post it after I finish this message. The SD2 Pro has a 6x6 heated bed and uses the 3 point spring/screw system (2 front 1 rear). I have some ABS and PLA coming. I've played with slic3r quite a bit. I've done just about as much as I can until I actually get the printer.

Thanks again for the info, I didn't know there was a 4 corner style bed. It seemed that all of leveling videos I've seen have been on 3 spring beds. I will definitely post some updates on my 3d printer adventures.:)
#3  
I don't think that it is auto-leveling. I believe they are going to guide you through the process with prompts like "ok, now adjust leveling screw 2 until it is ok". They will guide you through the steps and when you finish it will say something like "OK, I feel much better now that I am Level."

A real auto-leveling system will have servos on every bed leveling screw. It will adjust automatically. I haven't seen one on the Solidoodle yet.
#4  
Yeah I haven't either but I did see a video where the head went to the four corners at the start of the print and as it printer the z axis went up and down to compensate for the height difference. It did not "auto level" the bed as the post had suggested.

Auto bed levelling on Solidoodle:


I found it:)
#5  
WOW! That was not expected. It did a GREAT job of Auto-Leveling. Bravo!
#6  
Yeah it's cool. It's just when I hear the term auto-leveling, I figured it would actually level the platform. As long as it works I guess.:)