Thursday, 7 February 2013

System test and new software.

The whole machine is now together and I'm working on the software.

The Reprap Gen2 host software seems to have some strange race conditions - sometimes extruder on/off gets stuck in the wrong position for the actual firmware state, and sometimes the temperature sensed jumps up and down by 25 degrees. After a few minutes unable to diagnose the problems in the (now very outdated) software, I decided to write my own firmware and host software.

So far my version doesn't print, but it does give me full and accurate control over all the hardware. Screenshot:

The dials and LEDs use a library called SteelSeries - you can find it here .
The emergency stop button works too - it stops all motors and turns off the heater.

Using this interface I tested all the min/max sensors, temperature control, stability, extruding parameters and can count the steps between the limits etc - all needed to calibrate the machine.

Next step will be to add the 3d printing functionality to the host software.
Here's a video showing the screen and hardware working together - first, the Z axis is lowered until it detects a limit and stops. Then it is ordered to rise until it hits the other limit. Finally, the heater is turned on and monitored as it rises to about 50 deg.

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