Just bought an i3 MK3S kit -- what's the best beginner workflow?
Greetings all, I was just looking for some advice on which program would be best for me to get started making 3d models for printing on the i3 MK3S kit I just ordered. Thought I could get started learning while I'm waiting for the kit to arrive. I do have a Fusion 360 license (got it as a package with Eagle--which I use for PCBs) but I'm not tied to any particular piece of software or company.
And then would I be correct in assuming I probably want to use Prusaslicer for the slicing?
I know there are probably a lot of passionate opinions about this sort of thing so I guess I'll try to dial it in a bit more by saying that I think I'm mostly planning to do prints that hold PCBs and electronics. So enclosures, frames to hold small PCBs, and things of that nature (if that helps narrow it at all).
First - building the kit is not a race. Take your time, read and follow the instructions. Grease the bearings before you install them (this will save you headaches later). Treat the print sheet as if it has COVID on the print surface: fingerprints are your nemesis and keeping the bed clean your best friend. Install the belt drive gears using the flat-first rule: with both set screws loose, align and tighten the set screw on the shaft flat, then tighten the jamming set screw on the round.
For design, Fusion is a good starting point. Prusa Slicer is good, and the profiles that are included priceless. Most of their profiles are turnkey, though a few require a very minor amount of tweaking.
You need to understand that getting layer 1 right (Live-Z adjust) is critical. While you must run the built-in Live-Z once during calibration, a large test patch is best - having enough area being printed that you can see and have time to adjust is, well, helpful.
Everything you try beyond these early learning opportunities will tell you where to go next: and what you need to learn next.
Here are a couple of suggestions for assembly, coming from someone who has built one himself and coached two others through the process.
First of all, RTFM and read it again, and I would suggest reading and studying the online manual and paying particular attention to the comments left by others. Those will answer many questions or uncertainties you may have.
Then, when you start assembly, for each plastic part, inspect it and clean it up if there are sloppy pieces of plastic on the edges, and 'chase out' holes with a drill bit.
For each step, make sure you follow along exactly step-by-step, and if something does not seem right, STOP and figure it out before proceeding. If something does not seem to fit together as expected, STOP and find out why. You will find that the extruder is the most tricky part of the assembly. Be sure everything is snug, but not over-tight.
Before you put the belts on, be sure that the associated moving parts move with no significant resistance and do not bind. If there's any binding, STOP and figure out why. When you put on the belts and tighten them, there should be no significant 'slop' or 'play' when you hold the shafts with pliers and attempt to move the associated moving part.
Pay attention to detail. Stop and take breaks and don't burn out. That's what the gummy bears are for. ;--)
irst of all, RTFM and read it again, and I would suggest reading and studying the online manual and paying particular attention to the comments left by others. Those will answer many questions or uncertainties you may have.
Words of wisdom, dear Sir!
@jgbcross, just follow that particular piece of advice and you will be all fine. And don´t let anyone touch the Gummi Bears! My missus had opened the bag and killed them in numbers before I even got to page one of the manual, so I went to the gas station in the night and got a new bag. There are things you can´t do in any other way but the right way!
And if you´re building boxes etc. for PCBs, you´ll love thread nuts to weld into your builds. Lots of videos on youtube; dead simple to use. Like these from Ruthex.
Thanks for the great replies so far. I did start reading through the online manual and now I see what you're talking about with the comments section on the steps. Also: noted on protecting the gummy bears 🙂
I've also been watching some build videos on YouTube. I'm pretty patient and technically "inclined" but I won't take anything for granted and rush.
Unless someone pops in with a dramatic reason to not use Fusion360 and/or Prusaslicer I'll start researching those as well.
PrusaSlicer has become my go-to slicer for most of my work. It's very easy to learn and, of course, it's optimized for the Prusa printers.
The first slicer I learned was Cura, which I learned at the local 'makerspace', and I still use it on occasion with the Prusa printer.
All slicers will have their strong and weak points. PS is not as forgiving on 'slightly imperfect' .stl files as Cura is. Cura seems to do better with some types of supports, but its options can be confusing.
You will most likely find that PS will give you good prints in most cases with a very minimum of futzing around.
PrusaSlicer is the go-to Slicer for the i3MK3s, as it will work with and support add-ons such as the MMU2. Moreover it checks automatically for printer updates and once you want to start a new print the printer will show a notice (which you need to acknowledge but not immediately to act upon) that a new firmware is available. It starts bitching if there are errors in the stl files and is able to correct them through an external source. I have no experience with other slicers.
Fusion360 is the only construction program I use and after about a year I start to figure out the basics, but I am everything but a 3D-construction-native. I recently discovered finally the free-form functionality (at a point in time when I was wondering whether Fusion is an inferior program not being able to do stupid, easy free-form things); others may have found it much earlier, but it´s usually an issue of asking Google / Youtube / else with the right terminology, and as long as you don´t know what to look for you won´t get the right answers.
Whilst we have built 2 Prusa printers and all were complete sets and in excellent quality, there are sometimes reports here about wrong or damaged metal axles. I´d recommend you check the surface and length of the axles (and possibly the completeness of all parts) upon arrival; should there be a problem (which is really not probable) go contact the Prusa support via chat on their website and they will be able to sort the issue out in a very short time.