posted this on September 21, 2012 14:21
Good questions - I just ordered a rep2 and would love to know the answers to a lot of them too.
Me to. I just ordered mine and would like more info about PLA
I've printed a lot of PLA on the Replicator, so assuming that MBI's PLA on the Replicator 2 is essentially the same, I'd say that PLA is quite stable. It's biodegradable, but only if it's put into a heated compost bin (for example), but just lying around. That being said, different formulations, including different colors, can vary in their properties, so it's possible that some may change color if left in the sun. I have had some PLA that got soft when left on a car dashboard (in Florida in September) and ABS doesn't melt until a higher temperature, so that's a difference that might matter to you.
You can paint PLA, with the same kinds of paints as ABS. Fingernail polish works well, and there's (supposedly, I haven't tried it) paints that are sold in car stores for painting on plastic.
PLA is stiffer and more brittle than ABS, and prints come out "sharper". PLA is harder to 'press to fit' because it's stiffer, and it's harder to file because it's stronger.
One difference that's (IMO) a big deal is that with ABS you can use acetone to melt the plastic, so a quick dunk in acetone can bond a print so that it's stronger, and causes the surface to smooth, and you can use acetone to glue ABS pieces together. There's no equivalent (that's safe) for PLA, though you can use epoxy or superglue. Both PLA and ABS can be sanded, but PLA is harder so it's more work, but (IMO) can have a nicer finish afterwards.
You can heat and bend both ABS and PLA. ABS softens gently as it warms up, while PLA softens quickly and then melts, so you have to be more careful.
You can drill both. But it's better to model the hole that you need, and use a drill bit by hand to ream the hole out.
PLA can be 'food safe' but you'd need to buy filament that's food safe. Generally the filament that is sold is "industrial" rather than "food safe", so while it's likely safe, it's not certified for that, and it's possible that it's not due either to the manufacturing process or the additives (e.g. for color). That being said, PLA is certainly sold that's food safe (PLA film is used to wrap food, PLA utensils are popular, etc.), so it may just be a matter of arranging for a proper filament supply. It would be good to hear from MBI about whether they intend to sell any food-safe PLA - that'd be cool!
Generally PLA is available in as wide a range of colors as ABS, and the plastic can be clear, translucent or opaque, while ABS is always opaque (that I've seen for sale). In general ABS is a bit easier to print with, though if MBI has PLA printing easily with the Replicator 2 that would address that. On the flip side, not waiting for the print bed to heat (required for ABS) is slow, so printing with PLA involves less waiting. And the PLA prints are 'sharper'.
Hmmm, Ok then so I just bought one two and have all the same questions.. I guess as long as they offer an upgrade to a heated print bed that can do ABS too I will be fine. I want to make some parts that may need to be near motors and that can hold up to a bit of heat, so I am worried about the PLA, Just getting my feet wet into this I'm hoping that learning with PLA first then in time go to ABS may be a good route.. or wait for the X2 darn.. its a tough one.. I just wish they had the X2 now and I'd just plop down more cash to have it both ways.. :)
there is a food safe PLA product on the market but you will find that it is a natural color one that is most important to use. Other colours of PLA have small amounts of heavy metal residing in the product and there fore are not what you want to stick in your mouth. Where i live there is a company called Lybina that has the natural color PLA registered with the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) as they use this in making denture prototypes. However it can be used for other purposes like utensils etc. However notes on this from the TGA, state that PLA used in this capacity should not be in your mouth or body for longer than 10 mins........
Our Architecture firm is interested in purchasing the replicator2 or two, but we are in located in Shanghai, China and we are concerned about purchasing PLA here. Will replicator2 accept any type of PLA or there is only a certain type/size that works with it? Also, as part of our purchasing process we will need a sample. How can we order that?
IIya, there are China sources. The biggest problem is going to be quality. Mostly you need to see how accurate and consistent the diameter of the material is. If it varies a lot it can cause jamming.
I ended up with an AirWolf 3D printer after canceling my Replicator 2 and I am happy with it printing ABS instead of PLA but I could print PLA if I wanted to.
hi IIya , i have just recieved an order of PLA out of china from a supplier in australia , and will be testing it shortly and will let you know . The size for the replicator 2 is 1.75mm ..
There is also PLA coming out of Korea which i will eventually see. I needed them to make it in a battleship grey for models and it takes about 3 weeks from placing the order to actually arriving in australia...... from what i have seen it looks good so far , they have managed to get the color sorted just need the product now. You can also get a foodsafe PLA which is been used for prototype dentures and there is also a water soluble one on the market
I think you will find that you with need to replicate a new spool holder for anything that is not makerbot as the filament from china came with a hole 1/2 the size of the makerbot holder
@Ryan : my supplier of filament recommends that if you keep your filament in airtight containers you will find that the filament will keep longer and not be prone to surface mositure from the air. He also says he gets a better print doing this
Tony, Contact Makerbot for a replacement. You paid for a working product and one that is off at all is not acceptable.
Yes I have contacted Makerbot.
OK, so the Makerware program is as good as useless.
It has bugs that prevent it from saving files to the required SG3 file, (admitted by Makerbot).
Its a Beta version & does not perform as one would expect.
I spent untill midnight at work last night trying to get Makerware to create a SG3 file, but it simply would not do it.
So Makerbot have now advised to use a program called ReplicatorG 0040.
But no information was given with the Replicator 2 in regards to this program.
It seems that customers are left out in the cold & must completly fend for themselves to try & get this machine to work.
I am now trying to use the ReplicatorG 0040 program, but have has issues with Microsoft rejecting it on download it as not a valid program.
Hopefully all the files downloaded..
Now I have to figure out how to use it.
Pissed off?..............yes very much so.
But will keep persisting.
Tony, I agree that Makerware leaves a lot to be desired. Makerbot seem to have focused primarily on making it look pretty, and missed some major functional elements.
Although I have been able to produce prints using it, the slicing programs are not sufficient for reliable prints - miraclegrue doesn't function properly at higher resolutions, and skeinforge is prone to errors too.
After a substantial amount of hacking around I have been able to get very nice quality prints using the latest version of slic3r, with replicatorG - but I have had to put hacks in the
G-code to get the workpiece fan to turn on (essential for PLA I've found), since slic3r doesn't recognize it (due to how it's been implemented in the Rep2's firmware).
So whilst I have had success, it's not been a very streamlined process at all, and the workflow I'm left with is not very smooth.
On the other hand, I'm very happy with the Replicator 2 hardware.
But Makerbot, fix your software, it's really not acceptable, especially since you're aiming from a 'prosumer' market. Should be basically plug-n-play.
Oh, and having the Conveyor service with Makerware that interferes with all other software is just a really bad idea.
Thanks for the info Ryan.
I have conducted several small low resolution builds using the Replicator G program that were OK.
I have also tried to create two larger high resolution objects that are an approx 20 hour + build time.
Both failed halfway through the build.
The machine simply stopped.
The thing is there is no way of knowing why this failure happens.
My very reason to purchase this machine is to do high resolution large builds to make patterns for Aluminium casting etc.
At this point in time, without a suitable program I can't see how I can achieve that.
Makerware is a Beta program that has bugs.
Replicator G is fairly crude without doing the knowledgeable modifications like Ryan has posted above.
Where does that leave me?
Tony, I myself just had a decent print fail, at 90% too. Arrggghh!
ReplicatorG was reporting a serial error, I had to delete the device from device manager and find it again before it would reconnect.
Is this the same as what you experienced?
I suspect this is a problem with RepG - if so, there are other programs to use.
Printrun (pronterface) and Repetier are a couple. Probably more around. I've had a look at these, but I think I'll give each one a serious trial now.
That's the beauty of open-source - because others have access to the hardware & software, we have other recourses, we're not locked into using the stock software.
Don't lose hope!
Ryan, I loaded the SG3 program on the card & plugged it into the Replicator 2.
This is because I cannot see to get the Replicator G program to coonect to the machine.
It failed at around 50% build.
Not sure of the reason it failed as I let the machine print overnight & it was sitting there stalled when I came in next morning.
I think I will also need to look at another program.
Let me know how you go.
The Edge Products, (Australia)
A few comments:
First, ReplicatorG is what I would recommend for printing on the Replicator2. MakerWare has a slicker UI, but right now ReplicatorG is more mature and gives you more control over the printing process. ReplicatorG supports the Replicator2 - just go to the Machine menu, and pick Machine Type / Replicator 2. There are three 'slicing engines' that ReplicatorG supports - the default is Skeinforge, which is the most mature and most widely used.
Second, I would recommend printing via an SD card instead of USB, because it eliminates numerous possible causes of interference. For example, I've had prints fail because the machine went to sleep, etc., which can't happen when printing from an SD card. It's also nice to not have to leave your computer on and connected to the printer. To print via SD card, put the SD card into your computer, and generate an .s3g file onto the SD card (with a fairly short file name), then put the SD card into the printer, pick 'print from SD card' from the menu, and pick the file.
As to why the print failed after 50% from an SD card, it's hard to say. I'd suggest sending the relevant files to Makerbot to look into, along with a photo of the resulting print. The best way to do that is to use their 'contact Makerbot' form and attach the files, which whatever other info you can provide.
Thanks for the reply Laird.
Everything you stated above is how I went about the print.
The SG3 file for this build is 33 meg.
How would you sugest I send this file to Makerbot?
I am now trying the same print, but in .2mm resolution instead of .1mm, but already I can see the resulting quality will be less than I require.
The Edge Products.
Now this is starting to really give me the shits!
I cannot get this machine to go more than half the build & it just shuts down.
Why I don't know as it does not tell you why.
And this is on .2mm resolution.
The machine itself seems fine, its just does not have a reliable program.
Its wasting a great deal of my time & no results.
Makerbot, why have you released a great machine onto the market without fully developing the program?
Because of this I only have a half reliable 3D printer & cannot trust it to actually complete the job.
With no way to diagnose the issue.
Where do I even start to do that?
Tony , at this stage i suggest you take it back to the reseller you got it from. i needed to and they found that a part was put in back to front from makerbot . i was experiencing the same difficulties that you mention. I even did the skype thing with them and through a video chat where they could see the machine wasnt working properly, so the most logical step now is take it back and get them to fix it
Well I purchased the Replicator 2 direct from Makerbot in the USA.
I'm in Australia.
So I think I may have to deal with Bilby CNC in Sydney as they seem to know more than Makerbot on what makes these things tick.
i purchased mine through a company called Inition in Melbourne and they are the ones that found a backwards part in the replicator 2, they are now able to do full prints without any hassles so i'll be getting mine back in a couple of days.... I did however get them to email makerbot with the issues that they found..............
Hope your sorted soon
The Replicator 2 still will not work.
Nothing wrong with the machine, (other than a distorted build plate).
Its all software related issues.
Makerbot advised that the ReplicatorG programe may have issues with the mesh & to use Meshlab to clean up the file before loading into ReplicatorG.
But I cannot get Meshlab to open at it states it needs Microsoft Visual C ++ 2008 SPI x 64.
I have downloaded Microsoft Visual C ++ 2008 SPI x 64, but it makes no difference.
The Meshlab program is still asking for the Microsoft Visual C program & shuts down.
Am I expected to create my own suite of suitable 3D printing programs to get the Replicator 2 running?
So far the prints created are less than desirable & I don't have the time or the knowledge to play with software.
Why Makerbot have you released this machine onto the market without suitable software?
Tony , meshlabs a piece of crap.....i think if you download a blueprint from thingiverse for starters and then run it through netfabb studio ( the basic version is free ) and after you fix the errors and export the file to .stl then try to make it with either rep g 040 or makerware and let us know how you go.....
I have used netfabb studio with rep g and or makerware without a prob.....
Thanks for your advice Drew.
I communicated the Meshlab issue to Makerbot & they came back with:
"Meshlab is not our software so we cannot offer much support for it, but you can find plenty of help on their user forums"
This is after they advised me to use Meshlab.
So I must use Meshlab, (or something similar) to make ReplicatorG work, but Makerbot don't support Meshlab.
Which is another way of saying, your on your own trying to get a suitable program to operate the Replicator 2.
I'm not interested in downloading Thingiverse files as the whole idea of having the Replicator 2 is to print prototypes of my own designs.
I'm also not interested in experimenting for days on end with "open source" software to get the Replicator 2 to work when Makerbot should be supplying me with a solid software platform to run this machine.
It’s not actually a viable marketable product without proprietary software.
Tony , think you'll be surprised by netfabb studio i only use that application as it was recommended by melb university as a application that will make sure your own or others files have a meh that is secure and water tight. The basic version allows you to tweak your project and it does work... You can try the basic or buy the proffesional version
i know its fustrating how makerbot supply the hardware but fall down on the application side.......
I got my makerbot a few days ago and it was working at the start with the test object the Shark but then did not finish it. It had stopped extracting the PLA What do you guys think is the problem would I have to make it hotter? When I do a fimament it does it all good with unload and load but once it starts the work peice it does not extrude
Good afternoon from Hampshire in England. I just started printing with my new R2 which I purchased for creating architectural models. I set up OK and printed a few of the items from the SD card - very impressive. I then downloaded a Sketchup model from Thingiverse - the Puritan House. Started printing but within a few minutes the thing is lifting off the baseplate - Any ideas how to stop this? Also, what are the blue tape sheets for? There is no reference to them in the manual, in the box, or even if I search the support site.
hi Ian ,
Grab the build plate out of the machine, turn it over so the side that doesnt have the emblems on it is facing up, then grab one of the blue pieces of paper and detach it from the white backing and stick it to the build plate. It will allow the plastic to adhere to your build plate a bit better as the rep2 doesnt have a heated bed. Every few builds you will need to acetone the blue paper so that it clean of built up plastic and dust etc.....
hi ian you can also apply this thinking to your replicator 2
Hi Brendan ,
you might check your spool to see if it has gotten caught and is stopping the flow of PLA to the extruder........ If the PLA gets snagged it will stop the build.
Are you using the SD card or is your PC hooked to the replicator 2 ?
I would suggest the SDcard because if you use your PC , sometimes your pc gets a glitch which can cause an interruption to the replicator that then thinks its finished the process even if its half way through the build process
I have been using the SD Card trying too build the Nut and Bolt from it, But all it does is start the build goes good for 1 min then starts to get stringy. Do we have to make everything perfect just too get it to work good?
It could be the flow of PLA through the extruder isnt right and you may need to tighten the plunger . The best way to do this is is to have the machine running while you take the fan off the side,( the side facing away from you).Then insert the alum key that fits that small hole and only turn it a touch 1/8th . As you extrude the PLA take the guide tube off and then with 2 fingers grab the PLA between 2 fingers and press together and see if you can feel the PLA been pulled down, and if you press together a little more you should be able to make the PLA stop.If you cant then you need to tweak the plunger another 1/8th of a turn (think clockwise is to tighten).... Once this is done and you are happy with it , then have another go at leveling the build plate...
Next try your build again and see if that helps... (you will need to re level the build plate if you put the blue tape on)
First off thanks for replying to my problems and trying to help :) I have done all that in what you have said and still face the problem. So instead of trying to explain I made a video on what it is doing, At the start I did a filament load then I started a basic cube test then it did it again in the video.
Also I got mine from Inition Melbourne as well I was wondering what part was on backwards so I can check mine.
i looked at your video, however theres a couple things i didnt see. When you extrude the PLA i can see your hands underneath where the PLA comes out after been heated , i wanted you to take the plastic guide tube off so that the PLA at the top is exposed and its there that you have it between thumb and 1st finger and as it extrudes i want you to feel the PLA pull between your fingers. If you can feel the gripping , just tighten your fingers a bit more together and see if you can impede the flow of the PLA, then release your fingers and do it again. If you cant you need to turn the plunger a bit...Thats the other thing i cant see from your video, it should be unscrewed while the machine is running so you can turn the plunger....As you turn the plunger an 1/8th of a turn try impeding the flow of the PLA and when you think you have it right the next step is to put the blue sticky paper on your upside build plate, re level the build plate as the paper is a slight mm different and then try the build again
OK, I got the Replicator 2 to actually do a good print using the ReplicatorB program.
(Makerware is as good as useless).
But now ReplicatorB has crashed & it will not re-open.
I have tried re-booting the computer, re-loading the program but to no avail.
I cannot get Replicator B to open at all.
So now I'm stuck.
No program at all.
Hey Drew, and Brendan,
Brendan - I see you opened a ticket about this issue, so I'm going to reply there in more detail, but I want to post a reply here for anyone who might be seeing a similar issue.
There are a few things that could be causing this issue - Drew, I agree that plunger tension is a likely suspect, but Brendan mentioned in his ticket that he's checked his plunger tension, so there's something else I'd like to investigate. Brendan, when you allow a print to progress for more than a few layers, does the platform move down, or does the bot seem to try to print the same layer over and over again? If so, this might be due to an EEPROM corruption. To fix it, use MakerWare or ReplicatorG40 to reset your mother board (from the onboard preferences menu in the software).
If the platform does move down during your prints, we should have a closer look at your plunger tension, motor rotation, and the alignment of your extruder assembly.
1) You already checked this, but I'm including it for the benefit of others who may have a similar issue: you can calibrate plunger tension by following the instructions in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOJN_8AAC9U - accurate calibration is achieved by adjusting the set screw between 1/8 and 1/4 of a turn past the point where you can't stop the extruder from pulling filament.2) If no amount of tightening will allow your motor to pull the filament forcefully enough to pass through your fingers, listen for a faint 'clicking' sound coming from your motor. Clicking in this circumstance might indicate a too-tight plunger, or a deeply worn plunger. Start by loosening the plunger. If loosening the plunger causes the clicking to stop, but you’re still able to stop the flow of filament by squeezing, we should have a closer look at your plunger (skip down to step 4). 3) If no amount of tightening will allow your motor to pull the filament and you DON'T hear clicking, your plunger may still not be tight enough, or your filament drive gear may be slipping on the shaft. Follow these instructions to tighten the drive gear (created for the original Replicator, but applicable to the Replicator 2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTILBAz0A1k&feature=player_embe...! 3) If everything above checks out, check your motor rotation by using a black marker to draw a line across the back of the shaft where it's visible through a hole in the casing at the rear of the motor. As long as the bot is printing, this shaft should be turning gradually. It will momentarily reverse direction - that's normal - but the shaft should generally be rotating counter-clockwise (if observed from the front of the bot). If it stops completely or never completes a full rotation, that's not normal - contact MakerBot support by emailing email@example.com and we'll get it sorted out.4) Last - check the alignment of your drive assembly and the condition of your plunger: remove your fan, heatsink, and spacers from the front of your extruder assembly and gently slide the motor off the barmount. Have a look at the surface of your plunger - is there a deep groove (>.5mm) crossing the surface of your plunger? A shallow groove is normal, but a deep one may indicate that your plunger had been overtightened and may now require replacement - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll walk you through it. 5) If the line on your plunger is not deeply worn, the drive gear may be mounted too high on the motor shaft. Have a look at the mounting of the drive gear to the extruder motor shaft. It should be mounted on the shaft about a paper's thickness away from the body of the motor. If it's farther, this might be the source of an alignment problem. Mount it closer to the motor (use a piece of paper to judge the distance) and try another print. Note that adjusting the position of the drive gear may require a plunger adjustment (see step 1)
I hope this helps - If you have any questions, or if there's anything else we can help you with, please don't hesitate to send us an email: email@example.com
Once i tightened the plunger for me there was only 2 issues left to sort. One was the replicator software which is now sorted and the other is getting a suitable supply of filament that will work at a reasonable price. I have tried black/white/glow in the dark green in korea but all have failed in the quality testing phase on there side.
However i have also tried glow in the dark blue/red with really good success rates and am very happy with those colours.
I am also going to try Purple/ orange/ and a battleship grey which is a colour i needed them to make for me....
From a different supplier based in melbourne , australia i have a 400metre roll of food safe PLA coming with documentation . Will update with how each perform later
@ Arta Group : can you load the .stl file so i can see it and try to make it ?
yes :) thank you for helping us
i just ran your file through netfab studio and it corrected some of the errors it picked up, now i will try and make your object
Have you tried to slow down the machine as you print and allow a little more air into the build, do you have the accelarator fan turned on....
What filament are you using?
Can you give me all the stats for this print and i'll try to replicate to them
is this 100 micron print or something else?
Replicator 2 feature request...
...don't know if the firmware / hardware is setup to handle this request... but it would be great if there was an option to power the Replicator 2 off after it is done with a build. This would help with long builds that might go unattended - to ensure the system powers off after the build for safety.
If your planning on using a Replicator 2 for business, please read and watch all you can to learn about issues with the product. It has been a nightmare for us. We've used high end FDM machines and wondered why they are so complicated, now we know why, cutting corners doesn't pay as you will find on the Replicator 2. I suggest Makerbot buy a couple high-end products such as Dimension or 3D Systems and learn from them. If you're making simple toys or low accuracy parts, it might...nevermind, those don't print either. The Replicator 2 is just not ready for anyones desktop. I had very high hopes and was ready to help Makerbot Sales by spreading good news but from my experience they won't last another year. Especially now that the SLA machines are affordable. Now we will see how well their return policy is, otherwise I'll be booking a flight for my attorney to New York to personally hand the product and a large bag full half built parts and filament balls back to Bre.
Ray, I completely agree.
I too purchased a Replicator 2 for business use.
I have repetedly complained to Makerbot about their sub standard software to no avail.
As I see it the software is the products main issue.
The Makerware program is simply crap, no other way to describe it.
ReplicatorG is almost useable, but there is simply so much that is missing from the program it becomes a nightmare.
I don’t have the time to troll through 3D printing Forums to find the solutions to the software issues.
Makerbot should be updating their software & sending all their customers a revised copy that works.
Makerbot’s customer service is dismal, they ignore the problems as though they don’t exist.
I threatened to send my Replicator 2 back to them & they ignored that as well.
Ray, please keep us informed how you get on with Makerbot.
do you Skype? i'd like to see your machine printing.........
My rep2 has done over 500hrs , and had 3 services and its still going. I don't suggest Makerbot as the company to see if you are having issues, I suggest that you find some one
who is 3d printing knowledgeable and can help you sort your issues out. I did in the form of an Australian company called inition. They sold me the machine but they also have 15 years experience in this field. When my machine was playing up I did the Makerbot thingy but got no where. So I took it back to the guys who sold it to me and with a little help and some on the spot tuition I haven't looked back. I can print, PLA ,ABS, Nylon ,wood......
I DID have issues initially like all of us but overall its been a rewarding experience.... The biggest issue is now with Makerbot telling me that there filament is number 1 when its actually made in Taiwan and its crap. For good filament check out faberdashery in the UK. there FILAMENT isn't cheap but it is dependable. There are about 20 different colours to try all in PLA .
As I said if you like my Skype name is skyryder10000
Ray and Tony
You are right in what you say. I bought a Rep 2 for business purposes after visiting the 3D Printshow and am now wondering why.
I also have issues with Makerbot and their 'support'. If I wasn't here in England I'd drive down to their offices and have it out face to face with them. I have all the same issues as others are having: air-printing and peeling are just two of them, and WHY IS IT that the latest release of the Makerware and Firmware have resulted in WORSE prints? I am trying unsuccessfully to print large architectural models on a Rep2 and they come out with the profile of a banana. Hopeless.
Is there anyone in the South of England who can help me get this machine working? I live in Hampshire - the real one. Here's my email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bre needs to understand that the measure of a good business is not when things are going right, but what they do and how they react when things go wrong for their customers.
I'm really sorry about all the trouble you've been having with your MakerBot!
Responses in this forum don't go into a void--we do monitor the threads and are working on solutions to recurring issues.
If you're still having problems with your MakerBot I urge you to open up a support ticket as individual diagnosis and solution-offering isn't done on the open forum by our staff.
Ian have sent you an email
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