Welcome to the Formlabs FAQ. Here is a starting list of FAQs:
What MakerBot printers do we have?
- We have them all from top to bottom: Method, Replicator+, Z18, and Mini+. We also have older 5th generations and 2x's available.
What software do we use for MakerBot?
- All MakerBot printers use MakerBot Print. Most operate through ethernet interface but some may use WiFi.
Do I have to create a MakerBot account to use MakerBot Print?
- This is a VERY long discussion we have had with MakerBot for years.
- The answer is YES, you must have sign in with a MakerBot account for Print to function. We have complained about this relentlessly with MakerBot, and they will not listen, but we have workarounds.
- Use the account "makerspaceusna" and the password will be written on the board in the MakerSpace (so we do not post it here for everyone to see). There is actually some advantage to this and there is no privacy concern.
- We also have a work around solution that we used in the past but it requires a special entry for each user, so we have stopped using it.
- You may, of course, create your own account which is what MakerBot wants you to do.
Why does my part takes a very long time prepare in Print (and pauses at 83% for a long time)?
- Complex or large parts can take several minutes to prepare, but we ALWAYS recommend doing a print preview before printing.
Why does my part takes a VERY long time to transfer to the printer (especially on a Z18)?
- This is still an ongoing issue. First, do not close Print or disconnect from SEADEVIL until your job completes 100% transfer to the printer.
- Even then we have had jobs take up to hrs to transfer.
- We are still trying to resolve this. Make sure your parts is not unnecessarily complex. For example, most STL files are very small (100s of KB max).
- Worst case scenario, we can transfer jobs to a USB drive on SEADEVIL and then directly to a printer via a USB drive, but ask before doing this.
My part keeps curling, what do I do?
- Build plate adhesion on MakerBot printers is the MOST SIGNIFICANT problem in the entire MakerSpace. We have tons of prints all the time that curl and eventually fail due to poor adhesion. There are many things you can try, some work, some do not.
- MakerBot will tell you to use extended rafts. This is marginally effective.
- We often reduce cooling (i.e. increase heating) on the first build layers to help adhesion. This does help but is not always effective.
- Printing smaller parts near the center of the build plate ALWAYS helps. It might even be best to split print jobs across printers, i.e. do not consolidate builds.
- Despite what MakerBot may say, we believe the most effective technique is to use glue on MakerBot grip surfaces. This is clearly not what MakerBot intends and we do need to eventually clean and replace grip surfaces more often, but it has been our best experience (and we are not the only ones). HOWEVER, do not use glue on Method build plates! Method has a heated chamber and thus has less build plate adhesion issues.
Are the Z18 and Replicator+ Smart extruders the same?
- NO!!! Despite the fact that they look almost identical (and indeed they are almost identical), there are VERY important differences.
- The Replicator+ (and Mini+) extruders have a cooling duct on the bottom and the Z18s do not. If this cooling duct is removed (it comes off very easily - even accidentally), you part WILL fail.
What do I do if I get a thermal error on the extruder?
- See above. If the cooling duct on the Smart Extruder is removed (can even be knocked off during a print due to part curling), the Extruder will give a thermal error - without question.
Can I print normal filament on a Tough Extruder or vice versa?
- No, only use normal filament on a normal extruder and Tough filament on a Tough extruder. Why?? Who knows, but it seems to matter.
When I change extruders, the printer says I have to a calibration, do I have to do this?
- Yes, it is easy. A z-cal is required any time an extruder is changed (this is true on other FDM printers as well).
More coming soon...