I bet loads of people have struggled to connect their 3D printer to a personal computer!
Usually, these persons don’t succeed for two main reasons :
3D printer connection problems
Incorrect baud rate
This is the primary reason people can’t connect their printer to the PC, the firmware on the motherboard has a different baud rate, usually, this value is 115200 or 250000
Incorrect serial port (COM)
There is a way to ensure you are selecting the right port in a matter of seconds!
Connect your printer to your pc correctly with a USB cable.
After that open Device manager on Windows
Under ports(COM & LPT) you will find your printer motherboard, most likely you will find Arduino Mega and next to it COM and a number.
This number is the port that you need to use.
Problem connecting to Cura?
Port arleady used
This is mainly because the printer or the port is used by another program, the correct way of dealing with this is to safely remove the device and reconnect but sometimes doesn’t work that way so restarting your device is strongly advised.
There are some cases when a damaged cable can lead to a bad connection between the two devices.
So perhaps you are asking why should I control my 3d printer from a PC?
There are lots of good reasons to do so. The main benefit of doing so is that you can manually send G codes to your printer, this is fundamental for
testing and calibrating different values.
Benefits connecting your printer to a computer
Setting up your E-steps
Setting your e-steps needs you to manually input the distance extruded so you can check the difference between the demanded length and the actual length extruder by the printer.
Using this information and simple math formula can resolve lots of problems and issues with your printer like over extrusion / under extrusion. I will be speaking about e -steps in another article.
When your printer goes in printing mode it executes a starting script, there are some occasions when we want to alter this script. Well, we can do this without connecting our computer but it is preferred that you test the script before you launch it.
There are various of G-codes you can try ,I’ve talked more in details in this article Check it out!
It is much easier to just slice right away and click print, than saving the Gcode file on a memory card and start your preparation process.
I love using my printer from the computer, I prepare everything on the spot with Cura. I preheat the printer while I prepare my printing settings, home all the axis, and auto-level. Once done all these steps I slice my model and click print. easy as that.
Remote control of your printer!
You can control remotely your printer with Cura if you want. It’s a little bit trickier but it’s possible!
To achieve these you must set up a server and install software on it that can manage your printer. Usually, you use it to upload files and send the print command to your printer. The easiest software to use in this case is Repetier-Server.
After that you only need to add your printer to Cura with the network options, setting up the IP manually.
This is kinda useless on Cura, usually, for this kind of task, I use a Repetier host that integrates Repetier server and makes the process much faster and easier.
How to print from USB
So how do you avoid those problems I talked about earlier without too much of a headache?
The easiest way is by using the latest version of Cura. And I will explain to you why.
Cura searches all ports and tries all baud rates so eventually, it will find your printer!
Go to the download page and download the latest stable version, the monitor mode is supported in the versions 3.8 and above
After downloading the file install the program and execute it.
It will popup the printer settings where you should select your printer.
First, let’s go through the basics and examine the setup options of the printer.
Tevo tarantula pro Cura configuration:
This part is for the Tarantula Pro but could fit well for any printer that has the same type of construction, it’s a good example of how to configure similar printers but with different build volumes and extrusion block.
If you have the latest Tarantula Pro then you must select the Tevo Tarantula original, and after that, we will edit the settings.
We will need to adjust the printer settings, exactly the X, Z, Y lengths.
and the printhead settings but it’s not that important unless you add a bulky mod on the hotend like a fang fan.
After that go to extruder settings and check that you have the right material diameter set.
Setting up the connection
After we finish with the printer settings we only need to connect it to our computer with the USB cable and start the printer.
Go the monitor tab on Cura when you see the connected icon.
The control panel seems easy and nothing too complicated but there are some first things to do :
Home all axes
Looking in the photos you are going to see the XYZ controls, this is used to move the axis around, in the center of the commands you can find the homing button displayed as a friendly home icon. The reason why you need to do this straight ahead is that any command that you input is not going to take count of your current position, which could lead to mechanical parts colliding and ruining your printer if you can’t switch it off quickly. Cura doesn’t have a reset button to prevent any of these behaviors so be aware.
Is the distance the axes move when you use the built-in controls, this allows you to make little movements and avoid reaching the maximum distance with one movement, the units are in millimeters by default.
This box lets you input all kinds of G-codes, if you are interested read here all about the g-code dictionary.
You can set a default temperature and preheat your printer while you prepare the model
This part is not very useful it simply estimates the remaining time, if you want to have a better insight about this, you can go to the preparation tab and click on the information button just above the print button
I hope this guide is a good start to help you achieve more control from your printer and that it helped you understand some basic concepts.
In my honest opinion there are better ways of remote controlling your printer for example with a Rasberry Pi, or simply using Repetier-host, but even this can be helpful in many situations and at least for me ,it’s much faster.
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