Lulzbot Mini: Getting Started

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The LulzBot Mini is a fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3d printer made by Aleph Objects. Our printer is the v1 version of the printer with a 152 mm x 152 mm x 158 mm build area. That means that the print bed is 152 mm by 152 mm and you can print an object that is 158 mm tall. The nozzle, by default, is 0.5 mm but has been upgraded to a 0.35 mm nozzle. That means the printer can spit out a 0.35 mm bead of plastic, give or take. The plastic that is fed in is 2.85/3.00 mm, and there are certain plastics that should be used with the Mini to help preserve the knowledge from damage. The Mini runs off of a Raspberry PI running OctoPrint, and you can read more on this page to find out how to access and use it.

How do I use it?

The printer is available for member use only. We’re currently trying to see if we can teach through a wiki and have people take a test to prove competency with the printer. This is that wiki page. The sections under learning will go over the steps to print a model, common safety information, and gotchas. After that, you’ll take a quiz and we’ll get you set up to use the printer.


General safety warning

While 3d printers are fairly ubiquitous at this point, they still have potential to burn our space down. Please don’t be that person. A 3d printer nozzle will reach temperatures of 230 degrees Celsius or 450 degrees Fahrenheit and the bed will reach 100 degrees Celsius which is the boiling point of water. Touching either of these at any time could be very dangerous, because you will be burnt before you realize you are burnt. You can almost never be sure if the printer has been heated recently, so it is best to always assume that the nozzle and/or bed is hot.

Since a 3d printer does have moving parts, it is possible that the printer could move in such a way to pinch your hand or fingers. Avoid putting your hand inside the machine unless you have to to remove a part. The absolute worst case of this is that the hot nozzle is going towards the bed while your hand is there. That hurts. A lot.

Technically, you should avoid touching the bed regardless if it’s hot, because the oils from your fingers can mess with the (Polyetherimide) PEI material on the bed. This bed can also crack or the glass underneath can crack, which means the printer is unsafe to use and the contact above should be informed about it.

Finally, while we do understand printers can run unattended, the risk increases for people who are new to printing, and may try to print a model that could have issues further into the print. For that reason, the first 3 times you print, do not leave the printer unattended. After that, please stay for the first few layers to make sure the print is sticking to the bed and isn’t on fire. I would very much prefer you to stay the entire print every time, but I recognize that that is not always feasible.

Basic 3d printer info

A 3d printer is an additive manufacturing machine. That means it builds an object by adding material bit by bit to make the full object. This allows you to make objects you wouldn’t be able to make by other means, but it also has its limitations. We’ll go into those limitations a bit later, but for now just keep that in mind as I oversimplify this explanation.

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