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The MakerBot Replicator
The MakerBot Replicator's dual extruders and big heated build platform make it an incredibly versatile machine, but they can also make it a bit tricky. The troubleshooting guides and documentation in these pages will orient you and get you back on track if something should go wrong. If you need more help, reach out to us through email at [email protected].
- The MakerBot Replicator First Run Experience Watch
1.1 Caution: The Replicator generates high temperatures and includes moving parts that can cause injury. Never reach inside the Replicator while it is in operation, and allow time for the Replicator to cool down after operation.
The Replicator is sensitive to electrostatic discharge. Make sure you don't have a static charge on you by touching a grounded object before operating The Replicator or attempting any adjustments. If opening The Replicator for service, ensure that the power supply is turned off and the cord is disconnected.
First, make sure that you’ve completed all the steps in the Unboxing and Hardware Setup section: your StepStruder MK8 should be bolted in place, your filament guide tubes connected, and your spools of filament mounted on the spool holders. You can plug in your power supply now, too. 2.1
If everything is ready, then flip on the power button on the back of your Replicator and hold onto your hat. Not literally, though -- if this causes a large gust of wind, you should probably contact tech support at [email protected].
The Replicator will now guide you through initial setup and your first print. You should see a welcome message on the LCD screen. 2.2
If you don’t see something like that, don’t worry -- just go to Utilities->Run Startup Script. Use the up and down keys to move the cursor and push the M to select. The button is pretty sensitive, so push it gently. Here are a few other things to remember about the M button:
A solid red M means the bot is working. Look at the LCD or application for status. A blinking red M means the bot is waiting for user input.
There are four arrow buttons surrounding the M. Use the arrows to navigate and make selections. The left arrow will also often let you go back or cancel an action.
First the startup script will teach you a few basic things about how The Replicator works. Then it will help you level the platform, load filament, and start a test print.
Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Replicator for the first time! And remember, if anything goes wrong, or things aren't happening the way this guide says they should, check out the Troubleshooting page or get in touch with Support.
Pay close attention: leveling your platform is very important to print quality!
Here’s the first screen is 3.1
Those three dots mean the message isn’t over, so click the blinking M when you’ve read the screen and want to continue. Then you'll see this 3.2
After you finish reading this message, The Replicator will tell you to tighten the knobs on the bottom of the platform 3.3
These four knobs are the ones on the bottom of the platform, just inside the plastic arms that hold it up. 3.4 It's actually easier to level the platform if you don't tighten these all the way. Instead, tighten each knob four complete turns. Then press the M button.
It’s very important that you always move two knobs during each step -- if you try to move only one knob at a time, the script can have unexpected results. Also, make sure that you’re moving the specific knobs the script is telling you to use.
At each stage of the script, your Replicator will ask you to test the platform height by sliding a piece of paper between the platform and nozzle. Your Accessory Box included a business card from MakerBot Support. It's about .12 mm thick, and should work great. If you haven't got the Support card on hand, a sticky note works well, too.
When you're done, The Replicator will ask you if the nozzle height is OK. 3.5
Use the Support card to test the platform height one last time. If the card can move up and down underneath the nozzle, your platform is too low; select “Let’s try again.” If it can slide around a little bit, you’re good to go.
If your platform is too low, your prints might not stick to the surface, and if it's too high, the nozzles could tear the Kapton tape on the platform surface. If you're having trouble, or if you just need to level your platform again, you can always get back to the leveling script in the menu by going to Utilities->Level Build Plate
4.1 The first step of filament loading is to remove the filament guide tube(s). 4.2 Make sure to hold down the gray ring that connects the tube to the Stepstruder-- just pulling on the tube won’t work.
Once the tubes are disconnected, you can go ahead and feed the filament into the guide tubes from the back until you see it come out at the front. 4.4
Make sure that the filament loads up from the center on both spools, so you don't get jams during printing. One of the spools will have to go on backwards. You want it to look like 4.3
After you’ve fed the filament through, press the M. The machine will start to heat both extruders 4.5
You’ll have to wait for a few minutes for them to heat up. Be careful not to touch the bottom of the Stepstruder® while it’s heating -- it gets up to about 220° C, which is hot and can burn you! 4.6 - 4.7
Once the nozzle is at temperature, The Replicator will tell you to load filament in the right-hand Stepstruder. 4.8
Click through the message until your Replicator asks you to press the M when you see plastic extruding. Then take the end of the filament itself and push it right into the center of the gray ring. Make sure it goes into the center, and doesn’t get caught at the edge. 4.9
You'll have to use to use some force, but as long as you’re holding only the filament, you can’t hurt your Replicator.
Maintain pressure on the filament, and after a few moments you should feel the motor pulling it in. Then you’ll see some plastic start to come out the nozzle. When that happens, you can press the M and push the guide tubes back into the gray rings. Don't be surprised if you don't see the color you expected -- there's probably still a bit of plastic inside the extruder left over from the testing process.
If you have a dual-extruder machine, The Replicator will now ask you to load filament into the left-hand extruder. Follow the same process you did for the right.
After The Replicator is done extruding, wait a moment for the extruded plastic to cool down before you pull it away. You can discard the plastic in your normal garbage, or recycle it, if your recycling system can handle ABS. Don't leave plastic clinging to the extruder nozzle -- if you do, newly extruded plastic might stick to the nozzle instead of the build platform.
The Replicator will give you a couple of chances at this before continuing. If you don’t get it quite right the first time, you can load filament from the menu at any time by going to Utilities->Filament Options in the menu.[4.8]
Now your Replicator will ask you if you’re ready to print. 5.1
Make sure your SD card is in the SD card slot at the right side of The Replicator. Then, if you’ve successfully leveled your platform and loaded filament into your extruder, answer yes! The Replicator will drop you into the “Print from SD” menu. Select one of the prints we pre-loaded onto the SD card and watch The Replicator go to work!
If your Replicator shipped on or after July 9th, 2012, you may see two sets of example prints on your SD card. The second set is for printing with acceleration, and those files will start with "acc_." Check that acceleration is turned on before you print accelerated files. Bots shipped with Firmware 5.5 have acceleration turned off by default. Bots shipped with Firmwares 6.2 and later ship with acceleration turned on.