You've unboxed your new Me2 3D printer and are ready to start printing, but wait! It is a good idea to put some thought into where you are going to place you 3D printer to help eliminate some safety concerns and to give yourself the best chance at success. There are a few things to consider when finding a spot for your 3D printer to ensure it is running under optimal conditions:
- Pinch points
- Hot zones
- Power and electricity
- Flat desk surface
- Clearance behind and to the sides (Move axes to all extremities to make sure it won’t bump into anything)
- Do not place on carpet, pillows or compressible surfaces
- Adequate clearance around the edges of the base for cooling
- Access to power nearby (2 power sockets required if using a BF server)
- Not directly in the path of cold air sources, fans or sources of wind (air agitation, uneven cooling, poor print quality and first layer lifting)
- Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources over 40°C
- Leave room for filament to unravel from its spool
Clearance, motion and pinch points
- Printer axes may move suddenly as part of it’s normal operation, make sure there is clearance around all sides.
- Multiple points around the printer may pinch hair or fingers in normal operation. Care has been taken to ensure the motors cannot exert enough pressure to cause severe injury but users should avoid placing hands and fingers into these areas. Please ensure long hair is tied back or captured with headwear when operating.
- In the event of power loss, interrupted serial signal or an incorrectly cancelled print job, the print head and upper carriage assembly will drop down to the bed. Avoid placing hands underneath the print head and carriage components while operating.
- If the above occurs, you can prevent damage to the print head and printing surface by manually lifting the carriage assembly up and returning the print head and bed to the home position, switching off power to the printer and disconnecting the USB cable, then reconnecting before trying again.
- In normal operation, the extruder tip will heat to between 180-250°C. Avoid contact with the nozzle during printing and for at least 15 minutes after the printer stops and cools down
If you are using BuildFlow you can access the printer’s information page or the maintenance console to see the current nozzle temperature. Alternately your chosen print host software should report the nozzle temperature. Do not touch the nozzle until it has fallen below 40°C.
- Avoid placing the printer in the path of blowing fans, sources of wind or active cooling (air conditioning, etc.) or a refrigerated environment as this can prematurely cool the nozzle and freshly printed material, causing degraded print quality or print failure.
- Me2 is a Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) printer and relies on heating the plastic filament to it’s melting point. This can release some fumes and particulates. Me2 is designed to work with the lower temperature range of printing filaments, particularly Polylactic acid (PLA), reducing the total fume and volatile organic chemical (VOC) output of the process compared to higher temperature FDM printers.
- Do not use Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) in your Me2 printer. It is known to produce small amounts of volatile styrene monomer vapour (a mild carcinogen) when melted and should not be used as a print material without adequate air extraction or filtration.
- Place your Me2 in a room with reasonable ventilation and airflow. A room with opening windows or multiple openable doors, active forced air-extraction or positive pressure ducted air conditioning are all adequate.
If you’d feel comfortable dealing with paint fumes in a given room, your printer should be fine. If you can smell strong fumes while the printer is in operation you may need to find a different location.
- Avoid placing printer in small, enclosed rooms unless active air extraction is available while operating printers.
- Avoid inhaling air within 30 centimetres of the print head while the printer is in operation without the use of a dust mask or respirator of at least HEPA R95 rating.
- Additional printers installed in the same room may require additional ventilation.
- Me2 can generate significant vibration in operation. If placed on a resonating surface (thin sheet metal or wood, for instance) the surface may produce a sustained loud noise. If this is unavoidable, place rubber pads on the legs of the printer base. Rolls of rubber such as this are quite effective.
- Make sure the surface you have placed your Me2 on is stable and cannot easily overturn due to oscillating forces generated by Me2 in operation.
- Me2 typically does not require external cooling, as this may interfere with print quality.
- Ensure the vents at the front, rear and sides of the base are not occluded so that adequate airflow is allowed under the base. If excess heat is trapped under the printer it may shorten the life of the stepper motor drivers.
- Do not place Me2 on thick carpet or similar insulating surfaces that can trap heat and prevent airflow below the base.
- Only use the power supply included with your Me2.
- When connected to a computer or BuildFlow/OctoPrint host via USB Me2’s onboard processor may retain power via the USB channel in order to report temperature and sensor state to the host. To fully reset Me2 you will need to switch off the mains power switch and also disconnect the USB cable or power off the host.
- Low voltage circuits are exposed underneath the base of Me2. These circuits present minimal shock risk but avoid contact or placing hands underneath the Me2 while it is plugged in and power switched on.
- Make sure the area below the Me2 is free of loose conductive elements, wires, cables and dust.
- Regularly inspect the cables and connectors between the base, upper carriage and print head for wear, loose cables or poor connector seating.