Monthly Archives: January 2012

Introducing The SUMPOD 3D Printer

Well, I now have one of the best looking 3D printers that is available today. It was delivered as a kit and took about three weeks to get it painted, soldered, assembled, and printing it’s first 3d object. SUMPOD Front View This 3D printer is called the SUMPOD and it was one of the cheapest 3D printers available at the time, offered as one of the perks in the SUMPOD IndieGoGo campaign.

Cheap to buy did not mean cheap in construction. This 3D printer was expertly designed, with a case that is strong and rigid, providing a good solid foundation to produce fine quality 3D prints. The SUMPOD’s strong rigid construction also allows it to be re-purposed, changing it from a 3D printer to a router or mill. It’s milling capability is demonstrated in the youtube clip at the end of the post at 3D-printer-kt.com. I’m tempted to do some milling myself but I think the noise will be too much for the other household members.

Herringbone GearI’ve tested it’s 3D printing capability and have been very pleased with the results. The Sprinter firmware was easy to configure and install and for the host software, I used ReplcatorG. RepSnapper was used to calibrate the filament extrusion while Skeinforge was used to generate the G-code. Skeinforge was the most difficult application to master, mainly because the amount of options available to configure. All the printing tests I’ve done have been based on models downloaded from the Internet which was a good way to test and configure the printer, and you have someone else’s print to compare to. I have since designed a model of my own for printing using a 3D application called OpenScad. Since I have some programming experience I thought I’d give it a go.

The SUMPOD 3D printer works great out of the box, capable of printing high resolution models as good as any other 3D printer out there in my opinion. Having said that, I will be looking to make improvements to some parts of the printer, I’ve already added a heated build platform and a Z axis handle. I’ll be posting the details of those improvements very soon.

To complete the introduction to the SUMPOD, there are more images after the jump.

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Getting Your First 3D Print

For the fellow SUMPOD owners wanting a quick start to getting that first 3D print.

Well, the files are now available to start you off on getting your first print off the platform. The printing speed is going to be slow and steady with the first layer 3D Printed Geargoing down the slowest. The settings have been adjusted so that a complex build with a lot of vertices can be printed in high quality like the Wades herringbone pinion gear. This should allow you to test the calibration of your printer.

For less complex prints you can crank up the speed up by de-activating the Cool plugin in Skeinforge. If the build looks like it’s going to be messed up, you probably trying to print it too fast. Adjust the speed by changing the flow rate and feed rate settings under Speed in Skeinforge.

For SD Card users, de-activate Cool plugin in Skeinforge and see how fast you can go by adjusting the flow rate and feed rate settings under Speed in Skeinforge. You should be able to print complex builds much quicker, without spoiling, than those printers without SD Cards.

The settings under Cool in Skeinforge makes the build take at least 60 seconds to print each layer. Any layers that are going to take more than 60 seconds to print will not be affected by this. The bigger the layer the faster the print speed, up to the feed rate set under speed in Skeinforge.

I’ve added all the files in Skeinforge profile with all the settings used to print the gcode file that is also included. There is also the STL file used to generate the gcode with an image of what it should look like. Unzip the file and place the SUMPOD_PLA folder, that contains Skeinforge settings, in to the profiles directory. Mine is stored in “C:\users\mark\.skeinforge\profiles” on Windows 7. You should fined yours in the similar area.

If you’re having difficulties with the files, please use the forum at the SUMPOD Web site www.sumpod.com. This will allow other SUMPOD users to get involved to help solve the issue.

Download this file for the settings: skeinforge_conf