Now that we have a basic theoretical understanding of how the diverse components of our 3D printer work together to build 3D models, it’s time to take our new 3D printer and put it to work. Remember though, we are not quite to the point of being able to hit a print button in our software and have the printer build a model. Th is is especially the case if you have just built your 3D printer from a kit—and even more so if you built the printer from the ground up. Instead, we need to go through a process to verify the operation of the printer to better prepare it to properly and accurately make prints. Th is process is known as commissioning and includes verifying the movement of each axis; testing and homing the endstops, if equipped; heating the extruder; extruding plastic; and testing the heated printbed, if equipped. Th en we will need to calibrate our printer, which might include making mechanical adjustments to the printbed or endstops, setting parameters in fi rmware, and testing print settings like print speed, temperature, and layer height. Even if you already have a working 3D printer, spending some time with it to better calibrate the printer can pay off big with future prints. Th is chapter walks you through all of the steps, so that you can move from your recently built 3D printer to making your first 3D prints.
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