M2 Auto-Leveling

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rpollack
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M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by rpollack » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:01 pm

We are working on an M2 auto-leveling (aka z-compensation) retro-fit/upgrade. Josh will post here what we are working on and we invite you to participate in the development. Work on it with us or just go in any direction that you see as relevant and post your progress here...

Thanks,
Rick

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sthone
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Re: M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by sthone » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:38 pm

And to think... someone said you were getting complacent. :D Interesting though, can't wait to see the new upgrade and how it works.

-Steve

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ednisley
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Re: M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by ednisley » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:54 pm

rpollack wrote:participate in the development
Color me interested...

Gotcha 1: mechanical backlash

The Z axis microstep is 1/400 mm = 0.0025 mm, but the backlash on my M2 runs around 0.01 mm. I'm certain that will vary with the machine's age, due to wear from the load on one side of the threads in the brass leadscrew nut.

Gotcha 2: Marlin numeric resolution

As nearly as I can tell, the Marlin G-Code resolution extends to 0.001 mm, so you can't command steps with finer resolution.

Of the two, I think backlash poses the larger problem. Right now, the platform on my M2 remains level within ±0.1 mm from side to side without much attention, so the corrections on any single command will be very close to the backlash limits. As a result, the position error will be as large as the correction and you won't see any actual improvement in the results.

I think much of the motivation for auto-alignment comes from the desire to get M2 quality from unstable hardware, but ... that's why I have an M2. [grin]

Some measurements I made a while ago may be useful:
http://softsolder.com/2014/03/06/makerg ... h-numbers/

Bratag
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Re: M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by Bratag » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:55 pm

sthone wrote:And to think... someone said you were getting complacent. :D Interesting though, can't wait to see the new upgrade and how it works.

-Steve
Quick get hold of that guy and make him demand the updragde for free :)

In all seriousness this is great news. I personally dont find levelling the bed etc a big task and it tends to stay level through a lot of prints, but in order for 3d printing to become truly consumer grade this is the kind of thing we need. People want point and click ease.

I will be keeping an eye on the development of the system.

benavery
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Re: M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by benavery » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:12 pm

If it can do auto-z-height for me, I'm super excited.
Bed leveling I find pretty easy, and kinda fun TBH. Adjusting a few screws once a month or so, and its easy to tell if its right or wrong as you do it, just by looking at it. I like the satisfaction of knowing I have razor accurate bed flatness. Z-height however, I find myself adjusting more often (every time I flip the glass), and required starting a new print to tell if it is right or wrong and is way more time consuming. In theory using the same feeler gauge it should come up correct every time I fiddle with it, but never does. Or you get close enough, but it requires tweaking some extrusion settings to get it just right, and now it requires changing those settings in every profile.

I've never felt right about auto leveling - it feels like a substandard solution to the real problem of equipment accuracy. Its like not fixing potholes in a freeway telling people to lower their tire pressures and buy softer suspension instead. Sure, it works, but we should probably fill in the potholes. But I understand it is a useful feature for people who don't like fiddling.
I would be keen to have the equipment on my M2 anyways, just as a flatness-measurement tool, for helping with manual leveling.

lem
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Re: M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by lem » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:48 pm

Well, it's a marketing issue as well. Since many machines claim to have it, it becomes a feature that can eliminate the machine that doesn't have it, regardless of the value of the feature.

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jimc
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Re: M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by jimc » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:54 pm

Absolutely! If Its really needed or not, people love features. They dont even have to know what it is or does but if printer a has it and b doesnt then a is better. All matketing. With that said though i think this is great especially since the glass isnt usually perfectly flat so this usually makes up for that.

sprior
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Re: M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by sprior » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:00 pm

I'm very interested, in fact I haven't used my machine for a couple of weeks because I noticed it needs leveling (was having bed adhesion problems in one corner) and I've been stalling doing it.

lem
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Re: M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by lem » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:06 pm

With that said though i think this is great especially since the glass isnt usually perfectly flat so this usually makes up for that.
Yes, if it's going to work that way. I have, let's say "another brand printer", that uses software leveling. It's really nice. Downside to that printer is that you always print with a raft as that is where they make up the flat surface to print on. All proprietary and not many choices for the way a print is done.

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insta
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Re: M2 Auto-Leveling

Post by insta » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:53 pm

I'm in, Rick. You guys know well enough that I will find creative ways to tease out requisite idiot proofing in the upgrade ;)
Custom 3D printing for you or your business -- quote [at] pingring.org

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