3d printing

3d printers again…

I’m Jason Firth.

Yesterday, I had a revelation about my new printer. I was pretty happy with the prints I was getting (happy to be getting any prints at all, in fact) but the quality wasn’t quite where I wanted it.

I ran a check of the extruder calibration and found it substantially out. I asked for 100mm, but got 57mm instead.

I was already looking at calibrating the extruder, so I switched to the Marlin AC branch. That branch contains the latest developer patches.

Along the way, I had to move my config changes to the new firmware, so I had a deeper look. One change I made is to reduce the “slow” speed while calibrating. The stock settings shook the whole thing. I also increased the number of calibration points and changed the calibration routine to take each measurement 3 times.

One of the additions to the marlin-ac was automatic bed levelling. I assumed the auto calibration took care of levelling, but it seems that’s a different feature.

Someone in the flsun Facebook page suggested that my “delta kossel” and the “mini kossel” I keep reading about might be the same printer. It does seem plausible on second thought. However, it means that the example config is just completely wrong.

The other thing is that the flsun YouTube page appears to call the delta kossel and mini kossel different things. It’s difficult to figure out whether the two are the same or not.

This speaks to a fundamental of maintenance: defining your equipment. Giving it consistent naming, giving it a unique identifying number that functions within a system. For a company with perhaps 9 different products, this ought to be trivial. Perhaps a digit for product category (3d printers), one for product type (delta kossel), one for the subcategory (mini/standard/jumbo), a digit for model number, and a digit for revision number. “3ks1a” – easy. Then everyone can search for “3ks1a” and find Information directly relating to that printer.

In industrial automation, the ISA 5.1 standard defines similar naming. In industries around the world, this convention is used to name instruments in an immediately identifiable fashion.

Let’s look at a typical designation:


The 66 part of the above is area number. Very few plants are monolithic. Most consist of a certain number of defined areas with defined functions. These areas often have a single number associated with them. If 66 were for a certain power boiler, for example, anyone in that plant would immediately recognise that the instrument existed in that power boiler.

The second part, “FIT” above, is a standardized designation based on the ISA 5.1 standard. In this case, the first letter tells us the process variable. In this case, “Flow”. Other common process variables are Temperature, Pressure, Analytical, or Density. Each represented by the first letter of the word. The second letter above is “Indicating”. It is a modifier telling us that the instrument has a display. Finally, the last letter is “Transmitter”. This speaks to the function of the device. Often you’ll see Switches, Valves, or Elements. Sometimes you’ll see a Y, which indicates “special function relay”

Finally, the number “123” above represents the unique loop number. Every loop in the area will have a unique number, making it trivial to look for loop sheets, wires in a junction box, or PLC code.

In terms of the name you’d give it, I prefer following a few general rules.

1. Name for humans. This means naming things using natural language, and in a way that people can read. I’ve seen colons, dashes, And underscores in names. There’s no need for that. I’ve also seen things named something nobody calls something. Either correct your name, or change what people call the thing.

2. Name precisely. Calling stuff pump #1 is tempting, but makes things too difficult when trying to refer to something. “Boiler #10 feed water pump #2” tells someone everything they need to know about that device. Calling the printer the “Delta Kossel” is too broad. Every printer of this type is a “Delta Kossel”, and it appears the company has multiple kossel style printers.

3. Name consistently. Create a nomenclature or taxonomy and follow it. Don’t refer to the same device with six different names. In this case, the “Delta Kossel” and “Mini Kossel” might be different things. If they are, that’s fine. If they’re not, that’s a major failure of naming.

Anyway, I’m done playing with the printer until next weekend. Looking forward to the next steps. I’ll keep everyone updated.

Thanks for reading!

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