FABTOTUM MANUAL

INDEX OF CONTENTS

0. Safety

1. Getting started

1.1 Unboxing the FABtotum Personal Fabricator

1.2 First setup

2. Software

2.1 FABUI Overview

2.2 Network Configuration

2.3 MY.FABtotum. Connect or share your FABtotum

2.4 CAM Toolbox

3. 3D Printing

3.1 Your first 3D Print

3.2 Slicing with cura 2.X

3.3 3D Printing filaments guide

3.4 Improving adhesion

3.5 Advanced: Printing Head PRO

3.6 General 3D printing troubleshooting

4. Milling

4.1 CNC Milling: Making a “Make More” Sign

4.2 Milling & Engraving Bits

5. Laser Engraving

5.1 Laser Head: Safety & health guidelines

5.2 Calibrating the Laser Head

5.3 Laser Head: engraving and cutting

6. 3D Scanning

6.1 Getting started

7. Maintenance

7.1 Head Installation

7.2 Bed calibration

7.3 Nozzle Height calibration

7.4 Filament loading / unloading

7.5 Feeder Maintenance

7.6 Changing the nozzles

8. Resources & Developers

8.1 Totumduino Board Overview

8.2 Head Development Board

8.3 Head Development Guidelines


Safety and Warranty Guidelines

Safety & Warranty Guidelines

Before we venture into uncharted territory, let’s make sure to cover safety basics of the FABtotum Personal Fabricator.
As a general rule, please operate according to the instructions provided by authorized sources only.

Follow the safety instructions below and use common safety practices. Always contact support for advice before modifying or employing the machine in a way that could cause hazards.

FIRST SETUP AND PLACEMENT

Follow the first setup manual or the complete manual, available at fabtotum.com/support
Place the unit on stable, clean surfaces, away from any obstacles within 30cm / 12″ from the unit.
The unit is intended for indoor use only. Do not use or place outside.
The unit only operates with room temperatures between 15°C and 28°C.
Place unit far from sources of heat, humidity or cold air.
Keep clean dust and clear of any liquid.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTES:

hazard_scaled

Caution: main health risks come from the machine’s moving parts and the components that can heat up, such as the plane and the modules.

These parts have warning stickers and status LEDs on them to inform of the dangers related to the use of the FABtotum.

Do not touch the nozzle, the heated bed or any moving part of the unit.

parts_warning2

DO NOT touch, move the product or leave it unattended when it’s operating or turned on.
DO NOT modify, disassemble or alter the unit and/or its components in any way.
DO NOT touch or bend the flexible connection cable, the connectors and all cables.
DO NOT touch contacts or the metal rods, as hands can ruin contacts and damage the metal protection layer.
DO NOT turn the product off without following the proper shutdown procedure.
DO NOT improperly dispose of the unit.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Our support team is always happy to assist you. Many information and solutions can be found at http://www.fabtotum.com/knowledgebase

3D PRINTERS AND MANUFACTURING: HEALTH MEASURES

Inhalation
Heat may cause the release of irritating vapors. Milling can create and spread dust and other particles.
In case the user inhales them, they should be immediately taken to an aerated place and kept calm.
Always refer to the material datasheet.

For safety reasons some materials can’t be used for 3D printing, Milling or Laser engraving.
Check the material proprieties or consult support if unsure. Some materials, when exposed to high temperatures can release dangerous fumes and volatile chemical elements.

Skin
Health risks related to the skin are very uncommon.
If material residue ends up on your epidermis wash the area with plenty of soap and rinse with water.
If skin rashes occur please seek medical attention.

Eyes
Health risks related to the eyes are mainly linked to the use of the laser head and are otherwise uncommon.
For some people dust may be irritating. If that happens rinse your eyes thoroughly with water. In case you are wearing contacts, remove them and start rinsing as described above.
Use proper eye glasses for protection when operating the machine, especially when using the laser head.
Do not look directly inside the unit.

Most common symptoms and effects
Molten material may cause burns and scalds. Cutting tools may cause wounds and injuries.

Disclaimer: Manufacturer gives no warranty of merchantability or of fitness for a particular purpose. Any product purchased is sold on the assumption the purchaser will make his own tests to determine the quality and suitability of the product. Manufacturer expressly disclaims any and all liability for incidental and/or consequential property damage arising out of the use of this product. No information provided shall be deemed to be a recommendation to use any product in conflict with any existing applicable law. Read the Data Sheet before handling product.

WARRANTY

Warranty will be void if the product is modified or altered in any way as well as it is opened in parts that should be kept closed (i.e. head, rear panel, left side panel, etc …).
Operating the unit outside its specifications or purposes will also void the warranty.
Using unofficial filaments, accessories, consumables or any third party products as well as following unauthorized maintenance procedures is done at the owner’s discretion and risk and may also cause damage to the unit, for which the manufacturer will not be held liable.
The product and its accessories must be kept in reasonable conditions. Do not dispose of the shipping box and packaging material.

The warranty does not cover damages caused by misuse, incorrect use or commands, mishandling or damages elicited by the use of third party accessories.

The warranty does not cover consumables such as: head thermistor, head heating cartridges, milling chuck, SD card, fans, nozzle, 4th axis feeder gear,  hot-plate’s pogo pins and all removable connectors and PCBs.

Legally applicable warranty period(s)
2 years for natural persons and businesses in the European Union
6 months for natural persons and enterprises in the rest of the World

The Warranty period starts from product’s delivery date for online sales or from purchase date for all other acquisitions. Warranty rights must be exercised before the end of the warranty period and only within 14 days of discovering a factory fault.
Repairs or replacement of the product and its components do not extend warranty period nor renew warranty on the replaced parts.

Software license and warranty
FABUI is an Open Source and all-inclusive software, except where otherwise stated and it is supplied under Creative Commons BY-SA-NC rules (read more here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/legalcode).
All relevant documentation is released under the following Creative Commons license:
(CC) Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0).
You may find a copy here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS WITH THE SOFTWARE.


1. GETTING STARTED

Unboxing

Unboxing the FABtotum Personal Fabricator

The unboxing procedure is important to prepare the FABtotum before the first setup without damaging the unit. Particular attention must be paid when removing the unit from its box. During unboxing you should also make sure there are no damages that might have occurred during transportation.

NOTICE: Always operate according the Safety and Warranty Guidelines

Unboxing the package

What’s in the box

Connecting to the FABtotum

Installing heads and modules



First Setup

First Setup

Have you already unboxed the FABtotum Personal Fabricator? Now it’s time to do the first setup and unit calibration!

The unit Calibration of the FABtotum is a critical step in all future operations. A non-calibrated unit is unable to perform most basic task like printing and milling. Using a non-calibrated hardware could even damage the unit in the long run!
After unboxing, setting up the machine and connecting to it with your favourite browser, you’ll be prompted with a setup/configuration wizard.

  • Once connected to the FABtotum via ethernet cable, you’ll be prompted to initialize the unit operating system (FABUI Colibri) click ok and follow the instructions to proceed.

  • The OS will be installed in a few minutes.

  • Now it’s time to enter your settings and read carefully all the safety notices, also available on fabtotum.com/knowledgebase.

  • Enter the username (email) Name, Surname and password.
    these will be used to access and operate the device.

  • This passage is not mandatory, but you can set up a short name for your unit (a-z 0-9) that will be always accessible in your local Wlan/Lan (in this example http://fab01.local/ )

  • Choose the Wlan you wish your unit will be connected to.

  • The procedure is finished, the installation will be finalized and you will be redirected to the onboard FABtotum User Interface (FABUI)

The calibration wizard

After the first setup you’ll be able to use the “calibration wizard” (either by clicking on the pop-up alert or going to Maintenance→ first setup).
You can do all the wizard operations later by using the Maintenance menu.


Now follow the instructions on the screen and complete each step as requested.
You can read more about the calibration procedure in the following articles:


2. SOFTWARE

FABUI overview

FABtotum FABUI Software Overview

The FABUI is the onboard user interface of the FABtotum Personal Fabricator. It’s used to store and launch all the “jobs” like 3D printing, milling, etc.
To connect to the FABUI with your browser please refer to the first setup page.

After having setup the machine, unless otherwise specified, the FABUI will be accessible at http://169.254.1.2 once the FABtotum is switched on and connected directly to your computer via LAN cable.

here some of the main features you can access once connected to the FABUI

  • Login Screen

    The login screen allows to secure the session to a single user. Files and projcts will be “locked” or shared between users based on the login.

  • FABUI dashboard

    The dashboard is the first page you see once connected and logged in the FABtotum.

  • The Controls

    The FABUI controls and menu are locate around the main page, that is dynamically loaded with different contents

  • Job Management

    The FABUI allows to monitor , start, pause and stop any manufacturing job and have it run without the need of a connected computer. Il will also send an email notification when the task has been completed.

  • Project Manager

    The project Manager is where you can upload and manage files for manufacturing: 3D printing, Milling, Laser engraving etc.

  • JOG

    The JOG menu is used to manually move the gantry and enter direct comands (suggested for expert users only)

  • Updates

    The Updates Menu allows you to quickly install available updates directly from the internet once they become available.



Setting Up & Connecting to the Network

Network configuration guidelines

The connection with the unit happens via PC-to-FABtotum LAN and via Wi-Fi.
While the first direct FABtotum-to-PC LAN connection is mandatory for setup, the unit can be accessed later via wifi only.

A Wi-Fi connection to the internet is always required to download updates. Updates are not mandatory, but are strongly recommended.

You can connect to the internet by linking the FABtotum to a router and editing the LAN settings accordingly.
A suitable IP in the right range,a Gateway (same as the router) and Subnet adresses are required (see your router settings).
You can also connect it to a LAN switch.

Note: The FABtotum Personal Fabricator will continue a tasks (print, mill etc) even if connection to the computer that started it is lost.

Wi-Fi adapters

Older units have a separate USB Wlan Adapter.
To set up the Wi-Fi connection you need to turn off your FABtotum, plug the USB Wi-Fi dongle in the USB port on the back of the unit and turn it back on. Once connected to the FAB UI, click on “Settings”, then “Network” and then “Wi-Fi”. You will see the list of available Wi-Fi networks, ranked by signal strength.

(NB. Newer machines mount a Rasp Pi 3 which has in-built Wi-Fi, they won’t have to insert any USB Wi-Fi dongle).

TIP: The settings of your Network Configuration Panel of your Ethernet Adapter must be set to obtain the IP automatically.

First time connection

Settings > Network menu overview



My.FABtotum: Connect or Share your FABtotum

My.FABtotum: Connect or Share your FABtotum

MY.FABtotum Logo, web service for FABtotum 3D Printers

What is MY.FABtotum

MY.FABtotum is a web service that allows all your owned printers/products to be grouped in one place, where you can control them remotely and with ease.
It is also possible to share printers with others using their FABID handle.

Add your printer on MY.FABtotum

1) Register your FABID

To register to FABID go to the login/registration page
A confirmation email will be sent afterwards .use a valid email address.
The FABID login will be the one used for all accesses on all FABtotum services.
For more information check out the FABID page.

2) Log In the unit FABUI

Log in the FABUI using the Local Access button. This account is the “Owner” of the unit, the one registered during the installation procedure.

3) Connect to to MY.FABtotum

From the FABUI click on your account name in the top left (1).
Then Click on the “Connect to your FABID account” button.
A form will pop up. If you already connected before it should log you in automatically, otherwise fill the form and log in.

4) Done!

Your printer should shortly appear on your my.fabtotum.com page, were you can see all the printer informations, IP address and remote controls.
As owner of this printer you can share it with anyone as well (see below).
From now on you can login to the FABUI with FABID instead of the “Owner”  “Local Access” login (the FABUI must be connected to internet).

Share your printer with others on MY.FABtotum

1) Access MY.FABtotum website

This procedure allows to share a printer you own (of wich you have local access/you created the first user) that is already connected with FABID to the MY.FABtotum service. If you need to connect your printer first or obtain a valid FABID, see the paragraph above.
During this procedure the printer you want to share can be offline or not powered but will need to be online and on,for the user later.
First log in to your MY.FABtotum page with your valid FABID.

1) Share the access

From the list, click on the icon of the unit you own that you want to share.
From the menu select Users (1) then fill the form (2) with his valid FABID address.
The unit will be shared with this FABID email and this one only.
The Nickname field is just used by the owner (you) as a reminder of the person/department this unit will be shared.
Hit “Add”. An email to his FABID address will be sent shortly after notifying of the new shared unit.
If he does not have a valid FABID he will be able to register it later before being able to interact with the unit.

3) (optional) Register FABID

If the user have no FABID access , he can  go to the login/registration page
A confirmation email will be sent afterwards .use a valid email address.
The FABID login will be the one used for all accesses on all FABtotum services.
For more information check out the FABID page.

1) Done

The shared user will now be able to log in on the FABtotum FABUI using his FABID login.He will also be able to see and manage the printer in the MY.FABtotum page.
He will not be able to share the printer with others as he’s not the owner.
You can shere the same printer with more people by repeating step 2.
The owner can revoke shared access by removing the user from the Users menu of desired device in the MY.FABtotum panel or by disconnecting the printer from FABID.
This last action will remove ALL shared users.



CAM toolbox – Enable Subscription

CAM toolbox – Enable Subscription

CAM Toolbox, find out cloud-based CAM suit for FABtotum Laser Head

What is CAM Toolbox?

CAM Toolbox is tool for postprocessing images and files for laser engraving.
With CAM Toolbox you can prepare Gcode engravings for the laser head directly from your FABtotum FABUI interface and launch the gcode directly from within the FABUI.
You can access CAM toolbox from the latest FABUI version.

 Get a Licence

Activate a CAM toolbox Licence

1) Register your FABID and MY.FABtotum

If you don’t have a FABID login, go to the login/registration page
A confirmation email will be sent afterwards . Use a valid email address.
The FABID login will be the one used for all accesses on all FABtotum services and the FABUI.
After the confirmation is completed you also need to add the FABtotum to the MY.FABtotum service. Click Here to learn how to do it.

2) Log In the unit FABUI

Log in the FABUI using your FABID connected to the printer. This account is the one that will activate the CAM toolbox subscription.

3) Activate the licence

From the FABUI click on the CAM toolbox menu (left column).
Go to the subscription tab and add your licence code.
If you need a new licence, you can purchase one from the FABtotum Store Subscriptions section

4) Done!

The licence should show up as active.
You can now process the files as usual by going in the desired CAM Toolbox section tab (e.g. Laser).
Consult the laser engraving and cutting software guidelines to get started in laser engraving via the CAM toolbox.


3. 3D printing

Starting the first 3D print

Your First 3D Print

Ok, so you have already calibrated your FABtotum and you are ready to 3D print your first test object.
If you haven’t already: go to Maintenance → First Setup for a comprehensive calibration wizard, this is very important!
Learn more about this in calibration.

To start 3D printing you usually need filament. The FABtotum comes with some sample filament, but you may want to load more filament.
If you have already some filament inside the head, hit the Maintenance → Spool Management → Unload Spool procedure first.
Learn more about this in load/unload a spool.

First you’ll need a file to print. We have already uploaded some 3D printing samples for you in your printer, you can find them in Project Manager – Samples.
You can also upload and print other files, following this procedure, but if you are new to the FABtotum just stick to the samples.
Under the Project Manager, select the object you want to print, then press the “Print” button.

(Please note that you can print something from the Create menu as well!)

Now you are in the folder with the samples, choose your favourite file, for example Marvin key-chain, then Next
Be sure the working plane and the nozzle are clean, close the front cover, then press Continue as instructed.

Choose Simple homing or Auto bed leveling
If your printer is well calibrated, select Simple homing: the print will start quickly.
If you aren’t sure about calibration, select Auto bed leveling: the probe will start to measure the bed orientation, then the print will start (it will require few seconds to heat-up).

Starting the print

Wait for the printer to be ready: the carriage will be in the left corner, the Z axis will be homed and bed and nozzle heated (this usually requires around 2 minutes).
Check the printer as soon as it starts printing (you can hear beep) to make sure the bed calibration is ok and that the nozzle is leaving a good amount of material on the plane so that the first layer (including the skirt/brim) is solid.

  • Don’t let any leftover filament get dragged in the print area, cut it if necessary.
  • When your FABtotum is printing, you can check all the printing parameters in the Live feed section (nozzle temperature, bed temperature, Z height, etc.)
  • While printing you can edit all those parameters in the Controls section.
  • Wait for the printer to finish. You can track the progress from the FABUI.

Once the print is completed, the bed will slide and cool down.
Wait for the bed to reach a safe temperature. The bed LEDs will turn off when the temperature is below 50°C.

Retrieving the 3D printed object

Congratulations! You just finished your first print!
Wait for the bed temperature to go back to safe (the red LEDs will turn off when below 50°C)
When safe, proceed to remove the print by gently pulling it out or twisting the part from the cold glass surface. A steel spatula may help with this task.

Issues?
Please refer to the troubleshooting section if you had problems during printing or your 3D printed object doesn’t satisfy your expectations.



Slicing: STL to Gcode Files for 3D printing with CURA 2.x / 3.x

Slicing With Cura 2.x & 3.x

Cura is an open source software created and developed by Ultimaker. The FABtotum can work with .gcodes generated with Cura.
To upload one on the FABUI, refer to the FABUI overview.

Note: for legacy Cura 1.5 support, please refer to “Cura 1.5”

Installation

Installing Cura

Download and install version 2.xx / 3.xx of Cura at: https://ultimaker.com/en/products/cura-software
Locate Cura on your computer’s Download folder, install it and then execute it.

Installing with Windows

Double click on the installer located in your download folder.The setup procedure will ask you to choose if you want the program to open other file formats other than .stl (i.e. .obj).

The Wizard will also ask you if you want to install additional drivers to manage your printers. As the FABtotum does not require Arduino drivers for serial connectivity, you can avoid installing those.
Finally, you can click on “Run Cura” and finalize the setup.

Installing with Mac OS

Drag the Cura icon into your Applications folder to start installation.

Setting Up the Machine settings on Cura

The first time you open Cura you will be asked to choose your machine, select your desired language (English for this guide) etc.
The FABtotum Personal Fabricator is natively supported on versions of Cura higher than 2.6, all other versions of cura will require the user to download and install FABtotum profile packages here: https://github.com/FABtotum/FAB_Configs/

  1. Locate the installation path of Cura (eg: C:/Programs/Cura 2.6)
  2. Copy the folders contained in the downloaded folder “resources” (definitions, images, materials, settings, meshes, quality, variants) in the “resources” folder of the installation path
    Note: Join the files and not overwrite them, as the software will stop working otherwise
  3. Start the application.
  4. That’s it, you are ready to slice with Cura.

Note: Profiles are just a starting point and do not constitute a all-in-one solution for all geometries.
Remember that every object is different and has different needs.

FABtotum Profiles

Source: https://github.com/FABtotum/FAB_Configs/archive/master.zip

Slicing an STL model

Once Cura is configured, the correct FABtotum profile is loaded, and you have a model on your computer that you need to prepare for printing, you can proceed with slicing itself.

The task is pretty easy: just drag and drop an .stl or an .obj file to the interface (or select the folder icon “Open file” in the 3D view (1)), and the 3D model will load.

You can select it, move it, scale it, rotate it, mirror it and multiply it using the transformation tools (2).

Select the head, the material and the quality profile you want to use to print the model (Eg: Printing head Pro with 0.4mm nozzle in Lime green PLA in fast quality) (3).

You can vary the single printing settings (4).

Check how the machine will perform layer by layer (crucial thing to do) by clicking on the view mode icon (5),  and save the .gcode by clicking the “Save to File” button on bottom right of the window (6).

Once you have saved your .gcode file, you must upload it to the FABtotum via the FABUI’s  project manager. You can then proceed to print it as usual.

Sequential Batch Printing

Both Cura 1 and Cura 2 allow to choose the mode of the batch printing: you can print many objects at the same time or one at the time.
This is very useful to reduce printing times and user intervention between multiple prints. It also allows to prepare gcodes of complete projects composed by multiple parts that can be printed in one task.

To switch between one mode to the other one modify the value “Print sequence” from “Special mode” section.

If you select the One at a time mode you will see the the printing volume reduced as size: this for avoid collision between the printed objects (that can have a height < = 17mm) and the carriage.

3D printing with FABtotum and Gcodes generated with Cura

Common Slicing Parameters

Changing Parameters

Once you have tried our profiles you will want to make changes and create your own.
Here are some basic information on slicing.

  • NOZZLE SIZE: This is the tiny hole from which the material flows, the Hybrid Head has a 0.35mm nozzle, the Printing Head (PRO as well) a 0.4 mm interchangeable one as standard (more are available, their compatibility depends on the Head).
  • LAYER HEIGHT: This parameter corresponds to the height of each layer. A bigger layer means a less precise, but faster print, a smaller layer means a more precise, but slower print. The maximum layer height is calculated in relation to the size of the nozzle. You should divide the nozzle size by 2, that way you will get a good value to use as a maximum layer height.
    Divide the nozzle size by 3, 4, or 5 to get good values for very high quality prints.
    The minimum layer height is linked to material fluidity, for a standard PLA filament we achieved really nice results with a 0,05 mm (50 microns, 1/7 Nozzle) layer height. With a 0,03 mm (30 microns, 1/11 nozzle) layer the material started to curl while depositing and the surface finish was worse.
  • SHELL THICKNESS: With this parameter you can choose how thick the outside shell can be. It refers to the sides of the object. The basic setting foresees you should double the nozzle size (i.e. if using our 0.35 mm nozzle you should set this parameter at 0.7 mm, with our 0.4 mm nozzle, the parameter should be 0.8 mm). However using the basic setting you may see the internal infill of the object from the outside, so this is not appropriate if you want to achieve good surface finish, but you will get a faster print and a lighter object. If you want to create solid sturdy objects, you should increase this as you like.
  • BOTTOM/TOP THICKNESS: This parameter corresponds to the thickness of the top and bottom shells. These are very important parameters for a high quality print. The higher the value the better the quality, but also the slower the process and the more material is used.
  • FILL DENSITY: This is the material fill percentage inside the object. Lower infill value means faster printing and lighter but more fragile objects. Higher infill means slower prints, but more resistant objects. Reasonable values range between 10% and 30%. If you are printing PLA, or another low shrinkage material, you can increase infill up to 100% (with ABS you will get a lot of warping).
    There is a big difference between 25% and 24%: that’s because up to 24% the filling is in both directions for every layer;  from 25%, Cura changes the filling direction at every layer.
  • PRINT SPEED: This is another parameter that significantly influences print quality. This is the speed at which the machine will print.  If you set a very high speed, the mechanical inertia of the machine will start to produce defects on the print. Printing at slower speeds facilitates the machine in following the lines and producing good corners, it also makes it easier for the machine to push filament to the extruder and to cool down the material.
    A good range is between 30mm/s up to 120mm/s, with the most used values being between 50mm/s and 90mm/s.
  • PRINTING TEMPERATURE: The value to set depends on the material you are using: for PLA a good range is 185°-210°, a good temperature to start is 190°. The material gets more liquid with temperature, so if you want to print at a faster volumetric speed, you will need to increase the temperature of your extruder a little or on the contrary if you are printing slowly you will need to decrease the temperature to avoid melting the material too much. Choose a lower temperature to print files with lots of overhangs.
  • BED TEMPERATURE: This parameter allows you to choose the temperature of the heated bed. We advise you set this to 40 if using PLA and 60 if using ABS. Max temperature for FABtotum’s Hybrid Bed is 100°C.
  • SUPPORT TYPE: You should use this when printing an object that presents vertical empty spaces. If set to “None” it won’t create any support. If set to “Touching build plate” it only creates a support where the support structure should touch the build plane. If set to “Everywhere” it will create a support also on top of the object.
  • PLATFORM ADHESION TYPE: These are options that you can select to prevent corners from lifting due to warping. “Brim” adds a single layer thick flat area around your object. “Raft” add a thick raster below the object and a thin interface between this and your object. Please note that if you enable either one of the two options, this will disable the “Skirt”.
  • FILAMENT DIAMETER: This corresponds to the diameter of the filament used. Our machine is designed to use 1.75 mm filaments which is the value you should put in Cura. Please always make sure to use our tested and approved high quality filaments when using our FABtotum, you can purchase spools on our store.
  • FILAMENT FLOW: This is the quantity of material extruded in percentage.
    The ones above are basic parameters, if you’re an experienced user you can also work with the advanced settings below.
  • RETRACTION SPEED AND DISTANCE: The speed is measured in mm per second and corresponds to how fast the filament is retracted while moving from one point to the other. A higher retraction speed works fairly well, but make sure not to set it too high to avoid grinding the filament. The distance is measured in mm and it corresponds to how much filament is retracted, set to 0 for no retraction, we advise you to set to 4 for good quality prints.
  • INITIAL LAYER THICKNESS: This parameter is used to set how thick you wish your bottom layer to be. Clearly a thicker bottom layer makes sticking to the bed easier. Set to 0.0 if you wish the bottom layer to have the same thickness as all other layers. We advise you to set this parameter to 0.23.
  • INITIAL LAYER LINE WIDTH: This parameter measured in % is used to improve bed adhesion and provides extra width to the extrusion on the first layer. We advise to set it to 120.
  • CUT OFF OBJECT BOTTOM: This parameter should be set when printing an object that doesn’t have a flat bottom as it sinks the object into the platform. This feature should be used to avoid for the object to detach from the plane.
  • TRAVEL SPEED: This parameter sets the speed at which the head moves when not printing. Suggested values for this are between 100mm/s, to 200mm/s.
    (500mm/s is the maximum we tried but this causes a lot of noise and may slowly destroy the machine if used for longer periods of time).
  • BOTTOM LAYER SPEED: It is important that the bottom layer is printed at a slower speed to allow it stick better to the bed, be aware that the bottom layer is the most important layer of all. We advise you set this at 25.
  • INFILL SPEED: This is the speed at which the infill parts are printed. When set to 0 the machine will use the print speed for the infill. The higher the speed, the faster the print. A faster print will, however, create a lower quality print, but if we consider it’s inside, unless you have specific needs, it can be somehow faster.
  • TOP/BOTTOM SPEED: This is the speed at which the top and bottom layers are printed. When set to 0, the machine will use print speed for them. We suggest you don’t print these layers too fast, as printing at a faster pace reduces printing time, but significantly decreases quality.
  • OUTER SHELL SPEED: This parameter corresponds to the speed in which the outer shell is printed. Printing it at a lower speed will improve the final skin quality, however too much difference between infill speed and outer shell speed can negatively affect printing quality. We advise to set this at 75.
  • INNER SHELL SPEED: This is the speed at which the inner shell is printed. This should be set at an average speed between the outer shell speed and infill/printing speed. If set to 0, printing speed will be used for the inner shell.
  • MINIMAL LAYER TIME: This feature sets the minimum time spent for a layer to cool down, before the next layer is put on top. We advise to set it to 6.
  • ENABLE COOLING FAN: This feature is essential especially  during faster prints as it provides extra cooling.
    If you are an expert you can also work with even more advanced settings. This is achieved in Cura by going to → EXPERT → Open EXPERT Settings
  • VOLUMETRIC SPEED (Volumetric Flow Rate): A good way of understanding your parameters is calculating volumetric speed. This is the number of cubic millimeters the unit is extruding every second.
    You can calculate it as per below:
    LAYER HEIGHT (mm) x NOZZLE SIZE (mm) x PRINT SPEED (mm/s) = VOLUMETRIC SPEED (mm3/s)
    You can change the temperature according to this speed (more volumetric speed, higher temperature) and the maximum volumetric speed of the material you are using.
  • RETRACTION MM AND SPEED: Our machine is limited to maximum 18 mm/s in retraction speed, so you can stick to this value. As for retraction length, a good value to use it around 6mm (just change at maximum 1-2mm, small changes in this case can be useful).
    Parts with a lot of retraction can damage the filament, till it breaks, so it’s better to increase the fill of the part to get the filament to advance more during the print, hence the next retraction will be on a new filament segment.


3D Printing Filaments Guide

3D Printing filaments guide

Choosing the right filament

There are several materials that can be 3D printed, each one with different physical proprieties and working temperatures.
The FABtotum can load filament spools up to 210mmx55mm(OD,Thickness), with filament diameter in the range 1.75mm +/- 0.1mm
We strongly suggest using certified official FABtotum brand filaments, as they give more reliable results with our hardware.
You are however free to experiment and use different brands, as long as they use the same material class, diameter and temperature specifications.

See how to load or unload the spools in the load and unload a filament spool article.

Pre-flight check

If you are using a FABtotum filament you should not worry about the material too much, as extensive testing has been done to ensure good performances.
However you may also use third party filaments. In both cases always make sure to keep in mind the following:

  • If you are using a Slicing Software profile be aware that it’s not meant as a fool-proof solution, and might be tweaked a little to fit each 3D printed object.
    Sometimes a profile will work great regardless, but with the right tuning you might get better results in less time.
  • Always store the filament spool in a suitable place, far away from sources of heat, sunlight and humidity.
  • Make sure that, if you are using a third party filament, the diameter of the filament is consistent within the tolerance of +/- 0.1mm. Make a few spaced measurement.
  • Different filaments use different temperatures. When changing one spool to another which uses a different filament make sure to clean the nozzle at the previous material temperature first, then adjust the temperature, this helps cleaning the melting chamber (hot end) and nozzle.
  • Always load and check if the filament is extruding manually (from the JOG menu).
  • Make sure the spool is locked in place with the locking lever and it’s free to rotate. Have the Feeding tube pass below the back spool roller (under the spool itself) in order to avoid it becoming stuck in the spool once most of the filament has been extruded.
3D printer filaments and materials: PLA, ABS and Nylon

Suggested Temperatures

PLA (Polylactic Acid)

It’s one of the most used material in 3D printing: it’s a biodegradable polymer that comes from corn.
3D Printing suggested temperature: 200 – 220 °C
Bed temperature: 25 – 65 °C (bed can be at room temperature)

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)

It’s a common plastic polymer, it’s used to print strong parts. Having an higher glass transition temperature could be used to make parts that are used in hotter environments.
3D Printing suggested temperature: 220 – 260 °C
Bed temperature: 60 – 90 °C

NYLON

One of the stongest material you can find for 3D printing. It can be used for mechanical parts
3D Printing suggested temperature : 245°-255°C
Bed temperature: 90-100°C

Special Filaments:

Combining PLA or ABS with other additives can be possible and will result in different properties.
Charging the polymers with materials like Carbon fibers, wood dust, metallic powder can make stronger materials or with a nice finishing.
Printing settings depends on the polymer used. Refer to the spool manufacturer or , in case of FABtotum Filaments , the Spool label to get the suggested printing settings.

Flexible Filaments

Flexible filaments can be printed only with the Printing Head Pro

Due to the bowden extruder setup it’s -in fact – usually difficult to print flexible filaments like rubber or TPU with the Hybrid Head or the Printing Head V2.
Doing so will result in filament clogging the extruder and subsequent need to clean it.



Improving 3D Printed Object Adhesion, Tips &#038; Tricks

Improving Adhesion on the plane

There is a problem that everyone who is using 3D printers will have sooner or later: sticking the printed parts to the build platform.
Adhesion depends on the material used and other environmental factors.

There are different ways to prevent this problem:

  • Calibrating the bed
    A well calibration will create a constant thickness first layer, the material cools homogeneusly and the printing nozzle will not hit the printed part. With the FABtotum is very easy to calibrate the bed, using the bed calibration guided procedure.
  • Add the brim or the raft to the sliced model
    All the most used slicing softwares allow to add brim, that is a single layer area around the model, increasing the surface of the object attached to the building plate. Second one builts extra surface under all the object: a better option when thing is not flat.
  • Clean the glass
    The simpliest way is to clean the glass of the plane properly (when printer is off) with methylated spirits, removing dust, glues and fingerprint.
    To remove hairspray (see below) a little bit of water with a damp cloth will do. Of course, platform must be removed from the printer first. Pay attention and avoid any water to go on electronic parts.
  • Heat
    Heating the bed (between 40 for PLA and 60°C for ABS) the printer will be able to perfectly work. Very high temperatures may cause other overheating issues such as stringing or clogging of the nozzle.
    When environmental temperatures are above 25°C, slightly lower bed and nozzle temperatures.
  • Hair spray
    It’s one of the easiest and the cheapest solution for stick the 3d printed parts to the bed. It’s better to remove the bed from the printer, by removing the bed to his housing, for not damage smooth rods and other precision parts. For remove the spray, rub the surface with a paper napkin with a bit of water.
  • Blue tape
    This is another common method, there are severals types of paper tape, the most used is the Blue Tape you can find on our store.
  • ABS slurry
    For printing ABS: It is a slurry made with ABS molten in acetone. It’s made using ABS scraps and old wrong prints left in a acetone jar for few minutes, until the ABS is completely dissolved. It can be applied using cotton discs or a brush. Warning! Don’t smell the vapours after the application.

Other similar solutions:

  • Vinyl glue
  • Stick glue
  • Kapton tape


Advanced: Printing Head PRO

Advanced Printing Head PRO

Introduction

The Printing Head PRO is a Head with 1:10 reduction and hi-speed capabilities.
It is important to understand that the main advantage of operating the Printing Head PRO is in its ability to produce more reliable results regardless of the shape of the 3D file being printed, the material and the way the files are arranged on the Hybrid Bed.

In other words with less configuration it is possibile to obtain good results.
Let’s see how to get the best out of the Printing Head PRO by following a few advices.

Filament Management and spool loading/unloading

FILAMENT INSERTION

FILAMENT REMOVAL

Depending on the model of the FABtotum (Core, Pro editions) the filament is loaded and unloaded in a different manner.
It’s important to notice that since the Printing Head PRO does not require the feeder mechanism to work, the filament will not be inserted in the feeding mechanism but in a different loading hole.With the Printing Head PRO you can automatically unload or load a spool: from the Maintenance menu, go to Spool.
Such option is also available during a print if the print is paused.
You can also load and unload manually the filament by using the filament release lever on the back of the Printing Head PRO if the nozzle temperature is over 170°C and the unit is not performing any task.
As usual, make sure the filament entering the Head is straight and pointy (cut the tip with scissors at an angle).


FABtotum Core
The Core edition of the FABtotum Personal fabricator have a secondary hole in the spool compartment where to insert the filament if the Printing Head PRO is installed. It is marked by a label in the upper rear corner of the spool compartment.
Use this hole to insert the filament up to the Head.

Install the PTFE tube on the Printing Head PRO (1,2) and the back of the FABtotum CORE.
Do not use the onboard feeder mechanism to feed the Printing Head PRO.
Push the filament up until the Printing Head PRO feeding gear, then pull the lever in the back of the Printing Head PRO to complete insertion by pushing the filament further (3).


FABtotum Core PRO
The Core PRO edition of the FABtotum Personal Fabricator have a secondary hole in the spool compartment where to insert the filament if the print head pro is installed. It is marked by a label in the upper rear corner of the spool compartment.

Here a filament sensor will sense if the filament is present. Use this hole to insert the filament up to the Head.
Install the PTFE tube on the Printing Head PRO (1,2) and the back of the FABtotum Core.
Push the filament up until the Printing Head PRO feeding gear, then pull the lever in the back pof the Printing Head PRO to complete insertion by pushing the filament further (3).

Core Edition (up until May 2017) & Older Models.
Older units can operate the Printing Head PRO just like any other version above. However no hole in the back panel was present to push the filament, a feature needed unless the spool is kept outside of the unit during print.
Refer to the replicable parts archive to obtain thePrinting Head PRO hole mask to assist you in making a hole in the back of the unit for upgrade.
Notice: if your model does not feature a spool filament control (that pause the print in case of spool depletion) make sure to check that the remaining filament is enought for the print you are about to start or that you pause the print with enought filament remaining to allow a confortable extraction of the filament.
Once you are sure your unit is properly configured and upgraded, follow the instructions to insert and remove the filament from the Core Paragraph.

Filament Extraction/ Spool unloading
Filament extraction on the Printing Head PRO can be done manually or assisted via the spool load/unload procedure available in the Maintenance menu or during a Pause in the print. You can also trigger a pre-programmed pause by introducing a “M0” in the Gode at the desired line.
Once the procedure is completed you can remove the PTFE tube (1) by pushing the push-fit (2). Then pull the filament out of the chamber by pulling up the release lever with the nozzle still hot (3).

Slicing Tips & Tricks for the Printing Head PRO

Nest parts, Avoid Batch Printing

The Printing Head PRO can work on objects with intensive retractions requirements.
It does that with extreme speed and power. Take full advantage of this feature by packing more objects on the Hybrid Bed, the heated bed of any FABtotum, and have them be as close as reasonably possibile and by not using the batch printing feature of your slicing software.
Doing so you will be printing layer by layer all the objects without the need of wasting space.
This is useful for production or pre-production batches of parts that need to produce many pieces without the intervention of the user.

Speed Can be Beneficial, especially at lower temperatures.

With the built-in bowden tube it’s common to reduce speed to improve filament grip and surface details.
Instead, with the Printing Head PRO, speed can produce beneficial effects on the print by reducing the time the nozzle is in contact with a particular surface, reducing heat exchanged with the part.
Since the Printing Head PRO can reach higher extrusion volumes, it also means it can print faster even at lower temperatures.
PLA, for instance, can be printed at 5°C less than usual (or even more) without impacting extrusion.
With lower temperatures small details can be obtained more easily.

Customize Slicing Profiles

The Printing Head Pro main advantage is that it can print every 3D object at the first try regardless of the shape.
This does not mean that best result can be obtained from the standard profiles, but that the standard profiles usually are the best in most situations.
Temperature and speed can be tuned, while retracts might depend on the stiffness of the material, in order to reduce artifacts (e.g. on flexible materials).
This way the standard profiles can be tuned for speed or for quality.
All slicing profiles and onboard samples have been tested with FABtotum Official Filaments but may be as well adapted with ease for the respective third party materials.

Get the official Profiles Here



3D Printing Troubleshooting

General 3D Printing Troubleshooting

When 3D printing with the FABtotum you may encounter difficulties in building certain shapes. As a general rule, always start troubleshooting with this basic set of rules:

The first layer doesn’t stick during printing or the print detaches.

If the filament doesn’t stick during printing, check the following:

  • The bed temperature is sufficient for adhesion. Temperatures vary greatly depending on the material and the area covered by the first layer. Don’t turn temperatures too high or the filament, especially PLA, will clog the nozzle.
  • There is no debris and the bed is clean of any fingerprint. Skin grease as well as cleaning products can compromise adhesion. Always use denatured alcohol and a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • The temperature nozzle is not too hot or too cold.
  • The nozzle is sufficiently close to the bed (the first layer should be slightly squished to perfectly stick).
  •  If everything else fails, try using a surface adhesion product like blue duct tape or regular hair spray.
  • Lower the speed to give it more time to stick and cool.
  • add raft or brim to expand the contact surface

You may read more about these topics here:
Improving 3D Printed Object Adhesion, Tips & Tricks
3D Printing Filaments Guide 

The nozzle is not extruding filament.

This is a common problem that can have several causes.

Be sure that:

  1. Room temperature is between 15°C and 30°C. Too high temperatures will make printing hard, especially if the object presents many retractions.
  2. Keep the nozzle and the bed temperature as low as possible. Reduce retraction length as much as possibly while slicing according to the object’s needs.
  3. You’re a strictly using top quality 1.75 mm filaments (we recommend to use ours, as the machine is tested with them).
  4. Make sure that the the filament can be pushed by the feeding mechanism, to do so:
    • go to Jog;
    • heat up the head to extrusion temperature (PLA 190°C, ABS 230°C, Nylon 250°C);
    • when temperature is reached extract the feeding tube from the printing module by pushing down the push-fit and pulling up the bowden;
    • click on the E+ button and the FABtotum will extrude 10mm, if the filament is not moving, pull it while the motor is running: the filament has been grinded and requires some help to restart extruding;
    • now push the filament and tube back inside the Printing Head and make sure that you can extrude by pressing the E+ button.
  5. The nozzle is clean. You can verify this by manually pushing some filament down the printing module when at printing temperature. If extrusion is difficult and you need a fair amount of force, then refer to the maintenance section to unclog a clogged nozzle.
  6. Nozzle is too close to the printing surface. In this case the filament won’t be able to get out if too close (you can tell it’s too close by the fact that the layer is very thin and has a faint tint, almost translucent).

Head or Bed is not heating

Before you operate the machine with the head you just installed, check if the thermistor is correctly working. In the jog menu (or in the top right corner) you will see the current temperature.
If the nozzle is cold and no temperature has been perceived, you should check current room temperature, as the nozzle should be roughly at the same temperature.
Rising the temperature to 50°C (head) or 35°C (bed) should result in the temperature rising.
If this is not the case please check the following:

  1. The unit has not entered its safe mode. Safe mode might trigger when an error occurs (unit ambient color is red or solid yellow).
    To get back from safe mode hit the “Alert” button in the top right corner of the FABUI.
  2. Check that the head and the bed are correctly inserted and are making proper contact with their connectors.
  3. Check that the temperature is at least 180°C. Note that below 175°C the unit will not extrude, triggering a “Cold extrusion prevented” error, this is done to avoid damaging the filament.
  4. Check that the flexible flat cable coming from the carriage (flex, in short) is not damaged in any visible part or has bubbles on its surface. This could be caused by a short circuit and requires technical support.
  5. As a last check, use a multimeter to check the thermistor and the continuity of the resistor on both the printing head and the hybrid bed. Contact support for detailed instructions.

4. Milling

CNC Milling and Engraving

CNC Milling: Making a Make More Sign

In this guide we are going to take a step-by step approach on how to use the FABtotum for CNC milling, by engraving a sample sign.
We will engrave the “Make More” signon a foam stock block. We’ll use foam because we can avoid damages to the milling bit if something fails.

Files required:

You can download the SVG from which the gcode was created here: Makemore.svg
Download the .nc file (is the numerical control file): Makemore.nc

Preparing the Milling Job

  1. Turn upside down the Hybrid Bed so that it shows the milling side.
    Do not mill on glass as it’s dangerous.
  2. Place a piece of material that you will mill and fasten it to the bed (Using M4 Bolts and nuts or in this case two-sided duct tape as the material is very light). For this example, the dimensions have to be at least 135x55x20mm (about 5x2x1 inch).
  3. Remove the Hybrid Head or the Milling Head and using the provided tools to install the milling bit of your choice.
  4. Install the Head on the carriage and on FABUI.
  5. Upload the .nc file in “Project Manager”
  6. Now go to the Make Menu and start the job for the file you just uploaded to the FABUI.
  7. Mark the “Origin Point” with a pen on the stock material. The point mustn’t be exactly on the edge, but 3-4 mm centered. For future reference, the origin point is exactly the same point where the X,Y and Z axis values are 0 in the CAD model.
  8. By using the small Jog widget, move the x,y and z axis (move this axis slowly, by reducing the “feedrate” and the “Z step” to not damage the tip of the milling bit).
    The tip has to be few microns from the stock material, to make a fine calibration you can use a piece of paper: position it over the stock material and start to raise the z axis slowly, start to move the paper until it is blocked between the tip and the stock material.
    NOTICE: If the endtops get pressed click on the warning message “OK” and move the head by hand (If they remain pressed, the controls won’t work).
    When the tip is in the correct position, set “Zero” by clicking on the central button, then press “Start” this will “Zero” the position of the tool so it will start according the CAD drawing and more precisely aligned to the stock as the CAM instructions (gcode) expects.
  9. When you are done, press start and follow the on-screen instructions. Once the Job has started, the milling motor will power up and the milling process will begin in seconds.
    Take your time to go around in the Control tabs and see the current speed and RPMs.
    You can play around a bit if you are using Foam. Other materials will be way less permissive.
  10. Wait for the milling process to end (less than 10 minutes). The milling bit will stop and you will be later be able to retrieve the piece.

Make your own designs

Best CNC and rapid prototyping materials: wood

This was a simple introduction on 3D Milling.

To make more complex designs you can count on a wide array of third party CAD/CAM programs that are widely available and scalable between different sectors.
CAD and CAM design is a wide and deep topic that greatly depends on the software used. If you want to learn how to create your own machining Gcodes starting from your own CAD, look at your CAD/CAM software package and follow the CAD/CAM guidelines for the FABtotum Personal Fabricator.

You’ll be able to generate a gcode file (*.nc, *.gc, *.gcode)  with the set of instructions needed to CNC Mill or Engrave your very own CAD design .

In the meantime, check some of the community guides and tutorials on the topic.



Milling &#038; Engraving Bits &#8211; when and which one to use.

Introduction to Milling bits

The FABtotum Milling Head V2 and Hybrid Head both natively support milling bits with a shank diameter in the range of 3.0 to 3.5mm (0.12 inches or 1/8“)
The above ER8 Collet can be swapped with another compatible one in the ER8 family.
Additional ER8 Collets allow to mount endbits with shank diameter from 1 to 5mm.

Endbits (or Milling cutters) comes in different shapes and sizes, each one for a specific purpose.
Engraving is usually done with fine, point-shaped endbits at higher speeds. Cutting and Roughing of the stock piece are usually done with flat roughing end mills while finishing in 3D milling is done with fine ball nose cutters.

Endbits remove the material by “biting” it away with their flutes while spinning. Each endbit can have a different amount of cutting flutes depending on the diameter and the purpose. The Number of flutes refers to the number of cutting edges that are cut into the body of the tool. More flutes increases the strength of the tool, but reduces space for chip flow. You can cut fast with a single flute tool, but the finish of a three or four flute cutter will be smoother.

Since the number of flutes increases the friction on the tool, which causes the tool to heat up. Some materials, like acrylic or PMMA, require the use of tools with fewer flutes in order to reduce the heat and avoid melting the material. Ideally the tool should never create waste material (chips) that are hotter than room temperature, but that can change very dramatically from material to material.

The speed at which a bit is spun is described in RPM (revolutions per minute).
Every bit has an ideal range of speed or RPMs it needs to operate within.
The ability to change the routers’ RPM is essential to good bit life and a good finish.

Vibrations should also be kept at bay. The fewer the flutes, the larger the vibration on the tool, as the load is always
localized instead of being distributed among more flutes.

If the tool is going too fast it will heat very quickly, increasing wear and may break. The added stress may ruin the motor spindle.
But how fast is too fast? The concept is better described with the concept of Chip Load.

Chip Load is commonly referred as the amount of material each tool can remove from the stock. Chip Load is dependent upon the feed rate, rotational speed and number of flutes. Each type of material will have a range of optimal chip loads.
If the speed at which the tool is proceeding in the material is too much considering the speed at which the tool is removing material then the chip load is too high.

If the chip load is too high noise and vibrations will increase and this usually leads to damages to the endbit.

This leads to the concept of cutting depth. Since you can determine the cutting depth at which the tool operates, a deeper cut will increase the chip load, while a more shallow cut will reduce the chip load. But a shallow cut will stress the tip of the tool more, reducing its capability to plunge effectively in to the material in its lifecycle.

A finishing pass does require more passes to get a smoother surface. flat endmills are usually used only in roughing operations while ball nose cutters are used for finishing contours so you get less of a jagged appearance as shown in the diagram above.

MILLING BITS

Flat End Milling Bit

These ones are very flexible and can be used for many materials, even the hard ones. They are used to carve the material and take the most of it away without a second step. There are single or double fluted bits (actually, there are milling bits with up to eight flutes): the more you have, the harder the material can be. You wouldn’t use a single fluted one for metals.
The number of flutes increase with the hardness of the material. The FABtotum is able to work on any surface but it might be better to add another pass on the same route rather than going too strong.

Ball End Milling Bit

These are the ones needed to mill details or parts that require a nice and smooth finish. They can be fluted as well and the same idea as above applies.
The Ball End Mill, also known as Ball Nose milling bits, are the best option if the shape is not squared but has curves rounded angles.
They work perfectly with all surfaces but are likely to be chosen when a soft wood, balsa or foam is used. This is not a must but just an idea.
The presence of more flutes can add speed and precision, depending on how they spin: moving clockwise the flutes should take off more material while going backwards they would add a cleaner finish to the object.

V Carve Milling Bit

V carve flutes are used to engrave v-shaped paths and are usually associated with PCB engraving.They are differentiated by the angle of the tip. The bigger the angle the less probable is to break but it will be able to realize only bigger details, while smaller angles are used for fine details.


5. Laser Engraving

Laser Head &#8211; Safety &#038; Health Guidelines

Laser Head – Safety & Health Guidelines

stacks_image_1

THE LASER HEAD IS A CLASS 3B LASER PRODUCT.
Class 3B lasers are hazardous for eye exposure. They can heat skin and materials but are not considered a burn hazard. For visible-light lasers, this laser’s module output power is between 5 and 499 milliwatts at 405 nanometers.

SAFE USE GUIDANCE
The Laser Head is a Class 3B laser product that can reach up to 499 milliwatts. The laser module in this product can emit radiation that causes eye injury if used improperly. Due to the nature of the manufacturing process and the different materials the laser can be shined on, use of laser protective eyewear (provided with this product) is mandatory even if class 3B lasers are usually considered safe if reflected from a matte surface. Even mildly refllective surfaces can cause eye damage.

The risk of eye injury is always present: even a brief exposure could cause retinal damage.
Never look directly at the laser beam focusing point unless you are using the provided safety glasses.
Do not use sunglasses or other glasses unless specifically designed to filter out the same power level and wavelenght of this product’s laser class.

ONLY ALLOW USE BY A RESPONSIBLE PERSON
This is not a toy. Children should not be permitted to use the FABtotum Personal Fabricator when equipped with a Laser Head.
Any teenager using the Laser Head should be continuously supervised by a responsible adult.

DO NOT USE AS A LASER POINTER
Not designed to work stand-alone and to be easily pointed at targets, the purpose of this product is NOT laser pointing.
Use of the unit in this manner is not intended by the manufacturer.
Pointing the unit, reflecting or diverting the beam to another target other than the intended material to be cut or engraved is extremely dangerous and may cause harm or injury.

EYE INJURY HAZARD — DIRECT AND REFLECTED BEAM
Reflections off mirrors, glass, and shiny surfaces can be just as hazardous as the direct beam. Avoid reflected radiation and use of reflective materials.

POTENTIAL EYE INJURY HAZARD – DIFFUSE REFLECTION
Avoid staring at the laser dot at close range, for more than a few seconds even with protective gear. Looking at the laser dot for more than 10 seconds can cause persisting damage.

SKIN INJURY HAZARD
Never interfere with the Laser Head, never place your hand inside the unit at any time.
Do not deliberately attempt to burn skin. This can be very painful, can take long to heal, and can leave a permanent scar.

SMOKE HAZARDS
Airborne particles from laser engraving are dangerous.
Keep in a well ventilated area or use in a segregated room or lab with a fume extractor.
Particulate generated as a result of laser applications is measurable in microns, which means it is small enough to be inhaled. Depending on the material, these particles can cause serious side effects.

IMPORTANT: AVOID DANGEROUS MATERIALS

NEVER USE THE LASER HEAD IN A CLOSED ENVIRONMENT WITHOUT PROPER AIR TREATMENT.
DO NOT USE THE LASER HEAD WITH ANY MATERIAL CAPABLE OF EMITTING SMOKE OR VOLATILE PARTICLES.
DO NOT USE WITH MATERIALS THAT CAN BURN OR SUSTAIN A FLAME.

Never use the Laser Head on materials that may cause dangerous fumes to be emitted and spread. Such fumes can be EXTREMELY dangerous to the health if inhaled or are in contact with skin, eyes and respiratory tract.
While ceramics, glass and wood release microscopic particulate that may cause irritation to the respiratory tract, skin, nose and eyes, metals like steel emit chromium and nickel fumes that are carcinogenic.
Lasered plastics, rubbers and powder coatings produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Using a laser system – whether it is cutting, engraving or marking – catalyses VOC gas as it melts the material.Moreover, because these gases are toxic and have the ability to spread quickly, it is important that these fumes are removed immediately.
Synthetic polymers include plastics like polyethylene, polycarbonate, polypropylene, as well as synthetic rubber, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, phosgene and many other materials.
Polyethylene  (PET) produces formaldehyde, a noxious VOC and known carcinogen, which means aside from the danger of  bringing asthmatic attacks and allergies, it is known to cause cancer.
Rubbers that are exposed to the laser emit benzene, a VOC and recognized carcinogen that may cause death, low white blood cell count, anaemia and cancer.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a plasticizer that is used to make a multiplicity of products including signage, figurines, flooring and many other products.
PVC emits extremely toxic and corrosive hydrogen chloride acid gas, dioxin, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride, which make a very toxic carcinogenic combination.
PVC can cause severe health problems including cancer, neurological damage, as well as reproductive and immune system damage.
Phosgene is an ingredient in most plastics composed of hydrochloric acid.  Phosgene destroys lung tissue causing pulmonary edema.

TARGETING AIRCRAFTS AND VEHICLES IS ILLEGAL

Never point, reflect or divert the beam to a moving vehicle or aircraft.

LASER PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR (GLASSES)
The Provided Laser Glasses are mandatory.
Because the eyewear is blocking some or all of the laser’s light (for example, a hazardous reflection) you still should use caution even when using laser protective eyewear.
As you use the laser, any other persons in the area should also have the same type of laser protective eyewear as you, or leave the room if not properly equipped.

DO NOT USE SUNGLASSES FOR LASER PROTECTION
Sunglasses are NOT laser protective eyewear. They are not rated to ensure light-attenuating protection. Most sunglasses will not block enough laser light to significantly reduce hazardous exposures.
use only certified first party equipment or lab-certified equipment rated for class 3B laser products at 405nm.



Calibrating the Laser Head focus distance

Calibrating the Laser Head focus distance

How to calibrate the Laser Head focus distance

Getting Started

This guide will teach you how to obtain a sharp focusing point with the Laser Head.

BEFORE CALIBRATING: PUT ON THE PROVIDED  SAFETY GOGGLES

The Laser Head uses a non-fixed 2-stage lens focusing assembly to obtain a very sharp focusing point.
For the purpose of engraving and limiting health hazards the laser beam has been focused at a fixed range, close to the lower tip of the Laser Head.
Therefore, being the focusing point now fixed, the distance of the Laser Head from the object to engrave or cut must be changed to match the focusing distance.
Usually the focusing point can be found 2 to 4 mm below the tip of the laser head and it can vary during the assembly.

The focusing distance must therefore be determined and saved during this calibration procedure.

First of all, let’s download the calibration sample Gcode at http://download.fabtotum.com/gcodes/material_test_pattern.gcode and upload it on your FABUI using the Object Manager.

This is an iterative process. The head will try to engrave different patterns at increasing power that will tell you if you overestimated or underestimated the focusing distance.
This test is also useful to find the right condition to engrave a specific material, as it cycles thru many speed/laser power ratios in order to obtain a good result.

Load the material_test_pattern.GCODE gcode file from the Make>Laser menu.
Proceed to put on your safety goggles and take note of the safety warnings and hazards that are listed before starting.
Calibrate the Z using either manual positioning or assisted positioning.

Now get yourself a normal 80gr piece of white printer paper, and place it on the build area (Milling side up).
If you use manual positioning you already know the heigth or perhaps you are using the last known position in a series of laser jobs, all at the same height.In the case of assisted positioning you will be asked to manually move the part you want to laser at around 1 mm from the lower tip of the Laser Head.

Then, after pressing ok , the height will be raised automatically to match the last saved position (3 mm if this is your first time calibrating).
The engraving will start and end within a minute.
Once the process has completed a series of patterns like these should be engraved on the piece of paper.

Calibrating the Laser Head focus distance: the guide

Find and save the position

What you need to see is:

  1. A perfect rectangle, almost cut off.
  2. A sequence of numbers from 1 to 10
  3. A series of  “gradient” lines that starts with 50% horizontal fill on the first line (1) and ends with a full black mark -100% fill – on the last line (10)

During the job execution, judge your result and change the Z height accordingly. You can do so by operating on the Z height override button in the command tab.

At the end of each print you will be asked to save the Z height changes.

Change it 1-2 mm each time and test it again, until you get a favorable result.
You can remember the height for later use or start using the Assisted calibration during the laser procedure preparation.
From now on the assisted calibration will return to the position saved each time.



Laser Head: Laser Engraving and cutting

Laser Head: Laser Engraving and cutting

The scope of this tutorial is to illustrate an engraving procedure with a sample raster image.
The procedure is still valid for DXF files, but CAM params will be different when selecting the profiles.
For this tutorial we have chosen the Make More sign on the left.
first of all we’ll log in to the Online laser App, in order to generate the Gcode used for laser cutting.

Unique username and password to log on the Laser App tool are to be found on  the “First setup guide” sheet provided with the Laser Head.

Let’s then follow the instructions provided in the following slideshow.