Building Rostock 3D printer (part 7 – LCD Panel)

The printer assembly is almost complete.  Mechanical pieces are all in and electronics is in.  The last thing to do is to put the LCD panel on the printer and we’ll be (almost on our way).

The LCD panel sits in front of the electronics board.  It allows you to see various information about the status of the system (e.g. Current temperatures (hot end, bed), elevation of the hot end, etc).  It also allows you to have access to some basic functions without having to use a connected computer (e.g. Homing the hot end, changing the elevation of the hot end, marking the Z height, etc).

The LCD panel installation apparatus composed of three components.  There is the LCD panel proper, the flat connector wires and the board adapter.  Installation should be quite easy.

Practically, I advise you to follow the instructions in the manual and mark every piece and connector with an A or B to indicate which connector end should be used where.  The main reason for this is that you may receive one of two potential LCD panels (red or white).  Each one should be the same, but the providers had a different understanding of where the pin 0 should be… Consequently, if you are using the red board, you have to reverse some of the connections.  Having A or B on each of the wires and connectors makes it easier to do.

The installation of the LCD panel was trivial, it took me about 5 minutes.  When I turned the printer on and looked at the display, things were not as expected.  I got two blank rows of data displayed.  This definitively wasn’t expected.

As with software, I first doubt myself… so I checked all the connections, made sure that everything was ok… Not my fault apparently… I then doubted seemecnc’s documentation, so I reversed the connectors, made it match the white pin-out… No success either.  Finally, I started doubting the LCD panel itself.   So I contacted seemecnc to discuss my issue.

I sent them an email on Friday, got an answer Monday morning.  We exchanged emails for a bit, sending pictures back and forth.  Ultimately, it was agreed that either the LCD panel, the wires or the panel adapter were not functioning properly.  Seemecnc sent me new pieces, which I got 3 days later.

I changed the LCD panel only, leaving the original board adapter and wires and success! I now have information displayed on the screen.

Kudos to seemecnc who were courteous, knowledgeable and very helpful in resolving this problem.  Thanks!

Building Rostock 3D printer (Part 6 – Electronics)

Next, the electronics.  The Rostock Max uses an Arduino based board, called RAMBo (I always wonder if the acronym is found before the meaning for it :-).   In any case, the RAMBo board was developed through the RepRap projects.  It’s cheap, stable, got tons of people working on it and is very easy to install.

In the case of the Rostock Max v2, it goes in the base of the printer.  There’s a bit of soldering to be done.  Most of the wires that were driven through the towers end up connected on the board.  There’s a bit of soldering to be done.  If you are handy with a multimeter, lucky you, it might be a good idea to check the connections once more, prior to connecting the whole thing.

Here’s a picture of the board installed.  You can see the stepper motor wires at the bottom.  The stop end wires are the black and white wires in the middle of the board.  Hot end and fans are mainly on the side. 

This part of the assembly took me the most time.  The reason is that I dreaded the idea of connecting something incorrectly or having a short.  Those issues are difficult to debug for a software guy like me.

In any case, assembly went well.  I turned the power on and there was no smoke coming from the board… Small victory!