Software

Getting started

Install the Arduino software and its drivers before you plug in your ramps board. You might need its included drivers, so it is best to let them install. MAC User?info you will need to change the firmware buadrate and perhaps a different driver.

 

Firmware

Marlin is the firmware I use and it is pre-flashed on the ramps 1.4 board included in the kit (download the preconfigured files here). If you are building your own feel free to use any board you want.

 

Control Software

Now that your machine can talk to your computer you need to be able to control it. You can either use an lcd screen or control software. For the beginners software works better than the LCD screen.

This can move the machine along any of the three axis and can also send gcode generated in any program (estlcam, slic3r, Image2Gcode, ect).

Repetier-Host is an easy program to use, here is a basic set up. You can also use Pronterface, matter control, ESTLCAM, or many others. Again for the beginners, start with repetier-host (not server).

 

Testing

Never plug or unplug anything into the ramps board while there is any power, usb or plug!

Move your gantry to the center of your build space and make sure the z axis is roughly centered in its travel. You never know which way it’s going to go!

With all the motors plugged in, plug in the USB cable and the power to the ramps board and hit connect in the upper left corner of repetier, it should take a few seconds and turn green to indicate it is connected.

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You can now use the control in the manual tab to move the machine. The arrows allow for .1, 1, 10, 50mm movements. Start small 1 mm at a time. The arrows should move it in that direction. Right is right (x positive), up is back or away from you (y positive), up on the z axis should be up as well (z positive). If it doesn’t move as expected hit disconnect, unplug the power and usb, any axis that is moving the wrong way simply flip the plug. Power back up and test again.

rcontrols

 

First use

Now the machine should be moving around and once you finally get board of manually moving it around it is time to put it to work.

Let’s start with ESTLCAM I have put together a little walk through using estlcam as a plotter. So strap on a pen, (or a “spindle” if you know what you’re doing) and follow the Basic instructions.

 

Getting dirty

Now the machine can draw pictures it is time to get it dirty. Hope you didn’t make a white one…

When you are ready to try and cut something, here are some Intermediate instructions.

Estlcam is considered a CAM program there are others, Fusion 360 is nice as well, but pretty advanced.