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So I have a self build Mendel Reprap style 3d printer.

I've not used it in sometime after moving house but I'm looking to use it again. What should I pay attention to before calibrating and running it again?

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After storage you can check the following things before taking the machine into operation again:

  • Are all cables intact? You wouldn't want lose cables shorting your circuits, nor cables that may have become brittle or loose to break the circuitry during operation.
  • Wipe off dust of the axes. Depending on your design, this might not be a big issue. However, it does not take too much time and doesn't hurt. If you're using bushings, you don't want the dust shortening the lifetime of your rods/bushings if it is that easily avoidable. (side-note: the lifetime of bushings in regular 3D Printing use is more than you can print)
  • Apply fresh grease/oil, depending on what design your printer follows. The old grease/oil might have come off or aged.
  • Wipe off dust from the bed. - No dust on the nozzle, no dust embedded in your print.
  • While they most likely will not change, there is a chance that your thermistors are off. This property should be given by the manufacturer as max. drift/year.
  • Check your belts and pulleys. The belts might have come loose - tighten them again. If they lost their elasticity (does the 'curve' it made around the pulley stay to some extent?) they might need to be replaced.
  • Check your fans when turning on the printer. You wouldn't want to lose electronics when you can cover this with a look, however unlikely it might be.

Happy calibrating after that ;)

*edit: As Tom already pointe out, most of these things are unlikely, due to the usually rigid construction of the printer. These are merely more or less likely possibilities of things that can go bad or worse in storage. */edit

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't think thermistor drift is something that you need to worry about in 3D printing. Its effects are far too small to be noticed. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Jun 23 '16 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, that's why I introduced it as 'while they most likely will not change' and used 'might'. Just wanted to take it into the list for covering all possibilities. $\endgroup$ – kamuro Jun 23 '16 at 7:42
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The main thing that might have changed is the bed level, so you should level the bed again. If your printer is sufficiently sturdy, this may not even be necessary (but this should become apparent during your first print). The remaining calibration parameters (steps per mm for all axes, PID tuning, etc...) should not have changed.

You should perhaps also check for any bolts/nuts/cables that might have come loose during transport. This is not particularly likely to have happened, unless something was loose to begin with.

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