NOTE: If your printer asks you to update the 'firmware', please do so. (This will require an internet connection to your computer)
Having installed the Flashprint software, after opening you'll be prompted to input the type of machine you have. In the drop down, select either 'Inventor II Series' or 'Guider II S' and click 'OK'
Flashprint is a three step process. At the top, in the centre you will see three buttons. 'Load', 'Supports' and 'Print'. These are the three basic steps to get your students work printed. This will sometimes involve manipulating the designs slightly, before sending them to print.
Step 1. 'Load' students work.
Begin by clicking on 'Load'. Then simply find the STL file of the desired design.
Manipulating the file for printing
Once you have the file loaded, you are able to do three things to it before printing. These are:
'Move' - Move it to a different position on the platform. This is good if you are printing more than one design at a time.
'Rotate' - Rotating the design around. This is most useful for picking a print friendly orientation for the design.
'Scale' - Very handy as sometimes students work will be too big or too small. You can scale it to a more sensible size.
On the left you can click the Move icon to open the move menu. From here you can either type in a position for the design to move to, or more intuitively you can simply click and drag the design around the platform.
To rotate a design, simply click on the Rotate icon and it will bring up the rotate menu. You can rotate by 90° increments, type in your own measurements, or more intuitively you can simply click and drag the three coloured lines that come up around the design.
To scale a design you can click the scale icon and it will bring up the scale menu. Much like rotating there are three ways to do it. You can either type in specific measurements in 'mm', choose a percentage of the original size, or more intuitively click and drag the object up and down and it will scale accordingly.
Step 2. Adding Supports to the design.
Once you've got the design ready to go, the next step is to add supports. These are scaffolds that get built up around your design to hold up parts that may otherwise fall down or droop. Click on 'Supports' at the top of the screen and it will open the supports menu.
In the supports menu you can click 'Auto Supports' and it will automatically calculate them for you. Then simply click 'Back' to exit the menu. If it asks you to save at this point, click 'No'.
Step 3. Select the print settings.
Next you'll select the print settings. You'll notice a handful of options, but the default settings are perfect for most print jobs. I'll quickly explain the different options.
Material Type - The plastic that the filament is made of. For the Inventor IIS this should always be set to PLA
Supports - Whether or not you want the Supports from earlier to be used. If you 'Disable' this, it will stop printing the support and may damage the print.
Raft - The raft is a small platform that gets printed beneath objects. This is excellent for smaller designs (less than 10mm), as it allows designs with small amounts of surface area to stay stuck to the platform better.
Resolution - This is how good your print will look. The higher the resolution, the slower the print will be. The 'Hyper' setting is the absolute best quality that the printer can do.
More Options >> - This opens up the advanced tab, which allows you to tweak many more options.
Once you're happy with the settings, you can click 'OK' and Flashprint will process; or 'Slice' your design, ready for printing. It will ask you to save this file - this is the file that will actually get sent to the printer. NOTE: If you'd like to send prints by USB stick, you just need to save this file to the USB stick. Then plug it in, click 'Build', click 'USB Storage' and find the desired design.
Next you'll see a preview of how your design is going to be printed. As such, in the top right-hand corner you will find some info about the print. Namely, it's Print Time, and the amount of filament you will use. NOTE: If you'd like this measurement in grams instead of metres, you can click on 'Weight Estimation'.
On the left-hand side of the screen you will see a sliding bar. You can use this to look, layer-by-layer at how the print is going to be built. Very interesting and convenient for students to learn about how it works.
Finally, connect the printer and send your print.
To connect your printer to the computer, you will need to first plug the USB cord into both the printer (on the right hand side), and your computer or laptop. Then click on 'Print' in the very top-left of Flashprint, and click 'Connect Machine'. This will bring up the connection options, and you'll need to choose 'Automatic' from the drop-down menu.
In the menu you should have a 'USB: FlashForge InventorII Series 3D Printer'. If not, you can click on 'Rescan' to search again for the connected printer. Once you've found the connected printer, click on it and then click 'Connect'. Then click 'Done'.
Now that you're connected, all you need to do is click on 'Send Gcode', and Flashprint will send the entire print job to the printer, and it should begin once it warms up. NOTE: It is best practice to watch the first layer or two of each print, to ensure they are working correctly.
If you would like to disconnect your computer after sending the print, you may do so by going back in the top-left 'Print' menu, and clicking on 'Disconnect All Connection'. Similar to safely ejecting a USB stick from a computer, it's best to disconnect the printer before you remove the USB cable.
Now you can move onto the next section! Removing your print once it's finished!
Tags: Software , Print , Printing , Send , stl , file , flashprint , flash print , flashforge , inventor IIS , 2s ,