Well, it’s been a while since my last post. The Gecko printer arrived, and I had a lot of fun putting it together. There were a couple spots that I had some challenges with, but the support received from the Gecko designer, Chay Chen, was outstanding – and I’ve had all sorts of fun printing some random objects, some upgrade components for the printer, and some useful objects too!
I’ve made a few upgrades/mods:
- Replaced clone hotend/extrudere with genuine E3D Titan extruder, and E3DV6 hotend
- Added 2 80mm Noctura fans to replace the 40mm mainboard fan
- Lerdge dual extruder daughterboard
- Lerdge PC/USB module
- 5m of RGB LED light strip
- Logitech C270 web cam
- Raspberry Pi 3
- DS18B20 temperature sensor
- Power module
The printer made quite a noise when powered up due to the 40mm mainboard fan mounted behind a bunch of perforations in the front panel of the printer. I added the Noctura fans on the right side of the panel below the print bed – one blowing across the mainboard (I think this orientation is actually better for cooling the stepper drivers), and the other across the heatbed MOSFET (had no heating issues, but figured it can’t hurt!) I designed some custom fan holder/clips to attach them to the panel below the printing platform.
I’m currently using the dual extruder daughterboard to drive the RGB LED light strips. The PC/USB module allows me to connect the printer to the Raspberry Pi, which is running OctoPi (a Raspberry Pi disk image pre-configured with OctoPrint software), and I’ve added the temperature probe (which required a little soldering – adding a resistor and connectors to plug into the GPIO pins on the Raspberry), and also the web cam, connected via USB.
With the OctoPrint software running a couple additional plugins (OctoPrint-Enclosure, and OctoPrint-Anywhere). I added a DS18B20 temperature sensor to the Raspberry Pi, and using OctoPrint-Enclosure, display the ambient temperature in my printer. OctoPrint-Anywhere allows me to connect remotely from anywhere to see what the printer is up to, and I have an app on my iPhone that allows me to see the current print job status, and even initiate print jobs, or stop them if I see a problem.
The power module hasn’t been wired up yet. I’m holding off since finding out that the Gecko designer has actually made a number of improvements to the printer design, and is sending out a substantial upgrade kit at no additional cost! After I receive the upgrade kit, I plan on installing the module while installing the upgrade. After that’s all done, I’m going to design an insulated enclosure for the printer.
This printer has been a lot of fun – and I’m truly amazed at the support from the East 3D and all of Chay Chen’s team there, and also the wealth of knowledge of other Gecko owners on the Facebook group – East 3D Gecko 3D Printers CoreXY. For anyone interested in getting this great printer, you can order it on Aliexpress.
Now I have to ramp up my CAD skills! Have been using a Google’s SketchUp so far, and dabbling with Autodesk Fusion 360. I think I’m going to take a course soon – never too old to stop learning! 😀