Guide

1.Operation #

1.1.Load/unload materials #

Composer A4 uses three spool: two of them are common 3D printing filament plastics, and the third one is Anisoprint Fiber.

To load or unload a material you need to press Maintenance > Materials and choose a material spool you want to operate with. Choose load or unload an follow the automatic procedure instructions.

For every material, an extruder must be heated before operation. You can preheat the extruders to speedup the proccess.

The load/unload procedure is split into three steps: on the first step a feeder captures filament and you confirm it through the menu. On the second, stepper motor works at high rate, pushing material to extruder. On the third step, filament is gently transferred to hotend on a lower speed, and you need to confirm the material comes out of the nozzle.

For composite fiber there is a 4th step – you need to remove the cut fiber out of the nozzle using tweezers.

In some cases you might want to just move a material in/out of an extruder. In this case use Movement option as described here.

Another trick is a manual unload of plastic filament. When extruder is heated enough to release the filament inside, just release the clamp of the feeder and pull the filament out.

1.2.Heating and cooling extruders #

On the Main Screen, press the extruder you want to heat and set the desired temperature using the arrows as shown below. Press Set button to start the heating proccess.

Caution!

The extruders and other parts of the printhead can be extremely hot!

Usually, the value you choose is the work temperature of the loaded plastic.

The Auto button allows you to choose the last temperature used for this extruder. Press Set to start heating.

The Cool button sets the room temperature for this extruder.

1.3.Printhead and extruders operation #

You can move the printhead of your Composer to any point in the build area. To do this, on the Main Screen press Maintenance > Move. Choose a move distance and press axis arrows to move.

To move a filament back or forward, press Maintenance > Move > Extruders, choose a move distance and use extruder arrows to move. E stands for plastic filament in the plastic extruder, U and V for composite fiber and composite plastic respectively.

You can also cut the fiber by pressing the Scissors icon.

2.Calibration #

2.1.Z axis calibration #

The distance between buildplate and plastic nozzle tip is quite an important parameter affecting the quality of your prints. If it seems that plastic layers are too thin or too thick, nozzle tip scratches buildplate or previous layers or the quality of vertical walls of your model is insufficient due to improper plastic layup, try this procedure.

Press Maintenance > Calibrate > Z axis and follow the instructions. You will be asked to use a thin paper sheet to fine tune the gap between the nozzle tip and the buildplate.

Print any code to verify the results of the calibration, paying attention to brim and first layer layup.

2.2.XY offsets calibration #

XY offsets define relative position of composite nozzle with respect to plastic nozzle. You typically need to go through this procedure once after nozzle replacement or cleaning.

In order to calibrate, print the special service code NozzleOffsetTest.gcode from the SD card supplied with your Composer A4. You can also download the gcode here.

You will see the following:

To adjust the offsets, use this scheme:

For every axis find the rectangle where the composite thread is right in the middle as shown on the Reference scheme. The distance of this rectangle to zero rectangle is the number you need to add to/subtract from the current offset value.

To change these values go to Maintenance > Settings

After adjusting the offsets, reprint the offset test and make sure that composite thread is properly centered(as on the Reference scheme) for both X and Y zero rectangles.

2.3.Buildplate calibration #

You may need to go through calibration procedure every time you replace a nozzle or after any other changes affecting relative positioning of the printhead and the buildplate, e.g. shaking or moving the printer. While printing a large part occupying the whole buildplate area, you can notice layer thickness varies from one end of the part to another, which as well means the buildplate requires recalibration.

Caution!

It’s highly recommended to preheat plastic nozzle before calibration as described here.

To start calibration, on the main screen press Maintenance. Choose Calibrate > Buildplate. Follow instructions. First, you will be asked to set the plastic nozzle in approximately 1 mm from the buildplate. The first of 3 points is to be set through the calibration menu, and the left and right corners are tuned manually by adjusting the regulation screws. Second, the procedure is to be repeated for fine tuning, this time using a sheet of an office paper to set the lowest possible gap between the nozzle and the buildplate. The paper must be sliding in the gap with a slight friction. Setting insufficiently low gap will lead to failed prints and printer malfunction.

It is recommended to calibrate Z axis right after buildplate calibration.

3.Maintenance #

3.1.Nozzle cleaning/replacement #

You might want to clean inner surface of a nozzle – chemically or mechanically.

Caution!

All extruder parts can be hot!

  1. Using the hex key from the Supply Kit, unscrew the side screws of the fan shroud 
  2. Disconnect fan shroud from the printhead 
  3. Heat an extruder in order to melt remaining plastic possibly blocking the nozzle thread.
  4. Unscrew a nozzle from an extruder using a 7 mm wrench for the plastic, and 10 mm wrench for the composite nozzle.
  5. Clean or replace the nozzle

3.2.Extruder clearing #

Residual dirt, fiber remnants and degraded plastic are slowly accumulated inside extruder during printing process. To clear the dirt, or remove small fiber pieces from an extruder do the following:

Caution!

Extruders and other printhead parts can be extremely hot!

  1. Heat the composite extruder.
  2. Use the string tool from the Supply Kit. Push the string through the nozzle up to the heat sink.
  3. Remove the dirt coming out of the nozzle and the upper hole of the fiber channel using tweezers
  4. To finish the clearing procedure, feed about 50mms of plastic to the extruder. This will help to cleanse the smallest fiber particles out of the nozzle.
  5. Feed the fiber to the extruder and make sure it comes out of the nozzle smoothly. Cut the fiber and remove the cut piece and remaining plastic from the nozzle.

3.3.Clearing fiber feed channel #

Do this only if you are sure the fiber was jammed inside the extruder. Before the start, disconnect the fan shroud as explained in Nozzle cleaning section.

  1. Using a hex key from the Supply Kit, loosen the 2 screws on the front of the extruder.
  2. Disconnect composite extruder.
  3. Unscrew the fiber feed tube and check for the broken fibers inside.
  4. Use a pair of tweezers to clean the trimming system.

4.Firmware #

4.1.Composer firmware update #

The latest Composer firmware can be downloaded here.

To update printer firmware you can use Anisoprint Aura. Install and launch Aura.

If you connect Composer to your PC for the first time you may need to install the USB driver. To install the driver unzip the archive and run dpinst-amd64.exe if you have 64-bit OS or dpinst-x86.exe if you have 32-bit OS.

Connect the printer to the PC by USB cable. In Aura main menu open Tools > Composer firmware update.

Composer firmware update tool in Aura

In Composer firmware update tool:

  1. In Port list select the COM port of Composer. If you connected Composer to your PC for the first time, it will usually be the last one. If the list is empty or you can’t connect to printer using any listed port, make sure, that you have installed SUB driver mentioned above.
  2. Click on “…” button near Path field and select Composer firmware file.
  3. Press Upload button. 
  4. Wait until all lines including the last “Success” button become green.

Note

Do not disconnect or turn off your printer during firmware update process.

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