Programming the Aus3D Z-Probe (Part 1)

One of the more interesting components in the Mark2 3D Printer is the Z probe, an IR probe designed to precisely measure the height of the bed for automatic bed-levelling.

This is the first product that I’ve been shipping that I’ve needed to program and test, and I’ve had some fun along the way trying to make the process faster.

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RAMPS Fan Expansion Board

One of the problems I’ve encountered in the past when using RAMPS electronics to control a dual-extruder printer is the lack of sufficient fan support. Dual extruder setups can require a few fans, usually one controlled fan (for cooling the print) and one or two always-on fans for cooling the hotends. Adding a second hotend takes up the 12V MOSFET usually used for running a controlled fan, leaving no option but to solder directly to the 12V lines on the board – which removes any control over these fans.

Don't look! Spoilers!
Don’t look! Spoilers!

If your printer has an always-on power supply (like a regular LED-style power supply as found on most printers) then these fans are going to be running 24-7 unless you manually switch off the power. I had to deal with this for a few days while testing the MK2 printer, and I decided to play around with the problem and see what solutions there are.

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Programming an Arduino with regular AVR-GCC Code

I’ve recently been working on a University project where I needed to develop software to run on Atmel’s STK-600 board – a dev board featuring an ATmega2560 at it’s core. The project is being built in Atmel Studio, and is written in AVR-C++. For working on this project at home, I wanted to be able to run my code on one of the Arduino Mega’s I’ve got lying around. Both boards use the same ATmega2560 AVR – so why not?

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