Setting up my printer


Ok, I’m sorry if this isn’t exactly at the level of most people on these forums but here goes :slight_smile:

I’m making an SLA DLP printer with a Nema 17 stepper motor and a projector.

I’ve downloaded photonic onto my raspberry pi and can connect to he gui via google chrome, which is great.

Question 1: should my raspberry pi when I run it with a projector still show the desktop like before i ran the commands, or should it have pulled up a gui of some sort. That’s what I originally thought was going to happen before but I just wanted to double check, because right now hooking it into the projector it’s just going to a desktop

So assuming that everything is installed correctly I need to try and set up my stepper motor. I’m running an arduino uno with Grbl connected to a stepper driver A4988 PLOU into a Nema 17 motor. So from the pi my connections are: PI > Arduino > driver > motor.

Question 2: Do I need ramps to make the arduino run the stepper driver?

so if I don’t need any further hard ware my final question becomes about setting up the printer in the GUI of photonic. I selected:
simulated display (not sure what that means)
Always full screen mode (if that’s relevant idk)
GCode for the serial port
Auto detect projector (I also tried a few other settings for this one since it said it wasn’t detecting it)

After the printer is set up, I constantly get the message saying my printer isn’t started if I try to move the stepper motor.

When trying to start the printer it says it can’t determine the projector model. It’s a Benq projector that I’m currently testing with. When I don’t select a setting for the projector however it does work, however trying to move the does not work.

Question 3: What do I need to do, or what information do you need to be able to help me. I’m sorry for being an idiot but I have no clue what I’m doing


During the boot sequence, there will always be console output going to your projector. The safest way to operate your printer would be to leave the projector off until Photonic3D is running and has control of your screen. Our Raspberry Pi distribution image suppresses the loading of the desktop environment to reduce the amount of non-printing projected text, but does not completely eliminate it.

RAMPS is an Arduino Mega shield that contains stepper drivers. If you have stepper drivers connected to your Arduino through an alternative mechanism, you do not need RAMPS. However, do verify that gcode to control the Z axis works the way you expect, in particular that you have your Z steps correctly configured for your Z axis hardware such that your Z axis raises and lowers accurately.

Projector auto-detection works only for a limited set of projector code sets. My suggestion would be to focus on everything else first, auto-detection is a nice-to-have to add on after you have everything else working, especially for a custom printer.


thanks for the help jkao. right now me and the guy I’m working with aren’t sure if our stepper motor set up is going to work, he has to reinstall gerbl and then we’ll test it tomorrow, but I’m not really sure what you mean by configuring the way that the gcode controls the z-axis the way we’d expect. I definitely want our z-axis to be accurate. After watching some videos, I’m worried the arduino isn’t going to have enough electrical output to run the nema 17 effeciently, but we can buy a mega and ramps if we need to. right now our set up for our driver and stepper motor is the pi plugged into the arduino, which is wired with the driver and then the stepper motor, so hopefully it’s set up ok. I’ll update with news tomorrow around 2 or 3 pst


OK! We got the stepper motor fixed up and grbl and a grbl controller we were able to tell the stepper motor to move to move when we told it to move! yay! We didn’t get it to move when we plugged it into creation workshop or photonic 3d. (photonic3d is obviously our preference if we can get it to work).

So we know that the stepper motor is now properly wired and that the driver can output enough energy to handle the motor.

i don’t know what I have to do to make photonic communicate properly with grbl on the arduino.

Question 1: Is the email set up thing on photonic necessary or is it just some debug tool.

Question 2: I’m not sure what serial port to choose for the motor. I just tried detect first and it was kind of occasionally shaking randomly, not sure if that’s a good or bad sign. with detect it was occasionally feeding back “error 22” when I tried to move the z-axis. As I said before it’s a nema 17 stepper with an arduino uno and an A9488 driver. Whenever I went into the pi set up to change the settings on my printer it was occasionally causing the nema to tweak a little which is at least a little good since it means something is interacting I guess. I just am not sure how to make it interact how I want it to.

Question 3: I’m not sure if the pi has ‘coms’ or how to set it up so that it’s communicating through the right port with the right items, so if that’s a thing I would love a run down of that.

As always any help or tips is much appreciated.


Bumping my post as I still could really use help


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