Setting up the Fabrikator Mini with Linux

When I ordered the Fabrikator-mini, I was not concerned too much because I had some experience with 3D printing, but of course getting things to work in Linux is always a challenge. Here are some of them.

The very nicely printed manual told me to install Repetier-host and Cura.
I added Mint 17.3 to an old laptop and installed the Linux versions of these programs only to find that Repetier-host uses Mono 4.3, but the default version of Mono with Mint 17.3 was v3.4 or something like that. I installed repository and the key to install the newer version. Then after adding the new version of Mono the computer became unstable.
After reinstalling Mint 17.3 and Repetier-host and Cura again. I tried the software without updating the version of Mono. It seemed fine.

Screw thread on circular tube
First print on Fabrikator Mini

After starting the software I needed to configure both the slicer and printing software. I saw in the booklet that there was downloadable file that would help with the configurations. I spent several hours trying to find it on the website and then gave up.
No problem, I thought, I have the booklet it had screen captures of the settings. Only when I started to follow the screen captures I realized that they were from a previous version and the screen capture only shows the visible portion of the screen.
I figured this would be educated guessing time. I completed and saved my configurations.

I connected to the Mini-Fabrikator – success I made the head go
forward, back, up and down, the bed went successfully left and right.

I carefully adjusted the bed for nozzle to bed height. I tested everything by moving the bed and nozzle around a lot.

I looked for something to print. I found a filament reel spool holder, I sliced it  and it estimated 4 hours to print a spool holder… Really? The next item I found was 6 hours. I then chose to design something small in TinkerCAD.
I loaded and sliced it – 4 hours, so then I configured to a lower resolution and chose a 0.4mm slice and it dropped the time down to 1.5 hours. In Chuck H’s Youtube channel he would mention how it would need to print overnight. Now, I know why.

Anyway I added filament through the Bowden tube and started heating the filament. After the Tinkerbell noise I started the extruder. After feeding the filament for a while I saw filament shooting out of the nozzle.  Success! I turned off the heat to the nozzle.

Then Repetier-Host just closed. I tried again and again with the same result. Always after feeding filament it would just close. The nagging feeling that Mono v4.3 was needed came to mind.
I then thought ‘maybe if I print’, so I pressed print… waited…. nothing then I noticed it was waiting for the bed to heat up. There is no heated bed on the Fabrikator Mini so I looked everywhere for a configuration for the bed but could only find one location.
The location I found was not correct, at that point I just wanted to print something. I went to the Gcode and found the command to heat up the bed and commented it out by adding a semicolon (;) in front of the statement.
Ha! I pressed print again it heated up the nozzle and then it
started a print. About 40 seconds after the head went down to print the program closed and the head stopped.
At this point I downloaded good old Pronterface., configured it as the printing system then changed the Gcode again.
Success

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