Athena adjust motor current0.JPG
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Hardware license CERN-OHL-S
Certifications Start OSHWA certification

Initial Power and Motor Current Adjustment[edit | edit source]

  1. Double and triple check the wiring to ensure that the the power wiring polarity is correct; continuity checks should be made before applying power. Correct wiring before proceeding.
  2. Plug the power supply into a wall outlet and, while watching the electronics, plug the barrel connector into the socket on the printer. If you notice smoke and/or hear snapping, unplug the connector as quickly as possible. Properly wired electronics will cause all four blue LEDs on one side of the Beaglebone to light up for a short time and then one will flash to the rhythm of a heartbeat. No LEDs will light on the Melzi.
  3. Locate the motor reference voltage adjustment potentiometers (see photos).
  4. With a small screwdriver and a voltmeter set for millivolt readings (400mV - 2V), adjust each of the small potentiometers on the Melzi for X, Y and Z to produce a potential of 420 - 450 mV measured between ground (the micro SD card holder can be used for ground) and the screwdriver used to adjust the potentiometer (see photo). The E-MOTOR should be set to 550mV. Two sets of hands simplifies the task. Be careful to not short anything on the Melzi with the screw driver or voltmeter probe.

Franklin[edit | edit source]

Franklin is software designed to work with all 3-D personal manufacturing robots like Athena. It is both server and firmware, exposing all settings and controls on a web page served by the host computer, which in the case of Athena, is the Beaglebone Green.

Initial Setup[edit | edit source]

  1. Connect an Ethernet cable from your computer to the port on the side of the printer.
  2. The initial setup screen will be displayed.
    Right click on and select "Open Link in New Tab". Note "admin" at the end of the address - Franklin has different pages allowing different levels of access to features.
  3. Activate setup check box.
    Activate the setup check box as shown in the picture.
  4. The firmware upload screen will be displayed.
    A screen filled with buttons will be displayed. Because Franklin works with multiple different machines and connections, a variety of choices is available.
  5. Select the port - ttyS4.
    Select the port over which communication will take place, for Athena with the second generation bridge board, it's ttyS4. If you have the older version of the bridge board, it's ttyS0.
  6. Select Melzi from Beaglebone.
    Select the "Melzi from Beaglebone..." button.
  7. Red bar across top indicating firmware is uploading.
    A red bar will appear at the top of the screen indicating that firmware is uploading.
  8. Firmware with no profile.
    Franklin will display its admin page with no profile for the newly attached printer. Profiles permit saving different settings for different functions (Athena can do a lot more than just print 3-D objects).
  9. Right click on Save the page (Save Link As...) to a logical and memorable location on your hard disk.
  10. Click on the Browse button.
    After downloading the initial profile from github, click on the Choose File button (near top, left of screen) and navigate to the location of the just-saved profile. Select the profile and click Open.
  11. Click on the Upload button.
    Click the Import button. Franklin will upload the profile and populate all the values for Athena's various settings. Note that because Franklin is under active development, you may see some warning messages about settings that are no longer valid; those are harmless and should be ignored.
  12. Enter a name for the profile.
    Enter a logical name for the profile and click the "Save (As)" button. Note the profile name now appears in the drop down box at the top of the page. When you make a change to the settings that you want to be permanent, you should click this button again. If you don't enter a name, it will use the name of the currently selected profile.
  13. Set as default profile.
    Click the "Set as Default Profile" button. Franklin will now load this profile when it is restarted by default. When saving new changes to the profile, you do not need to do this again.

The firmware is now loaded, but the printer is uncalibrated and will not print properly. Complete setup as described, below.

Changing Values in Franklin[edit | edit source]

Values in Franklin are presented with an input text box for making changes. The currently active value is shown next to the box.

Those text boxes permit entry of a value which is then set by pressing the "Enter" key on the keyboard. Values can also be changed by selecting a text box (left click on it) followed by pressing cursor up and down movement keys on the key board:

  • Page Up: increase value by 10
  • Page Down: Decrease value by 10
  • Up arrow: increase value by 1
  • Down arrow: decrease value by 1
  • Shift + Up arrow: increase value by 0.1
  • Shift + Down arrow: decrease value by 0.1

Math can also be performed in the text boxes; entering +1.5 (note plus sign) will add 1.5 to the value, entering +-1.5 (note the plus and the minus signs) will subtract 1.5 from the value.

All values of the same type can be changed at once by making the change in the maroon bar below the values.

Pressing enter on an empty box is the same as entering 0. Setting a value to something that Franklin cannot understand as a number sets it to NaN ("Not a Number"). For some settings, this is useful; for example, a temperature control is switched off that way.

The special values Infinity and -Infinity can also be entered (note the capital I), which is useful for some settings.

Calibration[edit | edit source]

  1. Make sure the "Show Setup" checkbox is checked.
  2. Scroll to bottom of the page to show the printer control buttons.
  3. Click the "Home" button.
  4. Select the Z position text box (immediately below Z (mm)).
  5. Enter 0 in the Z position box (or leave it empty) and click Enter on the keyboard. The end effector should move down to approximately 10mm from the build platform.
  6. Place a piece of plain, white paper on the build platform under the hot end.
  7. In the Motor Settings area, select the text box in the maroon row under Switch pos (mm) and increase the values until the paper is slightly pinched between the hot end and the build platform while the Z position is 0 - the paper should be mobile when pulled and pushed, but resistance should be felt.
  8. Move to Z = 50mm (select Z pos text box, enter 50, press Enter).
  9. Select the Y position text box (immediately below Y (mm)) and enter a value of 100. Press Enter on the keyboard. The end effector should move near the vertex with the extruder drive mounted to it.
  10. Move to Z = 0mm.
  11. Select the text box for the w motor switch position and change its value using the up and down arrow keys (with Shift as required) until the resistance on moving the paper is about the same as it was in the middle of the build platform.
  12. Move to Z = 50mm (select the Z pos text box, enter 50 and press Enter). The end effector will move 50mm off the build platform.
  13. Select the Angle text box under the Delta section (it's a lone row in the middle of the position settings; not the setting at the bottom next to the target position.). Enter 240 and press Enter. The end effector should move to the U vertex (counterclockwise from extruder drive vertex when looking down). It does not move in a straight line (this is why the effector needed to be lifted before doing this).
  14. Move to Z = 0mm and adjust the u motor switch position until resistance is felt similar to that felt previously upon moving the paper.
  15. Move to Z = 50mm.
  16. Set the angle to 120 degrees (Delta section, Angle position = 120 followed by Enter).
  17. Move to Z = 0mm and adjust the v motor switch position until resistance is felt similar to that felt previously upon moving the paper.
  18. Home the printer.
  19. Set the angle to 0. (The end effector will not move.)
  20. Move to Z = 0mm and readjust all of the switch positions (in the Motor Settings area, select the text box in the maroon row, Switch Pos (mm) column) until the resistance upon moving the paper is the same as felt before. Take care only to use arrow keys or values starting with a + sign: the differences between the values must not change.
  21. Move to Y = 100mm.
  22. In the Delta area, adjust the radius of all motors at once (with the box in the maroon bar) until the resistance upon moving the paper is the same as felt before. (Decreasing the radius makes it more tight, increasing the radius makes it less tight.)
  23. Save the profile by clicking the Profile Save (as) button.
  24. Save a backup of the profile to your computer: right-click the "Export settings to file" link and select "Save link as...". Save the file using a logical name in a memorable loccation. The backup can be reloaded by clicking the "Choose File" button just above "Export settings to file" followed by clicking the "Import" button. The backup can also be used as a starting point for calibration of a second Athena.
  25. Return to default screen.
    Uncheck the "Show setup" check box to display the simplified print screen.

Check Fan Operation[edit | edit source]

Proper operation of the fan on the end effector is very important as it keeps the plastic end effector cool. If it doesn't function correctly, the hot end will heat the plastic to the point that it deforms and the hot end becomes loose, resulting in very poor prints.

  1. The Athena profile loaded into Franklin sets the temperature that the fan turns on at 50 degrees C. Verify this in the Temp Settings area under Show Settings (Fan Temp).
  2. Set the temperature of the hot end to 60 degrees C in the Target temperature box immediately above the temperature chart by entering 60 and hitting enter.
  3. Observe the fan at ensure that it turns on when the temperature exceeds 50 degrees C. If it does not, track down the problem. Be sure to check that the fan polarity is correct.

Shutting Down[edit | edit source]

Because the Beaglebone is a computer, it should be shut down in a controlled way. There is a web interface for doing this at When clicking the button on that page, the machine will shut down. It normally responds with an error that the host is unreachable, that means it shut down before the response was sent, so that means it worked.

To power it back up, the power must be disconnected, and plugged back in.

The Athena does not use much power while it is idle, so it is not required to turn it off very often. This means it is easy to forget the shutdown link, so it is a good idea to bookmark it along with the Franklin link given below.

Navigation[edit | edit source]

Preparatory Materials
Printer Primer
AthenaII Printed Parts Glossary
Non-Workshop Tasks
Assembling hot end
Soldering and tinning
Workshop Tasks
Track 1 Track 2 Track 3
Connecting Rods Frame Epoxying Magnets
Epoxying Magnets Connecting Rods End Effector
Extruder Drive and Spool Holder Epoxying Magnets Frame
End Effector Extruder Drive and Spool Holder Connecting Rods
Frame End Effector Extruder Drive and Spool Holder
Final Mechanical Assembly
Before 2019 Starting 2019
Wiring/Melzi + BB Wiring/Athena Board
Firmware and Calibration Firmware and Calibration - (Wireless Setup) - (Update Franklin)
Software and First Print
Follow-up information
Printing Basics
FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Authors Jerry Anzalone
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 15 pages link here
Impact 2,821 page views
Created June 12, 2018 by Jerry Anzalone
Modified November 8, 2022 by Irene Delgado
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