I snatched a beautiful HP-71B pocket computer equipped with ROMs version 1BBBB for a very reasonable price. The computer was missing two expansion port covers, but that was fine with me, as I planned to populate those ports anyways. Regardless, I decided to 3D print two replacement covers using a model developed by hpackma under the creative license. No problem, I have this down, and I swiftly loaded the model, duplicated it, and started the print of two bright yellow replacement covers. I was only one small half an hour away from feeling the good sensation of completing a calculator. I could already hear the satisfying click! Well, that was the plan.

It turned out that my faithful 3D printer ran out of filament. Just to make it a tad trickier, the last inches of the filament was stuck in the plastic guide, impossible to extrude, and too short to be grabbed and pulled by the feeder motor. Malediction! Nothing that a mix between the atomic and the cold pull methods could not fix. After a fast visual scan, I spotted a nice yellow filament spool at arm’s length. In less than a minute, the reel was loaded, and the print re-started. I was once again just 30 minutes away from hearing the satisfying click! But all hell broke loose, and every subsequent print failed miserably. I started to lose my marbles and was wondering what gone wrong as I mastered the printing years ago.

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That’s when I paid attention to the software, asking if I wanted to use the current setting versus the printer’s configuration. What the heck?! I double-checked the new spool’s package, and it struck me: although the new reel was yellow as the previous one, it was made of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), not PLA (polylactic acid). A simple change in the profile and the extrusion temperature was boosted. After two hours of fiddling, I was yet again, just 30 minutes away from hearing the satisfying click! I think that I just re-re-re-learned an excellent lesson: RTFM!

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