Install the Arduino software and its drivers before you plug in your ramps board. You might need its included drivers, so it is best to let them install. MAC User? – info you might need to change the firmware buadrate and perhaps a different driver.
Marlin is the firmware I currently use and it is pre-flashed on the control board included in the kit (download the pre-configured files here). If you are building your own feel free to use any board/firmware you want.
Now that your machine can talk to your computer you need to be able to control it. You can either use an lcd screen or control software. For the beginners software is usually easier to learn than the LCD screen.
This can move the machine along any of the three axis and can also send gcode generated in any program (estlcam, slic3r, Image2Gcode, Fusion360, etc.).
Never plug or unplug anything into the ramps board while there is any power, usb or power plug!
Move your gantry to the center of your build space and make sure the z axis is roughly centered in its travel. You never know which way it’s going to go!
With all the motors plugged in, plug in the USB cable and the power to the ramps board and hit connect in the upper left corner of repetier, it should take a few seconds and turn green to indicate it is connected.
You can now use the control in the manual tab to move the machine. The arrows allow for .1, 1, 10, 50mm movements. Start small 1 mm at a time. The arrows should move it in that direction.
X positive (Right arrow) should move Right, X negative should move Left,
Y positive (up arrow) is back or away from you, Y negative is towards you.
Z positive (Z up arrow) moves the z axis up, meaning the tool away from the work surface.
If it doesn’t move as expected hit disconnect, unplug the power and usb, any axis that is moving the wrong way simply flip the plug. If one stepper is moving the wrong way power down and flip it’s plug. Power back up and test again.
Now the machine should be moving around and once you finally get board of manually moving it around it is time to put it to work.
The infamous Crown…Follow the Basic instructions on how to actually use the machine. Test code available at the bottom of that page. If you ask for help I will ask about your crown test.
After The First Use, Getting dirty
Now the machine can draw pictures it is time to get it dirty. Hope you didn’t make a white one…
When you are ready to try and cut something, here are some Intermediate instructions.
This page has all sorts of things to try.