Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hot end replaced

So I got the printer back up and running. I replaced the hot end, thermister, and resistor. I ran into a compatibility issue though! I ordered a new J-hotend not realizing there could be some major difference. When I took my old extruder off I instantly noticed a difference. My old one is on top. The new one on the bottom....
Notice anything difference besides for color and the resistor stuck in it? How about that nice brass fitting on top of the new one.... It is being used to hold a liner in. In the old extruder there was an open set screw to hold the liner in. Of course this new extruder wont fit my print head...


In this picture you can see the bottom of my print head. The old extruder used to nest nicely in that depression. The new one the fitting is in the way like stated. 

My fix? Drill it out. I just used a big drill bit and kept drilling deeper and deeper until the clearance was correct. I was then able to mount the new extruder. 

When it came time to print I noticed I had to set it at 20° hotter to get good flow? Is this an issue with the new head? Or maybe the thermister is just out of whack compared to the old one? Only time will tell. 


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Melt Down!!!! What a cruel April Fools Joke

So I went to continue printing the next gear I needed for updating my extruder gears on April Fools Day... As the printer was heating up i thought to myself "this should be heated up by know, as I turned to look I instantly knew something was wrong. The printer was smoking!

I quickly slammed my office door shut to make sure the stink didnt spread through the house, i whipped open the window to let the air flow and unplugged everything as fast as I could.  Material was oozing out everywhere, the nozzle just sliding out as if there were no threads present to hold it in.

 I dont know if the thermistor fell out or if it just failed. The printer just kept heating without shutting off.

 The arrow points to the thermistor. If you look you will see all the threads exposed on the nozzle. Normally not a single thread shows. It got hot enough that it was melting the main body of the extruder. I ordered a new thermistor  for $2.83 and a new extruder for $32.99 and both arrived today. Lets see if I can get it up and running! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Elephant

I have been so extremely busy at work lately that I decided I needed to print something fun to take a moment and relax. I decided that I would print the featured thing on the thingiverse which was an elephant that is printed all at once but has 2 movable pairs of legs. Elephant . This was a great print. After it got started I decided to walk away for a while since it was going to be a few hours. When I came back this is what I saw. The print had "completed" and I was left with an open shell!

I was a little frustrated after having all that time pass and this was the end result. I then took a look at the Gcode file and sure enough it stopped at a height a few mm shorter than what it was supposed to be. I tried slicing the file a few more times and still ended up with the same/similar gcode file. What was going on?

I wasnt going to give up so I left the elephant attached to the print bed while I figured out a plan. My soft stops for the printer are set at twice the height of the print so that couldnt be the issue. There was just something wrong with the gcode. I never did find out the exact cause but I eventually got it to slice with the full length in the file. I then opened the gcode file for some editing. 

I measured the height of my print by stepping the nozzle up and down in pronterface until it just touched off the top of the print. I then took the gcode file and deleted all the lines of code (except the opening settings at the start of the file) up to the height that I touched off at. I then added a line of code to the starting line that made it move up to height higher than the elephant before it would move to the first print point on the file. 

After a few times of trial and error and adding and deleting sections of code to hone in on the correct height I was able to finish the print!

So you will notice the elephant is printed laying down. The legs are then able to be stood up due to the way they nest in the print. You can tell where it had messed up because the seem was shifted a little forward but it still finished the print. 

You'll notice how crappy my trunk looks. This is because of a known issue with my printer that I need to fix. There is a terrible amount of backlash in my extrusion gear. When it does a "suck" maneuver in the code the gear turns backwards. It then takes a few mm of material before the gear catches and starts extruding again. 

Time to print some new extrusion gears!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fan Cooling

So after my recent issues I decided it was finally time to get my fan hooked up to the electronics board.  I had designed my enclosure with a slot on top to fit a fan for forced cooling across the heat sinks. Up until now I have had a little dinky fan blowing through the holes in the end. Not really effective for anything probably.

I have a pile of old power supply fans. This one came out of a server power supply and is very powerful. I hook it to a 9V battery now and then for some rapid cooling on the spot.  I figured it would be a good match for this.

I designed this little adapter for it. Basically it takes the fan opening and channels it down to be a slot that matches up with the board enclosure. I printed the holes at the exact diameter of the screws knowing it would be slightly smaller as most inside diameters are when 3d printing. This smaller diameter allows me to treat the machine screws as self tapping (threading the holes as turned into them).

 Next I drew up this little fan shroud to make sure I dont stick my fingers in ;)

Stack them all up and it is complete. I "glued" the adapter directly to the enclosure using pure acetone and a q-tip. I went around the edge a few times to seal up any little gaps I saw. 

Well once I hooked this to my power supply I got quite the surprise. Sure I knew it was a few more volts but dddddaaa####*** this thing is so turbo you can feel the air blowing out any orifice from a few feet away.  Needless to say, I am going to install an inline switch and turn it on only now and then during longer prints. I might need to downgrade the fan a little since it is just so powerful.



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Its alive again!

So originally I thought it was just the resistor. With a little help from the forums I discovered it might also be the Mosfet which helps regulate the power to the hot end. There was no guarantee that either of these were the issue. I was definitely going to replace the resistor at a minimum. The resistor was in very rough shape. It is bubbled out and has half a dozen cracks where it split open. This was definitely a major problem!

After replacing the resister I still had no heat.  Some recommendations were just to replace the entire circuit board. I decided I would save a little money and buy 2 of the mosfet that might be the issue. $0.88/ea plus a small fee for shipping.  I replaced it and boom I had heat again!!!! I was so excited. This was a very cheap fix, and now I have a spare mosfet and resister if it ever happens again.

This is where the component on the board is that I had to replace. Keep in mind I had to de-solder 8 legs on the old one and re-solder the 8 legs on the new one. It was definitely tricky!

Here you can see the old mosfet sitting on a dime, see those 8 tiny legs? The also you can see the bulging resister I had to replace in the hot end. Its hard to see the cracks in it but they are there. 


Once I got it up and running I reprinted the little snowflake vase I was trying to print from before.


Coming up next: I am finally going to finish the enclosure for my circuit board. seen here
it has a slot on top that I have been meaning to attach a fan too. Working on that for this weekend's project. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Catch Up Time! Dead hot end :(

Ok so I know I have had posts like this in the past. Apologizing for not posting anything in a long time. Well now that fall/winter has set in I will definitely have more time. This summer with the new house and a new kitten was so crazy! Awesome though.

I did make one update to the printer, to allow more power to the heat bed, I added an old laptop power supply to run my gen 6 electronics and stepper motors.

Ok so about the only notable thing that I have made since moving was a toy for the cat.  He has been so playful and constantly attacks our ankles so I decided to make him a toy to add to his never ending pile of things to play with.

Thing 17239 Is what I decided to go with. I decided to scale it down a little from the original size. I don't remember what I scaled it as. All I know is Wronny loved it! The first picture is the print before I cleaned it up a little.



Action Shot. He chased it around for a very long time that day!

Another action shot. 

If I print this again I will not scale it down. He knocked it down the basement stairs a few too many times and it busted open. If it had been at full scale it probably would have been stronger. 


So this brings me to today, we were checking out the new 3d print shop in town and my wife saw a few things she liked. So I decided I would make something similar since it was a fairly simple Thing 35246 Just a simple snowflake vase (print the item with 0% infill) I started printing and things were going great. About 1/4 of the way through the print I glanced over and saw it was messing up big time! I quickly looked at pronterface and it was saying something like "Cold Extrusion Prevented". My hot end has bit the dust. It stopped keeping heat and was dropping fast. It now no longer works. ARG. Going to have to do some fixing I guess. 

Here is the print as far as it made it. I will just turn it into a Christmas Ornament to hang on the tree since it didn't finish. 


If you have any ideas how to get my hot end going again please let me know!!!!



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Safer Wiring!

Way back in the beginning  when I wired up the heat bed I used some old computer cables that I had. Seen Here It worked for a while and was great except for one thing.. The wire is 16ga and couldn't handle the amps that were required for the heat bed. I noticed this within a few weeks of printing when the plug started to turn brown.  The picture below shows the plug as it was when I just re-set the printer back up.

The yellow wire that was in the power supply is severely damaged. It also melted the protector plate on the power supply. I knew it was too hot and never printed without me sitting right there. I also always kept a fire extinguisher next to the printer in case the worst happened. I had tried to extend the life of the plugs by attaching some ceramic to pull the heat out and then have a mini computer fan blowing on that. 

Upon moving into the new house I felt very obligated to correct this problem. Especially because I eventually plan on this being set up in my workshop in the basement. 

I recently did some rewiring of the bathroom lights  (no worries it is all up to code and has the proper gage wire) and I had a small scrap of 14ga wire that I had cut out. I also had an extra single pole switch(since I now have 3 way lighting in the bathroom). I cut off the plugs and wired it properly.

There is a celebrity appearance in this photo of our really tiny kitten Wronskian (Wronny). 

I will print a box that is a little smaller and a cover plate as one of the near future projects. 

I did still leave the computer cable with molex connections hooked up for the cooling fans. It made it really easy to just plug the fans in and I can unplug them when I want. Further down the road I will have them on toggle switches. 



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Moved!

We finally moved into the new house. After being here a month and taking care of some serious priorities, I finally got around to setting up my printer. We had both got our offices painted, and been doing some serious yard work. It's a lot to keep all this lawn mowed, pool clean, and gardens growing! Just last weekend got my new desk, made sure it was an "L" so that I could have room for the printer. I hooked up the computer last week, which was nice since I didn't have it up and running for 6 weeks. Now the printer.


I am going to try to get it fully set up this weekend and get it printing again! I have a relay for life in 2 weeks and my company has been doing tons of fundraising (we are number 1 for the county so far). I am going to try to come up with some little item that can be sold at the event. Lets see if I can come up with something!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Moving!

No worries I havent put printing completely aside! I have been taking a slight break. We have been very busy with the home buying process. We are closing Monday so once we get things moved and settled in I will be up and running!      

To prep for moving I decided it would be best to mount the printer on something stable. The A frame style allows the printer to twist a little when picking up. I didnt want to screw something major out of calibration so I picked up a 2'x2' square of 3/4" plywood from the hardware store. Probably could have used a thinner sheet but I wanted to be safe. 

I then printed 4 brackets (blue) that would clamp to the M8 rod and allow L brackets that I had on on hand be attached. I placed one just inside each corner. 

Here is a close up of on of them. After I realized I could have printed the brackets as Ts and eliminated the metal portion. Oh well. It is now super sturdy and ready to move!

I also put binder clips on all the axis to make sure that they dont slide around. I know the prominate ones in the picture are the ones holding the bed but if you look at the axis you will see them holding it in plane. 

I also disconnected the power supply and packed it up. After moving I will make some brackets to attach the power supply to the board as well. Its a proper step in making this a mobile printer!

Hopefully I will be up and running in a few short weeks!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Music to my ears


I was looking for something cool to print and when I went to the thingiverse I came across the price winners of their recent competition they held. I really like the customizable music box so I decided to print it. Thingiverse thing 53235 the music cylinder it comes programmed with is just a test reel. It just has some simple chords and a run. I didnt print the cylinder because of the waste of plastic (3meters at 10% fill!).

Here you can see the main box, the gears, handle, and shaft. The box was about 3 metes of plastic and 3.5 hours of print time, the other items were small amounts of plastic and easily under 20 minutes each. 


I noticed that Frere Jacques had been designed. Thing 59242. I printed this out and it sounds pretty cool! 
Just so you have an idea, this is what 10% fill looks like. This is to conserve plastic and not print a completely solid core. It saves tons on material and time. Speaking of time....


video
This is a time lapse video of the cylinder being printed. It was a 2.5hr print! The webcam is held using my item Thing 52533. If you want to hear what the song sounds like here is a video by the creator of the music box. You have to press it against a box for it to sound right. Mine sounds almost the same as the video so you get the idea. 

I wanted to make a happy birthday cylinder for my birthday next week. You can listen to it on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_c3p24RRtQ

Pen

Well just a quick post. I wanted to make something for my wife on the printer since it has been a little while. Thing 45576 is what I decided to go with. It is a customizable pen!

Once it is printed you just insert a pen insert from a cheap pen like a hotel pen. She took it to work as her pen to give people when they want to borrow one. That way she knows she gets it back :)




Friday, March 8, 2013

Warping and sticking in Geneva

So I will start by saying after I did the recent tape job (which looks great) I have been having some major issues with warping/curling. I dont know if this is because of the weather or the fact that the apt is a little cold but it has been very annoying.

For those of you who dont know what warping is read this: When printing the plastic it will cool down and shrink. On larger prints the lower layers are cool by time the next layers print. As the above layer cools it pulls the part towards the center as it shrinks. This will cause the corners of the print to pop of the bed and sometimes even cause the entire print to fall off.

 I wanted to try a few things to see if I could stop the curling. The far left print you can see how much the corners came up by time it was done. This was just plane printing on my clean surface. Way more curling than ever before  while printing on my ceramic. 

The Middle was a trial using water and glue mixture. The water evaporated off the bed and left a thin film of glue. This did help a lot as you see but still not perfect. Next I tried some acetone based (small % though) nail polish remover. This did help still but I wasn't 100% happy with the results.


I went to amazon.com and purchased a small 4 oz bottle of 100% acetone to dissolve some ABS in. After waiting a week for it to come in I took a sauce jar and put in 2 ounces of the acetone and a few scrap parts. When I woke up in the morning the parts were completely gone! This is ABS juice that is becoming a more common practice. I know a smaller jar would help contain the fumes but this is all I had for now. 


Now that I had the abs juice I applied some to the print bed with a q-tip and printed the next part I needed. Boy did I have fun trying to get this off! I tried letting it cool and still couldnt get it off. Next I tried the freezer to see if it would shrink and pop off. Nothing. Next I took a hammer and screw driver and had to dig under it in a few places to pop it off. HOLY CRAP was it stuck. I damaged the tape underneath getting it off. That made me think of something....


For my next piece I decided I would need some leverage to pop it off. I placed two small strips of kapton tape 75 percent of the way underneath at either end. I then covered them with ABS juice and clicked print. It printed perfectly over the tape and 0 warping again! When it was time to remove the print I just lifted up the tape and with a little force, BINGO it popped off. I can't wait to try this method again. I dont see why it wouldnt work. It reminded me of taking the batteries out of something when you have to pull the little string to pop them out.

Right after popping the print off using the tape as pull strings

At the end I had something fun to play with! Thing1642 a Geneva wheel. Really a cool little indexing device. 


On a side not we will be moving soonish so I dont know how this will affect my printing, I foresee some new calibration needed after moving. 





Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Flexible Webcam Arm

So I saw a MakerBot webcam attachment http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:8269 which inspired me to make something similar that would work with my webcam. This will allow me to take pictures, video, and time lapse of stuff I print.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:52533 is mine. I dont know if anyone will actually ever print it, but the link segments might be useful for something.





The mounting clip is in the foreground. 6 legs, and then the bracket that fits the camera. 


Im mad this photo is turned. Blogger keeps turning it on me. Just tip your head and you will see the chain attached to the acrylic plate on top of my printer. I tried to arc the links nice and evenly so it would look better. It is assembled using M3x16 bolts, washers, and nuts. I tightened them down pretty tight (not to tight so it wouldnt break the plastic)

Probably time lapse videos of future prints on the way!