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


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


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....

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:


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 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 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. 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!

Monday, February 18, 2013

New tape, and starting print code

I know it's been a while since I have done anything with the printer. This one mainly because of the last crash I had where it ripped up all the tape. I was having a hard time getting motivated to fix the bed. I finally got around to it since I am on a 3-day weekend! I took a lot of time placing the new tape to  not be wrinkled or bubbled. No gaps between strips either (within reason). 

My print area is framed by the blue corner marks. The pencil rectangle is on the ceramic and couldn't get it off. It is not as wide as I would like because at the max height my cooling with crash into the frame. 

The next big thing I did I cant really show a picture of. It is a programming thing. In KISSlicer and other slicing programs it is common practice to put some start code and end code to add to every print. Such as home all axis, reset extruder, etc. Here is what I did and why;
G-code Prefix
G28 ; home all axes
G1 X0 Y0 Z10 ; move to z10
G92 E0 ; reset extruder
G-Code Postfix
M104 S0 ; turn off temperature
G28 X0  ; home X axis
G28 Y0  ; home y axis
M84     ; disable motors

The Key line is the underlined one. What this does is bring the z level up to 10 before it starts to print. It will then move on a very nice linear diagonal until it hits the point where the print is going to start (in my case usually (100,100,0). The reason I did this was because it allows it to clear the tape in-case there is a wrinkle or bubble and not rip the tape up. Also if a little piece of plastic is hanging off the nozzle it might catch the tape edges too. If you look in my previous posts you will see where the tip dragged and ripped the bed the shreds. Now if it is going to drag it will only do it at the start point of print instead of the path to get there. This happened more than a few times in the past because I like the first layer so thin for ultimate adhesion. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mountain Top Pt4

So I know it has been a while. But trust me I have spent a lot of time getting to this point. This took a lot of time and I worked on it in small batches. I didn't want to update the photos until the mountain top was complete (without trees and some additional accents like hikers or animals).

Here you can see where I have added the basic ground foam over the painted base from pt3. 

Next I began adding in some bushes and smaller rocks

Lots of rocks and bushes added to bring it to life

Close up of the front rock. Little shiny due to flash glare. Will need to rub some brown chalk on it to dull it for future pictures. Remember this front rock is only 1" tall and the ones on the next level in background are 2" tall

If you were to climb my mountain and look down from the top this is the view you would have. 

With a sky backdrop looking up the 5 inch mountain. I have yet to put some trees on it, but you get the idea. 

Here is the overview of it. I will need to blend this into the next section of the layout and then add my accents. Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


So I tried printing thingiverses Brown Bear and the results were very pleasing! I set the scale for 40% of the original size to save on plastic. It also only has 10% fill. I wanted to play with the slidder bar in Kisslicer that allows you to print faster or slower.

The bear on the right was printed at 80% precision. This just means that if you take the difference between my max set speeds and make it a scale of 0-100 it was printed at 20 (slow). The print on the left was printed at 100% precision, make it the slowest setting I have set. On the bear on the right you can see very clearly where each layer starts. This is because I had a setting turned on the extrudes .2mm of material after each move and 0mm of retraction. Because of this there was just a little bit of extra material at the start of each layer. 

After I changed that value the 0 the seams cleaned up super well on the slow bear. But for some reason, just above the slow bears elbow, 1 layer is a little wider than the rest. At first I thought the print shifted, but nope its a little ledge the whole way around. Must just be the way it was sliced. 

So a post or so ago I mentioned that I crashed the print head and had to relevel. Well the bed is level but my z height clearly needs to be adjusted. I am having problems with tip drag, even with a z-offset setting. I need to just tweak my homing sensor up a tiny bit.