Bloody 3D Printers...

posted 7 Aug 2012, 12:29 by Colin Bell   [ updated 10 Aug 2012, 10:41 ]

Nah, I don't mean it really, I love my Huxley, but man is it high maintenance! 

So far, with only a hand full of objects built, I've had to perform the following maintenance - in one week:

1. Disassembly and clean of hot end to clear blockages - twice
2. Replace Kapton tape on bed (OK, first layer height of 0.2mm is a bad idea)
3. Re-tension Y axis belt (yeah...I forgot to home before moving the bed and it crashed into the frame and pulled the belt loose)

The above are the self made issues - my new rule of thumb is to let the hot end cool to around 150c after printing, and slowly retract the filiment so that it leaves the hot end clear for next time. The Kapton and Y belt issues I guess are my own fault.

In addition to this, I've also been playing with the e-steps per mm settings for movement and extrusion, following Spacexula's excellent video guides - I'll post links below, as they are highly recommended - not only to get a good print, but also to help understanding what the heck you're changing in the firmware. These video's really are reprap gold dust - every builder should watch them. Be sure to check out his other video's in his channel here.

Configuring Sprinter

Calibrating X/Y/Z

Skeinforge 40+ Tutorial

I ran out of white Faberdashery PLA, so moved onto their very pretty Galaxy Blue - so far I've not actually printed anything worth showing, although I will be as it looks wonderful even on crap prints. I've been experimenting with bed temperatures, due to issues getting it to stick to the bed - I seem to have found it's sweet spot at 70c, and the hot end at 195c. 

The reason for the crap prints though is that my extruder is failing - for one, the small gear is worn and needs replacing. The larger gear needs to be moved fractionally further from the extruder body, as it's rubbing occasionally and causing missed steps - I guess that's why my objects are looking bad. Printing a new gear wouldn't be a problem, except the Github versions won't compile...I've mailed JM and co, but haven't had a response as yet - I think if I can't replace it soon, that will be the end of my Huxley until I've built the Mendel and can print another set of gears.

I've seen on the eMaker forums, that JM and crew use their fleet of machines for 16 hours a day! I'm really wondering how many times they service each machine to maintain this level of stability - I mean come on, my build can't be that different...can it?