9 November 2012

3D Printers are living things

It has taken a long time to get my printer working, even though I bought a pre-prepared kit. And now that it is working it is never long before some minor maintenance is necessary, and not much longer before major maintenance is needed. Yesterday was a good example.

  • While trying to print ABS the PLA extruder motor pulley came loose
  • The PLA extruder block warped
  • The large extruder pulley warped and cracked, it still works but needs replacing
  • The x carriage bushings came loose, the hot glue softened
  • The wiring on hot end broke, solder melted
  • The nozzle blocked changing from PLA to ABS
  • The plate attached to the z carriages supporting the x carriage broke, trying to wrangle jammed filament.  I broke the second plate replacing the first.
  • While I had everything apart I replaced the lower Z smooth rod clips as they had previously broken – but still held.
When taking things apart I noticed that the x carriage has mounts in the forward - back orientation as well as left right, this is tempting to try – though I’m not sure what it would achieve. I also shorted the power supply, and myself to the power supply.

A day or two before I printed and changed the y belt riser and clamps from pla to abs. The pla had softened and deformed. During printing abs the y bed would go very sloppy. It would click moving back and forth as the loose parts flopped side to side. The nuts and washers fell off the loose bolts and landed disturbingly close to the circuit board mounted under the bed. The PCB was put there in the first place to protect it, I just didn’t think of falling nuts and washers.
All of these repairs stop production for a good few hours each.

I had previously printed one of almost every part on my printer for moments like this – I’m glad I did. Now I have to replace the spares.

I wasn’t sure which bushings to print – so I printed them all!

The warped extruder block, and melted solder joint (second)

My printer

Note the non grey parts have been replaced at some point, there a handful you can't see, and a number of parts that are broken but still holding that will be replaced next time I take that area apart.