Possessed 3D printer!

Here is a little write-up on how my RepRap 3D printing adventure has gone so far…

  • It all started an evening on 17 march 2011, where I ordered the plastic parts. I first started looking around on ebay, but the parts there was looking cheap and required a lot of cleaning up, reaming and so. So not wanting to do any of that, I ordered some more expensive parts, where the description said there were no cleaning or reaming needed, and it all would fit perfectly together.
  • After a week, the parts arrived, and most of them required cleaning up, because they were still attached to the raft. After cleaning them, I then tried to put them together… And it then turned out the holes were too small, and there were some parts missing. After contacting the seller, he agreed to send me replacement parts, so about one week later, they arrived…….. with exactly the same problem. So this time, I tried to drill the holes instead, and it wasn’t easy, but it ended up working.
  • Between that I also ordered a stepper motor set from the same seller, and they were then two weeks delayed because of delivery problems from his source..
  • After getting the motors mounted, I then realized there were parts missing for the extruder, and then had to contact the seller once again to get him to send those also.
  • And again, after about a week, the parts arrived, and I then had problems figuring out how they were planned to fit together… And turned out the reason I was so confused, was because the springs weren’t the right size, and required a strange bodge-job with multiple different sized washers to work.
  • After putting most of it together, I had a closer look at the 608 bearings I got in the hardware set, and realized they were pretty bad. So I had to order new of those too.
  • New bearings mounted, motors mounted, time to get the X carriage on and same with the Y axis… And first thing happening, was most of the PLA bushings cracking… But instead of waiting for other replacement parts, that might just do exactly the same, I decided to upgrade the Y axis to use linear bearings instead, and that upgrade turned out to be awesome. They are all running smooth, silent, and with no slack at all.
  • So with all the axis movable, it was time to get it calibrated, and a new problem immediately surfaced… This time it was the belt’s rubbing on the washers, so I had to come up with a solution to that too.
  • Finally! Ready to calibrate! Uploaded the sprinter firmware to my arduino 2560 with RAMPS on, and all axis were moving, lovely! A positive thing here was that the pin layout was perfect for ramps, and I only had to do very small adjustments to the parameters to make the steps fit the actual distance moved.
  • Time to make a calibration cube! Or so I thought… First time I tried, it was about to run into itself. Same with the second try, and fourth… And then the Arduino 2560 stopped responding. I pressed the Print button in repsnapper, and heard the ding dong sound for a usb device being disconnected, and the Arduino then disappeared.
  • The ABS plastic parts have now started to come apart on them-self, with simply the layers separating from each other.
  • After a bit messing around with it, I decided to get a new Arduino Mega 1280, and then somehow my 2560 started working again, so I continued using that.
  • FINALLY! Ready to print that damn cube to see if everything is working as it should, and get the skeinforge settings adjusted to fit my printer too.
  • Hot-end set to 210C with PLA filament loaded in the extruder… Lets go!
  • But oh well… It only managed to make the raft, and two layers, followed by the PEEK in my arcol hot-end breaking
  • One week after the PEEK breaking, I send arcol a mail about the problem, and awaited reply… After a week, still no reply (almost two weeks since from writing moment, still no reply) Update… turned out he had send the reply to himself instead of me.
  • To try to get it printing, I tried to make an aluminium replacement part, and added active cooling to the copper piece on the hot-end to make up for the extra heat moving up from the warm part. And only a few seconds after starting extruding, the nozzle clogged up, and I could take it all apart again.
  • After putting it all together the stepper motor would just whine, instead of moving, followed by the extruder no longer gripping the PLA properly and making grooves into it instead of pushing it through.
  • Problems solved! And we are now ready to print! Extruder is extruding nicely, all motors are moving as they should, blue tape on the print bed, hot-end warm and ready to extrude…
  • … and then, just before hitting the print button *ding dong* … The Arduino 1280 I switched to stopped responding, and have been dead ever since.

Here we are, 2th of July 2011, and I still haven’t been able to print anything…

My printer is possessed! Every time I am close to printing, something breaks!

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