Cyrozap's Tech Projects

Computers. Circuits. Code.

MakerBot is Growing Up

Disclaimer: This is just, like, my opinion, man. Also, I won't be discussing whether MakerBot has done anything illegal or not; I'll only be explaining what I think is going on at the company.


Introduction:

Recently, the MakerBot Replicator 2 was announced as a closed-source device. This didn't really surprise me. In fact, I'm more surprised they didn't do this with the original Replicator. Yes, they're a company we've all come to know and love, but I've felt that for a while now that they've been becoming less and less relevant to the community of 3D printing tinkerers.

PLA!

A few days ago, I ordered some PLA (from UltiMachine, at $47.50) so I could print out larger objects without warping. It's arrived, and now I have to figure out how to modify my MakerBot to use it. I found this thread helpful.

PLA

Just so you know, MakerBot Industries is also selling PLA, but it is 4032D, and is currently on sale at $60 (and will rise to $80 on Monday). Supposedly, 4032D is better because it has a more ABS-like melting point so it can be used in a MakerBot more easily, but I've heard 4042D works fine.

Failures and Succeses

This post summarizes the events of the past few days:

  • MakerBot randomly stops during large print (Mendel extruder), causing blob; blob makes print fail epicly.
  • Happens again; no idea what's going wrong.
  • I tighten the X/Y belts.
  • Happens AGAIN!
  • I sleep on the thought.
  • I tighten down the extruder.
  • I take a trip online to the MakerBot Google group; find out what I have to do.
  • I fix it.
  • I happily print out Mendel parts.
  • :D

Mendel Extruder

Extruder working better than EVER!

I printed a dodecahedron today. It printed fine, but plastic was building up on the nozzle.

Why was this? Because the extruder was extruding faster than the build base was moving.

Why is this good? Before, the settings I used worked with my extruder just fine. Now, because plastic is building up, it means that the extruder's motor speed is faster than it was before, meaning that it has become more efficient. This is probably because of the modifications I made to it (especially the filing job I did on the pinch wheel). I modified the Skeinforge settings and am going to print out another dodecahedron momentarily.

I'm so excited!

From MakerBot #000117 'Spartan'

In Other News: Fixing the "Fixed" Extruder

I believe that the repairs I just performed on the extruder are going to work this time! I tried building a test dodecahedron recently and my extruder just stalled on me. This has happened before, but I think I have found the problem. The pinch wheel was allowing the filament to slip next to it during extrusion, causing it to lose contact with the idler wheel and stop extruding to fix this, I simply filed down the pinch wheel. If this works, great! If not, I'll file down the pinch wheel more until it is impossible for the filament to slip. Actually, I think I'll just file it down anyways to prevent making ANOTHER cracked idler wheel.

Rebuilt Extruder Creates More Problems

As I said in the last update for this, I rebuilt the extruder. Yay!

The rebuilt extruder

But there is a slight problem: the extruder, for some reason, extruded for a while, but then just stopped. I think I just need to tighten it down better (I did it by hand first). Ugh. This run-it-for-a-bit-and-then-it-breaks-and-I-have-to-fix-it routine is really getting on my nerves.

Extruder rebuilt!

Self-explanatory title is self-explanatory.

Long story short, I rebuilt the extruder for my MakerBot and will be testing it tomorrow. Then I will be able to see how well having less ceramic tape on the heater barrel works.

MakerBot Extruder Woes

So I decide to finally fix the extruder. In doing so, I found more problems than I thought existed.

Problems:

  1. Idler Wheel has cracked
  2. Insulator Retainer has cracked
  3. Nichrome wire insulation has turned to powder
  4. Overheating caused kapton tape and ceramic tape to burn
  5. The barrel and nozzle are full of eels ABS.

I have ordered replacement parts.