Working on my 3d printer provided some interesting challenges

I got it assembled within 48 hours of receiving it. Than the fun started …

I had plugged all the motors backwords. This means that when I told the printer to move one way it went backwards. A simple fix. More annoyingly only 3 of the 4 sets ran well. Some trouble shooting narrowed it down to a flakey motor control module.

I contacted makergear on IRC support channel about it and we went through some quick steps and verified the module is bad. At 1 am. They sent out a new one the next morning. Also, they helped me find a local person who happened to have a spare one he'd sell me. How is that for costomer service? A+ service in my book.

I went out to the local guy and picked up a good motor module. I also took a look at his machine. Very nice! I could see some of the little tweaks on my kit that are even nicer than his machine: like all stainless hardware.

I got home and plugged the module in and it worked! While I had the polulu pulled, I switched all my microstepping from 1/8th to 1/16th as the machine seemed to want to travel twice the distance I asked it to.

The other big problem I had was with the temperature sensor. Every bit tested ok, but it just wouldn't work. Easily an hour of cussing out the connectors I figured out I had been trying to put the inserts into the wrong parts. Once I sorted that out, it was easy to make it work right.

The last issue is that the print bed isn't perfectly flat. I grabbed a piece of glass I had but ended up dropping it and shattering it.

Once I got everything put together, I tried to print. I got a couple of loops around and things started to get wonky. Turns out, I needed to turn down the power after changing the microstepping rate which I had failed to do. This caused an extruder meltdown as the motor was running how and melted the plastic from the gear to the nozzle. It took me several hours to fix this.

In album

Assembled control board. I added the heat sinks to the polulul motor control boards right after this photo was taken.

My extruder assembly tore appart trying to get it cleared and fixed.

The set screw was seized up and wasn’t correctly seated on the keyway. So I had to make a shim to get the gear to stay tight onto the motor shaft.

Extruder motor and the hot end where the only bits that weren’t affected by the meltdown. Everything else just went stupid on me.

Assembled RepRap ready to start to test.

Heat curing the ceramic on the heater element for the hot end. My ancient AT power supply worked great for this.

My first attempt to print. It failed catastrophically.

Plastic is sheared off in the extruder body and I had to drill it out to remove it.


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