Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

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#1 modi123_1   User is offline

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Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 04 January 2020 - 05:03 PM

(table of contents at the bottom)

My foray into 3d printing has been an interesting labor of frugiliness, swearing, and above average results.

Let me share a little bit of what I got, upgrades I did, and how it all played out.

The Why:
Always seems to be a first question. Well that or "so it like prints paper too?". I've been mildly interested in one for some years, and thankfully the prices have been falling (sort of) and the quality increasing. I saw a black friday deal on Woot (who seems to sell them about every 5-8 weeks), and jumped.

No particular knowledge (outside of following some sub-reddits and watching some youtube vids) walking in, and no real discernible goal outside of "gee, this could be neat!". Hence going to bargin bin buy in versus something that was grossly more easy to use but more expensive.


The What:
There are a lot of options out there, sizes, and quality. I waived off the $800-3000 'print right out of the box' kind as I wasn't holy invested in the idea.

I also waived off the idea of 3d resin printers as I wasn't a fan of the chemicals in an enclosed space, the post processing of alcohol baths, and the like. Sure maybe super better small detail, but I'll live.

What I picked up was the SainSmart x Creality Ender-3 PRO 3D Printer.

The 'pro' seemed to have a few more bells and whistles than the regular such as: "with Upgraded C-Magnet Build Surface Plate Mat, UL Certified Power Supply, Extra 4 Nozzles, Build Volume 220 x 220 x 250 mm".

The specific link:
https://computers.wo...ro-3d-printer-4
https://www.sainsmar...-pro-3d-printer

I also snagged a reel of discounted filament to go with it which as been a pain to use.. or maybe not. Haven't had much filament use outside of the small amount of test that came with the box and now this.


Assembly was a chore so I set aside a few evenings worth of time for it. I followed along with the "Tomb of 3D Printed Horrors" feller who provides a substantial amount of advice on what to tweak, to what level of tweaking things should be at, and why. This sort of info is good for later when you are cursing your printer for leveling and what could be at fault.

https://www.youtube....h?v=me8Qrwh907Q

There is a fair warning that places like Alibaba have Chinese knock offs being sold and generally to be avoided. Shoddy construction, fires from the power supplies, and the like. I kept to swimming in the "known names" pool... like Creality or SainSmart.


The How:
I opted for 'Cura' as my slicer as it was free and folk seemed to dig it. There are many free, and paid for, slicers out there, but am running with this. The slicer is the app that takes the model, given specs for your machine (extruder temp, bed temp, filament size, nozzle size, etc) and spits out the code for the printer to know how many lines of tiny tiny plastic need to go where.

It also tells you the rough time to make something and that was a real kick in the nuts. Super thin hot plastic sure takes a f'n long time to print. This may be my achilles heel of interest, but not yet.

A lesson learned is when this thing slices zoom in on the 'preview'. Sometimes it is not able to slice the entire model without supports (a checkbox to add), or enough resolution in the model to get it all.. so in-cura-tweaking to scale up the model needs to happen.

Haven't tried any minis yet, but may.

https://ultimaker.co.../ultimaker-cura

So far I've been using models off Thingiverse to print. Easy to download, open, slice, and shovel on to the microsd card.

https://thingiverse.com/

20mm calibration cube is handy to make sure your crap is aligned without spitting out too much plastic.
https://www.thingive...m/thing:1278865

Benchy to really see where you stuff is failing.
https://www.thingive...om/thing:763622

The bed leveler verifier print
http://www.thingiver...m/thing:3235018

and the Makersbot Dog because it looks nice.
https://www.thingive...m/thing:2879047


The More Whats:
Doing my research ahead of time I knew there were certain upgrades that would do me good.

First was better bed springs for more consistent leveling, metal extruder bits as the filament tends to wear a hole in the plastic one, better couplers, and maybe some tubing.

Creality3d sold all of these in one go for 20 bucks. Reasonable.

Then got a new motherboard that was flashable, had better steppers (the things that control the motors), and plugins for a host of other things. That was a BIGTREETECH SKR Mini E3 V1.2.

Part of the flashable bits is 'run away thermal protection' which is nice if the thing gets super weird temps it cuts out.

Also the stepper upgrades (TMC2209) took away the mechanical whine of the motors going. Literally zero sound from them now.. all I hear is fans. That's keen. $35 for the board was reasonable.


The bed springs were a little taller than stock so I had to bump up the z-switch a bit, but definitely are less squishy and hold level.

The extruder was fairly easy assembly and punted the old one.

The tubing I held off on.. it seems for printers with longer bowden tubes (thing that cards the filament from the mechanical extruder to the hot end having as less of play in the tube is best. Stock tubes are fairly big to accommodate bigger filament but things can get crimped up when plastic is being retracted.. but those are things like the ender 5 or CR 10. So far haven't had a need yet.

After a few test prints with the original board I swapped out the main boards. So far about the same quality but with more side features I may investigate later.

Spoiler


Tertiary Whats:
A few other things were picked up.. a $10 digital caliper so I could pretend I knew what to do with it outside of measuring my 20mm calibration cube was indeed 20mm, and a 20 cheap crimper and box of ferrule so any loose wire strands could be kept in check. I did use that with some of the wires when swapping out the main boards.


Future Whats:
There are a host of funky things that you can add on.

First is 'octoprint' with a raspberry pi..
https://octoprint.org/

This little gem can allow for screen shots, remote video feeds, sensors, remote commands (like oh shit that 40 hour print is spewing just spaghetti turn it off!), power off on over heating/power surges and the like.


Then there's BLTouch.. a automatic bed leveling sensor. Seems like a PITA to install, but so is constant bed leveling.

https://www.antclabs.com/bltouch

Direct Drive kit is available where the extruder bit is mounted right above the hot end. In theory it removes the tubing to reduce retracting strings, allows for weirder filament to be used with less hassle(flexible to make squishy things, wood infused, and metal bits), and more accuracy. Though putting the motor on top of the moving x axis increases left/right mass so stopping and acceleration could introduce problems.



The Pressure Points:
My printer is really hands on, DIY sort of thing. There are about 12-15 things I can tweak, adjust, wrench, or twist to mechanically affect my print quality. It's a chore for sure.

Bed leveling sucks and is super not precise. It's a whole lot of, and I shit you not, screwing the four corners up and down and trying to slide a piece of white printer paper under so it catches juuuust enough but not too much... and around and around it goes. This isn't fun, but the BLTouch may help adjust that. The yellow springs did a bit, but f'n this setup when I move it blows.

This is not to discount how damn important a level bed is.. one side up too far and you get thinned out crap or it embeds into your print surface. Ttoo low and it doesn't stick or curls up. It sucks.

My boss picked up a Creality knock off that was twice the price, but has a direct drive extruder, double axes on the vertical for stability, and the bltouch. In retrospect this may have been a better buy.
https://sovol3d.com/


Filament blows. Depending on the age, company, color pigment content, etc the filament temperatures vary. Blue vs white vs black vs what ever. There's a lot of fiddling with in the printed (on the roll) range and what not. Though havingv the option to print in unicorn colors is nice.

Ex:
https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/B07XMPPK2P

The time it takes sucks in my impatient mindset. Big things can take hours and days, and I am leery leaving this contraption unattended for too long, or while I sleep, in fear of fire breaking out spontaneously. So far zero issues on the 2+ hour long prints, but who knows. Maybe I'll normalize it and not have a problem.

Over all I think I ok with the buy in... cursing, tinkering, and what not aside it fits my personality.

I have plans on ginning up a slide top box for my Adafruit Feather + Wing in the near future so that'll be my first end-to-end make.

When my Michael Reeves's DingDing is done I'll get some photos of what I have printed and keep this updated. Yes, as of right now cubes, dogs, and dicks have been printed.

===============
Table of Contents for relevant posts:

- What I got, upgrades, leveling, etc: This post.

- Calibrate your eSteps and clean your surface: Link

- Ribbon clips: Link

- Case for Capricorn tube replacement: Link

- Always check the preview of your slice: Link

This post has been edited by modi123_1: 11 January 2020 - 04:36 PM
Reason for edit:: Internal linking updated


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Replies To: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

#2 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 04 January 2020 - 09:04 PM

Here are some photos of what I have made an common errors with them.

The baby yoda - I didn't check the size when printing or that the slicer could reach all the edges. While the robe and face look ok, the hands and ears are missing bits.

It's next to a 20mm calibration cube with a slight elephant's foot.

Posted Image

Here's another set of 20mm cubes and the Makerbot dog in two sizes. A few aberrations, but both sprinted well to scale.

Posted Image

Aforementioned dicks, dogs, and cubes.
Spoiler

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#3 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:51 PM

New revelation - I should read the box of filament more closely. Seems my extra spool I ordered from woot was PETG and not PLA.. a better over all filament but a pain in the butt to print with due to density. Whoopsie. More PLA in the mail.
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 07 January 2020 - 03:49 PM

Pretty sure my damn bowden tubes (that I didn't replace) maybe part of the failed print factor. The PETG needs a lot of high heat, and the default bowden tube doesn't deal with that well. The Capricorn (upgrade tubes) I have laying around do better.

When my new PLA filament gets in I'll be tearing into the tubes.

Side note for any future readers - since those tubes need to be damn near flush sitting on the hot end (else the filament curls up and jams) it's best to use a pipe cutter to make gradual passes but get a flat end.

Ex:


https://www.lowes.co...tter/1000667999
https://www.lowes.co...tter/1000668017

Lessons are being learned.
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 11 January 2020 - 10:36 AM

New filament, PLA this time, and a morning of bed leveling and tweaking. I still can't make the f'n Makerbot GearSpinner thing (first layer is killing me), but oh well. It's not called a torture test for nothing.
http://www.thingiver...m/thing:2234364

Though I was fiddling with settings and had a minor stringy three-in-one-print for cable clips. Odd to make something actually functional that I printed. Granted I didn't make it, but hells bells if I didn't print it.
https://www.thingive...m/thing:2960375

Posted Image

Spoiler


Starting to get a funky thought that my ambient temperature and airflow maybe to blame for adhesion.. Thinking I may construct a box to enclose this in.. but that could just be the frustrated paranoia.
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#6 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:59 PM

Word of caution for anyone making it this far.. calibrate your esteps!

The default I had with my new board was 94. Measured out 100mm of filament and made a mark. I then measured 110, 120, and 90 for good measure.

Then I had the extruder push out 100mm of filament, and was short by 11mm! Using the math mentioned below I recalibrated to 104.5. Mind you, your device may be different based on filament, parts, etc so do the check.

Now it's laying down a decent flow!

Also, clean that magnetic bed with isopropylalkohol! I happened to have like 97% and that is clearing up a ton of issues with sticking.

It looks like I may get my Makerbot fidget gear thing (above) printed out mostly right! Hopes and dreams people - that's what 3d printing is founded on.

https://letsprint3d....nder-3-5-cr-10/
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 11 January 2020 - 04:30 PM

Well slap my ass and call me bacon, I think I got this down! It was hard to judge if I should have aborted half way through - fearing I had some sort of 'support' option on, but I'm glad I stuck through!

This is like the high of making a complex program work, or wrenching on your car, I'll tell you what.

The only minor issues are one side had a tooth stuck in the opposing side, which I separated with a small flat head screw driver. The other were a few of the gear teeth were droopy but functional.

Once that was one tooth was freed the gears turned freely in their enclosure! It's crazy to print something functionally working (with in tolerance) right off the plate. No assembly required.

Damn it feels good to be a gangster.

http://www.thingiver...m/thing:2234364
Posted Image
Functional fidget gear next to four failed siblings. (Almost like aliens 4.)
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 16 January 2020 - 09:12 PM

First pass at a topographical map. Shit level resolution, but looks nice.

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https://i.imgur.com/MPKFHIs.jpg
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 23 January 2020 - 10:04 AM

This is the only one true bed leveling print to use. Single layer squares. Taken my need for 'level' to a whole new level.

https://www.thingive...com/thing:34558

https://all3dp.com/2...ake-it-perfect/

Not quite 'absolute level', but a good hop that way.

Posted Image


https://ultimaker.co...layer-look-like
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 30 January 2020 - 08:57 PM

The gyroscopic fidget key chain things are a hit with friends and workplace proximity associates.

About an hour and a half or so using 0 infill, 0.1 layer height, and 1.0 walls. First two rings are a little loose, but that seems to be the model. Tried 3% infill with same wall/layer to no change.. and then 1.1 wall and that got a little fused.

http://www.thingiver...om/thing:644217


Two hours now to see if the miniature profiles are anything attainable.
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 31 January 2020 - 12:02 AM

Using the 'Fat Dragon Games' profile on a stock 4mm end.. and 2 hours.. kind of dope.

https://i.imgur.com/So2ITRE.png

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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 31 January 2020 - 09:32 AM

I BOUGHT MY SON THE ENDER 3 -- ugh caps

anyways he loves it and has made a light saber with it

it just takes time to finness.



Ender3
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 31 January 2020 - 09:34 AM

It's definitely a test of patience and problem solving. Almost feels like self-flagellation at times. ha!
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 07 February 2020 - 09:00 AM

Stashing this here for when it gets warmer. Need me a T2 arm lamp.

https://www.thingive...m/thing:2886923
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Re: Swears and patience cracked again, my 3d printer journey

Posted 18 February 2020 - 02:00 PM

After hemming and hawing I am now going to start my first 7 hour print. Unicorn head's base.

The unicorn head will be 15h45m.

This'll be my printer after today... eesh.

Posted Image

A good test to see how well the Ace of Spades will turn out.

.. or the Link breakable pot!
https://www.thingive...om/thing:772378
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