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Newbie to the site, but not the printer. Got questions...

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by KNI1GHT, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. KNI1GHT

    KNI1GHT New Member

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    Hi folks. Sorry for the long post, but humor me. :) Mike here. I'm brand new to this Robo3D Forum, but definitely not to the printers. To date, I've owned/own two Robo R1 Plus Printers. Both I've had for nearly 5 years, and they've always been amazing printers and a real pair of work horses. Incredibly happy with them. Each printer has MORE than carried its weight over the years. I guess I"m fortunate since the only parts I've ever had to replace are a hot end here, an extruder tip there, and one heated print bed.

    Long story short, "something" had me sold on the R1 Plus model. Enough to the point, where after owning my first R1 plus for only a year, I bought a second one just because. :) Plus to keep up with this crazy hobby.

    However........

    These machines are starting to finally get finicky. (that's right, nearly 5 years and they just started to mess up)I spent all night tonight reading up on "stepper drivers" and the RAMPs boards, and especially the Driver boards. . It all started with a stubborn extruder stepper that cut out on me during a print. Now, I've dealt with the occasional filament jam, but quickly found out how to avoid those.

    Anyway, I read and "did" the support section of the Robo3D site, about swapping the wiring to test the stepper motor, using the software's X axis function, and the motor worked just fine. So, the next step, was to check the Driver Board....well, I have another identical R1 +, so I borrowed its driver board.

    No luck still!! So Now, I'm reading the RAMPs board is probably bad.

    So end of my long story here. I'm looking for some helpful tips, and maybe some advice. Both my printers still have strong stepper motors, but their wiring and "board stuff" is starting to show it's long usage I guess. Also, I should probably add, all that hardware was bone cold stock with no mods or upgrades. (Right from the factory)

    I'm looking at repair, or replace opinions. There's also a site called partsbuilt that offers a ton of stuff for these printers at what looks like reasonable prices. Not sure if it's a good source or not. Again, looking for opinions.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post, but just to give an idea of what my Robo R 1 Plus printers have done for me, here are some of my more "over the top" prints, and yes, they are all life size. Knowing that, and knowing that these printers have been going strong for almost 5 years.....well.......not sure how to proceed, but in the here and now......seems my RAMPs boards and Driver boards may be the culprit.

    Thanks for lending an ear guys and for any help.

    My 2 Robo R1 Plus printers have made SO MUCH, but below are my favorites. :)

    I've actually done 12 full scale Ghostbusters Proton Packs on the first R1 Plus Printer I bought. And below that pic is my full size Johnny 5 3d Print. I'll spare the thousands of other prints these printers have done. I know that I followed a strict preventive maintenance schedule for them......well..... I guess it paid off.

    Now just gotta find out how to get these printers up and running again. :)
    23415278_10214147224851948_5740078630966107418_o.jpg 31899134_10215676537163800_1884348336262086656_o.jpg
     
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  2. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Could be the little stepper driver card rather than the entire RAMPS board. Looks like this, sits on top of the RAMPS. Converts the voltage signal from the Arduio into PWM current to drive the stepper motor. Cheap and easy to test (swap it with another one on a different axis and see if the problem moves). It may still be the RAMPS, this is easier to fix :)

    and welcome to the forum!

    Here is an example of the part:

    https://smile.amazon.com/HiLetgo-Stepstick-Stepper-Printer-Compatible/dp/B07BND65C8

    Here is a picture of the RAMPS so you can see which one to fiddle with (one labeled E motor):

    Robo3D R1 +Plus Ramps Board (labeled).jpg

    Going forward I would suggest tightening the belts occasionally, lubricating the shafts and bearings occasionally and all of those parts are generically available as well. In fact the R1+ RAMPS board is the only non-readily available part and we have a thread that shows you how to convert it to a standard RAMPS 1.4 which you can buy (cheaply) all over.
     
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  3. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Excellent modelling work by the way.
    Like you I have used all of my Robos for years and used them hard at times :) They are decent workhorse printers.
     
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  4. BrooklynBay

    BrooklynBay Active Member

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    Does the Johnny 5 robot in the photo above have servos or solenoids to move the arms, grippers or any other parts?
     
  5. KNI1GHT

    KNI1GHT New Member

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    Ok....it's been several days now, but here's what I have "not" found out from my efforts.

    Short version......

    I own 2 Robo r1 plus printers, roughly 5 years old, and nearly the same amount of time printing with them.

    Printer # 1 was working flawlessly until this problem with the extruder wheel came up.

    Printer # 2 is a working printer, but it has a bad heating element in it's print bed. Still functions, just no heat from the bed.

    I had an issue with the stepper motor on Printer #1 that drives the wheel that runs the extruder on Printer #1, thus the filament begins to extrude.

    However, I followed all the help topics on the robo site here, did the wire swap, so I could use the software's X axis to see if it still moves the stepper for the extruder. (just like as stated on the site) Well, low and behold the stepper isn't bad. It moved in 10 mm increments just like in the tutorial.

    The testing showed that the stepper motor that drives the extruder IS GOOD. In fact, all the stepper motors on all axis are good.

    Using Printer # 2 as a donor for parts, I borrowed some of it's Driver boards, and did a replacement attempting to see if the extruder would function normally again. Making double sure, all the pins and wires were seated properly. (I'm a PC guy by trade, so the circuitry is nothing too new for me in terms of attaching wires and such)

    Well, not only did Printer #1 STILL not have a working feed wheel on the extruder, after the above test showed it too have a good Stepper Motor, but when I put all the driver boards back in Printer # 2, IT STARTED TO EXHIBIT THE SAME MALFUNCTION THAT STARTED WITH PRINTER #1!

    How is this even possible?????




    Well, fast forward to today.....

    I purchased a new RAMPS board for Printer # 1 which arrived today. And IT came with all brand new Driver Boards. Plugged it into the arduino, made sure all the wires were setup identical as before, buttoned the printer back up,

    AND THE THING STILL WONT EXTRUDE. Still exhibiting the exact same problem in the beginning. But yet, doing a wire swap like the tutorial on the site here says......to test for a good/bad stepper motor..........the test actually still moves the stepper motor and feeds filament like it should. But take it out of testing mode, and revert back to the proper wiring, the damn thing refuses to extrude filament. I know it's not a hot end or tip because filament flows nicely when the wheel is manually cranked.

    My parts guy reccomended I take Printer # 2's Arduino board, and try it on the new Ramps board, then do another test.

    BAD IDEA APPARENTLY. Not only did #2's arduino board not help #1, but I quickly changed them back. Why? Because although all this hardware is identical, same model printers, same software, same everything......when I ran the test with #2's arduino, it did show up in the program, but NOTHING worked. No bed heat, no hot end heat, nothing.


    So in the here and now......final thoughts......Printer #1 is my best printer. #2 has become a parts machine. But the problematic #1, now has it's original arduino back, a new Ramps board with new driver boards, and still.....NO EXTRUDER action!!

    Please help folks......There's not much more I can rip apart on these things.

    Thanks for your help.

    Mike
     
    #5 KNI1GHT, Jan 24, 2020 at 8:02 PM
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020 at 8:07 PM
  6. KNI1GHT

    KNI1GHT New Member

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    Yes. When I can add links, I'll show you him strutting his stuff.
     
  7. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    are you at printing temperature when trying to make the extruder stepper turn? If not the firmware will not let it turn...
     
  8. KNI1GHT

    KNI1GHT New Member

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    Yes. That's the first thing I looked at when this all started. My temp is at 180, and manually, it extrudes great. So no clogs. But no motor driven ability with this dilemma.
     
  9. KNI1GHT

    KNI1GHT New Member

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    Ok.....I've already swapped with 8 other driver boards......and nothing. Ramps board is new, arduino is pushing 5 years old. But so far, this is still an issue.

    Unresolved

    :-(
     
  10. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    take it to 190 since some versions of Robo firmware had a limit set well above 180

    The current loop that drives the steppers (stepper<->stepper driver <->RAMPS) is sensitive enough that swapping things around can through them off. Usually this is not destructive, but it can mean steppers quit stepping because the loop is no longer tuned. Tuning is important only in that too little current and a stepper will not step and too much current and they will run hot. Hot is fine short-term and if needed you can add heat sinks to them and avoid worrying about under-current.

    Let's pick one of the printers and tackle it part by part. Otherwise it will just be a mess and nobody will be able to help you. :)
    Ultimately these are not hard to troubelshoot, but you need to know where to focus based on what the symptoms are.

    Also:

    Please provide a link to the tutorial you used so we know exactly what you did. Might be a big clue in there :) Will help tell us what is at fault. It COULD be as simple as needing to boost the drive current from the stepper driver.

    From where did you buy it? Was it the R1+ specific board or a generic one? If the latter did you follow the thread for this?

    The reason it matters is that the generic RAMPS boards as I have mentioned several times in many threads... are not great quality. If they work, they work fine for a long time, but many of them have birth defects. This is because they are inexpensive boards and most sellers just ship them in from China and on to you. I have had to buy as many as 4 new ones (when buying individual boards) from 4 different sellers to get one that worked. When I bough the All-In-One kits I had a much better success rate. Also, always buy from an Amazon Prime seller or at a minimum a seller who will refund or replace a bad one.

    Pick one of the printers (probably #1 since that was working best) make a bullet list of what the symptoms are and post them -- I can walk you through sorting out the issues. If the extruder stepper not stepping is the only fault then we start with that, but make sure we know what is the current state we are starting at. Patience while we go through the steps since while you know the details of what you did, we may not :)


    [also, remember none of us answering questions on here (community.robo3d.com) actually work for Robo3D -- we are all printer owners like you who volunteer to help. And most of us are online US Eastern hours although I am here later at times and @Geof is mid-western :)]
     
    #10 mark tomlinson, Jan 25, 2020 at 6:33 AM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020 at 8:20 AM
  11. KNI1GHT

    KNI1GHT New Member

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    The tutorial I used and have been following is this one...

    https://help.robo3d.com/hc/en-us/ar...aNAE8WBmbJInsPf_BiumoDi5Sqso6fA5AsJWQXB17cA_c

    The replacement RAMPS board I ordered came from a guy named Jonah with PartsBuilt . com and the board is for a Robo R1 +

    I will try turning up the temp to 190 though. But the current dilemma is still this:

    Printer performs all its functions, but no action from feed wheel/stepper on the extruder.

    Tested the extruder motor using the above info from Robo. Tested, and it worked.

    Tried swapping other Driver Boards from another R1 Plus I own, but still nothing.

    Purchased new Ramps board with brand new Drivers, still nothing.

    Feels like I'm chasing my tail here.
     
  12. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Nicely done troubleshooting page. Had not seen that, but it certainly covers the basics.
    So you proved the stepper works -- that is 25% of the solution :)

    While this is a valid test, it may not prove much ... if the current the other driver was set for was not enough for the extruder stepper you moved it to then the stepper will still not step.

    Now that is also a valid test, but it may not eliminate the current not being tuned (which -- to be fair -- usually does not need to be done).

    If the extruder stepper motor works connected as X/Y or Z then the motor is fine.
    If the stepper driver works moved to the same spot as the stepper motor (in other words move the driver chip along with the cable connection and test) then the only thing left is the firmware. The firmware does treat the extruder stepper different because it needs to be hot before extrusion is allowed. Let us know what testing at 190 gets you. If you can open up the GCode terminal in your software and see what (if any) errors are reported back by the firmware when you tell it to extrude. If it is complaining about temperature there will be an error logged in the GCode terminal (something along the lines of "COLD extrusion prevented")
     
  13. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Here is the thread on cold extrusion ...

    http://community.robo3d.com/index.p...ually-extrude-cold-extrusion-prevented.17132/

    That version of the firmware had the lower limit set to 190 so you must be above that (or change the lower limit in the firmware)

    I have most of mine set at 170c simply because that IS too cold to extrude. Some of mine do extrude PLA fine at 180 or even a smidgen below so 190c is really too high to be the "lower" limit. Due to variations in the thermistors and heater cores, you can't really compare exact temperatures between printers (even the same brand and model).
     
  14. BrooklynBay

    BrooklynBay Active Member

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    Test all of the servo wiring from point to point with a continuity tester. Maybe one wire has a bad or open connection so it doesn't allow the servo to function.
     
  15. KNI1GHT

    KNI1GHT New Member

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    In the process of doing all this, I decided to go back to the beginning so to speak, with the uninstallation of the arduino drivers, and a re installation of the matter control software. It's been so long now....but refresh my memory as to which version of Matter Control you guys are using now to run your printers? I have two dedicated laptops, both are running Windows 7 Pro, and both are/were running Matter Control 1.5.

    Before the lectures start about running Window 7........lol...........It's all I ever used over the last 5 years to run both of my R1+ printers. At times.....I've even swapped laptops from one printer to the other due to files I was looking for. In light of this dilemma I'm still dealing with, what version of Matter Control "should" I be running?

    (getting the software back up and running with Printer #1 is proving problematic in it's own right at the moment. Seems the computer wanted to install the older 1.4 version, and although it does start, and read.....the moment I start navigating the software, the program crashes. I think that is due to an obviously OLDER copy of Matter Control clashing with my Windows.)

    When it rains it pours lemme tell ya.

    I appreciate all the help folks. This is the longest I've been without my printers for the last 5 years. I'm starting to have withdrawals.

    LoL
     
  16. BrooklynBay

    BrooklynBay Active Member

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    I use Matter Control version 1.7.5 with Windows 7. It was running on Windows Vista before my SSD crashed. I've used version 2 one time but prefer 1.7.5.
     
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  17. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    I can't say which version Robo suggested. I have not used MatterControl for actual work/printing (although I toyed with it a time or two).
    @BrooklynBay or others can speak for that software.

    Windows 7 is fine, I have used pretty much everything (7, 8, 10) and they all work about the same. Currently I don't have anything older than Windows 10 on any PC (took the free upgrades from 7-10 while it was available)
     
  18. BrooklynBay

    BrooklynBay Active Member

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    The original version of Matter Control from Robo was 1.5 which you have but it had a file to replace the view of the print bed with a Robo logo. You could easily copy & paste that logo into your software but I prefer the default numbered grid which comes with the software. Version 1.7.5 has an option for three different slicing engines which version 2 or the tablet (Android) version doesn't have. They never released the Android software as a downloadable program. It was part of their 7" & 10" tablets which I think they stopped selling. I've tried one of those tablets, and I have mixed feelings. They are not easily upgradable since they didn't make any other version of Android. They had a camera to automatically take a photo & email the finished photo to you. I wasn't able to get that feature to work. Their site allows you to log into your printer to see the name & percentage of what is currently printing which could be done with any computer connected to their server.
     
  19. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Photos like that can be had from OctoPrint and various plugins like the Spaghetti Detective (which, I highly recommend if you use OctoPrint)
     
  20. KNI1GHT

    KNI1GHT New Member

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    Hello again. Quick update to this dilemma. You guys remember how I had said that I own two R1 Plus Printers and they are both ran off individual Laptops each?

    Well, while toying with the software on the bad printer's laptop, I decided to get the "other" laptop from my other printer, and hook it up.
    After all my board swapping, messing with driver boards, replacing ramps boards, etc etc etc..... I fired up the better but still faulty non extruding printer......and low and behold the damn thing began to work again!! I think my thoughts during my last post may have been on to something. I was thinking software with the laptop may have been to blame in one way or another....but the other laptop brought the printer back to life......

    BUT!!!!

    Everything is working, however while trying to do segments of a Saturn V rocket......I noticed my hot end and tip are becoming coated with melted filament now.....and pardon my french, but the print looked like $hit when done. Zits galore!! Bare in mind.....as I said before, I have been using these printers for nearly 5 years.......so tell me if you guys can, what is the printer doing or not doing to cause what you see below?

    I think I've got a Gremlin running loose with my hardware. :-(
     

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