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Ready to throw this thing out

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting' started by rbrock, Aug 27, 2014.

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  1. rbrock

    rbrock Member

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    Ok, I have spent 3 weeks working with this about 3-5hrs a night and I'm ready to throw it out.

    I can't get it to print multiple layers correctly.

    I have tried printing with MatterControl, moved to Cura.

    It seems like it doesn't print a layer every few layers.

    I can print the cube and they turn out okay(ish)

    I decided to printing something simple and when I came back it was a huge mess.

    Goodbye thermistor...
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Test bow tie, but didn't seem to print edges and left gaps
    [​IMG]
    Didn't print a layer in between...
    [​IMG]
    Randomly moved over 1/2" and kept printing...
    [​IMG]
    Some calibration cubes...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It jumps on x axis, but the cables are tight, it randomly moves way off from where it should be printing.

    I can print the first few layers great and then all hell breaks lose when I let it run.

    I have the M8 rods to install but I don't think it will help. It also doesn't seem to move up the Z axis the correct amount.

    THE FUMES ARE AWFUL! I built a fume hood for it - THIS SHOULD BE NOTED SOMEWHERE!

    The last print ripped out the thermister and it's encased in pla... so I will have to order a new one and rebuild again...

    I can't find a good step by step to resolve issues, or what default values should be or how it should be setup... it's all guess work. Little bit's taken from many threads where most don't agree... and it usually doesn't help...

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I said I would be patient until I went through the filament that came with it, I'm down to 1M left.
     
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  2. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson Volunteer
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    Well, there is no manual because a lot is still fuzzy logic :)
    I know that doesn't help, but tuning the printer is like tuning a car--it takes some practice.

    The next couple of comments are opinion only:

    -Mater Control is woefully incomplete from a feature standpoint
    -Cura is nice, but there were things it would not let you easily adjust that often needed it. Also, for me, it was by default moving too quickly. I had to slow it down (rather a lot).

    Referring to your points above:
    1) This almost has to be either a slicer issue or a jam in the print head. The filament (PLA more so) can clog up and stick to the inside of the nozzle. Sometimes it will clear itself, other times not. Changing slicers (i.e. to Repetier Host) would help answer the first one. Adding an oiler or seasoning the print head before each print would answer the second.

    2) This is not good. They should be perfect. Smallish test cubes should be repeatedly perfect. More on this...

    3) Could be related to #1, or #2.

    4) Same as #1

    5) & 6) this is almost always a belt tension issue. Unless it repeatably always jumps at the exact same spot on a model then it would be a slicer malfunction. I know you say the belts are tight and perhaps they are. This can happen if the belt is loose OR if it is too tight. Since this is an analog measurement, all I can say is that they needed to be tighter than I thought for me to cure this many moons ago. I now have a zip-tie arrangement to tighten as needed should the belt stretch. One thing you can try is to cut the print movement speeds in half. If this helps it absolutely is belt tension (the occasionally violent movements the print head makes are what contribute to this).

    Now, for #1, #2, #3... Assuming your first layers really do look like the demo print @tesseract has posted on here many, many times in many threads, something else is off. I would strongly suggest starting with an oiler (even an home-brew one made with a napkin or small cloth that you oil up and a zip tie to wrap it around the filament prior to it feeding into the extruder). It takes 5 minutes and may solve that issue. If it does then print up a more permanent one.

    Sadly, there is no cookbook really and a lot of it requires some hands-on testing and evaluating, judgement calls. Adjust, print, evaluate, repeat. However the best news is that once you get it tuned in, it tends to stay that way for a really long time unless you need to fiddle with it :) It can be a frustrating learning experience. Just understand we all went through it and we will try to help.
     
    #2 mark tomlinson, Aug 27, 2014
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  3. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson Volunteer
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    P.S. While I no longer use any of the free software packages, Repetier Host was the best of the lot. I could get it repeatable across many different types of filament and configurations by saving the profiles and using one specifically tuned for the filament type and speed.
     
  4. rbrock

    rbrock Member

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    "Well, there is no manual because a lot is still fuzzy logic :)
    I know that doesn't help, but tuning the printer is like tuning a car--it takes some practice."

    This is crap! As someone that rebuild antique tractors and cars for 20 years, there is a process to follow. Fine tuning is one thing but abject failure is another.

    There has to be a process.

    1. Physically level machine
    2. Tuning X+Y axis
    3. Tuning Z axis
    4. Tuning extruder / hobbed bolt
    5. Software values - what are the bed dimensions? max print dimensions, max heat for heated bed, hot end?
    6. Startup G code recommendation.
    7. Auto leveling tuning.
    8. Required software, recommend profiles for different versions of software, recommended slicer
    9. Recommended printing for different filament types
    10. First test prints

    I know that some of there are personal BUT there should be a recommended set of setup instructions. I haven't found anything that outlines this well.

    Can we please create something that outlines each of these 10 steps, and then there should be a trouble shooting of each step.

    Belt tension, how do you measure the belt tension, what value are you looking for. (I know how to do this for a timing belt on a car).

    I found these images for zip tie fixes, is there a recommended one?

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    I also created a simple oiler which help "season" the print head but after awhile caused layers to not stick properly.

    I moved from cura back to matercontroller as cura had a lack of control and was a pain to auto level, and the first level printed to low even after I added the adjustment in the G code to raise the head after auto calibration.

    I also had to install the arduino beta software to get it to see the controller in windows 8.1. I was able to flash the FW when I upgraded the print head to E3d v5. for the new thermister.

    I have printed 15 test cubes and they all have problems, make and adjustment and thing still come out poorly.
     
  5. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson Volunteer
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    Yea, as a 'community' we probably should have better organized 'getting started' guides. Someone perhaps will volunteer. Problem is that so far most of the interaction on this forum is reactive usually has an angry tone (this thread is a good example). We are all just users, there is no official channel here. It is informal and volunteer, really not much of a 'community', yet. It could be better. Maybe in time it will be.

    Can't really add much from the software side to what I already said (see my earlier comments on MC, Cura, et al). Hopefully someone else can chime in on those, my time was worth more than the cost of the free software. Since moving to Simplify3D I have had one (only one) slicer issue and their support sorted it out for me, quickly.

    As for the oiler causing layers not to stick--are you are running the hot end cold or using something other than canola oil (which has a smoke point of 205°C)? If you are running it colder, try hotter, or just season the hot end every print. I have one installed and normally print PLA at 195°C and have no issues with layer bonding (so it is not the oiler). In fact. without it I just about can't print PLA, at least not for any large quantity due to it clogging (often momentarily) and wrecking the print.

    If you have layers not sicking it is more likely an issue with the layer height or initial Z or thickness, etc. In which case the prints will fail without the oiler (exactly how some of your pictures look) with improper bonding. If you first layer does not look like the (often posted) picture @tesseract has provided, it is not tuned in correctly, yet.

    Since there is no tool available to tension the belt with, not sure what to tell you. It 'feels right', low thrum sound like a bass guitar. If we had a tool that would make it easier. If you have one to propose, let me know. If I can I will use it to measure mine and tell you want it is.

    As for the zip ties arrangements, they all look fine, pick one (mine is similar to the last one).
     
  6. Deadwood

    Deadwood Active Member

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    I have an earlier robo without the auto levelling but with the heated bed, it came with a manual well a sort of manual which i shall attempt attach and basically I downloaded repetier host ( it was the recommended starter software at the time, I tried matter control once but it was abysmal ) and set it up exactly as stated in the manual. For me it did the trick and I could print pretty reliably from the start, I did try printing some belt tensioners (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:19892) as I tinkered with my printer but I could not get a decent tension and ended up over tensioning which distorted the bed and put too much load on the carriage motors when I tried them on that belt, I ended up snipping the cable ties and doing it manually and the general rule of thumb is the belts should give a low dull twang. Some people have had loose grub screws on their pulleys but i never had that problem.
     

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  7. rbrock

    rbrock Member

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    Ok, well I just ordered a new thermistor, We have a larger scale professional belt tensioner here in our engineering department, not sure it will work on something this small.

    I am happy to write up a survival guide, but I feel like i'm drowning here...

    I will look for something and maybe we can all take a chunk and build a "recommendation guide"...

    Some seem to have this working great... other seem to hate it... there must be something we can do to get this working so everyone loves it...
     
  8. Invertmast

    Invertmast Active Member

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    I hate quoting large posts with pictures, but I have had just about all of the problems you have had at one point in time or another. I'm using MatterControl and use the CuraEngine slicer 90% of the time (always have and haven't tried anything else). Look through the Quote for Items in BOLD for suggestions on things to try.

     
  9. rbrock

    rbrock Member

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  10. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    You need to step back from things a bit. The questions you ask all have multiple answers based on what version of the printer you have.
    As an example, I was one of the first people to get my printer and it is significantly different from what you probably had mine came with a wood bed and a plastic heated piece and I added window glass on top of that held down by masking tape.

    I have since upgraded, needless to say, to pretty much what the current printer is like and have gone beyond the current one in some respects in that I have dual extruders.

    So this IS A PERSONAL PRINTER and all params are most likely going to have some aspects that makes it slightly unique to you. Keeping that in mind there are certain baselines that can be derived from this forum as I have seen them myself and added many of them myself the information can be in the form of links to youtube videos or what ever but the information is probably here.

    One final thing before addressing your questions

    When you have difficulties ask before you get frustrated I see in the pictures several things I would be looking at but as I do not have all the relavent information I can not comment accurately.
    Variables beyond our control are sometimes a factor in prints so we need as much info as possible
    Things to try and add when you have issues or questions
    Filament type
    extruder temp
    bed temp
    fan on or off
    filament condition dry or possibly full of moisture from humidity
    is it dry or humid when you print
    what is the air temp
    is this new filament to you or have you had success with it before(some people pre buy filament and do not use the supplied)
    as you can see many variables can be a factor
    so help us help you and gives us as much info

    as a side per your photos I think you may be extruding the a bit on the cool side
    it could account for missing layers and clogs and layer seperation
    if you are using the supplied filament Know that several people including myself find it difficult to print with
    but it will work
    here is a prime example of why it is personal
    the range for that starter filament is as with most PLA from about 180-205, why the range well it is based on how you want your print to look and the environmental factors so if you are in the 185 range try bumping it up by increments of 5-10C on smaller prints like the cube and stay on the cube until it works well reliably



    1. Physically level machine
    I am not sure if you are talking about the machine itself or the print area. The machine itself really does not need to be level as the important part is the print area. This starts by getting the rods holding the x axis together level as compared to the bed. this is done by manually turning the rods
    so that the coupler nut allows the the end pieces of the x axis to be level across the axis. Note when turning one rod the other should be held in place as it COULD turn and throw things off. Once this is level the the z endstop pieces must be adjusted so that each switch activates at the same time



    2. Tuning X+Y axis
    I am not quite sure if you mean the belts here or not but if you do it is a subjective tightness you use and that is about all I can say

    You pluck the belt if it makes a thud sound it is too loose it should make a very low although still melodic tone but again very low the problem is that a belt that is too tight cause the evact same issue as one that is too loose. In one case the belt slips in the other the motor skips a step the result is a shifting in the axis sometime random some times in on direction as per your prints.

    3. Tuning Z axis

    This is probably covered in some respects in the response to number one but you may not know that. The other way to fine tune all the axis is to adjust firmware in the STEPS PER UNIT value it defaults to what most people use but can be adjusted but that is probably a few steps down the road anyway for you

    4. Tuning extruder / hobbed bolt
    No tuning is needs for the hobbed bolt other than to make sure the hobbed area is in line with the hole the filament goes into.

    The extruder has no adjustable params other than the ones in the firmware depicting the thermistor type
    IF you are talking about how the filament is extruded then you are talking about temps and flowrate and the temps are covered earlier and the flowrate should be left at the 100%

    5. Software values - what are the bed dimensions? max print dimensions, max heat for heated bed, hot end?

    All of this information can be found on the forums or on the website itself. With the amount of variations in heatbeds and hotends that exist even in the stock configuration the defaults max are probably good enough
    Get arduino and a copy of the firmware and look at the configuration .h file and it will show you many of the params at the default levels and these of course can be changed if you want but as I said the defaults work unless you have a real need to change them I personally would not. Not unless you really understand them.


    6. Startup G code recommendation.

    Again another very personal option most software have star up gcode already in place many people modify it to their needs in fact one person asked me to create a set of movements along the x axis that created a musical piece "Shave and a Hair cut ---Two Bits" by moving it at different speeds the motor made different pitches and I made it for her she used at the beginning of her prints so she knew when the print was ready to start.

    7. Auto leveling tuning.

    The only tuning aspect for autoleveling is to add an offset of the z axis after it finishes and is unique to every printer. It is made to make the first layer turnout well. The first layer is the most important part of the entire print if it is bad the print will fail so focus on that.
    Basic rule Use skirts and when you start a print if the skirt looks BAD stop readjust and restart DO NOT JUST LET IT GO. If it looks good then let the print continue.



    8. Required software, recommend profiles for different versions of software, recommended slicer
    It comes with reuired software in the form of MC (MatterControl) which I personal hate as it is not nearly ready for general use. Some people generally start out OK but usually most run into problems sooner or later.

    alternative software is widely known on the web so if you do not know these then you have not seriously looked
    Repetier CURA are the two biggies Repetier for printing and CURA for slicing
    I personally have made posts with info on these inclusing MC so look for it. then decide
    profiles are again personal choices and different for in how they are setup in the software so you need to learn more about these


    9. Recommended printing for different filament types

    Each filament and environment is different BASIC searching on the web will give you a multitude of different viewpoints as will the posts on this forum again you must take the time to search


    10. First test prints

    15 mm cube
    5 step pyramid
    again this info is spread out in this forum and SHOULD be easily attainable



    Overall most of these questions could be easily found on this forum with some not too in depth searching but if you can not find something please ask in a friendly way.
    As @mark tomlinson stated this is a completely voluntary forum and many people will try to help but the questions must give us enough info to help but we also want to feel our time in responding is appreciated

    I did my best to answer what I thought you were trying to ask just remember it is your printer and it will print the way you want it to print so the options you set will be personal to you and what others say may or may not work for you.
     
  11. rbrock

    rbrock Member

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    I'm able to get a good skirt on all prints, it's at about layer 5 that things start going wrong. Talking to the eng people here they mentioned that it may be a lose coupler on the stepper motors that are causing many of the problems.

    Things to try and add when you have issues or questions
    Filament type - blue pla that came with printer
    extruder temp - I have tried 180 - 215 in 5 degree increases
    bed temp - pretty much always 50c
    fan on or off - always on
    filament condition dry or possibly full of moisture from humidity - fairly dry, not very humid, also built a fume hood to deal with off gases and smell.[​IMG]
    is it dry or humid when you print - AC cooled room, not very humid in this room.
    what is the air temp - AC cooled room ~23c
    is this new filament to you or have you had success with it before(some people pre buy filament and do not use the supplied)
    as you can see many variables can be a factor - PLA that came with printer, I also ordered 2 1kg rolls of different PLS and 1KG of ABS that arrived with the printer.


    I have done step 1, 2, 3 - I feel the belts are already tight enough) , 4(upgraded this bolt and removed the play that in the large gear)
    5, I d/l the ardunio software as i had to flash the firmware for the new hotend.
    6. Why when I request auto level in Cura G29 does it do a 9 point auto level, but in Matter Contol it only does a 3 point auto level?
    7. I'm able to get a good skirt repeatably with matter control.
    8. tried using cura, but had limited success, it would not take m565 z-0.5 and the print head would start right on the bed. I have purchased a license for Simplify3D and will try this software. (I like the control and options in matter control, but it also likes to crash a lot).
    9. ok

    I have been going through the forums, and found many suggestions on upgrading the z axis rods t0 M8 rods may help as i keep running in to what feels like it isn't going up the correct amount when it prints, and looks like it's printing too much material, when I lower the amount of material extruded it looks like it skips levels, I raised the print head and printed 10cm of filament to see how much printed and it printed the correct amount. So I start modifying software values to resolve issues as the printer seem sound, but just won't repeat accurately layer after layer.
     
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  12. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson Volunteer
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    You are going to love the control and options in Simplify (and that slicer rocks).

    You should check all of the couplers and set screws on every pulley. I used loctite on mine (couplers included).
     
    #12 mark tomlinson, Aug 27, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2014
  13. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    Some possibilities not in any order
    lol

    can you show a close up picture of the good first layer

    The g29 runs the 9 point auto level routine
    before the autolevel routine MC did a 3 point level setup and they never changed it basically MC overides the 9 nine point and does the 3 point
    now you see some of the inconsistancies with MC

    I would try some of the other filament stay clear of ABS for now it will create many more headaches you do not really have to get into right now I would focus on PLA get that working really realy good then venture onto ABS but IMHO ABS is sort of ding out there with the wide variation in the types of PLA and other less tricky filament like the carbon fiber PLA that is neat

    M565 seems like it may be a proprietary M command I personally like adding the z offset in teh gcode that way it works for all
    I made a post on this as well

    I do a simple move of the z axis using G1 then when it is at the proper height I use the G29 command to reset it to zero based on where it is right now

    so something like this

    G1 Z(offset) F5000; move to to the offset position
    G29 Z0.00 ; resets the current z height to zero

    I do this right after the G92 which starts the autolevel routine and this has to come right after the home of all the axis G28



    What speed are you printing CURA generally tries to print a bit to quickly and needs to be slowed down

    I would actually try repetier out the latest windows version I believe has CURA as the slicing engine and would be ideal for me but the MAC version still doesn't use CURA
    Cura slices extremely quickly and works well with dual extrusion prints
     
  14. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    What are the fumes you're talking about? That seems like an important detail in all of this.

    PLA has a slight sugary smell. ABS smells like horrible chemicals (at least to me, some people claim to not notice it).
    You should be starting out using only PLA, and your prints do look like PLA.

    So, I'm wondering what smells so bad that you need to put a fume hood on it? Is it a burning smell? Maybe you have PLA that was mislabeled as ABS?

    Other than that, you're getting good some pretty good advice. Those big shifts are caused by missed steps. Something is preventing either the bed or the extruder carriage from reaching as far as it needs to go. There could be intereference from a cable or you could be hitting a blob on the print.
     
  15. SteveC

    SteveC Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it was mentioned but make sure you check all the set screws on the X & Y pulleys and the Z couplers. A loose one can slip randomly and give confusing results. Do your belts have a simple spring tensioner on them?

    I agree with Printed on the odor issue and the possibly mislabeled ABS. I barely smell anything when printing PLA. ABS doesn't smell great but is not overwhelming to me. Perhaps you have a big accumulation of plastic on the hot end that is burning after long exposure to air and heat.
     
  16. SteveC

    SteveC Well-Known Member

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    My printer has these tensioners.
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. rbrock

    rbrock Member

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    The PLA plastic smell isn't so bad at first, but I worked on the printer for 20+hrs and didn't realize how bad the fumes where until I had a massive headache that lasted 2 days (and I don't get headaches), I also had a cough for almost a week too...

    I will check all the connection, I will be doing a tear down of the machine to check everything over.

    Mine also has that belt tensioner on it as well.
     
  18. rbrock

    rbrock Member

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    Ok, I received my replacement parts today, I installed the M8 rods and flashed the firmware with the new values. I installed the E3D v6 hot end, I tightened both the x and y belts (don't need to do the zip tie thing listed above both can be removed and tightened 1 tooth at a time till it feel tight(er).

    I'm trying to use Simplify3D but after i auto level and it starts to print the print head is on the glass, how to I get it to move up and what should that be. I tried G1 Z5 after the G29 and also tried m565 z-0.5 after the G29, neither seem to get it to move up before printing.

    Any suggestion.

    I printed a calibration cube in MaterControl and it's only somewhat better. I also printed a 20x20 and the top layer was off by 10mm... but it still looks like it isn't going up the correct amount each layer.

    In Simplify3D this is in my start code

    G28 ; home all axes

    G1 Z5 F5000 ; lift nozzle

    G28 Z0 ; Home Z again in case there was filament on nozzle

    M565 Z0

    G29 ; probe the bed

    G1 Z5

    Thanks.
     
  19. rbrock

    rbrock Member

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    I found the Z axis offset in the software, is there a suggestion for the offset height? I set it to .5mm and i'm testing, looks like it might be a little too high, but it's sticking and looking good so far.
     
  20. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    that is a perfect example of personalizing your printer the offset will be different for every one I was working on was .9 another .75 and now I see a .5

    Remember that this should be verified every print by looking a the first layer and adjusting if neccesary.
     
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