Sunday, June 3, 2012

SUMPOD Printing

This weekend I finally got to do a proper test-run on the SUMPOD (total printing time around 7-8 hours). After using most of last week to trouble shoot and figure out usable settings I stumbled upon Airtrippers excelled Skeinforge settings. Since he already has his SUMPOD up and running and having excellent results, from what I can see, at least I knew these were going to work.

After browsing Thingiverse a bit I ended up on the "Mustache Ring" for my first, proper, test. It has some nice detail and doesn't take too long to print so one can experiment a bit.

First proper test object. Mustache Ring.
If you look closely you can see that there are gaps and that the layers don't fill properly.

So far I haven't had any big issues getting the plastic to stick to the printer bed, but changing the filament and using the new Skeinforge settings apparently made a huge difference. All of a sudden it wouldn't stick at all. At first I though I needed to up the temperature in the print head, but that only made it worse. I also played around with the height of the nozzle over the print bed. Supposedly you should have the nozzle touch, or even press a bit into, the blue masking tape, but that just made the PLA bunch up around the print head. Reducing the temperature back to 185 degrees C in addition to increasing the distance a bit  did the trick - although now it almost stick too well and I have to rip the masking tape off of the bed on larger objects. I doubt that is right.

I soon realized I was going to need something to help unwind the filament from the spool since I can't go over and unwind a chunk every 15-20 minutes on multi-hour prints. Yet again Aitripper saved the day with his design for the Pocket Reel Roller. He also lists his settings for printing this, but I needed to change those around quite a bit before I had something passable.

Mainly I had to change "Speed -> Object First Layer" (all to 0.2) and "Fill -> Infill Solidity" (to 0.9). Print time was around 2.5 hours.

Third print of this part. 
With roller bearing installed.
Not exactly pretty, but I think it will do the job. The last part actually came out worse, but I think that's because the belts have gotten a bit of slack. I'll tighten them up a bit and hopefully that'll do the trick.

All installed - turns pretty easily as well.
I still has some way to go to get the quality up to the level I like, but playing around with the parameters in Skeinforge has a lot of potential - I only have to learn what causes what and that's not something that's done over night with the amount of parameters you have access to.

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