Saturday, February 23, 2013

Finally printing again

After several months of not printing I finally have a working 3D printer again - Yay! I can only blame myself for this; since I in my eagerness to improve the printer tore it apart before printing the new parts I needed. Even though my J-Head arrived swiftly I had nothing to mount it on...

J-Head Mk V-BV. Excellent build quality!
The aluminum plate mounted on top of the slide-bearings did not have enough stability using zip ties alone. I tried replacing the zip ties with brass wire (the sort used to hang paintings with), but that turned out even worse since you can't get the wire tight enough.

My best friend Sugru at work again.
Enter Sugru. I had a batch in the fridge that was nearing it's use-by date so why not try that. I made sure to protect the bearings with scotch tape so the sugru wouldn't stick - only support. Apply healthy amount of sugru and wait 24 hours. Worked like a charm!

Next I needed a new mechanism to feed the plastic. The easiest would have been to print something, but without a working printer that proved ... difficult.

Initial setup with the spring mechanism.
After a lot of thought and a fair number of iterations I came up with a design that let me have a spring as tension mechanism on the filament feeder.

Need more springs Scotty!
When calibrating the feed rate I quickly discovered that the original spring didn't have nearly enough force to keep the flow of plastic consistent - especially when the filament spool needed to be unreeled by the printer as well. Adding three more springs fixed that issue neatly - although it doesn't look as pretty any more.

First print: new tension lever.
First thing I printed was the Minimalistic Mk7 replacement by +Whosa whatsis. This is so I have a replacement part ready for if when my cobbled together setup fails.

As for now the feeder seems to hold up pretty good as well as consistent results. I think I'll keep it for a while. The J-Head I'm really impressed with; great build quality and excellent print result!