Monday, March 17, 2014

Another Rebuild

It seems most of the posts on this blog has been about me rebuilding my 3D printer. Well, hopefully this will be the last one in a while as I have several other projects that are in need of parts and I'd rather spend time on them than on another teardown/rebuild.

I were quite happy with the performance on my previous extruder mechanism, although it was supposed to be temporary. Combined with the J-Head I got very nice prints for a while.

When the extruder broke down I tried a couple of e-bay replacements but did not quite get the performance (or fit with my printer) I was looking for. At the same time the J-Head started acting up (leakage and stuff) so I needed to find a replacement for that as well.

After a bit of research I ended up buying a Bulldog Lite Extruder from their Indiegogo campaign and was pleasantly surprised that they shipped them right away with no waiting at all. Although a bit heavy it's beautifully machined and well put together. The "Lite" comes without the gearbox which makes it a bit lighter, but is only suitable for 1.75mm filament. Secondly I ordered the E3D v5 hotend which has gotten great reviews. Going with an all-metal-hotend made sense this time around since there's no peek or PTFE that can melt/be deformed.

One thing about about the Bulldog / E3D combo that isn't perfect is the mating between the two. They are both fabricated to follow the J-Head "standard" so you can just slide the stem into the extruder, but there's quite a bit of slack along the z-axis so I made some shims out of regular plastic. 4 of these did the trick.

It took me a while to get everything put together, as I also switched the printer firmware from my stock Sprinter firmware, delivered with the SUMPOD, over to the latest Marlin.

Now I finally have a working printer again. And I must say, I'm very pleased with the quality of the prints as well as the new functionality in Marlin. The printer even sounds better!

My first print were a camera stand for one of my Raspberry Pi's. This print was sliced with .3 mm layer height so it's a bit rough, but I opted for speed before beauty this time. I've made the design available on Thingiverse as well.

Until next time!