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  1. #1

    Bought 5th gen replicator while drunk, how do i make this not painful?

    As the title implies............ I was very inebriated and skyping with a friend who generally encourages me to do very wild things. So now i have a refurb replicator on the way. I've done a gone chunk of research and seems that i can go through the headache of returning it and getting ~650-700 back if i argue enough OR i can buy a smart extruder+ which seems to make the 5th gen a decent printer/some home-made mods. My warranty is through an external insurer so i can do as i please to the printer, so i can totally tear any part of my printer as needed.This gives me a lot of room to experiment...

    If they become clogged/damaged, i have the means to fix any mechanical issues/dissolve any clogs/ sand down any parts (work in engineering lab, have access to machine shop, electrical shop, tons of solvents, fumehood, parts storage, etc). Will the l it not print at all?? (instant jam??/failure to feed??) I want to try and give it a chance until a few more months down the road, so then i can just return it and upgrade to maybe something in the ~1500-2000 range. But as stated above, i can always nuke it and get a 750-1000 printer w/ some extra cash.

    All suggestions/feedback/links/support is welcomed'

    Experience: about a month working 6-10 hours a day on a flashforge dreamer (modded that one heavily, as mentioned above); bought replicator to make my own prototypes at home.

  2. #2
    The 5th gen is in a much different place than it was on launch. I have a launch model and went through 2 SE's, and now have a SE+. I have 180+ hours on the SE+, and its so far zero maintenance.

    The 5th gen is designed to be consumer friendly in a sense. Mostly everything that can go wrong is fixable by replacing the extruder. This also means that you don't have full control over the slicing settings. It's a trade off, but overall I'm able to print things just fine so I'm satisfied enough not to junk it. Would I buy one again? probably not, but I still use it almost every day.

    For the SE's before the SE+, here are a few things I learned: (but keep in mind most of these will void your warranty)

    To clear most jams, I would heat up the extruder and push in a metal rod of approximately the same diameter of the filament through the extruder (from the top) to force any remaining material through the nozzle. Probably not the best way, but it's a whole lot faster than disassembly.

    Disassembly is possible. Over time (months), there is a significant amount of filament dust inside... caused by the hobbed bolt. This can cause some of the sensors to stick, such as the Z-height sensor and filament jam detector. Just remember that if you remove the nozzle, you have to do the initial loosening when it's hot... and the final tightening while it is hot as well. Be careful not to cross thread the nozzle because you're screwing into an aluminum block..... this is how my first extruder died.

    The Z-height sensor is a spring loaded magnet that is detected by a fixed hall-effect sensor. At the start of every print, the makerbot will recalibrate it's bed height. This isn't always 100% accurate (or consistent), but this can be overcome by using rafts. The 5th gen uses this sensor for its assisted bed leveling too... so if you're not getting consistent height reads, your bed will not be perfectly level either. This makes a bigger difference when you're printing in one of the corners of the bed.

    The filament jam detector is just an encoded pulley (optical). The extruder compares how much the drive gear turns to how much the filament actually moves. For the first and second gen extruders (the SE+ is some time after the initial revisions) had a tendency to not read this properly and lead to false jam errors. The good news though is that this sensor can be disabled via the menus on the Replicator itself.

    The bed isn't heated, so printing large flat objects can be a challenge. The cooling first layer(s) tends to cause curling and pop corners. I get around this by adding mickey mouse ears to the corners.

    Overall, it's not a terrible machine. It's come a long way since the initial launch. Be sure to get the updated firmware.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    you'd probably be better of with a rep pro clone.
    And if you go qidi tech you're only looking $699

    why makerware decided to make a machine without aheated bed - is beyond me.
    And if they have fixed the extruder issue - then at least these days it might work.

    But me, I'd scrap the makerware and get the qidi - fully enclosed, heated bed and exactly what you are used to using.

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