Flash Forge Inventor Series

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  1. #1

    Strange problems with our FlashForge Creator Pro

    So, to start off, our printer is a FlashForge Creator Pro.

    My brothers and I bought the printer and were learning to use it for a few months before our problems started. It was working fine and we made many successful prints. I'm not sure exactly where our problems started, but I think it may have been us having the print bed too high.

    So, I was trying to figure out dual extrusion when I noticed the the right print head hadn't printed well, then not at all. I tried to remove the filament, like I had done many times before, but it just would not come out. I ended up breaking the filament off with about five inches sticking out because I was pulling so hard (this may have been a mistake on my part). I looked up filament jams and determined that it was most likely stuck from plastic being backfilled in the print head. I heated the head to melt the plastic and tried to unscrew it, but unfortunately, the insulated piece that houses the heating element and thermocouple is held on by the print head being screwed in, so unscrewing the head caused it to turn as well. When I did this, the thermocouple cable must've touched a hot surface which singed it and made a little wisp of smoke. I ended up having to wedge something between the two insulated pieces (one to each extruder) in order to unscrew the head. I cleaned it out, there was a little in it, but not too bad, and screwed it back in. I preheated the extruders to see if I had damaged anything by singeing that wire. I must've, because the right extruder only registered about 32 degrees C, but it was heating up. So, I stopped it so that it wouldn't get too hot and left it at that for my older brother, who's much more technically inclined, to look at.

    I'm not entirely sure what all he did with it. I know he was heating it up, but I don't know what other tests he did. He determined that the thermocouple wires got singed, so it wasn't detecting heat. He ordered a replacement thermocouple and installed it, but unfortunately, it didn't fix it. The really odd thing was, when heating the right extruder, it still only registered about 32 degrees C, but when heating the left, the right one went up to about 47 degrees C. From there, I believe he tested and troubleshot some more, but to no avail. We decided that we would just have to use the left extruder only then, which was working fine before all this. However, he found that the left extuder won't feed filament now. I suggested that perhaps the gear teeth were clogged, but he looked and they weren't.

    So, here we are with a $900 paperweight that beeps and lights up. My brother thinks that it might be fixed by replacing the whole circuit board, which costs over a hundred dollars. I decided to see if anyone had some insight on the problem before we go that route.

    If you have any help or suggestions, please let me know! Thanks for reading my long post.

  2. #2
    Staff Engineer
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Oakland, CA
    47 C is not nearly hot enough - PLA needs at least 200C and other materials need more. Check the temperature with another kind of thermometer to see if your thermocouple is off, but if it's not, then you might need to replace the hot end(s).

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    47 C is not nearly hot enough - PLA needs at least 200C and other materials need more. Check the temperature with another kind of thermometer to see if your thermocouple is off, but if it's not, then you might need to replace the hot end(s).
    Sorry that I haven't replied, it's been a busy couple of days. Yes, that's the problem. It says it's at 47 C but it's much hotter. What I don't get is why it will read up to 47 C when the other head is heated but doesn't detect any difference when it itself is heated.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    sounds like you damaged more than just the thermistor wires.

    For the record there are two good ways to remove/change filament.

    1) preheat the extruder to 220, cut the current filament off just above where it enters the extruder. Use the control panel the Load filament, and after it's fed the old part through push the new filament into the feed hole and let it push the remaining filament out. This is the method I use 99% of the time. It's quick and simple.

    2) preheat and load filament for a few seconds, this removes any plugs, then switch to remove and pull the filament out to clear the nozzle and extruder. I use this for flexible filaments and if any work on the extruder needs to be done.

    Now, for some reason, all the websites tell you to heat the extruder up if you are changing nozzles. DON'T !
    Heating them up expands the metal and locks everything in extra tight, so makes it harder to unscrew the nozzles and everything is super hot.
    I have only ever changed nozzles while the extruder is cool and unheated. you can easily hold the heater block without gloves to stop it turning, the nozzles unscrew much more easily and there is no hassle. Just make sure you remove the filament first.

    Back to your current problem, sounds like you need to change the wiring to the extruder and change the heater cartridge and thermistor - two seperate things. Both are really cheap and can be had easily on ebay or amazon or any 3d printer supplier.

    As far as it registering 47 on the right when you heat the left - yes. heating up one extruder will also warm up the one next to it. If you put a cold thing next to a hot thing, the cold thing will warm up :-) Nothing mysterious or electrically related about that.

    Just good old thermodynamics :-)

  5. #5
    I tried pretty much the same things as both methods you described, but the filament wouldn't move at all, in either direction. However, the not heating the nozzle sounds like good advice, so thank you!

    Being cheap fixes, we might as well try them. Thank you!

    Also, I know why the right side heated up to 47 lol. I'm just confused as to why it didn't change when it itself was being heated up. I did chuckle at that though lol.

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