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  1. #41
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
    right - things have been going on in the background.
    I'm pretty much resigned to the crappy screen and firmware. If I use sd cards and the odd short usb print and use simplify3d to do all the controlling - I can pretty much ignore the screen and horrible buttons.

    I've changed the levelling wingnuts for proper knobs that incorporate locknuts.
    Added my own design cooling fan bracket.
    I've added frame brackets and bolted the thing to a 5mm aluminium plate - this turns a slightly iffy frame, where the central frame isn't reliably attached to the bed frame, into a rock solid one that should hold calibration almost indefinitely.
    I've made an adaptor that holds the bed belt properly level. Before it never reached the holder slot in the frame and was a bit twisty.
    I've added a filament holder to the top.
    Also added an sd card extender that turns the board's microsd socket into a full sd slot on a long cable.
    Just levelled it - once i know it's printing fine and I've got the basic settings working I'll start messing about with the sizing g-code.

    currently printing an articulated slug via usb.
    Been making a lot of these as they are totally brilliant !

    I've been making them in shiny black, the one on the ctc will be an albino slug. Just hope the rest don't pick on him.
    running it at the same speed as my delta for quality comparison purposes.

    looking good so far.
    I'll go find my phone and take some pics.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-14-2019 at 12:09 PM.

  2. #42
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
    Right I'll add pics in a bit.
    Currently printing an articulated dragonfly at 100mm/s. Looking really good.

    So a complete list of the things I've done to this printer. All added parts have been designed from scratch by me and I will put up a thingiverse thread with all the files when I've sorted the gcode, step changes and incorporated it all into a simplify3d profile.

    1) added on/off switch to power cable
    2) made a better mount for the y-axis end stop.
    3) replaced wingnut bed adjusters with plastic knobs and locking nuts
    4) made a focussed cooling duct that attached with 2x 3mm bolts. I use focussed ducts as you can get away with a smaller, lighter fan with no loss in cooling power.
    5) added top mounted filament spool holder.
    6) added some caps to the top of z-axis screws. current ones are temporary till I can be bothered to make something better :-)
    7) made front and rear frame brackets for bolting the printer to a rigid base. I used 5mm aluminium, 8 or 10mm plywood would work just as well.
    8) added an adaptor to keep the y axis belt straight. As it came the front holder did not reach the socket in the frame and was a bit twisty.
    9) modified the extruder with ptfe tubing to eliminate feed gaps and make it ready for flexible filament.
    10) added big rubber feet to the aluminium baseplate.
    11) glued z-axis endstop with some blue light cured resin. Once you get the z-stop where you like it, without fixing of some kind it will NOT stay put by itself, the nuts just work loose. I guess I could have dismantled it and added a couple locking nuts. Glue was easier :-)
    12) Added print surface from lankeda (no idea what it actually is) and then added a layer of dimafix and magigoo (seems to work well) to that - both were free from the TCT show last year.

    All items - where possible - are attached with locking nuts.

    All electronics and mechanicals are original. Apart from the y axis-endstop holder - I haven't replaced any original parts - just added bits i felt were missing.

    y-endstop holder.

    cooling duct

    Front brackets and belt straightener

    Filament holder
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-16-2019 at 08:46 AM.

  3. #43
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Complete printer and Dragonfly print :-)

    As you can see from the dragonfly - no stringing or print issues of any kind visible. It came off the bed easily and all the articulated joints are clean and loose.
    Colour me impressed :-)

    Just need to sort the sizing issue and I reckon I've got a really nice printer.
    It's been a fair bit of work, but at the end of the day I have to say, that if you pick the right base model and have some idea what you are about - then YES you can get a decent printer for under a hundred quid.

    The dragonfly was printed at 210c, 65c bed, 100mm/s, 0.2mm layer height.
    Current retraction settings: 2.5mm at 50mm/s.
    First layer went down at 30mm/s - considering the complexity of the wings, pretty impressive !
    Oh yeah also printed the first layer at 200% - so 0.4mm.

    One thing I did notice - the bed and extruder temps were nailed on. No fluctuation in the bed temp whatsoever and very little in the extruder.
    At least as good as the delta.
    It takes a while to get to temp, but hey - who cares, lol

    At an hour, it was the longest print I've done with the printer so far. The shorter usb cable appears to have fixed the issue where it used to reset in the middle of a print. I actually haven't used the sdcard extender yet. The board registers it as being there - so don't envisage any issues.

    Things left to do.
    Finish up starting gcode and get dimensions accurate. Hoping that will be relative quick job this afternoon :-)
    Flexible Cable holder, to keep the extruder cabling neat and out of the way. No rush, cabling seems to move okay with no obvious issues at the moment.
    Possibly redesign fan duct to attach to front of extruder, rather than the side - as at maximum y-axis it catches on the back right bolt head.
    Discovered that when levelling the bed.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-17-2019 at 02:30 PM.

  4. #44
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    final step settings were: X82 Y80

    Every time I ttempted to change the Z axis settings everything went terrible. But as it seems to be spot on anyway - not an issue :-)

    So I've just started my first serious print. A 2 part mould that will take over 4 hours.
    Running from the sdcard.
    Sizing is very important for these, so it'll either be a success or a waste of 120gms of pla :-)
    Running slightly faster than I run the same thing on the delta - but as the delta has an 0.5mm nozzle and this one the bog-standard 0.4 - about the same length print.

    Which is still pretty impressive :-)

    It's also pretty quiet.
    Doesn't sing like the delta and rep clones do, kind of a shame, I like the R2D2 noises.

    Could that be down to the stepper driver ?
    No clue what this is using - cheap ones I would imagine.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-17-2019 at 03:15 PM.

  5. #45
    Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    Jun 2017
    Washington State, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    Complete printer and Dragonfly print :-)

    Where did you get the articulating Dragonfly

  6. #46
    Thanks for the update.

    I've been tinkering with mine too, it's running well, but not as well as yours. Can't believe you printed the dragonfly at 100mm per second and it's come out great!

    I set both my x and y axis at 80 steps per mm and have accurate results. Since the belt pulleys on each axis are the same, in theory the steps per mm should also be the same. Have you checked your pulleys to see if there's a bit of crud on them or if one is slightly deformed?

    What thermistor did you specify in the marlin config? I'm not convinced I'm using the correct one.

    How did you modify the extruder for flexible filament? Did you just put some ptfe in that small gap between the extruder and the hot end mount?

    I've got more tinkering to do over the next few months and I'll post an update of what I've added. So far I've added:
    - reprap discount screen + ramps 1.6 board (a ball ache to change and re-configure, but worth it to get rid of that horrid lcd)
    - Replaced threaded rods with T8 leadscrews + flexi couplers (seems to run smoother, but hasn't really made a noticeable improvement)
    - PTFE tubing
    - A cheap TE917 build plate (the PLA adheres brilliantly but it's a bogger to remove the print)
    - Added an extruder fan (this probably made the biggest difference to the print quality)

    I did try to upgrade the extruder to enable me to use 2.85mm filament since I have 2 rolls of the stuff. I eventually realised it's not worth the hassle.

    Still to do:
    - Fix the whole thing to a slab of 18mm MDF (to give the frame more rigidity and to make it easy to move the printer without having to calibrate)
    - Add power switch
    - Add cooling fan duct
    - Add bed levelling sensor
    - Build solid hood (for covering the printer while stored and to ventilate abs printing)

  7. #47
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    use 10mm plywood. lighter and cheaper than thick mdf. Also holds screws better.
    I just used aluminium because I do the tech support for a local aluminium engineering firm and they usually owe me for remote support :-)
    So technically it's free.

    power switch:

    I'll upload my fan duct file sif you want them. You just have to be careful of the back right bed bolt.
    Eventually I'll make a better one that fits on the side of the extruder carriage.

    Bed level sensor - why ?
    Once the frame is fixed down and you've put some locking nuts on the levelling bolts. it should not go out of true. They've actually used pretty decent aluminium beds.

    As all my parts are original :-)
    I have not been able to do anything with the firmware. I'm just ignoring it. Apart from using the screen for running from an sd card - I do everything else from simplify 3d.
    If I could change the firmware - marlin is the last thing I'd use :-) Repetier, like my delta has would probably be my first choice.
    Yeah the steps thing did surprise me, but it does seem to be printing dimensionally accurate now.
    I'll have a look at the x-axis and see what's going on there as that's the one on 82 steps.

    To help remove prints from sticky build plates you can increase the z-gap and also speed up the first layer speed.
    It's just a balance between adhesion, height and speed really.
    I also find that making the first layer 200% of the thickness really helps too - 150 if it's 0.3mm or above.

    To modify the extruder I added a piece of ptfe at the top that goes from where you stick the filament in to where it meets the feed gear and one at the botton of the feed gear that goes to the top of the nozzle (or inside the nozzle, can't remember and I don't think I took any pictures of that particular operation).
    I'm going to try flexibles tonight :-)
    It should be able to print flexible pla at up to 50mm/s for rough prints. I've managed 40mm/s on the delta with some really stiff flexible pla. Flashforge I think. But as no bugger ever puts a makers stamp on the reels - who knows :-)

    How did you add your extruder fan ?

    I did try to knock out a print in place fidget cube at 75mm/s. Given the ones I have that did work were printed at 40mm/s with a 0.25mm nozzle. I wasn't entirely surprised when it didn't work lol

    The whole point of this was to spend as little on the machine as possible and keep all the original parts.
    Just changed the y axis endstop holder. can't remember why, I think I just didn't like the original. As I don't have it any more - I can't tell you what was wrong with it - just that something was :-)

    Tonight I need to wedge the fan cables in the socket as they keep coming off the board, and tidy the wires up so they don't get caught under the bed whenever I move it.

    But on the whole I am impressed.
    The dual z motors, direct drive extruder and dual side support rails for the bed - put it head and shoulders above the ender 3 - design wise.
    I'd definitely recommend as a cheap 2nd printer.

    I should be getting a free sovol i3 direct drive for reviewing and promotional purposes in the future.
    That has the single centre rail bed support - so we'll see how stable it really is.

    Given that I've seen a printer with a 600mm x 600mm printbed - that also uses the single central rail with sideways wheels, design. It can't possible be as bad as I think it is, or the bloody thing would never ever stay calibrated.

    All my printers are currently running on all original parts: boards, pulleys, motors, hotends, etc.
    All are also on original firmware.

    When you read about people with printer problems - ender 3 aside - 90% of them have incounted the problemks after changing something. Often even before they've made a serious attempt to use the machine.

    Now I've either been very lucky with my current 5 printers, or the manufacturers are actually making working machines and people just don't give them a chance.
    Get a bed levellinjg issue ? Obviously you need a new board and some really expensive stepper motors.
    Can't get a glass shiny finish from wood filament ? well then clearly you need to change your extruder & hotend.

    Everywhere you look there are people using benchsaws to open icecream sandwich packets.

    Why did you change your z screws ?
    A little 3-in1- oil and a quick wipe would probably have had the same result.

    I think 3d printers seem to attract people who like tinkering for the sheer sake of it. That's not a bad thing, but it doesn't mean the machines don't work as they are shipped - ender 3's aside ;-)
    Also I probably have more patience, less money and a larger streak of stubbornness than most people :-)
    So throwing money at something is always my last resort.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-19-2019 at 12:34 PM.

  8. #48

  9. #49
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    500 years from now, archaelogists will be scratching their heads and coming up with all manner of outlandish theories on why there are entire mountains composed entirely of teeny tiny plastic boats !

    Offerings to their gods maybe ?
    Assuming the primitive worshipped a big boat as a god.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-19-2019 at 03:11 PM.

  10. #50
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Damn, printer just became an active crime scene !

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