[MirageC] is a bit of a contrarian. Instead of taking pictures of 3D printed objects that show them in their best light, he takes pictures that show them at their worst. The reason? He wanted to figure out why he was seeing a strange artifact in his printer when using a direct extruder. Just at a quick glance, you might think the problem was Z wobble, but, in this case, it was something else. You can see the fine detective work in the video below.
There were a few odd things about the problem. First, it scaled with the part size. Secondly, the problem got better when he switched to a Bowden tube setup. We don’t want to give away the ending, but you can guess from that clue that the problem had something to do with the extrusion system.
The resulting analysis led [MirageC] to work with BMG to create a special gear which — surprisingly, didn’t help as much as he thought it would. However, it did help point the way to the correct solution.
Along the way, you can learn a lot from following along, and maybe you’ll even improve the quality of your prints. We always enjoy these detailed analyses of printer issues, like the ones from [Stefan], for example. If you want to go hardcore engineering on your 3D prints, you can always do finite element analysis on your infill.
Continue reading “3D Printer Tuning: An Engineering Approach”
If you’re a 3D printer user you’re probably familiar with that dreaded feeling of returning to your printer a few hours after submitting a big job, only to find that it threw an error and stopped printing, or worse, turned half a spool of filament into a useless heap of twisted plastic. While some printers come with remote monitoring facilities, [Kutluhan Aktar]’s doesn’t, so he built a device that keeps a watchful eye on his 3D printer and notifies him if anything’s amiss.
The device does this by tracking the movement of the print head using a camera and looking for any significant changes in motion. If, for example, the Y-axis suddenly stops moving and doesn’t resume within a reasonable amount of time, it will generate a warning message and send it to its owner through Telegram. If all three axes stop moving, then either the print is finished or some serious error occurred, both of which require user intervention.
The camera [Kutluhan] used is a HuskyLens AI camera that can detect objects and output a set of 3D coordinates describing their motion. A set of QR-like AprilTags attached to the moving parts of the 3D printer help the camera to identify the relevant components. The software runs on a Raspberry Pi housed in a 3D-printed enclosure with a T-800 Terminator head on top to give it a bit of extra presence.
[Kutluhan]’s description of the project covers lots of detail on how to set up the camera and hook it up to a Telegram bot that enables it to send automated messages, so it’s an interesting read even if you’re not planning to 3D print something to check on your 3D printer. After all, software like Octoprint has many similar features, but having an independent observer can still be a good safety feature to prevent some types of catastrophic failure.
Continue reading “Machine Vision Helps You Terminate Failing 3D Print Jobs”
Most 3D printers don’t take up a lot of space, but they can be pretty bulky and awkward to travel with. [Jón Schone] needed a compact folding 3D printer for a secret project on his YouTube channel ProperPrinting, so he decided to modify a Creality Ender 3 Pro to achieve this.
Starting with a brand new Ender 3 Pro, and his first steps were to move the display and power supply unit into the bottom frame to make space for the folding top frame. For the folding mechanism, he settled on a four bar linkage that allows the vertical frame to translate to the front of the printer as it folds down, which lets it become a really compact package with minimal wasted space. The joints consist of fitting 3D printed in carbon fibre reinforced nylon, with bolts for shafts. The entire mechanism is made adjustable for fine-tuning by using threaded rod and sliding mounting points on the extruded frame. Small brackets on each side of the frame allows the printer to snap securely into both its upright and folded positions.
All in all we think this is well-designed and beautifully executed hack, enough to make us really want to build one for ourselves. It will remain to be seen if any slop develops with repeated folding and use, especially at the snap-in end stops, but that should still be an easy fix if it happens.
We’ve previously featured [Jón]’s custom 3D printed D-sub connectors, also for his Ender 3. Also check out another folding printer, the X-printer.
Continue reading “Folding An Off-The-Shelf 3D Printer”
We sometimes forget that 3D printers are just CNC platforms with a hotend attached, and there a whole range of alternative tool heads to use. [Jón Schone] has been doing exactly that, and needed a way to quickly disconnect his hotend completely from his printer, so he 3D printed his own custom D-sub connector for both filament and wires. (Video, embedded below.)
[Jon] has added a number of upgrades for his Creality CR10 3D printer, including a quick change tool mount to allow him to also use a laser engraver and even a small spindle. When the hotend is removed there’s no way to quickly disconnect the wiring , so the print head is usually left connected and placed to one side of the printer. For a quick detach solution for both wiring and the Bowden tube, he first modified an off-the-shelf D-sub connector. The connector was relatively expensive, and the tube had a tendency to pop out, which led to some failed prints.
[Jon] wanted to use proper Bowden tube fittings inside the connector, so he designed and printed his own D-sub connector and bought loose contacts. Pushing the contacts into the housing turned out to be quite difficult to do without breaking them, so he’s working on making that process simpler. This is just one of many examples of 3D printing 3D printer upgrades, which has been a core feature of the RepRap project right from the beginning. Check out the video after the break
We have no shortage of 3D printer hacks and there will be many more to come. Some cool recent ones includes the Jubilee CNC that was built from the start with automatic tool changing in mind, and a printer that fits in your backpack. Continue reading “Feeding Both Filament And Electrons Through A Custom D-Sub Connector”
3D printers have become incredibly cheap, you can get a fully workable unit for $200 – even without throwing your money down a crowdfunded abyss. Looking at the folks who still buy kits or even build their own 3D printer from scratch, investing far more than those $200 and so many hours of work into a machine you can buy for cheap, the question “Why the heck would you do that?” may justifiably arise.
The answer is simple: DIY 3D printers done right are rugged workhorses. They work every single time, they never break, and even if: they are an inexhaustible source of spare parts for themselves. They have exactly the quality and functionality you build them to have. No clutter and nothing’s missing. However, the term DIY 3D printer, in its current commonly accepted use, actually means: the first and the last 3D printer someone ever built, which often ends in the amazing disappointment machine.
This post is dedicated to unlocking the full potential in all of these builds, and to turning almost any combination of threaded rods and plywood into a workshop-grade piece of equipment.
Continue reading “Build A 3D Printer Workhorse, Not An Amazing Disappointment Machine”
Consumer 3D printers have really opened up the floodgates to personal at home fabrication. Even the cheapest of 3D printers will yield functional parts — however the quality of the print varies quite a lot. One of the biggest downfalls to affordable 3D printers is the cost cutting of crucial parts, like the z-Axis. Almost all consumer 3D printers use standard threaded rod for the z-axis, which should really use a leadscrew instead.
Threaded rod is not designed for accurate positioning — it’s primarily designed to be a fastener. You can have issues with backlash, wobble, and they usually aren’t even perfectly straight — not to mention they gunk up easily with dirt and grime. In other words, you’ll never see a threaded rod on a commercial machine.
Continue reading “Upgrading A 3D Printer With A Leadscrew”