I’ve been experimenting with several new dual drive extruder designs for the latest printer I’ve been building. Every time I make a new iteration, I have to recalibrate the gap or tension setting on the extruder. Here are the steps I take to calibrate each iteration, which may want to try if you print one of these designs.
I’ve found wiring to be one of the most fragile parts of my 3D printers. Fans can often fail where the wires are connected to the PCB, which can be particularly frustrating failure since there’s often limited clearance for soldering and most fans are welded together, making them difficult to disassemble. Fortunately, a bit of preventative reinforcement can significantly reduce the odds of a broken fan.
One of the worst things a detached print can do is attach to the heater block. This case wasn’t too bad, but I’ve seen pictures where the hotend is encased in a giant ball of plastic. If this happens, turning up the temperature of the hotend will make the plastic easier to remove, I usually set it high enough to soften the plastic, but lower than normal printing temperatures. A brass brush is also very useful for cleanup. Watch out for any wiring damage during cleanup, especially around the thermistor.
When I change nozzles on my printer (which I do often to switch between nozzle sizes), I usually remove any remaining filament in the nozzle. It helps keep the nozzle clean and reduces color and plastic contamination the next time you use the nozzle. The process is similar to doing a cold pull, but quicker if you’re already planning to change the nozzle.
Almost all of the filament suppliers vacuum seal their filament with a desiccant packet pack to ensure your filament arrives dry and ready to use. That’s the theory, but I’ve noticed a few filaments arrive wet, with the moisture perfectly sealed in to ensure you have a poor first experience with the filament.
I’ve been wanting to try metal casting in printed molds for years, but never had a use for the heavy, low melt alloys that would work in a printed mold. When I saw this mod for anti-backlash weights by Pratyeka in the Tiko 3D forums, I figured I’d finally give it a try and ordered a block of metal.
I added some epoxy tubing to reinforce the the delta arms on my Tiko. The tubes are approximately 200mm long and have an inside diameter of 0.219 inches (5.56mm). You can get them from Tap Plastics, but you will need to cut them yourself (one 32.5″ rod can be cut down to 4 – 201mm rods for the Tiko, you’ll need 6).
My first prints with the Tiko was terrible (not unusual for a 3D printer), I used the default settings including the default temperature of 210°C and it was clearly too hot, making the test print come out a melted mess. No problem, I know how to fix that. So next I tried 190°C and it came out very underextruded. The clicking sounds made it clear that the something in the extruder system wasn’t keeping up.
Most FFF printers support a high resolution z axis, but I rarely find the need to print with a layer height smaller than 100 microns (0.1mm). Of course, there are exceptions, and a surfboard fin is one of them. Here’s a comparison of 5 prints with layer heights from 10 to 200 microns.
What does my favorite way of cooking fish in the backcountry have to do with 3D printing? Not much, though some of my gear is 3D printed. Still, this way of cooking doesn’t seem as common so I though it was worth sharing and I don’t have a better place to put it. It’s very similar the method shown in this video (which is the one that inspired me to start cooking this way). So if you enjoy backpacking and fishing, here’s my favorite way to cook freshly caught fish. (I also cook fish at home the same way, so it isn’t just for backpackers).
Why use firmware retraction? It lets you set configure retract and unretract speeds separately, and values can be adjusted mid-print. (Too much stringing? try increasing retraction distance. Nozzle marring previous layers? try increasing z-hop, Getting post-retraction bumps? try slowing the unretract speed or tweaking the restart distance). Simplify3D doesn’t provide native support firmware retraction (as of January 2016), but it does have the ability to do simple gcode post processing. This post describes how to use it to tune retraction speeds or enable firmware retraction. Even if your printer’s firmware doesn’t support firmware retraction, you can still customize the unretraction speed.