RUG/Pennsylvania/State College/Printers/PSU Unit Clear

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Clear small.png
Color: Clear
Extruder: .35mm
Temperature: 220C
Design: Open Hybrid Mendel
Electronics: RAMPS
Firmware: Marlin
Operation Status: Thumb down.png

Operating Specifications

Operating Specifications
Name Status Design Electronics Firmware Extruder Temperature Comments
Clear Minor Repairs Needed Ohm RAMPS Marlin 185C Use slic3r to generate G-code

This page is for information about the PSU Unit Clear. This unit is of the Mendel/Prusia hybrid variety. All of the printed parts were printed by other units in our group.

Repsnapper Printing Parameter Key: Extrude Material Width: Tells the material height, how thick a "slice" is, and the height number is equal to the thickness. Extrusion Multiplier: How much ooze per length and this parameter is related to the speed. Lowering the extrusion material causes less material, and raising it causes more material Layer Thickness: Is the distance between strips on the x and y axis. Infill Distance: the higher the number means less lines or makes it less dense. The lower the number means more lines or makes it more dense.


Conversion to RAMPS

After the monotronics died on Blue printer, it was decided that it should be converted to RAMPS. This will allow two things to happen: First it will allow the blue printer to print again, and secondly, it will provide a way to callibrate slic3r for the the three new printers being built. Several things had to be done to allow RAMPS to work with what blue has.

We exchanged the TechZone tip management board with a new fancy one from makerbot. This was deemed easier than trying to get the TechZone tip management board to work with RAMPS. This means wen now have three sets of wire going to the x-carrage: the hot end power, the thermocouple wires, and the extruder wires. These will have to be managed appropriately.

We had to edit several portions of Marlin firmware to work with our ohm. Mostly we had to change things to get our steps per millimeter and such working. An important step is making sure that the "#define ENDSTOPS_ONLY_FOR_HOMING" is commented out to make sure that it can actually home by hand as per our standard printing procedure.

Another important thing to note is that the pinout for the optocouplers need a crossover cable. Check the opto page for details.

The version flashed on Blue printer as of 26 April 2012 can be found at File:Marlin Customized OHM.rar

PSU Unit Clear - Current Condition

[1] A video of our working extruder! (Oct 18)

On October 25th 2011 the PSU Unit Clear (a.k.a RepRaptor) successfully completed its maiden print job. Below are a few photographs of this milestone!

[2] Working z-axis finally! [3] Our first being printed!


Notes to Future Classes

This printer is actually very nice once you get it running. I wouldn't be upset for this one being assigned to you. It can run very smoothly and have good print quality. There are a few things that could be improved that I will detail out below. My hope is that this helps you diagnose problems quickly and be aware of common failure modes.

Z-axis Actuators:

Z-axis actuators tend to slip out of their sockets. We replaced the clear tubing that goes around the motor axle and interfaces with the other side of the socket. We intended for this to increase the friction, but the tubing repeatedly slipped off the axle over the course of the semester. I would recommend attending to this as soon as possible to ensure that you have a robust construction that will not unexpectedly fail you in the middle of the print or while you are trying to make other improvements over the course of the semester. Here are a few ideas to try:

-- Find a way to improve the sturdiness of the sockets. The screws dug into the sockets as we tightened the sockets around where the motor axle and threaded rod met. This could involve using a face plate on each side of the socket instead of wires, or printing out new sockets with high density and a tough filament.

-- Coat the outer surface of the clear tubing with something to increase the friction. This might be a special kind of two-sided tape or a painted on coating.

Extruder Nozzle:

The extruder nozzle is probably the most fragile and part of the printer right now. If you want to overhaul this printer this is probably the second thing I would re-make after the Z-axis actuators. We had to do a little work ourselves to re-insulate the power and control wires. In the power wires broke leaving only a tiny part sticking out from the ceramic insulation. It was not easy to solder a wire lead to that. BE VERY CAREFUL if you are removing the extruder nozzle from the assembly or moving wires around because if the rest of the power wire breaks off the extruder nozzle is done for and you wont be able to print until you make a new extruder nozzle.

Thermocouple Connection:

We were having trouble with the thermocouple connection when we left off. There were errors reading it. Throughout the course of the semester we also had connectivity issue when the red light would come on (broken circuit) unexpectedly as we moved around. I believe we fixed this by replacing one of the white connectors that clamped on the wires for the thermocouple. Try this if you have a similar problem.

Springs for Printer Bed:

When you get a chance you may want to print out new springs for the printer bed. There is a 3-D printed spring supported each of the four corners of the printer's bed. Some of them are so permanently compressed that you have to seriously tighten down the uncompressed ones to make the bed level. You will have to ensure that the bed is level before you can adjust the position of the z-axis stop. Otherwise, the stop will be good for some parts of the bed but not others.

Blog #1

Class has finally started and work has begun on our printers. We have been assigned the clear printer to be working on for the remainder of the semester. We hope that in the 15 class weeks we will become sucessfull in turning the printer into a working reality. Looking upon the wiki website, it turns out that our printer was actually running for a time in 2011 before it was deemed to be too damaged. This gave us some sign of relief that the printer at one point in its lifetime was actually running and operating. I am happy to say that our group has the capability and skills to make this into a fantastic group project. There is still soo much to learn!

Here is a picture of the clear printer we will be working this semester

Blog #2

Upon inspection of our printer we have found many different types of problems that need to be fixed in order to get the printer to completion. Among these problems was a chipped off extruder belt arm and a damaged filament nozzle. As of right now, these are the only two things that need to be replaced in the printer before we can truly see if the circuits and wiring actually runs. Disassembling the nozzle we have found corrupt and frail wiring that will need to be replaced and re soldered. Devin will do this part while I find a way to replace the small arm piece to the printer. Upon discussion with the TA, Ian, we will make a decision whether or not to replace the nozzle or try and fix it. However, in the meantime, here is a picture of the nozzle, it is in rough shape.

The damaged extrude nozzle

Blog #3

This week we have finally gone out of our comfort zones and actually came for 2-3 hours on a Friday afternoon to get the ball rolling and get the arm piece replaced. From the wiki, we have downloaded the needed STL files to be a perfect fit for our printer and have uploaded to one of the working arduino computers. From there we then setup the gcode needed to run the print. We initially have problems finding the software to convert the files into the printer interface but then were successful to get the print started. The print alone took about one hour and the rest of our time was tinkering and setting up the printer/software. We have finally got a hand of the printer technologies and it was a sight to see a first test print of the arm finally go! These printers take awhile to setup but are worth it in the end!

The printer in the labs printing a test piece

Blog #4

Well, here we are back to the test part we created. We initially had high hopes that atleast the test part that we printed would be almost functional, but we were wrong and there is still too much to learn. The printing at first started out very well but towards the end of the print cycle, the printer was not configured enough to get a precise measurement for the top layer and the part became deformed. Looking back at our experience, we had learned much about how the printers run and operate and we got a fantastic learning experience. From previous consultation with the TA, it will now go back and reprint the part but this time with advanced settings and squaring the printer, which is just adjusting the parts to make a tight tolerance. After the squaring, it are sure that the printer will cooperate this time around to print the part!

It was only a test piece!

Blog #5

Well, we are back to squaring the printers. Squaring is an essential process because since plastic and wood pieces on the printer often times get deformed an loosened. This is a small hassle to do,but once done properly the printer can operate more efficiently and cooperate with better prints. In order to square a printer, one needs to use calipers and measurement tape to set both sides, left/right and front/back of the printer to same dimensions. By dimensions, it meant the parts on the external connecting rods that hold the printer in place. These parts need to be adjusted to a same or close value of the space between them. This requires measuring the distances and then unscrewing and realigning the components into a tight fit. This was a easy process to do and required just some time to complete. Now since the working printer is squared off, we can then continue onto the print for our arm piece. We are optimistic that it will work this time around!

An example of using calipers to measure the distances

Blog #6

Well, we went back to the drawing board and got a new arm piece printed for our printer. We learned our mistakes and this time we gave in to a accurate rendering and printed model of the arm. The ways we improved the print was to square off the working class printer and scale the STL model to optimal settings so the printer interface can actually properly print the top layers of the model. The print came out after much better with a improved tolerance level and no deformation in the top layer. Because of this, we now have a usable arm piece for our printer. That being done, it was finally time to attach the arm piece to the extruder belt and test out the tensions. Using a ziptie and complete tension, the arm piece has been finally installed. Now, all there is left is to test all the components and hopefully start getting to print and using our own printer. This is an exciting time because now, our printer hopefully has all the working components to work!

The belt being connected to the new arm piece

Blog #7

After testing all the control surfaces with the belt attached to the new arm peice with printed out, it was determined that a few defective parts needed to be replaced. The first being the extruder motor that needed to be swapped out with a brand new one. The old motor wouldn't get any input from the arduino board. After this motor has been replaced the control surfaces has been re checked one more time and seemed to be working optimally. The last thing on our checklist was then to replace the faulty power cable connecting the arduino, after much debate about whether or not to solder the remaining ports to make it more usable, we then just finally decided to replace it with a more reliable cable. Now that the control surfaces are all checked out, we can finally try and optimize the printer for a test print.

The extruder attachment with motor replaced

Blog #8

Last time we went through the printer, we replaced components and checked over the control surfaces to see if they respond by the board computer. Now it is time to soon do a test print and get the printer to optimized for tight tolerance printing. In order to do this we have to square off our own printer. The squaring process as described earlier in the blog if a crucial and important step to get optimal prints. Without a printer being squared, the print can come out to be deformed or even worse damaged by the extruder nozzle. Under careful squaring of the printer, we have gotten the measurements as close as possible to both sides of the printer. Now that the final step was to square of the printer, we can finally get into printing!

Time to square out our own printer!

Blog #9

The printer itself is working very well at this point in time and the hard work as finally paid off. The printer itself with many problems with hot tips and damaged parts in the past is gone now. No longer do we have to do much repairs to the infrastructure but process routine maintenance every once in a while for example squaring or replacing worn out components. We have finally gone in and started to do a test piece. A simple test will show how the printer currently runs and operates with the noticed changes into components. The print test we printed is a simple part of cylindrical shape. The printer actually started out with the piece very well and finished it almost perfectly. I am now optimistic that the printer can have a future where many other users can keep using it and enjoying its features. The next time that we meet, we will doing complex print service parts and we will see how the clear printer holds out!

A perfect test piece after all the hard work!

Blog #10

Well class is finally wrapping up and I have to say that this was one of the most interesting and unique classes I have ever taken. Over the course of the semester I have learned much about additive manufacturing and of course the 3d printing process and design. The coolest part of the course was to actually go in and have a hands on perspective building and fixing the printers. That is truly a good way to study and learn because it is just theory until you apply it to real life. As for our team printer, the printer has been fixed up to optimal capabilities and hence no problems as of right now. Future users and course teams will enjoy a decent printer to use. The only things needed to maintain the printer is to square it off occasionally and replace damaged parts. The printer extrude nozzle is in okay shape but gets the job done. The last few things we are finishing up is printing print service parts for the Printrverse website and of course submitting it to customers. I have to say that is was my most favorite class up to date.

Parts to pickup for the customers!

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