MakersFarm Prusa i3 update (3d printer)

In 3D Printing, Arduino, RAMPS, troubleshooting on February 16, 2015 at 8:13 pm

A little while back I replaced the nozzle and ordered the wrong size.  So I had ordered a new spool of abs in the new size.  Yes, I know I could have just returned the incorrect part and keep using the spools I already had on hand.  I made the conscious decision to try the new wire size to see if there was any difference in the prints.  I don’t really expect one but with the narrower wire the printer will have to push it through at a higher speed and the wire will melt a little faster with smaller diameter.  Essentially it will work a little differently and I just wanted to see what the difference in the end result will be.  Anyway, it’s hooked up and appears to be working.

I’ve had problems with the circuit boards heating up and shutting themselves down for a long time now.  My cousin attempted to treat the symptom by adding a fan to cool the boards.  This worked sort of.  Most of the time it would allow the printer to achieve the temps it needed (getting to the print bed temp was the big problem).  Lately though it was failing more and more often and finally I just couldn’t get it to work at all.  I have done very little printing on it over the last year or so due to the problems so this isn’t something that allowed me to reach my earlier levels of productivity, it was just a stop gap fix that would let me print for a few hours every month or so.

I ran across a site selling RAMPS (RepRap Arduino MEGA Pololu Shield) boards the other day.  The shield is a board that attaches to an Arduino board and allows the Arduino to control a 3d printer.  It has all of your power inputs and outputs and uses Pololu stepper drivers to control micro-stepping of the motors.  My guess is that the RAMPS was what was having heat issues because that is where the connection block for the main power blew out on initially.  (see some earlier posts on that problem and my repairs to install a new a block.)  I decided to order a new RAMPS.  It arrived Friday just as I was walking out the door to go to LA for the weekend.

Last night I got it installed on the printer and hooked up all the wires exactly where they were on the old board.  It turns out that nothing on the new board is wired up in the same sequence as the old board.  The power outputs for the bed heater and the hotend heater are reversed.  I discovered that right away.  I fixed that this morning and made another attempt to fire the printer up.  It turns out that the stops for the the axis of movements  or possibly the motor outputs (or both) are also not in the same order.  I discovered this as my print head moved across in the Y axis and slammed into the stop and then kept trying to move.  I don’t think it will be difficult to fix, just a bit time consuming as I need to hook up the printer to the computer and test each axis of motion and then each stop sensor.  Then I will need to swap the incorrect wires around.  First though I need to summon up the energy to actually do the troubleshooting.  Maybe this evening I will get to it.  I tend to be more focused in the evening and deal better with issues like this later in the day.

I am taking a class for Solidworks and am working on a couple of personal modeling projects in addition to the school work.  Once I get the printer up and running and am able to do some initial prints of the new models I will post an update on them.  I hope it won’t be too much longer before I am able to ramp up (pun intended) my printing output again.


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