Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

De-Solder Success (probably)

In 3D Printing, Crafts, Electronics on January 4, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Sorry for the long time between posts. I’ve got a lot going on in the background that will eventually warrant some posts. Everything is still up in the air at this point. I don’t have anything concrete to write about yet though. I’m just waiting and wringing my hands while everything hinges on other people. I know this is vague but I don’t want to influence anything the wrong way at this point. Whatever happens my life will be changing and I will be leaving Santa Barbara. Exactly how that will go down… I just don’t know. Stay tuned.

On the chess set and 3d printer topic… I’m still waiting on the replacement screw terminal piece. The new soldering iron did arrive yesterday. I was able to de-solder the old screw terminal and remove it. I hope to get the new piece today. I ordered it at the same time and from the same people as the soldering iron so I’m hoping it won’t be too far behind. Here’s a photo of the de-soldering job. When the new piece gets here I’ll post some new photos and updates. Hopefully I’ll be able to include a shot or two of the printer working again.


More Pawn and updates

In 3D Printing, Crafts, Electronics on December 29, 2013 at 11:01 pm

We’ll start with the updates this time.  It took some searching but I’ve finally found out what that part I need to replace is called and found some place that could ship it to me in under 1 month (almost everyplace selling them was shipping them from China.)  It is called a screw terminal block.  It should be here by the end of the week.  I’ve started desoldering the old part off of the board.  I’ve got most of the solder removed but my soldering iron is too big for me to get the rest of it out.  I’ve ordered a cheap 40w soldering iron that is more appropriately sized for electronics as well.    Hopefully next weekend I will be able to finish removing the old terminal block and get the new one installed.

In the mean time,  I’ve made another stab at designing the pawns.  This is probably the last thing I’ll be able to do before getting the printer back up.  I might hook everything up and try printing some stuff without heating the print bed.  The pawn is something that might be printable without the heating.  It was suggested by a friend that I try slicing the Queen in half the other way and try printing them that way.  Essentially I would need to stack the pieces instead of putting two vertical halves together.  This should minimize the problems with shrinking or curling.  If I fire the printer up as is I might try that.  Anyway, here are the pics of the new pawn design.  Enjoy,



Well that’s your problem…

In 3D Printing, Crafts, Electronics on December 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm



The problem is pretty obvious when you get everything taken apart so that you can look at it. The two discolored ports are where the power wires for the print bed heater plug in. I think I should be able to remove the entire block of plugs (I am not actually sure what that thing is called.) Then I will try and find a replacement and solder the new one in the same place.

I have not done any soldering on electronics since 1997 or 98. That was to chip my PlayStation so that it would play European region locked games. I was living in Germany with an American region PlayStation so that was the only way for me to play games purchased locally on my system. That was pretty simple. I had expert help looking over my shoulder the entire time as well. I’m pretty sure everyone that helped me with that project is on my Facebook so they may see this and remember the project. In the last few years the only soldering I have done has been for automotive electrical work. That is much easier than soldering on electronics. Wish me luck.

I am going to watch a few youtube videos on the subject and then attempt to remove this block. As always, I’ll keep you in the loop and post some photos of how it goes.


Possible Pawn Design and Troubleshooting Update

In 3D Printing, Crafts on December 28, 2013 at 4:48 am

The bottom would be more like a planetary gear.

Also I have verified that the problem is where the platform heater plugs into the board. The screws that tighten down on the wires were discolored and the insulation on the wires themselves have bubbled. At some point it looks like something shorted between them. I cut off the bad parts of the wires and stripped off the damaged insulation. I have to leave the + wire plugged into the original + terminal so that the board can control the platform temp. I moved the – wire over to the ground of an unused set of power plugs (the ones for a second extruder) in the hope that the I could avoid whatever the problem was with the first set of connections. Unfortunately I have had no such luck. The temp can get to about 50 on it’s own and then it gives up and the temp drops again. If I try to print and heat the platform at the same time everything shuts down. I started to take everything apart so that I can get a better look at the board and see if this is something I will be able to fix on my own. More on this tomorrow probably.


Unheated Platform

In 3D Printing, Crafts on December 27, 2013 at 7:57 am

Ok. So the printer actually stayed on and printed with the unheated platform. I’ve made a couple of attempts at printing the pawns. This is the result:
Pawns v2
This is actually my second attempt at the pawns. The first one had a much thiner gear at the top. It was obviously horrible so I went back to the model and made it about 3 times thicker. Now they look more like mushrooms than anything else though. I”m not sure what I am going to do but this version isn’t the answer. Maybe I will try a planetary gear as base of the pawn and then do the top with a more traditional top. I’ll have to think about it some more. Maybe I will try modeling this idea tomorrow.

I also tried printing the queen with an unheated platform and the lower temperature nozzle. The lower nozzle temp seemed to work, but the unheated platform caused some pretty severe warping and curling. This is what it ended up looking like:
You can see how bad the two pieces curled up. I will have to see if I can get it to run with the heated platform turned on. Maybe I can run it at a lower temperature than I was using before (70 degrees) and still get a good result. I’ll try that tomorrow as well. In the meantime at least the printer is working so there is some hope I’ll get this project finished.


In 3D Printing, Crafts on December 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I had a hunch. I played it. My best guess about why my 3D printer was shutting off was that it was drawing too much power and so the board was shutting down as a safety precaution. The house was pretty cold. I did crank the heat up when I noticed that the printer was having trouble bringing everything up to temp. It still seemed as though the printer was struggling with maintaining the correct temps. I decided to see if it would work today without heating the print platform. This way the board would need to draw less power. I think heating the platform is probably the biggest power draw and it is also the least necessary for printing with PLA. So far it seems to be working. The print job is 1 1/2 hours into the 11 hour print job and everything seems to be going well. It was a little messy for the first layer or two getting the media to stick to the unheated platform. Other than that it seems to be working perfectly. I’m hoping that this was the problem. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and try to get the most important stuff printed as quickly as possible in case it decides to stop working again. I was going to start printing the board next so that my niece could help design the pawns. I have modified that plan in light of recent developments. I designed the pawns this morning and I will print them next. The board is the lead essential bit so it will have to wait till last. This isn’t ideal but it will have to work.


edit: it seems as though i use a lot of run-on sentences. i’ve noticed that is the biggest thing i have to fix in editing.

edit 2: 3 hours in and the print failed. it failed for a different reason though. I ended up with a big glob of burned PLA that got stuck to the print. It was higher than the rest of the print job at that point so when the nozzle had to move past it, it knocked everything off by about half a mm. This caused the printer to lose it’s calibration and printed everything from that point on about 1/2 mm off to the side. The print is ruined, but the printer does appear to be working. Now I need to find out what is causing these blobs. This is the 2nd time the print job was ruined due to this same issue. Maybe I have the nozzle temp too high. I’ll try printing something colder and see what happens.

The Task at Hand

In Crafts, tools on December 24, 2013 at 11:18 pm

This gives you some idea of the task I have in front me. Somehow these tools need to be organized and put where I will be able to find them. There is a soldering iron floating around the house that needs to be found and put back in its case as well. I also just realized that I need to find the battery charger for the cordless drill.

This needs to be organized some how.

This needs to be organized some how.

Game Over

In 3D Printing, Crafts on December 22, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Well that was fast.  The printer failed again before I could put my coat on and walk out the door.   Everything lost power again.  The power supply is still providing the correct the power so the problem is the board.  That might mean it’s all over for me.  The board is the one part I know nothing about.  I purchased it preassembled with all the firmware set up.  Electrical I can deal with, electronics is not something I’ve had to deal with since my basic electronics course at Ft Gordon in 1997.  I don’t know what I’m going to do now.  For the moment the project is dead.


ps: this is how close we came..

This is how far i got before the printer died.

This is how far i got before the printer died.

possibly more fail

In 3D Printing, Crafts on December 22, 2013 at 7:39 pm

So i get up today and I try to restart the print job from yesterday.  The print bed won’t get up to temp. The nozzle won’t get up to temp. The lcd screen keeps blanking out and becoming unresponsive when ever i try to load the print job off of the memory card.  I unplugged the fan that normally blows on the nozzle and newly extruded PLA.  This allowed the nozzle to get up to temp.  I don’t know if the PLA will cool properly as it comes out of the nozzle though.  I had to take the memory card out and put it back in but it seems to be reading that now.  Finally I plugged the whole thing into my laptop and for some completely unknown reason the print bed will now heat up to the proper temp.  I have no idea why.  The printer does draw some power from the laptop through the USB when it’s plugged in, but only for the LCD screen.  Maybe that is the extra bit of power it needs to bring the bed up to heat.  I don’t know.  I have a kilowatt power supply hooked up to the printer so power should not be an issue.  I finally got the print job started.  I’ve been too scared to look and see if it is actually working though.  I am noticing that the printer is MUCH louder than it used to be.  I think I need to take the entire thing apart and clean everything out.  Maybe there is just a bunch of particles in the bearings from the printing.  Hopefully it is something that can be fixed.  I can always buy new bearings, but I am officially broke until early summer.  If I need anything that costs more than 5 or 6 bucks it will have to wait.  As for the heaters and electronics being wonky…  I don’t know.  I sprayed the board with some canned air.  If there was much dust on there (i didn’t see any) that was hurting the connections it should be gone now.  But I don’t really think that is the problem.  I hope it all holds together long enough to finish the steam punk chess set project.  If I can get these two Queens printed all of the back row pieces will be finished.  Only the pawns and the board itself will be left.  After all of the work I’ve put into this so far I will be devastated if I can’t get it finished.


edit: It seems to be printing ok, more or less. I was getting some big globs of burned PLA in places so the fan is necessary to keep it cooling properly as it is extruded. I cranked the heater up in my room and was eventually able to plug the fan back in and still keep the nozzle temp where it needs to be. I guess I ‘ll keep my fingers crossed and hope the next 10 1/2 hours go ok.

2nd edit: Nope. As soon as i published the last edit the printer stopped. The nozzle temp is plummeting although it still shows the set temp it is supposed to be trying to maintain. It just seems to have stopped sending voltage to the ceramic heater on the nozzle. I will have to take the entire thing apart and bust out my multimeter to see if the problem is the board (no voltage being sent to the heater) or the heater (it’s getting it’s juice but just isn’t working) or even the power supply. While I am at it I will take apart the various x and z print axis’ and see if i can clean out the bearings so they quiet down. After that I will need to spend another 3 or 4 hours getting everything dialed in. I’ve just lost at a minimum 3 days (i work all day tomorrow) with no guarantee i can get it working again. I have somewhere I am supposed to be in 30 minutes but I will scrape off the little bit of the job that did print and try again using my laptop to control everything rather than printing from the memory card plugged into the LCD screen. Maybe the problem is the LCD assembly and using the computer to control everything will fix my problems in the short term. I don’t know. I am so frustrated and depressed at this turn of events.

3rd and final edit: the problem appears to be between the power supply and the board. I don’t know if who’s fault it is though. I discovered that while the LCD was still lit up nothing else had power (heaters or motors). The LCD was pulling it’s power from the laptop via the USB port. I should have left the power supply running and got some measurements from it but I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until i had turned it off. After turning it back on it is providing the correct power and the printer seems to be getting correct power. I’ll let the laptop attempt to control this print and see how things work when I get home again.


In 3D Printing, Crafts on December 22, 2013 at 6:22 am

oh ya.  another 11 hour print job that failed 5 minutes after I walked out the door.  another wasted day.  why is it that the Queens are causing me so much trouble?



They printed for 10 minutes and then stopped with a minimum temperature error.  I’ve never seen that before.  I fired it back up when i got home and it had no problems reaching the temps needed.  I have no idea what caused this….