What printer do you have/thoughts/upgrades?

Discussion in 'Digital Design and Fabrication' started by Beaver, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Beaver

    Beaver #notatypist Admiral (Supporter)

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    This is a thread to share info. What printer(s) do you have? How well does it work? upgrades/improvements you've made? Final thoughts and whether you'd recommend it to someone else.

    To start the discussion, I'll feature my printer. It's a basic Prusa i3, acrylic-framed, Chinese kit that sells for around $300 on Ebay. I've been operating it for a little over a year now.
    Prusa I3.jpg

    One of the things I really don't like about this printer (and similar ones like it) is the acrylic frame and assemblies. While cheap and easy to laser cut, acrylic is brittle and cracks easily, not a good choice for structural parts.
    acrylic crack.jpg

    Another thing I was displeased with on this printer was the very loose tolerances on holes for the linear shafts. This caused a lot of play in the system. Some soda can shims improved the rigidity significantly.
    Prusa i3 3.jpg
    One thing I replaced, but wasn't having issues with, was the helical-cut flex couplers on the Z-axis lead screws. These have reportedly been a major cause of banding on some printers. I wasn't having issues, but decided to replace them anyway.
    Prusa I3 2.jpg
    I printed a replacement X-axis carriage because the provided acrylic one felt fragile and I didn't want to have it break and not be able to print a replacement. Also replaced the garbage hotend with a E3d v6 all metal hotend. Love it! One of the better upgrades I done to the printer.
    Prusa i3 5.jpg

    Here is probably the best upgrades I've made to this printer. Replacing the poorly made heated bed that came with the printer to a Mk3 bed, and installing a PEI sheet. I had to replace the heated bed because the original has something funky going on with the solder terminals and the wires just wouldn't stay soldered on. I was having great success using a glue stick on the aluminum bed, but I really didn't like the rough surface that came with it. So I switched to PEI and now I have great adhesion and nice smooth first layers. I'm happy.
    Prusa i3 4.jpg

    One of the things that's been plaguing me with this printer is the poor linear bearing quality. They are starting to wear out and beginning to have a lot of play. In fact, that's why you see those rubber bands stretching down to the hotend. They are to provide a constant tension on the bearing to help combat the free movement.

    Not sure there is much more to say about this printer. The assembly video that came with it was very nice. Made assembly easy. Came with all the tools for assembly. One part did come broken and the Ebay seller did replace it, but it took about two months of conversing and waiting on packages to get it replaced.

    All in all, my experience with this printer has been mostly positive. There are times that I've been totally frustrated with it and had to walk away for a while, but it is still running, which is a plus. I'll say the print quality isn't great by any means due to a fair amount of slop, but I have gotten some pretty good prints off of it nonetheless.
    I don't think I could recommend this printer to somebody. The amount of time and work I've put into it to get it working well and the amount of upgrades needed doesn't really lend itself as a printer for just anybody. If you like taking a turd and turning it into a decent machine, then this might be the printer for you, but I doubt many of you are like that. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  2. SteveT44

    SteveT44 Vendor

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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  3. Beaver

    Beaver #notatypist Admiral (Supporter)

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    Yes, very much aware of the steel frames. Decided not to go that route but instead just rebuild the whole printer with a custom steel frame and better linear equipment. No sense pumping money into a turd just to still have a turd in the end.
     
  4. ish311

    ish311 Active Member

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    currently running a i3 mk2 original. need to fix my rostock i might just have it with some calibration i just found but i need to print parts to fit the new equipment.
     
  5. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    I am currently rocking the same printer as Beaver. Like him, I had to struggle through a number of problems to get mine working satisfactorily. I am not doing any truly precision printing, so I have not been bothered by the slop in the bearings, assembly, etc. The stock heated bed, however, was wholly unsatisfactory. After my third time re-soldering the wires onto the stock heated bed, I was unable to get the solder or wires to stick anymore, and thus set out to replace it. I used a mk2 heated bed instead of a mk3, but it worked well enough. The biggest issue I had was with the control board, specifically the rather poor connectors. One of them worked itself loose, causing a short across the main power terminals which nearly resulted in a fire. Only my sharp nose detecting the acrid odor of burning electronics saved the rest of the printer. I replaced the cheap chinese board with its brand-name basis, and haven't looked back. Then I had power supply issues due to the greater demand of the mk2 heated bed. This was partly solved by putting a cooling fan over the control board, but I still cannot support running my heated bed at full ABS temperatures. This results in a nearly 25% failure rate due to bed separation. Very frustrating because I have to monitor each print for the first 6mm of layers. Currently using a glass plate with high-strength hairspray, but I'm willing to try other solutions.

    My other complaint is the four-point bed leveling. I like the simple mechanical adjustments for leveling the bed, but it only takes three points to define a flat plane. More points than that can (and sometimes does) result in a curved surface, pressing into the nozzle in some places and not even touching the plastic in others.
     
  6. Beaver

    Beaver #notatypist Admiral (Supporter)

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    That was my experience as well. Just couldn't get the solder to stick. Was very strange, I even tried grinding down to fresh brass, but it still wouldn't stay.
    I started printing from day 1 with one of these for the PSU. https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...e=corsair_power_supply-_-17-139-201-_-Product Never had an issue getting to temp. Only $20 with the mail in rebate.
    For better bed adhesion, try Elmers disappearing purple glue sticks. The purple makes it easy to see what's been covered and what hasn't. When it starts to wear off, wipe the bed with a damp rag and the glue will turn purple again and you can reapply in the bear spots.
     
  7. Xanthar

    Xanthar Active Member

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    I've have 2 Makerfront I3 Pros. The are Prusa I3s like the printers you guys are talking about but with laser cut steel frames. I've not encountered any mechanical issues with them. They are very solid and they print nicely. I'd definitely recommend them. I also have 2 Solidoodles and while I still use them, they are out of business so, spare parts will be hard to come by. I've been asking the guys at Makerfront to develop a machine like the Solidoodle for a couple of years now and they are working on one with a working volume that is more than 1 foot cubed. I can't wait for their demo.
     
  8. Jordan Jones

    Jordan Jones Member

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    I use the previous generation of this printer. https://www.aliexpress.com/store/pr...321.html?spm=2114.12010608.0.0.5ed7631fNndeWO I personally love my version, minus the need to print a few parts for it because mine did not include the nice ultimaker style molded plastic bits. This newer version seems to have replaced all of the parts I had to replace. Jumped up from a mini rostock and honestly love the printer, but of course I had to redo firmware because the stock firmware was an old version of Marlin that had a few glitches.
     
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  9. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    Latest report on the cheap chinese I3:

    I recently switched out for a PEI sheet on the bed. Unfortunately it is EXACTLY 8" x 8", which makes it smaller than the actual area of my heated bed. I can clamp the sheet down, but it's a close thing. Just an hour ago, I lost an 18-hour print 20 minutes from completion, because one of the clamps slipped off and allowed the PEI sheet to flex, causing the part to pop off. I now have a 10" sheet on order that I will trim down to size. I also noticed that the original acrylic bed mount has become severely deformed over time, and one of the X axis bearings is failing. To deal with those, I have ordered an aluminum bed mount and new bearings. Alas, they will arrive after I head out to sea, so it will be a few months before I can install them. By then I'll be in Charleston setting up my new shop.
     
  10. ish311

    ish311 Active Member

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    going to be installing the prusia 2.5 upgrades when they become available on mine. magnetic bed. v2 pinda probe with a bondtech extruder with filament jam sensing.
     
  11. Beaver

    Beaver #notatypist Admiral (Supporter)

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    Ah yes, when I talked to Nick about getting PEI he highly recommended that I get a piece larger than my bed and cut it to size.
    Do you have your sheet adhered to glass? If not, I would recommend you do. PEI(does anybody else catch yourself calling it PIE?) can flex under the evil forces of Warp causing parts to pop off like you said. Sticking it to a sheet of rigid glass cuts out all the flex.
     
  12. buttsakauf

    buttsakauf Admiral (Supporter)

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    On this topic, I am looking to buy a 3D printer. I have been waiting for a while and like the Prusa i3 MK3. It gets high marks for reliability and has some solid features to help save me from losing prints. My primary concern is not wasting effort followed by flexibility in print size and filament type. It appears to be a printer that is well sorted and well supported. I would buy a kit so that I can familiarize myself with its intricacies as I’m assembling it. Even if I feel my use will be light this year, should I spring for it now? Should I hold off? Like waiting till a ship is built to buy the radio because technology changes so fast. Any anecdotal advice? The money isn’t super important. I’d rather buy nice than twice. I already went cheap once (Tiko) and it failed as a company.
     
  13. Jordan Jones

    Jordan Jones Member

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    I personally don't own a prusa but I have friends that have prusas and they love them but they all recommend spending the extra cash to get it from prusa and not a clone
     
  14. Maxspin

    Maxspin -->> C T D <<--

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    I am thinking seriously of taking the plunge. The Prusa is a little out of reach. I am thinking of a CR-10 mini. I work with a guy who has a printer farm of the CR-10's. He has done all the upgrades ect. I can get lots of pointers from him. Just need to get it through the "budget committee".
     
  15. pba

    pba Active Member

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    I have a tronsky 820 prusa clone. I paid 159.00 for it on ebay. I think assembling the printer yourself is the only way to fly. Knowing how everything works is invaluable
    in keeping it in good working order.As far as alignment is concerned i have removed the springs on the platform and locked it down on solid 3/8 spacers. I then level the x axis slide bars to
    each side of the table using spacer blocks and moving the z axis screws by hand until both sides are even. This puts the bed in perfect alignment to the x axis I then use
    the z home screw to set distance from knozzle to plate to get just a slight squish on the print line. I have a glass plate with a sheet of dialectric heat sink plastic 1mm thick
    Add about 4 layers of aqua/net hair spray to get abs prints that have to be pried off. I have used 5 kilos of filament so far without a hitch. I have found that everything
    depends on the initial first line of brim thickness and how much it is compressed. If you can see individual lines in the brim is is too far away,if it is too flat and you can here the extruder cogging it is to close. A quarter turn of the z axis home screw and all is well. I actually ordered an anet a8 but got this instead. An a8 would still be nice about the same thing
    but more upgrades available on you tube Final note, the dialectric sheet eliminates the need for
    clips of any kind and the glass heats up twice as fast as using clips on the aluminum bed
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  16. Maxspin

    Maxspin -->> C T D <<--

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    Someone has a new toy!!!
    0219181801.jpg
     
  17. bsgkid117

    bsgkid117 Active Member

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    I'll chime in. I haven't been on the forum in a while to post, mainly lurking. I just picked up a Wanhao I3 plus from Microcenter, rebranded as "Powerspec". Was $290 open box. Got it home, Z axis level was all wonked and someone had done a hell of a job trying to shim the bed to a Z axis that was about 20* off kilter. Easy enough. Since then, I've had no real problems. Running Cura 3.2 on the desktop printing out the wonderful Dunkerque superstructure provided by rcengr. I am a complete noob at this, I have very minimal 3d modeling experience but am learning. The printer is completely stock, and printing PLA so far is coming out pretty much perfect even on large, longer duration prints. (The mid 01 deck section of the Dunk SS is the whole build plate, no hiccup.) Dont have the physical space right now for an enclosure, even a blanket over the top is a bit too much, as it's on my computer desk right next to me. So ABS printing will be in the future when I get my office room back. I was really torn between this exact printer and the CR-10, but now that I have one I want another. Maybe around Christmas time I'll grab whatever the latest CR-10 offspring is to supplement the Wanhao.