Making Something Useful For A Change

One of the things you believe when you get a 3D printer is that you can justify the cost by making useful things with it. Well, generally speaking you quickly forget about that idea, because A) it means you have to learn how to use a CAD program and you don’t have the time or ambition to do it because you’re as lazy as I am, and B) There isn’t much out there in pre-existing .STL files that’s of any practical use for the average person. So you end up printing cute little ornaments, weird statues, and lots and lots of pencil holders…

But I finally had a chance to make a real part for a real thing!

Eldest son has, I’m afraid, inherited my fondness for ridiculousness, and has been playing around with laser cutters of late, and needed a peculiar type of nozzle for some kind of air handling system of his laser engraver. So we came up with this…IMG 0343

The nozzles came out about as close to perfect as you can get, except for the one on the far right, which is a result of the filament breaking for some reason about 75% into the print run.

Damn thing actually fits. Amazing…


It works… Sort of

Finally got around to testing the FlashForge 3D printer after replacing the thermocouples.

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Yes, it’s a TARDIS… Yes, I’m a geek…

Results weren’t horrible, but not as good as they should have been.

I’m not sure why but It’s been having issues with prints not sticking to the bed for some reason. It didn’t do that before. I replaced the kaptan tape, double checked the temperatures… nothing seems to help. If you look close at the model above you’ll see that on the far left corner it’s lifted up a bit where it began to release from the bed during the print run.

I also seem to be having extruder problems. I haven’t changed any of the settings. Temperature, feed rates and everything are the same as before. Going to need to do a bit of investigating. I tried two other test prints. One curled so bad I had to abort the print. The other was a rather complex object, a rendering of two people embracing, and the print quality was so bad I aborted that to

I’m not really sure what’s going on with the print temperature settings. I use ReplicatorG to generate the files and the temperatures I set in the program aren’t changing the temps on the printer. Even worse, it doesn’t allow me to change the print bed temperature at all. I’ve even tried changing it on the printer before printing, but no matter what I do it always reverts to the old settings of 220C for the extruder temp and 100C for the bed.

Fix It Day Part II

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In part two of Fix It Day, I finally got the FlashForge working again with assistance from eldest son. The thermocouple monitors the heat of the right extruder went bad, and the one n the left side seemed to be intermittent. I’ve had two new ones sitting on the shelf for two or three weeks now and we finally got it back together.

And, of course, we managed to reverse the polarity of the thermocouple wiring so it indicated temperatures were going down instead of up, so we had to re-wire that. Then we reversed them so left was right, etc. Had to re-wire that…

Handy hint! Label stuff! Would have saved us a good half hour of time if we’d bothered to label everything as we took it off when we disassembled it.

I really need to replace the kaptan tape on the plate, too, but I’ve been putting that off because it’s a royal pain in the neck. Everyone tells me it’s no big deal but I’ve tried everything, looked at videos, etc. Nothing works. Always end up getting air bubbles all over the thing.

Anyway, seems to be working, so I’m happy.