Printers Fixing Printers

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May 042019

My ancient (but still perfectly reliable and awesome) LaserJet 6MP has had a problem for a yearish now… one of the clips that keep the rear exit tray closed finally fatigued and snapped. Replacement bits are expensive enough that it’s not really worth replacing, and it’s not feasible to repair in place. Problem is, the rear tray needs to be closed for paper to feed to the exit tray on the top, and if it’s not quite closed, paper just tangles itself in the rollers and causes a nice little jam. So I’ve had a stack of DVDs jammed between the printer and my subwoofer on the same shelf this entire time…

Finally got fed up with this arrangement and used my other printer to make clips to keep the tray closed. Not very exciting, but hey… better living through technology.

Printer v2.3

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Mar 172019

It’s been a few years since my reprap’s journey began, and I think it has reached the conclusion, before a total overhaul and replacement of the frame (3.0?).

I replaced the 45° rear frame brackets with slightly better ones (used a bit off-label — I’m just bolting the frame part to a table) that mount to where I had originally intended the supports to go, decided to see if the hype was real and swapped my worn out three year old belts for real, live Gates GT2 belts, replaced the original y-axis mounts that made it impossible to remove the y-axis without getting under the printer with metal brackets that are accessible from the top, and swapped the y-axis parts for the Wilson II y-axis.

This resulted in some slight improvements in print quality (mainly in y, since the original belt was really worn out and there was a ton of backlash… not helped by my super misaligned belt line), but nothing major. Worth the effort if only for the y-axis not being awkwardly mounted and impossible to remove, and the control board being in a better position.

At this point it’s clear that the 2020 frame is too flimsy for a printer of this size… as such, I’m planning to design a new frame inspired by the Prusa i3 MK3 Bear Frame Rebuild, but in openscad instead of a proprietary cad program that doesn’t run on GNU/Linux (still debating continuing hacking on the pre-MK2 community version of the Prusa i3 or just re-forking the mainline Prusa i3 MK3).

A quick and probably meaningless rough history of changes to the machine, that I want to expand into a page on my actual website eventually (more naval gazing?):

  • 1.0: Straight Wilson TS, with a 300x400x300 mm frame, an itty bitty double flex extruder, and 10mm linear rods for the y-axis.
  • 1.1: Swapped the threaded rod for a lead screw on the z axis
  • 2.0: Upgraded the linear rods on the x and z axes from 8mm to 10mm
  • 2.1: Upgraded to a Panucatt Azteeg X5 GT running Smoothieware (great hardware, adequate firmware).
  • 2.2: Fixed bug in z-axis that was causing the motor mount to shift 2mm vs the x-axis parts (perils of using two different source trees for different parts)
  • 2.3: Swapped the y-axis for the Wilson II y-axis, replaced the rear frame braces.

More Packages Arrive

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Aug 232015

My 600W 24V DC power supply arrived from mouser, along with my hobbed bolts and the NEMA14 motors for the dual extruder.

I’m wiring up the DC side of the power supply to use 12 awg wire and female disconnects for now. I’ve got the main board supply, a separate line for the heatbeds, and a third set that will be wired in voltage regulator to give me a couple of amps of 12V power for the fans.

And, yeah, heatbeds. The Wilson y-axis can be stretched to 400mm, and I figured it was worth a shot going all the way. I wanted at least 300mm in the x-axis as well, and I found 200x300mm heatbeds (cheaper than one 300mmx300mm) and a conveniently sized 16″x12″ piece of glass at Home Depot. Worst case, it proves to be too large and I have to downgrade to 200mmx300mm (keeping the second heatbed ready for The Future™). This might seem a wee bit insane, but, after having used the TAZ 4, less than 300mmx300mmx250mm seemed underwhelming.

For the controller, I got an Azteeg X3 Pro because it has dual heatbed MOSFETs and support for up to five extruders as a bonus. At the outset, I decided to sink some of the savings over buying a printer into dual extrusion, and wanted to leave open the possibility of at least triple later on… and the X3 Pro wasn’t much more than a RUMBA with steppers aaaand it came with eight stepper drivers (useful in their own right), was fully soldered, and, hey… a triple nozzle extruder plus a single hexagon in the next couple of years or something doesn’t seem too crazy does it?

Not much I can do now until my nuts and bolts come Monday or Tuesday. I have very boring things to say about crimping wire harnesses too.

I Guess I Actually Went Through With It

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Aug 202015

So I printed the parts for a three dee printer on a TAZ 4 my friend graciously let me borrow, and I may have actually spent weeks going over the BOM a few times … and ended up hitting order on a few too many websites. Packages started trickling in yesterday…

This is going to be … interesting.