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Back With Some Printer Upgrades

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#1
After a long hiatus I am back to the FT community. For those of you who don't know, I am a college student and this year school work and weather really put the hobby on the back-burner. But now school is out and I have time to get back in to things. I am looking forward to sharing some exciting projects I will be working on this summer.

The first thing I am working on is upgrading and tuning my printer. Since getting my Folgertech 2020 a year and a half ago it has been used and abused. It really has not been tweaked or upgraded since the initial assembly and adjustments. I can't complain though as it has been producing acceptable prints and only requires a bed leveling now and then. The print quality has been very slowly decreasing over time though so I am hoping to get it back up.

Here are some things I want to fix/upgrade about my printer:
1) I have no set area to put the printer, and somehow I've managed to get by bringing out the printer when I want to print and putting it away in the corner when I'm not using it. So I want to get a permanent spot for it.
2) I want to move the filament holder to the top of the printer. That will help reduce space and hopefully make the filament feed smoother.
3) I have a some upgrade parts that I printed (just misc. Folgertech 2020 upgrades from Thingiverse), that I will be installing.
4) I may also get some lead screws to replace the threaded rods and some new fans to improve airflow and noise.
5) I want to add some vibration dampening to further reduce noise.
6) I rarely use my heated bed because it takes a long time to heat up and usually still leaves my parts warped. So I want to add some insulation to improve the heating time and do some tuning to get the prints to stick and not warp.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#2
Welcome back, and good timing ;)

Just last night I started printing this for #2:
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1409186

I've been using some bearing rollers (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1119390) that mount on the stock bit of extrusion sticking out the side. They've worked well...but. They won't fit Taulman spools (though Taulman is now switching to full size spools so that's less of an issue in the future) and I have 4 different spool designs in my collection which require me to keep moving them around to fit the different spools. The final straw is that the L bracket that mounts the extrusion is now bending. So I figured it's time to switch to a top mount and that one looks fairly nice. Hope to have it printed tonight, got about half of it done last night.

I'm also finally installing the Y axis upgrade I've had parts sitting here for over a year: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1278055 I'm actually about to post in the fails thread about my attempts to print the last piece for it ;)

The Y axis upgrade should make it a LOT quieter...I get a lot of noise off the Y rails and the openbuilds rail is virtually silent.

I also recently switched the 30mm fan on my e3d v6 for a 40mm noctura fan - best $15 I've spent on the printer so far! That little 30mm fan was crazy loud but the Noctura is silent and keeps the heatsink just as cool!

While I'm doing the Y rebuild I also plan on tackling #6. I've had a roll of cork sitting here for a year as well and have yet to use it because I didn't want to mess with the bed while things were working so well for me :) But with a full Y rebuild about to start - may as well finally take care of it.

I also finally tried a piece of PEI this weekend. Can't say I'm very impressed so far :( At least not for PLA or Nylon. I haven't tried PETG or ABS on it yet which I hear it's better for. Also the PEI I got is glossy and I heard hitting it with some 1500git sandpaper may make PLA stick better. So we'll see.

I kind of want to get a silicone heater too...and have been seriously considering switching to an aluminum print bed. But...the new Y axis setup allows fitting a 200x300 bed...so may wait and see if I can get an aluminum 200x300 with silicone heater in the near future before I try that ;)
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#3
SNARLS!!!!!

Welcome back mate. Hope school went well and we don't have to send you to summer school and lose you again.

Hey I was just thinking with you guys talking about heating the beds. This is me being clueless but this ran thru my head. Usually you guys keep these in the general vicinity of your computers. What would be the viability of using that tubing they heat floors in home with now and use a water cooling system from your computer to heat the water in the tubes and kill two bird with one stone. Water cooled computer (my cooling system stays within 10c whether at idle or over clocked to 4.8 ghz and screaming. If you replace the radiator with the metal printer bed you could probably keep the bed perma warm and reasonably stable temps I would think. Not sure if the temps would be high enough though for printing but just something that ran thru my head.

If its not hot enough you could always use the same principle and have a separate setup and use fish tank heaters in the reservoir to control temps. I would think that would be more power efficient as well as less stress on the electronics in the printers anyways. Again just my goofy self letting some neurons run free for a bit.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#4
Don't think that would work. I don't water cool my computer but I doubt the coolant would get hot enough to heat a bed. The lowest temps you usually heat a bed to is 45c but I usually don't go any lower than 60c and regularly do things that require 90c or even 100c.

The bed heaters actually can run a PID loop just like the extruder heaters do - but since bed temp isn't as critical that's usually more trouble than it's worth (I disabled the PID on my bed - it just slowed it down on hitting the target and the extra stability didn't help with print adhesion.)

But the big issue is the beds move constantly. So that would put a lot of wear on the coolant hoses and I wouldn't want a leak.

Plus...I don't even have my computer hooked to my printer very often - only when I'm flashing new firmware (and there are ways I could do that without hooking it up too.) I have a C.H.I.P $9 computer dedicated to the printer which has no fans and no moving parts (it's kind of like a RasPi but has built in wifi and flash so no need for an SD card and it's cheaper.) My computer is actually on the other side of the room than the printer and it takes two usb extensions to reach it if I use that computer for flashing :D
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#5
Hrmm.. I was under the impression that the beds are stationary as all the leveling talk and videos I have ever seen suggest.

Oh well I did leave my I'm a cod fish disclaimer for being clueless.:eek:
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#6
Hrmm.. I was under the impression that the beds are stationary as all the leveling talk and videos I have ever seen suggest.

Oh well I did leave my I'm a cod fish disclaimer for being clueless.:eek:
Depends on the printer...but there's almost always some bed movement.

On these i3 Varients the bed moves forwards and back for the Y and the print head moves left and right for the X as well as up and down for the Z:


On some printers like the ultimaker and Folger FT5 the bed only moves for Z and the print head moves both X and Y but stays stationary in Z.

On a delta or SCARA machine then the bed doesn't move - but those setups are less common and tend to be more expensive.
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#7
One of my first upgrades was to make something to hold the filament spool on top of the printer as opposed to on the side. The side mount did an alright job, but the path the filament had to take to get to the extruder made it seem like the extruder had to give quite a tug to get the spool to turn. Even more, I want to move my printer to a space in my basement that is just wide enough to fit the printer without the spool on the side. So why not kill two birds with one stone and move the spool to the top.

The first step to doing this is to make some structure to hold the spool on the top of the printer and out of the way. I found a decent selection of options on thingiverse, but I was running out of filament and did not want to spend it on a fairly straightforward design objective. I had some 1/4" acrylic laying around from an old project so I thought I should use that.

Acrylic.jpg

After a quick design in CAD I printed out a design to guide my cuts and went at it with the scroll saw. Man acrylic is a pain to cut. It dulls the blade quick and the cutting heat ups the acrylic to the point it deforms and binds the blade. After a straight cut with the scroll saw the acrylic was still in one piece because the acrylic got so hot it just fused back together! To counteract that I used a hand held coping saw with some ice to cool the blade at intervals. Eventually I got the pieces made with a hole at the top to hold the bolt the filament will be mounted on, and a cutout on the bottom to straddle the 2020. There is small hole so that the acrylic can be attached to an L bracket that will hold it firmly to the 2020.

SpoolTowers.jpg

I moved the LCD to the side to accommodate the filament spool on top and quickly realized that the spool holder was preventing the SD card from being removed from the LCD. So I cut a slot in one of the acrylic pieces so the SD card can fit through. It will compromise the strength a little, but the acrylic should still have no problem with a 1kg spool. So far it is plenty sturdy and I am a sucker for transparent plastics so I think it looks great :D

Spool.jpg

Next I will talk about the bolt and bearing wedges that actually hold the spool on the acrylic brackets.
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#8
Initially to hold the filament spool on my acrylic brackets I printed these holders. I did not realize that it called for 6mm bearings whereas I had standard 608 8mm (skate) bearings I wanted to use. So I printed some plastic rings the size of 6mm bearings and used those instead. With a spool low on filament these holders worked just fine. Once I loaded on a fresh roll of filament however I found that the weight caused the friction to be too much and the spool took some effort to spin (probably still less than when it was side mounted).

So I took the spool holder design and modified it to fit 608 bearings instead. This worked out great and the first rendition fit two 608 bearings snugly. They fit into the spool hub a little more intimately than the original design, which actually saves some room on the top of the printer. The bearings, although old and used, spin smoothly and the extruder appears to pull the filament with ease. The spool slowly turns now whereas before it would bind, then release, and repeat.

Bearings.jpg

SpoolHolder.jpg

Here is the link to this spool holder if anyone is interested (thing:2345655).
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#9
I keep a razor blade by my printer to help me release my prints from the bed. Prior to now I kept the blade sheathed in a piece of foamboard to hold it and protect the blade. While that worked just fine, I wanted something a little more professional and stuck to the printer. So today I may a simple razor blade holder that snaps on to the 2020 extrusion.

It's a simple piece, but works well and is quite useful.

BladeOut.jpg

Installed.jpg

If you're interested here is the link to download and print your own!: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2350881
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#11
Haha I really should get out flying soon. It has been far too long. Tinkering with my printer has been taking up my hobby capacity lately. But it's not all in vain as I have some flying related projects that I want to work on that will put the printer to use.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#12
Scuses exscuses.. quit yakkin and charge a battery....

I was just out in seriously low light trying to flip the Gremlin around the front yard LOS without my glasses on hehe.. I THINK I was combing the grass at a decent clip doing figure 8's and pirouettes then hopping up for a flip or roll and back to it. One of the neighbors came outside to hang out and watch after she heard it buzzing around. She got a kick out of it. Every time I would mess up and tumble it she would gasp. Or do the ai ie ie thing when I launched out of the palm of my hand hehe