• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Folger Tech 2020 Prusa i3 Build Log

That's fantastic! Thanks for posting about that configuration tool, I've been holding off upgrading because I haven't had time to sit down and wade through the changes needed to go to the new firmware.


Some guy in the desert
I'd still give the resulting config file a good once over - the tool is still in development but should be safe to use.

My biggest complaint about it is it only lets you select releases, and the latest 1.1.* releases have been a bit goofy so I've been running the bugfix-1.1.x branch instead.

You can manually checkout bugfix-1.1.x with git and run the tool and it seems to work...but I haven't gone over the resulting config with a close look to be 100% sure.

Even so it's a great tool I'm really impressed by. The developer who's making it is making really quick progress and has some neat ideas for other things I'm looking forward to as well.


Some guy in the desert
Finally had some time to try printing my revised X carriage support based off the official Prusa design...and...

I really should have measured my lead screw nuts instead of just copying the dimensions from Prusa :p

These new nuts are bigger than my originals...but also apparently smaller than the ones Prusa uses...the hole being bigger wouldn't be a big deal...but...the mounting holes are also off. And those are kind of important.

So going to have to break out the calipers and measure my anti-backlash nuts...then tweak and reprint.

Oh...and first I have to adjust my machine. Turns out when I test fit the nuts I accidentally turned one of my z motors and now my X is crooked so 1st layer is way squished on one side. I could just regenerate my UBL mesh...but I'd rather do it right and level the machine properly first. So a bit of work to do before I can think about getting anything installed this weekend :(


Some guy in the desert
Well, that ate way more of my weekend (and this spool of white PLA) than I anticipated:

As you can see I went through quite a few revisions on these X axis upgrade parts! And these are just the variants I went through this weekend!

The two in the front right are the final versions - I may reprint them in raptor PLA before doing actual assembly - partly for strength partly because I'm just not big on this white. You'll notice in the closer photos that this white isn't printing very smoothly. Same things printed in other filaments come out much nicer so i think it's a bit of inconsistency in this filament causing that :( Dimensionally they're good...but the surface finish just isn't up to what I know my machine usually produces.

The two behind the final prints I thought were going to be the finals...but I made a small mistake on them...more on that in a moment.

On the left you can see what got me to this point. The three little pieces were tests I did confirming that the opening for the lead screw nuts and their screws and the nut captures for the nuts on those screws were all looking good. I had to get this "just right" because once the spring and lead screw nut are in place there's no way to access the nut in the middle for attaching them. So that nut has to be captured by the print and held well enough to tighten without a wrench. Getting the nut captures sized just right and designing an opening to get that back nut in took most of the time.

Behind those are some earlier variants, and one that I thought was going to be a final...but the CHIP that runs my printer crashed mid-print (Never had that happen before and I've been using the chip to power this thing for over a year!)

One thing I did different on the final version is I added a bit more material that will go around the lead screw:

This is mainly there just to stiffen the part and add more material along the bearing enclosure. There's no real need to surround the lead screw like that but I felt the earlier revisions were getting a little too insubstantial and worried about things holding up. This adds a lot of stiffness to the part but does make final assembly a bit trickier.

It's kind of hard to see...but here's the problem with the "almost final parts" after all those tests with the nut traps the nut traps ended up being an issue when I printed the full part. Basically I had the nuts aligned so the edge between two flats on the part you put a wrench on was pointing towards the middle...but that meant it stuck out a bit further and interfered with the spring because there's so little room for clearance. As a result last minute I rotated those nut traps 30 degrees putting a flat towards the spring:


Well, that didn't actually solve the problem and ended up creating another. Even with the flat facing the spring the nut still rubs against the spring:


And with the nuts rotated that way the opening for the inner nut was now too narrow to press a nut into. So after printing what I thought would be the final pieces I had to reprint them yet again (a 2.5 hour print to do both at once) with the nut traps back to how they were (like the initial photo in this post.) Fun.

But...it all seems to fit finally!


I'm holding the lower part of the nut in place to show approximately how it should look when installed. These anti-backlash nuts are two pieces separated by a spring...the preload created by the spring is how these help eliminate backlash. But it makes them a bit tricky to assemble and install!

Once I let go it springs apart...but when the leadscrew is in there it will keep the two pieces close together. There's about -3mm of room for the lower half of the nut to be adjusted...I'm hoping that's enough.


As you can see I opted to follow Prusa's lead and eliminate the flanges for screwing the bearing enclosure tight. I have to gently pry it open with a flathead screw driver to get the bearings in and they seem to hold VERY well once I remove the screwdriver. And since I've never even installed screws on my current setup...I feel safe with this.


Since I had to redraw this entire part from scratch I did a few things to make it more like I envisioned it and eliminate some hard edges. I made the bearing clamp cylindrical (but then had to go back and add more material because I felt it was a bit weak.) and did a little fillet where it meets the square bracket. I had been hoping to do this before but the way I had drawn the earlier versions it wasn't really possible.


Most importantly for me...it's all designed so it can print with no supports. That's why the bit that encloses the lead screw below the nut is at that angle - so it's a nice easy no-support overhang.


Top view you can see that the flange of the leadscrew nut overhangs the opening of the bearing slot just slightly. This isn't really a big issue. if anything it will just help retain the bearings and keep them from being able to slide out this side. The shaft itself doesn't come near the flange.

So...these parts should be functional now! But I'm missing a few nuts and screws to assemble them...and still need to test everything dry fit before taking my machine apart to try and install this upgrade. I also need to finish designing a geared extruder that will mount to the V-rail or...rejigger my current extruder so it will mount until I get around to finishing the geared design.

Oh - I also printed these this weekend:

Not the yellow golf balls...the white plates under them. The golf balls are soft foam practice balls. The plates will mount under my printer and allow the machine to be supported by the golf balls. Supposedly this helps absorb a lot of vibration and both makes the machine quieter and reduces ringing in the print...we'll see.

A third upgrade from this weekend turned out to be no real upgrade at all. The 40mm fan I have on my RAMPS board to help keep the stepper drivers cool and the one on my layer fan are both dying. They still work...but they've gotten very noisy and rattle a lot. So I ordered some new fans a week or two ago. Finally installed the first one...and...right out of the package it's louder than the old fan I'm replacing :p On the upside...it does seem to move more air than the old fan. But it's way too loud...and no point in putting one of them on the layer fan because if they're not held flat and level or vertical they get REALLY loud and the layer fan mounts it's fan at an angle :( So...looks like I need to order some more fans. Kind of tempted to get more noctura fans like I used for the extruder...that thing is SILENT. But one fan for $15 it better be! I can't really justify $30 on two more fans...will take my chances on a few more $1 fans hoping to get more quieter ones like I did last year.


Gravity Tester
Looks like some good progress on that X carriage upgrade.

This weekend I finished my printer upgrades. The first thing I added was some Z motor stands to raise the coupler out of the build area. There are also some bearings below the couplers for added support. Now I have around 6" or 155mm of build height which should be good enough for most things.


The X assembly was redone with new lead screw accepting parts. Unlike your model jhitesma these parts have areas for nuts and bolts to clamp in the linear bearings. The bearing holder was actually a little loose so I did end up using those bolt holes. Also you may notice I added some nylon mesh around the X axis motor to give it a little more of a sleeker look. That is also one of my old longboards in the background :)


I switched the three bearing X carriage to a four bearing carriage. My old white fan shroud was removed and I added a dedicated cooling fan. The model for this cooling setup is not meant for the Folgertech 2020 so I had to make my own plate to hold the fan and shroud. I could add another fan on the left side, but I am not sure I need it.


Because I was disassembling so much I though I should add an enclosure for my RAMPs. It works pretty well mounted on the same acrylic piece the ramps originally was on. One problem is most of the wiring is meant to go out the back, where most of my wiring is best coming through the front. Overall though it definitely cleans up the wiring. There is no fan mounted on the enclosure, but I do not think my stepper drivers are getting very hot at all.

You can't see it very well but there is also a cover I added for the top of the power supply which covers everything but the wires coming out. This should clean things up and protect from any accidental touching of the 120V power in.

To hold the printer itself I made a table out of some scrap wood. The printer is in the basement, but I still had to give the table a nice finish.

And here is the printer all reassembled and ready to go! One of the reasons I made a table is because I am putting the printer between two filing cabinets and I could not find a table that would fit the space.

You can also see the printer is not directly sitting on the table. There are vibration dampeners that I printed in between. I am using both this design and this design. There are eight isolators total. I used only four at first, but after sitting for a week they succumbed to creep failure and ended up just as hard mounts. Now with eight they seem to hold up and the noise reduction is quite noticeable. I was very surprised the first time I ran a print with them installed.


You may have noticed a glow above the printer. That is actually some RGB LED strip lighting that I added. It is connected directly to the 12V power supply. The lighting is not the best down in the basement so some LED lighting is a nice help. But more importantly I can put on a private rave while the print is going :cool:

Parts used in these upgrades:
Z Standoffs
X Assembly for Lead Screws
Four Bearing X Carriage (can't find it)
Cooling Fan (Does not fit FT2020)
Ramps Enclosure
Power Supply Cover
Vibration Isolator 1 (in back)
Vibration Isolator 2 (in front)


Some guy in the desert
Nice work Snarls!

Are you controlling the RBG through the Ramps with Marlin? I've been thinking about picking up some RBG led's for that since I saw it can change them to indicate what's going on with the print....But few details on how they work...apparently it can't handle individually addressable LED's so you have to run the kind that have 3 separate LED's in each and then add additional mosfets for each color channel...which sounds like more effort than I feel like putting in right now :D

I hadn't seen those vibration isolators...I've been meaning to do these golf ball ones for over a year but keep forgetting to buy the golf balls. Finally remembered them at wally world getting groceries so did the print as well. If those PLA ones make that big of a noise difference then I can't wait to try these tonight :)

I probably will add clamps on my X parts...just in case anyone else wants to use them and needs them ;)

And you reminded me...I need to reprint my Z risers before I rebuild the X. My existing ones are failing. The cheap folger ABS I used had layer bonding issues and they're separating in places.

I'm still debating how to do a rewiring to clean things up. A case is nice...but dust is such an issue here I worry it would cause more to collect and result in heat failure. I'm really leaning towards building a base under the printer that raises it up about 4" and putting the power supply and ramps down there...maybe even putting the LCD on an angled panel sticking out the front.....

I still need to finish wiring in my relay too...but octoprint has been kind of annoying me...I can't seem to keep my SSH tunnel for it open as reliably as I was with repetier-server. not a big issue in the house...but makes it hard to monitor things from work :) Along those same lines...I'm also not super happy with the way that slic3r can't send to octoprint over an authenticated connection. So from work I can't just send to slicer but have to save the gcode and upload it manually (when my ssh tunnel is still active.)


Gravity Tester
Thanks! No the RGB is controlled through a controller box and IR remote. I didn't know the ramps could be made to control it. Really though I just am after the LEDs as something to light the work space and to have some nice mood lighting during a print. I like to set it to 'smooth' where it slowly fades between colors.


Some guy in the desert
Ok, this is another on the list of "I should have done this so much sooner" upgrades:


Those damper feet make a HUGE difference in noise! Holy cow!


The machine still shakes the whole table...but the motion is almost silent now! The cooling fans are by far the loudest thing on it. And it will be getting quieter still. That new fan that's louder than the one I replaced has got to go now....really tempted to get a noctura to replace it since everything else is so quiet now.

And...I'm still running A4988 drivers on the X and Y...but have a bunch of spare DRV8825's I've just never got around to swapping in because the A4988's haven't failed. I did replace the Z driver because a wire came loose and shorted out frying that driver...and swapping to that made my Z almost silent. It also doubled the steps since I left the jumpers in the same position and the 8825's do 32 microsteps instead of 16 with that setting and it was quicker for me to double my steps in Marlin than to lookup how to change the jumpers to use the 8825's at 16 :)

The x is now by far the loudest motion on the machine...so I'm more excited than ever about getting this new v rail upgrade done. Once that's complete I'll probably swap to the 8825's and see just how quiet this thing can get.

I'm just really blown away by how much quieter it is mounted on these foam golf balls. I also like having it upa few inches higher. I think there may even be enough room to mount the electronics under there so really thinking about moving all the wiring down to under the machine even more than I was before (and I was really planning on it already.)

Gotta swap back to my old fan though...this new one is driving me absolutely bonkers now with how loud it is :(


Gravity Tester
Well I've been printing a whole lot more in the past month than I have in the past year. I am going to have to order another spool of filament soon! I'm starting to look like you guys with 3D printed parts laying all over. I should probably go flying...


Gravity Tester
I spent the last couple weeks printing this large Eiffel Tower model. Even at 0.2mm resolution the total print time is around 45 hours. The mid section (just above the legs) was my longest print ever at just over 10 hours.

I'm impressed at how well my printer did. There is a lot of stop and go when printing these parts because of all the struts in the tower. That means there is a lot of retraction and acceleration. My printer had no trouble keeping things lined up. There were a lot of small strings from so much retraction, but a quick pass over a flame took care of a lot of that issue. Even with highly tuned retraction settings it may be hard to avoid some stringing on this model. There is some noticeable overshoot when the bridging occurs between sections of struts, but it is not a big deal. Overall I think this is an impressive print for what I've put into my Folgertech 2020.




Some guy in the desert
Looks great snarls! I've been thinking about trying a smaller one (one piece print sized) to see how my machine handles the details. But that big one is really impressive!


Gravity Tester
Broke a fin on the fan for my extruder so I decided to replace it and the cooling fan with a fancy Noctua fan. Gotta say so far these fans are well worth the price (~$15). It used to be that I could tell when the printer was on just by listening to the fan spinning. Now I turn my printer on and can not hear the fan at all unless I get close to it. I can also put my finger on it and not feel any vibrations. The old fans would create noticeable vibrations and I wonder how that affected print quality.


Some guy in the desert
Also...didn't realize it's been a year already and I still haven't finished that X axis upgrade :(

I really need to find time to wrap that up at some point.