Saturday, December 29, 2018

Hotend Clog

I've had my 3D printer now for just about 2 years. It is one of the funnest hobbies I've had and really enjoy working with it. There is so much to learn, I still feel like a complete novice with it. After this experience, I know I'm still a novice!

So, it all started when I had an issue with my heatsink fan and it caused the filament to melt a little inside and created a big jam. This has never happened to me before so I was completely in the dark on how to fix it. So, being the impatient person, I tried to fix it myself without doing any research and made things worse.
Note: The steps below are NOT what you should do!
For some background information, the printer currently has an E3D V6 All-Metal HotEnd.

First thing I did was to take everything apart and try to manually pull the filament out. Everything was cold at this point which was my biggest mistake. So I pulled on the bit of filament that was sticking out and it didn't budge. I pulled harder, nothing. Grabbed my needle nose pliers and pulled even harder. This time the filament snapped of inside and I could no longer get a grip on it to pull.

I was totally confused and decided to take more things apart. (Remember everything is still cold.) So I forced more stuff off with strength and tools. There was still filament stuck inside the heat break and the heatsink. So, I did what no one should do, I got my drill out with a tiny drill bit and tried to drill it out. This did get the filament out, but trashed the PTFE tubing and scratched the insides of the all-metal heat break.

The ignorance continues as I now try to put it back together. With everything still cold, I try to put the nozzle, heat break, and heatsink back together. They aren't going in because of all the plastic still hardened in places. By this time it is after midnight and I am in no mental capacity to make sane decisions, and I try to force things. This time I bend the heat break. With that, I go to bed - printer is broken.

I left the printer for several days thinking the hot end is toast and I need to buy a new one. I talked with my wife, who is totally supportive, and she says, "well why not upgrade it somehow?" What a great idea, I've drooled over doing multiple colors, so why not take the next step and do a dual head. So rather than spend sixty-some dollars to replace the current E3D V6, I'll spend a little more. I email Colin over at Maker Farm to get his recommendation. After emailing back and forth with Colin for a while, I now have on my desk an E3D Cimera+ and plan to start the upgrade soon!

Oh, and to make a short story long:
Make sure the hot end is "HOT" when you are taking it apart or putting it back together. I learned that after reading online a bit and was, amazingly, able to get the existing hot end working again. Now that it is scratched up, it is having a lot more clogs and has been way more fussy. The good news is, I was able to get my Christmas ornaments printed!

I'll post later how the upgrade goes!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Light Blub Safety Cage

We have an unfinished basement right now and have set it up as a place for my kids to play soccer. Well with that has come multiple broken light bulbs when the ball goes a little too high.

Now that I'm getting more comfortable with designing my own 3d printable things, I thought I'd give a safety cage a try.

I've been  using a lot as it is really easy to use and I can edit my designs on any computer. It is a great cloud tool for designing things. Here is the design for the safety cage:
Here is a link the design on Thingiverse:

My first print of the cage had a problem that I forgot to make a slot in order to insert the light fixture into the cage. So that version needed some manual cutting to make a slot big enough to squeeze it in. The version posted online should work nicely with the changes I made.

Another gotcha I had with this print was the filament broke about 80% into the print. I had read online about people being able to restart prints and thought I'd give it a try. I followed this video by TGAW and was able to successfully save the print!

Now the cage is installed and we have no more broken light bulbs (at least for now)!