Makerbot Replicator 2x Journal Entry 1

First off, I decided to keep a paper journal just for my printer. Working with this 3D printer is more than a notion! I’ve run into various problems, learned various things, there’s a lot to keep track of! I want to put in this electronic version of a “journal” on my blog here to share what I have learned. This is the first entry. I plan on recording stuff based on reviewing my paper journal as well as trying to recall other things that I did not write down. Hopefully in the process, I will build up my body of knowledge and help others who read my blog posts on this subject. some things in this post may be slightly out of order.

I did not have a paper journal at first. So some of the details may be missing. I am going to get better at this! I don’t want my 3D printer to just end up being a very expensive paper-weight!

I mentioned in a previous post that I printed a comb from the SD card that came with the printer. I printed the comb in a translucent (Icicle Blue) PLA plastic filament. What next?

iPhone Case
I downloaded an iPhone case of the Thingiverse site. I was not keeping track of “thing” ids at this point. This print was like day 2 of me having the printer. I started printing it in Icicle Blue PLA plastic. After doing a good deal of the case back, the extruder started clicking and the plastic was not coming out of it. I paused the printer and swapped in red ABS filament!  So I was impatient! The print finished but was a bit de-laminated. Not to mention it was a bit too small to fit on my iPhone 4.

Switching from PLA to ABS… Why?
I did this because I read on some sites that PLA has more of a tendency to not feed into the extruder properly after the extruder has been running hot for awhile… so I switched to ABS.  Maybe not the best idea, but I think its a learning experience.

HeartSpring (thing:51979)
I decided to attempt to print this because my wife liked it. I probably was picking something too complex for me at this point. I will comment more about using the Makerware software later in another post. I was having a bear of a time getting the print to stick (even just printing a raft let alone printing the actual heart)! I learned about Kapton tape and installed a piece that came with the printer. I finally got somewhere here, but the print started really messing up about 21mm  high… it was so bad I canceled the print. I was using supports (which actually may have been a mistake in this case).

On my half-way decent start I had added blue painter’s tape to the build plate (I made it 2 sided). I found out later that the painter’s tape is more to be used printing in PLA. I was printing in Red ABS. I probably would have had better luck if  I had leveled the build platform better.

Tech Support
I called tech support in the afternoon… I had to leave a voice message. My message was basically about my problems getting even my raft to stick to the build platform. About 3 days later I got a call. It seemed my problem most likely had more to do with more precisely leveling the build platform. I would have liked to have talked with them longer but I had a call for my job I needed to get on. I gotta call back!

Printer Cover
At this point I did not have the cover for my printer… so I made one from a inexpensive plastic storage container that I bought at Target. I bought other plastic storage containers to store all my 3D printing stuff too! I used my improvised printer cover during my last attempt at the heartspring object.

I called Makerbot about my printer cover because it was listed on the packing slip but was not included in any box that I received. The web site seemed to indicate everything had shipped. Anyway, I found out from the folks at Makerbot that it had not shipped. A couple days later I received my new cover along with an extra spool of filament. Thanks for the spool Makerbot!

My wife saw a bracelet  on Thingiverse that she liked (sadly I do not know the thing id), I downloaded the file and tried to print. The render took forever and I saw some things about the model that made me worry so I cancelled the print. I downloaded another bracelet model (again, I did not record the thing id). I spent some extra time leveling the build platform and the print (in red ABS) started really well! This is the first time in ABS that my raft stuck to the build plate without any problems. And the printing of the bracelet itself started very well. Alas, when the bracelet was about 5mm high it started to”come off the rails.” At the suggestion of my wife I let the print finish just to see what we would get. As you can see in the photo, its not something wearable!

E-Gads! Heater Error!
Whilst I was looking over my scruffy bracelet print my printer got an error: Heater Error! My temperature reads are failing! Please Chek my connections. Yikes. I found somewhere info about making sure the wires into the extruder were pushed in properly, they seemed to be. 🙁

I turned the printer off and waited awhile… then turned it back on. The error went away… for awhile.

Mr. Jaws
My two nephews dropped by and I printed a Mr. Jaws from the SD card. I printed it in red ABS. After an initial problem, this printed perfectly. My nephews were fighting over Mr. Jaws! I need to print another one so they each have one.  My wife and I went to dinner and I left the printer on to cool down. When we got back the heater error was back. 🙁

Now, even when I turn the printer off for a long period of time, and then turn the printer back on I get the error right away. It is happening for the right extruder. Grrrrrr!

The 3D printer saga continues…

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