Printing the Small
I’m not sure if I have taken the time to talk about this yet. I have been attempting to make some changes to the 3D printer recently (and by recently I mean in the past month or so).
See, I have been using a .4 nozzle. This is great for stuff like terrain and maybe stuff that doesn’t have super fine detail. But it is just a bit too big to work on minis (miniature figures for those who don’t know the lingo). I had picked up a pack of nozzles of various sizes a while ago but I wanted to run out the current filament before I started playing with changing things up.
You would think this would be something simple and easy to deal with…
It all started with the first change. I had switched to a .2 nozzle. And for the life of me, I couldn’t get the printer to extrude. Somehow in all that I managed to plug the nozzle. So, I switched to the second .2 nozzle I had available. That didn’t work either.
I had no idea what was going on so I did some playing around and switched the nozzle to a .3. I figured maybe that would do something. I managed to get the machine to extrude with this one.
I printed out a skeleton from a group of skeletons I have saved that don’t need supports. It didn’t look too bad. And so I moved on to a different print. This was when I started seeing other problems.
Aside from the trouble with feeding the filament through, I started seeing some burns on the finished products. Yeah, this is a bad sign. Somehow the filament was spending too long in the heat chamber and burning before it was extruded. I had to go back to trouble shooting.
In reality this meant the printer sat quiet for far longer than I liked. For a little while there was too busy to do much of anything with it other than just run print jobs. But I couldn’t even do that because of the problem with the burns.
I finally got a chance to do some surgery. I pulled the hot end apart and started looking at the internals. I couldn’t see any build up inside the heat chamber. Most of it had oozed outside on the working parts. It was a mess that didn’t lend itself to easy clean up.
I had discovered the issue that was causing the leak and keeping things from working properly. The feed tube hadn’t connected to the nozzle as it should. It was too loose when everything heated up to printing temps.
After a bit of trial and error and a lot of cursing, I figured out how to lock the different pieces in place. Just a matter of tightening the parts in question when everything was already hot.
Amazingly, everything is working as it should be now. I am not getting the scorch marks on the pieces I have been printing. There are some other issues I am working on now but its good to have things up and running again.
The learning curve now is going to be printing minis that require supports. This is going to require a bit of experimentation to get the settings right, but it is possible to make it all work. One day I may actually have this thing figured out.
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