The 3D Printer is fired up and working 100% after 12 months resting :)


Sorry about the quality of photos...used my iPhone and didn't realise  its limitations..................I will take some more later..

Well it's been almost 12 months since I have managed to do anything in the workshop.


Sumpod proves a hit with She Who Must Be Obeyed!


Well I have proved the worth of the SumPod to SWMBO (the wife!). We have drop down blinds in our bungalow and I was told yesterday that 'another' blind clip had broken. What is a blind clip? Well it attaches to the top track and Sandy had replaced them with safety pins. What clips said I? Then ensued a brief I told you, no you didn't 'discussion' before I said confidently, "I can print out some new ones".

I then went and measured up the original and made a drawing in Alibre 3D cad. Once exported as an STL file it was over to the printer and a couple were soon printed out.  From the first conversation till the 2 first printed was only about 50 minutes. I then took them back into the bungalow and they fitted fine. Great said SWMBO. Can I have another 4 please! That's a clever printer isn't it.

Endurance printing with the ‘new’ hot end

Well I wanted to test the new nozzle assembly for durability. I believe it gives a much nicer print and it also printed Orange filament which would not print at all before. I believe there is still a difference between filament performance around colour but this new hot end didn't bat an eyelid with an 'allegedly' (by me...) difficult colour.

I also wanted to see how long it would print for and did a couple of just over 1 hour prints before setting it going with a 6 hour 23 minute print! Yes, over  hours. Now it doesn't make either financial sense or time taken, when the design could have been milled by the Sumpod in MDF but as I say I wanted to see if it would do it.

Experimenting with Printrun v Replicator and printed a useful spanner!

Well I spent the day 'playing' with printing and seeing how Printrun worked as against ReplicatorG with Sprinter. I also designed and made a couple of knobs for the front panel addition I have been working on. Whilst printing the knobs (see photo's) I quickly designed a 10mm spanner for unlocking the fitting at the rear of the machine when changing filament.

The spool holder works fine when printing and Router used for new front panel design

The recent spool holder design works in principle but would it work in practice. The only questions I had were to do with the tension on the filament causing a print failure and whether the whole filament would unravel into one great mess!

spool holder

spool holder

Fortunately neither problem arose and it worked very well indeed. As a test I printed out another of the blocks (to replace the odd red one :) ) that make up the spool holder and it printed a good quality example. I did consider removing the green filament already attached but then had the brainwave of just adding the filament to the spool of clear filament, securing it with masking tape.

Filament spool holder framework

Well today I decided to sort out a method for feeding the filament to the Sumpod 3D printer. I had a small drum of PLA 1.75mm (measures in at 1.75mm by micrometer) which I bought from MakerBot industries and since it comes on a nice drum I though how about a stand for it to sit on.

After a few initial sketches I thought it would be easiest to produce a 3d printed block that could be used to make the stand. Using the idea from Richards Sumpod kit build (his method of running the belts to the stepper motors on small bearings) I thought a frame could be made using cheap threaded rod and the printed blocks.

A successful print of a herringbone gear – in pink using my SumPod 3D printer

put this at the start of each post

Conrad Electronic UK
Europe's leading electronic specialists now in the UK

Well yesterday I had a somewhat frustrating day of trying to get to grips with the software and settings for my own designs. So today I thought I would concentrate on repeatability of printing itself. That meant looking at GCode files by other Sumpod owners, namely Airtripper.

Before anymore boring text have a look at the video: Lovely colour eh!

There are two approaches to printing in 3D with the SumPod under way on the forum, one using Marlin (and Printrun by one owner) and the second, using the original Sprinter and ReplicatorG software. Marlin has the attraction of adding hardware such as an SD card reader and being improved upon by some forum members (Stohn and Electronica to name but two). So I have been trying to get to grips with all the variables needed to obtain a print and differing software approaches. I have decided that my first successful print was using the original Sprinter and ReplicatorG then until I am confident in printing I will focus solely on Sprinter/Replicator.

What a day! My first successful 3d print – 2 gears!

Conrad Electronic UK
Europe's leading electronic specialists now in the UK

Well it took a bit of fiddling and I used the original Sprinter file from Richard, Sumpod with ReplicatorG and Airtripper gcode file from the forum.  There is an improved firmware update being worked on by forum members so it can only get better.

My main lesson today was that the line between success and failure is very small! I organised myself by listing each trial and the variables used. It took to trial 4 before I got success.

first ever successful 3d print, 2 gears!

first ever successful 3d print, 2 gears!

The first one failed because the heating block was two close to the nozzle tip. The extruded filament was catching on the kapton tape. Also when running Replicator and pressing 'Build', a warning came up that the settings would be too fast and did I want to continue? Each time I ignored the warning and continued.

Hot end progress halted by breaking Power Resistor lead! Doh!

Conrad Electronic UK
Europe's leading electronic specialists now in the UK

I have made good progress on my dual hot end extruder design and despite breaking the thermistor, then snapping a lead off the resistor when dismantling the existing hot end, I managed to get the test done. Further progress is now on hold until replacement components are delivered :(

The first problem I had to overcome when testing my design was no voltage at D10! So no voltage or power to the power resistor. After checking it was not switched off in software I asked Richard if he could help and eventually the solution was found. Because of the damage to the thermistor (it wasn't there!) this meant that no power was available. Following an article on the RepRap site I had to wire a 10k resistor between the 2 ends of the thermistor wires. This proved to be the solution and as soon as the components arrive I am sure I can get it to print in 3d!

My first ‘real’ MDF part made successfully

Well I managaed last night to design a Sumpod holder for a dual extrusion hot end for my printer using Alibre 3D CAD and exporting the file in .stl format. I then converted it to GCode vie Skeinforge software before loading the code into ReplicatorG. That would have been a real headache a couple of days ago but it went without a hitch.

I then mounted some 19mm thick MDF on the MDF by putting a foam layer first, then mounting the MDF onto the foam. I have been using double sided tape used for carpets and it has been a total success. I also bolt the table to the 'Y'axis. The milling went very well indeed but I did have a couple of issues. Firstly, the flexible shaft I was using did not stand up to the deeper cuts so I mounted the Dremel 4000 directly to the tool holder and that proved very stable.

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