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.


Whilst still undergoing many tests and in poor health I went into the workshop to 'smell the oil' as it were, and saw my SumPod 3D printer just sitting there forlornly.  I wonder if it still works, thought I? Last time I used it was for milling a piece of MDF and was involved in developing a new hot end with Richard Sum.

Also at that time I had run out of PTFE tubing so the hot end was dismantled and in bits. My first thoughts were Hmmm, do I need the aggravation?  Nearly 12 months ago I put a tremendous amount of time and effort in getting the 3D printer to work at all. Having to learn many new skills with soldering, making the kit and the hours spent on unfriendly software! Did I need the stress of sorting out all of the problems again?

After a cup of tea I though it wouldn't hurt just to get some new tubing (the last lot was sold to me as PTFE but in fact turned out to be nylon! and of course this had led to a jam). I looked on the internet and found a supplier that when questioned, insisted his was PTFE so I ordered a Metre and waited for it to arrive.

Another couple of weeks went by until another visit to the workshop reminded me that the tubing had arrived. So it took about 10 minutes to reassemble the tubing and hot end, followed by 20 minutes or so on Alibre to make a 'fun' tablet container to print out, or not as the case may be!

I took the printer in doors for more comfort and set it all up. I couldn't remember the name of the program I used to use to test (RepSnapper) the hot end but looking through my files I finally found it.

Fingers and toes crossed I set the temperature via RepSnapper and up it went straight away, cant last thought, it's bound to not work.

OK, so I will try a print......... 4 1/2 hours later I had a really high quality print of the object I designed. In fact it was as good as any I had done before!  In some ways I was over the moon as no work was required and it was a long uninterrupted print. The other side of the coin was I didn't have to do any work to get it going and no problems to solve.........but I was more than happy for it to just print and I mustn't moan about that.

The only problem I nearly had was the filament looked close to running out, but even that lasted. The Gods were certainly smiling on me! That was enough for now and whilst resting up it was a case of what can I print, what do I need?

One lesson from yesterday was to be more efficient on my design, so reducing print time.  It was nice to have a continuous 4.5 hour print but I had to keep getting up to check the filament wasn't going to jam up. I admit this was more due to a lack of confidence than real need, but nevertheless we should always look to progress.

This time I choose something which should be a lot quicker to print, learning from yesterdays lengthy build. During the night I designed then drew a paint stirrer in Alibre and in the morning I set the machine to print it out, wondering if yesterday was a fluke and the problems were coming? The paint stirrer is simply a plastic impeller which will be secured to a rod held in a drill. Whether it will work will have to wait until later though.

I purposely used the last of the previous filament (which nearly ran out on the pill container) so I could try adding another colour. I have done this before, although it was a challenge and it would 'add interest' since the machine is behaving so well. In the end it did not run out, leaving about 8" of filament.

Whilst talking about filament I get mine from Faberdashery as I am in the UK and never get a problem with it. The diameter is always exactly the same and my fears that since its about 12 months old it may (PLA) have absorbed water, or other such disasters you read about on the web, it worked fine.

The colours are as bright today as they were, and even items I printed last year have not deteriorated at all. They are also a very helpful and friendly company. I think the Sumpod is working so well I may invest in some 'glow in the dark' Green :) from them.  If I do I will let you know how I get on with it.

Whilst I must admit it was physically difficult getting back to 3D printing it was wonderful to at last 'make' something! Have a look at the pictures....I will upload the pill box and paint stirrer to Thingiverse just for fun :).

As a postscript, the pill box was well received by family members and I have now made one for 'the Oracle' alias 'Mum' a Great Grandmother........so I also made up a couple of 'fun' items for my Grandchildren, just to complete the circle as it were. In all the time of these 'extras' the printer has not missed a beat and even with filament changes, it has performed 100% successfully. I find that amazing!

Thanks Richard (SumPod) for a great machine. Look out if I get fitter!!!




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