Monday, November 20, 2017

I repaired my Micro M3d Printer

It was more than a year ago when I bought my very first 3d printer to try if the technology really works as I have seen on youtube. During that time, it was the cheapest 3d printer available(not the diy type).

During the first few days, I had very good experience with it, no wastage, all printed objects were perfect. Then when I decided to print a chopping board that would take 34hours to print and left it printing while I went to work. When I came back in the afternoon, to my surprise and dismay, it failed and it continued to print but no filament is coming out. That is weird. All the happy days with the printer became a constant nightmarish struggle just to succeed in printing. It even came to a point where the heating element was destroyed and negotiated with M3D to repair it but they came up with having the entire unit be replaced with a new one, but the new replacement had also the same problem. That was really weird.

I got fed up and decided not to use it anymore and that when I will have a time to go over it again, I had to tear it apart to check what controller they used. Not until last Sunday when I decided to repair it. I first downloaded the latest version of the software and during the first run, it asked me to update the firmware, so I updated the firmware and try to print the wheel used in a mars rover. To my surprised, the printer output was fairly solid, this is the first good output it ever produced so I thought maybe there is nothing wrong with the hardware, it was just the firmware that made all that troubles.

I thought that was the end of the problem, but when I tried to print the same object, the x-axis slowly shifted to the right. I tried other settings but yielded the same result. It was not brittle but the x-axis keeps on shifting to the right, weird!

I concluded that it is not the hardware that is making all these mess, it was the software and the firmware. So I tried to look for alternative to use other software and I succeeded, Adafruit had an article wherein they used raspberry pi and octopi. I tried it, and so far, I am getting good result. Octopi uses Cura engine which is used by Ultimaker.

So far this is the 3d printer busy printing the mars rover wheel:

Another good thing about using octopi is that I dont have to connect my laptop to the rpi all the time so while the rpi is busy printing i could use my laptop developing the accounring software and play dota.

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