Adventures in 3D Printing

Sparafucil3

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I am using a Creality Ender 5 Pro. I am using PLA, PTEG, and ABS. So far, printing with PLA has been easy and the quality has been more than good enough. To print with PTEG and ABS, I had to upgrade the bowden tube (~$30 US, I used this kit, I only replaced the tube for now) and that took about 15 minutes. I have printed my first calibration cude at 245C and the Z-axis is pretty stringy. I need to play with the retraction, retraction speed, and temperature to see if I can sort this out. If I can sort it, I will print another vehicle holder and see how it goes. -- jim
 

Sparafucil3

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For those curious:
Printer: Creality Ender 5 ($425)
Filament: eSUN PLA, Overture PTEG, Hatchbox ABS (~ $25 a roll)
Slicer: Cura 4.6

I added on a Raspberry Pi for Octoprint:
Raspberry Pi 4 ($35)
OctoPrint 1.4.1
USB camera that I had on hand to allow for remote monitoring of the printing process

I also added a bunch of Plugins to Octoprint, mostly around safety and such.

The upgraded bowden tube I mention above. I also have a glass bed cover on the way (~ $20). I have a BLTouch ($65 but I could have got it cheaper if I didn't buy an all-in-one kit) bed leveler that I need to install at some point (this is a little tricky as it will involved digging into the electronics and flashing the firmware on the printer, there are good guides on Youtube for this). I also have some TL Smoothers to install (~ $15) which smooths out the "jerkiness" in the stepper motors (I will do this when I have the printer open for the BLTouch) improving print quality. I also have physical dampeners to install (~$10) which reduces the vibrations the steppers impart into the print bed and improves print quality and reduces the sound footprint of the printer.

Long term, I have new fans to improve the cooling (~ $10). This would be added to a new part that can be printed which improves the flow of air which helps to improve print quality. This is another fidly upgrade that is well documented on Youtube.

So far, the biggest quality of life upgrade was the Raspberry Pi. The new bowden tube made loading filament surprisingly easy compared to the stock tube.

Right out of the box, PLA printed super easy. The biggest challenge was the PLA that came with the printer was old an inflexible. It tended to snap as it went through the rollers on the extruder which stops the flow of plastic to the nozzle and ruins the print. There is a mod which I can add to Octoprint which can detect this so it is a future upgrade path. If you buy a printer, I highly recommend you buy a roll of new PLA as well. Dealing with old filament is super frustrating and not worth the hassles.

That's what I know as of now :) -- jim
 

Sparafucil3

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I have been working with PTEG all day trying to get the top layer correct. All other sides are really well done but the top layer is rough as hell. I may need to seek outside help to sort this piece out. One more print tweaking the infill setting. Fingers crossed. -- jim
 

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I have been working with PTEG all day trying to get the top layer correct. All other sides are really well done but the top layer is rough as hell. I may need to seek outside help to sort this piece out. One more print tweaking the infill setting. Fingers crossed. -- jim
Add a bit to the height and sand it down? ;)
 

von Marwitz

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Add a bit to the height and sand it down? ;)
Maybe melt it down a bit instead by pressing the insert on some hot surface?
However, I have no idea if the plastic would stick to the surface in such a case.

von Marwitz
 

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I think it may come down to bed leveling. I am not sure. PTEG is a much less forgiving medium to work with from what I can tell. On all other faces, the PTEG prints as good or better than the PLA. It is only on the top surface where I run into problems. PTEG sticks to itself so much better than PLA sticks to itself. If the nozzle is closer to the surface than the printer thinks it is, the PTEG around the nozzle can stick to your print and ruin the surface. There are a couple of ways to address this. Unfortunately, I am all out of PLA while I await a shipment from Amazon meaning for now, I can't print anything.

One solution to a better leveled bed is to use a piece of glass on the bed. I have a piece of custom cut borosilicate glass ready to go on. Unfortunately, PTEG sticks to glass too well. So well that it can actually chip the glass off when trying to remove it making the glass a permanent part of your print. To address this, you can purchase a bed adhesive (or use hairspray) to put a coat on the glass which will adhere to the PTEG but also allow the PTEG to come free of the glass without ruining the glass. Sadly, that adhesive is in the box with the PLA. Once I have the PLA, I will add the glass and print out the parts to allow me to fit a camera for time lapsed pictures, the BL Touch for auto bed leveling, and then I will try to work with the PTEG one more time. For now, PTEG is on hold. -- jim
 

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Is the PTEG the same price as the PLA rolls? All the prints I've ordered for the custom raaco counter trays have been PLA and so far they've been holding up well.
 

Sparafucil3

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Is the PTEG the same price as the PLA rolls? All the prints I've ordered for the custom raaco counter trays have been PLA and so far they've been holding up well.
Prices are comparable. Just trying out the range of products I can print with. PTEG is a little stronger and a little more durable. Different filaments for different jobs. I bought the printer to play around with as much as I did to print cool stuff with. I like to tinker. I read this book and started buying Raspberry Pi's and other sensors so I could build my own. When I was done, I was able to use Lidar to create a 2-D point cloud for auto-navigation, added in camera's for facial recognition, taught the robot to recognize each of my cats, and then it could hunt them autonomously. Of course I called it Skynet. I, for one, embrace our robot overlords. :) -- jim
 

fenyan

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I just heard PLA could melt in your car (eg left on the dashboard) where PTEG seems much more heat resistant.
 

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I just heard PLA could melt in your car (eg left on the dashboard) where PTEG seems much more heat resistant.
To print with PLA, the nozzle is around 195C +/- 5C. To print with PTEG, the nozzle is around 240C, +/- 15C. -- jim
 

Sparafucil3

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I got new PLA today. Now that I ACTUALLY have access to fresh PLA, printing is much easier. Old PLA is brittle and tends to snap quite easily. The PLA that ships with a new printer is likely old as mine proved to be. Running some test prints. New medium, new testing. So far, everything is working as hoped. -- jim
 

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So today's lesson: different filament brands have different settings for effective printing. Even within the same brand there are variations. The original PLA I used printed well at a nozzle temp of 195C and a bed temp of 50C. The filament I have now does not adhere to the bed at 50C, needed to be bumped to 60C for good adhesion. Without proper bed heating, the edges cool too quickly compared to the rest of the print and you get curling. Once things start to curl, the print isn't where the printer expects it to be and the filament gets extruded all over the place. -- jim
 

Sparafucil3

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Also proving invaluable:


Thermisters (the thing that measures temps to determine if you are at the correct operating temperature) are not particularly accurate. They can be off by +/- 8C. With this, I can measure the actual temp and make sure I am adjusting to the correct temps for printing. It is a little harder to get the nozzle temp. To do so, you must first turn off the cooling fan and then measure. -- jim
 

Sparafucil3

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You are really delving into it, aren't you? ;)👍

von Marwitz
Why yes I am. I could have bought a more complete solution but then it would just be plug and pray. I would rather understand the hows and whys. It is really fun. For me it starts at can I take this back home to 110/60 given everything here is 220/50 (answer is yes I can :) ) -- jim
 

TopT

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Why yes I am. I could have bought a more complete solution but then it would just be plug and pray. I would rather understand the hows and whys. It is really fun. For me it starts at can I take this back home to 110/60 given everything here is 220/50 (answer is yes I can :) ) -- jim
Yeah, you just need a convertor.
 

Sparafucil3

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Yeah, you just need a convertor.
Or a power supply that has one built in. Most transformers will change the voltage (220 - 110) but not the Hertz (50 in Germany, 60 in the US). These cycles are important for most things with motors, especially precision stepper motors which expect to turn at a specific frequency to move a given distance. -- jim
 
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