Monthly Archives: November 2012

Sumpod 3D Printer Filament Handling for Extruder

Sumpod 3D Printer With Reel Roller Rack

Sumpod 3D Printer With Reel Roller Rack

The more improvements and new features added to the Sumpod 3d printer the more I want to use the 3d printer, and adding better filament handling has gone a long way to improve the 3d printer’s ease of use.

The Sumpod’s sturdy construction has allowed me to set up a filament spool rack on the top of the printer, and adding filament feed brackets to guide the filament round to the extruder keeps friction to a minimum during the printer’s operation. This set-up will go a long way to reduce the printer’s set-up and shutdown time because the filament spool can now be left at the printer.

I’ve made the design files available for download from thingiverse should anybody want to use them. The design files might not suit all Sumpod 3d printer configurations, but the designs should provide inspirations to those looking to improve their own filament material handling.

Sumpod 3D Printer outside – are you mad!

Well, to get the best clear pictures, I make the effort to get the Sumpod outside. I have to make sure it’s a dry day though because getting the MDF case damp might upset the printer’s build platform levelling :). I’ve got more features and improvements lined up for this printer so it looks like I’ll be taking it outside a few more times yet.

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Dial Indicator for Build Bed Level Test

Dial indicator for 3d printer build bed level test

Dial indicator for 3d printer build bed level test

I’ve designed and printed a bracket for attaching a Dial Indicator (purchased on Ebay) to the 3d printer for accurate build platform levelling. I can now test to reduce inclines on the heated build bed to a very small fraction of the 0.25mm layer height I normally print at.

I have made the design files for the bracket available for download and the link to the files can be found towards the end of this post. The OpenSCAD file can be edited easily to make the bracket fit different 3d printers. 

Levelling Without the Dial Indicator

I had a problem with getting large 3d printing projects to work due to the 3d printer build bed not being accurately level. I say accurately level because there is very little tolerances when printing layers as thin as 0.25mm and less, and the larger the print project footprint on the build bed area, the smaller the tolerances acceptable. While I did not have a Dial Indicator, I was using a business card of some sort for bed levelling, and this worked well enough for most printing projects, especially those with the smaller footprints on the build bed area. So to improve 3d printer build bed levelling accuracy, I decided to go with the Dial Indicator.

Result Of 3D Printer Hot End Extruding Too Close To The Platform

Result Of 3D Printer Hot End Extruding Too Close To The Platform

The Symptoms Of Poor Levelling - One of the more serious symptoms is caused when the Hot End nozzle gets too close to the build platform while extruding plastic up an incline. The extruded plastic spreads sideways from the nozzle tip causing ridges to form in the first printed layer. The ridges usually form towards one edge or one corner where the incline of the build platform is at its highest.

If ridges are formed, the first printed layer will look like a ploughed farmers field but messier, with ridges getting deeper towards one side. You usually get large clumps of plastic build up along the edge of the problem area. If the ridges are formed high enough, the Hot End nozzle could collide with the ridges which can cause axis motion to be disrupted and cause subsequent layers to be printed out of alignment. Using a Dial Indicator to level the 3d printer build platform would help to avoid those ridges and clumps of plastic build up.

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