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CTotten last won the day on October 25 2018

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  1. So the following day, I went to show one of my co-workers the problem, so I unloaded the material in the "bad" bay, then reloaded it, and it worked just fine. Not sure if I did something different that time, compared to the 5 or 6 previous attempts... Murphy's Law, I guess.
  2. I just got the Material Station (and Air Manager) installed yesterday. I attempted to load materials into all 6 slots, but for some reason slot D does not seem to recognize the loaded filament. I have tried several different spools of filament in slot D, but each time I get a big yellow/orange exclamation point icon on the screen. On the "Select Material" screen, it keeps showing the "Detecting" indication with the spinning progress (or activity) wheel. Each of the rolls tested work in other slots as expected. I can manually set up the material on the display, but it is a generic profile (no color associated with it), so I worry about the impact that has on my workflow since I am alternating colors between jobs, all using the same base material (CPE). Does this mean I have a failed NFC sensor in slot D?
  3. This is the part most of my testing was done with. Tray.3MF
  4. I tried, but my scale does not read out below a gram. As these parts are pretty small, they both read out at 2 grams.
  5. Sander: This is the 1" x 1" x 0.125" box that I did the last tests on to see how much filament was sent through the machines. Please note that the parts were pretty small, so it was hard to see each layer as it was being printed (hidden by the print head). Also, the gaps on the first layer (3E part) are not as noticable, but they are there, and also visible on the top layer. The original part that I was doing most of my testing with (flow rate changes, versions of Cura, etc) is basically a 2" x 3" box (about 1" tall). I can share that one as well, if you like. As I said, I was aborting about half way through layer 3 just so I could observe and visually compare layers 1, 2, and 3 between trials. Test.3MF
  6. OK, one last post today on what I have checked: I created a new test part file, a 1inch square, .125inch tall block. I used the default Cura settings in both the 3E and S5. Both parts used a skirt, and both had the priming blob on. In both cases, Cura stats for the part were 2g, 0.28m, and about 30min. In both cases, I measured and marked the filament at the end (entrance) of the feeder, every cm out to about 50cm. I ran both prints. As before, the S5 print looked good during the build, while the 3E part did not look good, with visible gaps between lines on each layer. After each print finished, I deterimined how much material was feed into the machine based on the measured increments on the filament. For the S5 print, 29.5cm was feed into the machine. For the 3E print, only 26.25cm was feed into the machine. Absent installing a brand new print core in the 3E (it is on order), is there anything else I can try?
  7. Just for the sake of my sanity, I wanted to replicate some of the tests on the S5. Using the same Cura 4.4 profile as previous tests, I left flow at 100% in Cura. I planned to try the higher flow increments, but this one seemed to print fine. First layer looks great. Second/third layer has some very minor gapping, but I am not unhappy with those results. It is usable like this, as my major concern was the delamination of parts of the bottom layer on the parts I was producing. Also, I have a different computer that has a "fresh" version of Cura 4.3 installed (never used, no customized settings, no old profiles). This is based on Sander's comment about "misconfigured print file". This is a new lab computer that we intend to network into the printers as a common control station, to eliminate the thumb drive shuffle... (long story about our IT deptartment not using WiFi and the printers not supporting static IP addresses) Anyway, I set up the same part file for each printer from this "fresh" Cura, using the original default CPE settings for 0.1 layer height, with 3 changes (to be consistent with previous tests). Initial layer height was set to 0.2mm (instead of default .27), infill pattern set to gyroid (even though I am aborting before it gets there), and I am using a skirt instead of a brim. The S5 print looks good, the same as the first test I mentioned in this post. The 3E print is rough, with same patterns as before (major gapping between lines on all layers). So this should eliminate a misconfigured print profile in Cura. I also did a physical comparison of the feeder mechanisms between the 3E and S5. The drive pinion and gear are identical. The knurled wheel that physically pushes the filament is also the same diameter. So that would eliminate my "what if the 3E thinks it has an S5 feeder" thought. And just as a note, on the print files where I increased the material flow from Cura, the printer still shows the material flow as "100%" in the tune options. This leads me to believe (confirms) that Cura does set the material flow, and any tuning done at the machine just applies a multiplier to the flow set by Cura. So where does that leave me? Either I have a mechanical problem in my 3E, that is affecting both feed paths the same, even though the print cores have significantly different run hours, and the feeders also have significantly different run hours, or this is software. I guess on the software end, it could be in Cura, but that would cover atleast back to Cura 4.1. I am trying to see if I can find out when I installed Cura 4.1 to see when that was, but it would have to have been several months ago. Or it is something in the firmware. Is there a way to roll the firmware back to a previous version? That would be a conclusive test on that front, but the only "old" files I have for the 3E are the "stable version" (4.3.97) files currently posted with the 5.2.11 upgrade. If I put those on the USB drive, and put that into the machine, will it "roll back" the 5.2.11 firmware to the 4.3.97 version?
  8. Sander: I am basically using the default CPE profile, with a few tweaks that I have been using for a long time with no issues. For instance, the initial layer height is set to 0.2mm instead of the default 0.27mm. I also have the infill pattern set to gyriod. Other than that, it is the default 0.1mm profile for CPE. In most cases, I have produced several thousand common parts over the life of these printers, so this sudden change in performance got my attention very fast. All my testing is with CPE, as that is the material I use for production. I don't really have any PLA laying around to try out. This morning, I re-ran the flowrate tests on the opposite print core / feeder, with identical results. I went a bit further in the testing. While 125% flow seemed to fix the first layer issues, the second and third layer still had some gapping (I am aborting halfway through third layer on all samples). At 133%, I only had very minor gapping on the second/third layer. At 150% flow, everything looked great. All of these files were sliced on Cura 4.1. I also just installed Cura 4.4, and am re-running the tests, included the default 100% flow. This is just to see if some kind of compatibility issue is the cause between older Cura and new firmware. The 100% flow sample just finished (picture of first layer attached), and it shows the same signs are the original issue. First layer had considerable gaps, and second/third layers were just as bad if not worse. Once I get through this batch just to confirm the performance is not impacted by Cura version, I am going to test how much material is really going through the machine. I plan to print a small part, and use the Cura estimate of how much material should be going through the machine, and compare that to how much actually goes through the machine. I know Cura is just an estimate, but if the based on the 150% flow setting being required to get the results I am used to getting, then that means the machine is only pushing through about 2/3 the plastic it thinks it is. That is significant, and this issue came out of nowhere... Note all of this detailed testing has been on the 3E running the new 5.2.11 firmware. Since this new firmware is the first "common" firmware between the S5 and the 3E, is it possible that the 3E "thinks" it has the S5 feeder? I want to physically measure out the drive assembly on both feeders to see if they are different. For instance, if the S5 feeder has a different gear ratio, or the diameter of the knurled feeder wheel is different, then common commands to each feeder will result in different volume/mass of material extruded. And I want to be clear I am not pointing fingers at anyone. I have spent the last few weeks going through EVERY potential mechanical cause that I can come up with, and have not found a culprit. This was before I even reached out to my distributor (yesterday) for help. He mentioned the Cura version scenario, but based on my initial results, I think I can rule that out. As my original post mentioned, the reason I brought up the firmware right away was because this seemed to have began around the time I upgraded the firmware on both machines. And the issue popped up on both machines at the same time. The likelihood of two machines, with significantly different ages and run times, developing the same problem at the same time is very, very small. I just don't see how I could go from using the default 100% flow for years with great results, to suddenly needing to use 150% flow.
  9. I have tried a few experiments today. First, at the suggestion of the distributor, I played around with line width. Default line width was 0.35mm (CPE material using AA0.4 core). I tried 0.40mm, but this was worse. First layer wasn't horrible, but second layer and beyond were bad. During the print, I increased material flow from the printer, and at 150% I got good results. I tried 0.32mm. This was better than 0.40. First layer was slightly better, but still had some gaps. Second layer still pretty bad. On this attempt, at about 130% material I got good results. I tried 0.30mm. This was better than 0.35. First layer had a few gaps, but second layer was still bad. Increased material flow again up to 150%, and got good results. So I decided to go back to Cura default settings, then instead of messing with line width, I increased material flow in Cura up to 125% (left all other settings alone). This worked pretty good. First layer was great, second layer had a few minor gaps that I could live with. Tomorrow I may try a bit higher material flow to see the results. Does anyone know if the firmware controls the baseline 100% flow rate for the machine? I assume it does, since it comes back to mechanical commands turning the feeder mechanism. Any chance a constant was changed affecting material flow?
  10. I forgot to respond, but yes, it is similar to my issue.
  11. So on my 3E, I disabled feeder 1, and reprinted a file on using feeder 2 with the same material. I am having the same issue. So that eliminates a feeder issue (in my mind, atleast). Also, I just want to point out some of the files I am printing are my "production" files, meaning they are the same G-Code files that I have printed many times before with no issues. The pictures show my issue. The first two are bottom layers, while the last one is a top layer. So this under-extrusion issue is occurring on all layers, not just the bottom layer. I have changed print-cores - no change I have changed filament rolls - no change I have changed the entire feed path - no change Additionally, I have cleaned and lubricated both feeders, cleaned the print-cores (hot and cold methods), re-leveled the bed, replaced bowden tubes, checked (and tightened) pulley tension... I feel like have been through every possible mechanical cause on the machine without being able to fix this issue. And since this problem started on both my 3E and S5 right around the time I installed the new 5.2.11 firmware on both of them, I am left feeling like this is a problem with the firmware update, although I am not really sure what in the firmware could do this. The problem still seems worse on the 3E. I initially thought the print-core swapped fixed the issue on the S5, but upon closer examination and comparison to older prints, the lines do appear to be thinner than a month ago (pre-problem), even though the last print didn't have the pronounced gap between lines.
  12. I did find an older version of S5 firmware on my computer ( Does anyone know for sure that you cannot install old firmware via USB?
  13. Does Ultimaker have older versions of firmware available? That would be “the test” to confirm if the firmware is the culprit. I will check my files to see if I somehow have an older firmware file still on my computer, since I update via USB drive.
  14. OK, so changing the print core did not fix the issue after all (atleast on the 3E). So far, I have: Re-leveled the bed - (since this is not a first layer only issue, I don't see how this could be the problem - even the top layer is showing the same symptoms) Cleaned the print core (hot and cold pulls) - old print core before swapping it Cleaned and lubricated the feeder (tension appears right based on impression on filament & "pin in middle" indication) Changed the bowden tube I am left scratching my head. I guess it could be bad filament, but I am pretty confident this has occurred on two different new rolls of Ultimaker CPE, although they were bought at the same time so presumably are the same lot (bad lot? I hope this isn't the case). At this point, I feel like I have been through ever possible cause within the printer. I guess I could try to run a print using the #2 PrintCore side (to use feeder #2) to completely rule out a feeder issue.
  15. I swapped my print cores with the second AA supplied with the printer, since the current one has been used for a while (about 1500 hours on the S5). This seems to have fixed the issue with the S5. I have to wait for the 3E to finish a job before I can check that one as well. Still seems odd that both started doing this within a few days of each other, being that the 3E is almost 2 years old and the S5 is only about 9 months. I have not been able to find any "expected" lifetime for the Ultimaker print cores (other than the CC). I have not printed any abrasives with these nozzles, and use exclusively Ultimaker brand filament (90% of use is Ultimaker CPE).
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