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    R&D / Exploration
  1. Just in case it is difficult to discern: I am talking about a brass sliver NOT as brass silver. The sliver/silver can be confusing. In the image, there is a slightly browner blurry spot. This is the brass I am referring to. The lighting in combination with the fact that it is partially embedded in black plastic makes it hard to get a good color read. The color of the brass part in the picture looks similar to the fingertip on the right side of the image in color. The silver strand next to the brass appears to point to it. This is a ripple on the surface of the plastic, and is neither an inclusion nor debris. The filament I was using is PLA from the 3D Universe house brand. The page for the filament can be viewed here. While it is not verified to be 100% perfect like Ultimaker filament, I have had no problems with it in the past and I have heard of no one else having problems. To debunk my own claims: it is possible that debris contaminated the filament from my shop. I do not have one of those sponge filament wipers (yet) added to the feeder inlet. However, I don't work with much brass/bronze/copper, so a sliver like this would have to be errant contamination from an unknown source. When I pulled the offending plastic clog from the disassembled core, the material appeared to be connected to either the screw ridge at the cut end of the nozzle or the surface of the cut end itself. This was a very fine connection, and it snapped off within a second that I gave it a tug with force perpendicular to the normal flow through the nozzle. Any metal not embedded in the plastic which was still attached is likely unrecoverable from the shop floor, disguised among the wood chips, pet hair, plastic pellets, and squished sycamore moth larvae. To determine the level of embedding of the metal shard in the filament, I can perform a destructive test on the sample to completely carbonize the polymer plug and extract the metal (aka, I go outside with a butane torch and nuke the thing). Please note another addendum to @Smithy's suggestion. The core has been used and abused over the year, but it has never been disassembled prior to this clog. If there was some internal damage to the nozzle, it would not have been due to repeated disassembly and reassembly by me.
  2. Possible but unlikely. The metal was embedded in the melt before unscrewing. Picture added in edited OP.
  3. I recently had one of my AA cores jam. This isn't a new thing, but it was much worse than usual. I was running PLA. I tried to move the filament jam at T=200C, but it remained stuck. I had to cut the filament at the print core to get it out to look at it. As you can see, near the cut there is a blob of filament preventing movement. This jam was not discovered until after a run, and the heat of the core with pressure and a lack of movement caused the softened filament to blob up there. But that does not explain why I could not pull the filament back out. To address this, I heated the core and popped it out of the printer while hot. I carefully unscrewed the brass tip from the Olssen block with a wrench. What I found surprised me. At the tip of the filament cone was a sliver of the brass from the nozzle. Even with everything unscrewed, the nozzle dangled from this metal sliver which was bound by the plastic. Being grumpy and burned several times from playing with a hot core, I was not thinking clearly, and I failed to take a picture of the bit in question before trashing it. (note to self, go dig through shop trash). I took the barrel out of the core and used a torch to melt out the remaining plastic. Once reassembled, I did a hot/cold pull on the core until it came out clean. The core was then tested and was found to extrude properly. ---------------------------------------- Edit: I found the piece and took photos. The metal has since sheared off from the melt, but is still visible sticking out of the surface. I apologize for the low quality microscope pictures. I can't wait for my GF to upgrade her scope. Due to an accident reassembling the core, it sadly would not print. The spring on the barrel was still too hot when I reassembled the core, and it pushed through the plastic clamp. This means that the core will not sit properly and fails bed-leveling tests. It is likely repairable. I suppose if I had to ask the community a question about this, it would be WTF?!?! Has anyone seen this before? Since the Ultimaker warranty does not cover the cores, should I find the offending plastic with embedded metal and escalate this issue? Note: I hereby attest that I have only ever used unfilled PLA with that core. There has never been foreign material introduced from brass-fill or similar filaments.
  4. This topic is reporting an issue observed on my UM3E regarding some problems I have had with axles and motors falling out of place. These issues are believed to be fixed (unless more issues arise), but input for improvements are sought. Mostly this thread is documenting the observations to provide precedent for others who experience similar problems. Issue 1: Horrible noises from the printer indicated that something was very wrong. When I went to inspect the noise, I noticed that the X axis stepper motor was shaking like leaf in the wind. I turned my unit around to inspect the screws and found one of them nearly all the way out (see image). The others were several turns loose as well. I tightened everything up and the noise/shaking stopped. I considered using some thread lock on those screws, but opted not to without consulting the forums. Issue 2: The axle-rod fell out. See picture. The axle-rod in the Y direction fell out of the black press-fit belt linker. This issue occurred after Issue 1, so I suspect they are related. This appears to be a common issue with UM3E, as evidenced by the ease with which I found others (1 2), a FBRC8 guide (3), and a DIY part (4). The axle was easy to reinsert. Afterwards, I greased up everything I could in case that was a contributing problem. Issue 3: The magnetic fan door no longer closes. It is difficult to tell if this is related to the vibration issues. Without knowing, I am adding it here. The metal hinge of the door seems to be bowed outward. I can find no obvious cause for this. I attempted removing the silicone seals (which are all crusty and burnt to hell on mine) to see if that was causing the door to close improperly. Nope. I then attempted to close the door with both print cores removed. Again, nope. Bending the metal gently counter clockwise appeared to help. The door would close, but within a few minutes, fall open again. I chose not to use much force in this bending to prevent damage to my printer or my warranty. A semipermanent solution has been found: a rubber band, which is doing an excellent job of holding the thing together. As stated before, these problems are "solved", but input is welcome. Why did this suddenly start falling apart? Will my fixes be sustainable? What should I expect in the future? Is this a grand conspiracy for the printer to fall apart 5 days before my warranty expires?
  5. Necro-follow up. So it has been a few months since I posted this issue, and I am happy to report it is fixed. The grinding issue continued for a few months after this thread died. The Ultimaker support folks at fbrc8 (shout out to Spencer P. who has the patience of a saint) were helping me work on it. We went through several iterations of tests and fixes. During which we found that: One of my bowden tubes was installed with the beveled edge on the wrong end. The extruder lever began to break apart with the stress of the grinding, The breaking extruder lever was easily fixed with carefully applied superglue. In the end, the fix came due to weather changes. I was working on my printer before and after the first big cold front of the autumn came through. Once my shop got cold, things got better. While my sample size is just n=1, I think that it is very likely that the weather was causing the problems. I have been running my printer since then with no issues related to this grinding problem. So what was this weather like? There were several hiatuses during the email chain with Spencer P. in which it was literally inhospitable in my shop. The shop is a converted garage with poor insulation and no climate controls. The temperature was usually above 90F/32C and humid. I was only running automated stuff like the printer, server, etc. in the shop because I could not comfortably work very long. Tiny tools and electronics are difficult to handle when covered in sweat. But with the cold front change in the weather, the humidity dropped. My shop became usable, and the printer started working. I think it is likely that it was a combination of +90F heat and +90% humidity that caused issues. Remember how I replaced one of the Bowden tubes because I could no longer fit filament through it? Once the humidity was down, the filament could go through the old tube. I think there may have been a combination of mushy filament and Bowden tube friction that caused grinding failures. So, I have a solution. It isn't the best thing I could hope for. I have lost: Time spent working on this problem Time in the year I am able to use my printer Pay from a contract job I was unable to do Literally 5gal of filament in wasted prints and grinding damages. Pictured: a handful of 2' long unusable filament lengths. But I don't hold Ultimaker to blame. Sure, this could have gone much better, but I have access to a strong support forum and support persons through them. However, I would recommend that they be more upfront about this with consumers. Perhaps it would be wise to have a page on where to put your printer. This would have been useful to me. My previous printer had no issues with weather, likely because it was not a Bowden tube design. TL;DR A printer designed in a cool climate cannot handle Oklahoma summers. If you have grinding troubles, think about your printing environment.
  6. Thanks, but I'm honestly not that worried about the splitting. That can be easily remedied with glue and a clamp. I'm more concerned about what causes the split. If it is a press-fit thing that can be fixed with glue, that is dandy. If the split occurred due to some mis-alignment, then there are bigger problems.
  7. I have used both the auto load and cold load (where I lift the lever and insert to the end before using the "move" function to put the filament in the correct spot). The cold load happens most often as a matter of convenience when the damaged filament can be pulled out from the Bowden tube, snipped, then reinserted easily. Which extruder are you having trouble with? If it is the left side, the filament spool is not perfectly in line with the extruder. It might be an issue of the filament coming in at a weird angle. There was a suggestion earlier in this topic by @gr5 that spools on the floor work best. Perhaps this is another solution. Limited access can complicate things, especially when there is that one person in the lab that does things in an odd manner (there is always that guy). You are correct that I am the sole operator of this printer. Die cast might be an option if we have enough people that express desire. If this is a thing, I have experience running group buys for mechanical keyboards, so I would not be above setting one up if the community becomes interested.
  8. As promised,here is an update. I'm tagging the folks that have been helpful and seem to be running some support shops: @gr5 @fbrc8-erin @kmanstudios The fix presented by the Ultimaker support folks was a replacement lever and setting the material flow to 100% from a previous test. I ran this off and on for about two weeks without issue. I produced 3 moderately sized statues during this time using PLA and Breakaway filament in the extruders. I did this for more than just a desire to collect a pantheon of archaic gods, but because these were designs with complex surfaces and required a lot of material switching (aka lots of retractions). These were all successful. I had one hiccup with a failed print that made my heart skip, but that was just a simple filament tangle. No big deal. I was telling any friends and family that feigned concern for my printer woes that the issue was fixed. And so I believed it was, until recently. I printed a very simple design with few, if any retractions, for my filawinder build. This print failed with the mesh-like underextrusion I have grown to loathe with a passion. So there is a still a problem. Naturally, since the lever was recently replaced, I looked to it first as the source of problems. And as I suspected, the lever did have a problem. The two halves of the lever which are held in place by a friction lock as designed by the manufacturer, had partially separated. You can see in the image that the axis holding the bearing in place has separated, making it such that the bearing is not aligned. I corrected this issue by pressing the halves back together, but something about the tactile feedback in my fingers after I had pressed it together suggested that it is not permanently affixed. I believe it will happen again. I doubt this was a spontaneous split. I believe that the torsion of the filament in the feeder is applying a force to the bearing or plastic slot such that the part splits. I will be continuing to print to see if this continues to occur. Until more information is brought to our attention on this, let's do a little speculation. What is causing this to occur? Is there something wrong with the alignment in my machine which could cause this? Is there a fundamental issue with the design? We know that I am not the only one to have lever problems, as the Ultimaker Support guys shared a picture which had the grooved lever like mine was. Are there more users such as @dmboston who are having the same failed part? What can we do to remedy this as users? Do we need to switch over to a different material in the lever construction to solve this? I mean, a lever machined from Al sounds awesome, albeit expensive. I should note that I have made the following modifications to my printer since the last time I posted here: Added clawed feet which lift the printer up about an inch Added a 120mm fan in the space made by the clawed feet to lower temperatures of motor controllers Added 5V to 12V buck boost between fan and USB header None of these mods should be affecting the feeder.
  9. I have not forgotten about this thread, and I had no intention of leaving without reporting a final solution. I have printed successfully since changing the lever and resetting the flow to 100%. However, it started acting up again with the same underextrusion patterns on my latest print. Sadly, this error came up on the same week as my back went out and I was driving my cat around to different emergency vets, so it got pushed to the back-burner. I have not taken apart the extruder yet to check for damage to the lever, but I will do that as soon as possible.
  10. I will be sure to post information for you here as well as on the Filastruder forums. I have probably 8kg of unusable filament now, be it 1.75 mm old stuff or the massive bucket of failure from this blasted issue. I also have 5 kg of virgin PLA to mix in. I know that PLA isn't friendly for heat recycling, so I had a crazy idea. I bought some methylene chloride and alizarin dye. The proposed primary degradation pathway for PLA during repeated extrusions is free radical damage. One method to stabilize these radicals is to add a quinone-based additive, which preferentially absorbs the free radicals before they can cause damage to the polymer. My plan is to make some masterbatch from the virgin PLA with a crazy high loading of alizarin, which is a quinone (also cheap and accessible to the public). My hypothesis is that I will end up with way more orange-red polymer than I know what to do with, but the material will be stable enough for recycling. If that works, I will publish it on this forum, the Filastruder forum, and an appropriate academic journal.
  11. Only about $200 worth of filament left over from when I had a Makerbot. The plan now is to shred it all and make thicker filament on the Filastruder.
  12. Oh, I know I'm not getting anything besides OEM. My sarcasm doesn't always come across in text. Thanks for saying that S responded with some stuff to try. His email got bumped into spam, so I might not have noticed it.
  13. Was this the pull test I tried with ~7lbs and failed? I'd be happy to replicate (although I still need to find a better source of weight). No harm in a little shameless promotion. The parts sent from fbrc8 were paid for by the NA support folks. I haven't heard back from them, but I'm guessing they aren't too into doing a full upgrade. I'm just a little curious about the Bondtech feeders you have as a side note. I see a two-part feeder gear, and that is the only real difference. Is the rest of the kit really necessary if I can't print my own custom lever? Do the 1.75mm feeders work well on the UM3? That would be a nice side-grade to consider in the future.
  14. Bad news folks. It appears the damaged lever was more of a symptom rather than the disease. My first print failed. I tried to push it by giving it a large design with multiple colors and retractions. It is still underextruding. I have sent an email to the support guys, but they won't be in the office until Monday.
  15. Did the break have a grinding spot? We have been going over similar issues in my thread here:
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