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cwclion

Troubleshooting Axis issue and others on UM2/2+ and Feedback and tips on The UM2 Extrusion Upgrade Kit

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Context

To give a little context I bought my Ultimaker 2 around a year and a half ago. I have never needed to make all that large of a print so the issues I recently experience wasn’t obvious, but would have been there from day one of using the printer. I am writing this post as a trouble shooting guide of somethings I experienced while fixing my Ultimaker 2.  I am an Industrial designer and have built, designed and created many objects so there is also a few suggestions I will write in this post going forward how I think certain features can be improved. This is in no way a post to bash Ultimaker, it is only a post to help people who run into the odd issues that are very difficult to guess or fix with current information on the forums

I spent the last 10 days fixing all the issues with my printer( most of my time spent trying to figure out what is wrong with it) and I now have it working like a charm. Unfortunately there will be no pictures in this post, but I will do my best to make good titles to quickly scan to issues you might have. I also upgraded to the new extrusion kit (mainly because of extrusion issues I was running into) to make my Ultimaker 2 now a 2+. I will add a few troubleshooting tips that aren’t the best explained in the instructions to umpgrade from UM2 to the UM2+.

Prints not coming out square

This is where my first issue stemmed from. After reading all the forum post out there the main way to fix this was to realign the axis. Measuring old prints before the upgrade it turns out none of my prints were quite square before the upgrade. I assumed that I must have recieved the printer with to axis not being square. Since I only printed things in the past that often were pretty small it wasn’t noticeable enough by the naked eye, but pulling out a square it became obvious. Even on the test print I got from UM2 it was not perfectly square.

I made sure I used the provided axis aligned tools that were provided with the extrusion upgrade kit. No matter how many times I used them and made sure everything was perfect. I even counted how many test of the belt were coming from the pulleys to the black squares. There was no hesitation for me to say that after following all the suggested ways to align the axis out there something unique was happening to my printer. Also shout out to GR5 on the forums who often makes great responses on troubleshooting issues they have helped me a lot!

I then came up with the idea to purposely make my axis rod not square and to my surprise the print came out really close square! This then made me conclude that the box must not be square. After measure the box my box was slightly not square. One of the foot of the Ultimaker 2 was also just a little bit high (about 1.5 mm) which in the big picture shouldn’t really effect the print quality. I was past the point of the forum having the answer to my problem so I took the whole printer completely apart thinking that there had to be something wedge somewhere.

After disassembly the whole printer and measuring out the connections and making sure the top and the bottom pieces of the printer were square it then became more obvious it wasn’t the box.

I also would’t recommend people taking apart their boxes because it is most likely not the issue unless USPS decided to run over your printer.


When I was taking the box apart some the bearings popped out very easily. They for the most part are just pressure fitted into the case. In the future to make sure those or glued in there tight would be a great idea. It would have eliminated some of the play in the bearings that I originally thought was my issue with the prints not being square. I personally glued any of the ones that poped out. If you do the same make sure you only put a little amount of glue on the outside of the bearings. You want to make sure you don’t effect the ability of the middle of the bearing to rotate.

After my box was back together I referred to the assembly instructions online for the UM2. I ended up finding out what was causing the prints to not be square! From the very beginning of receiving my printer one of the pulleys was installed backwards! It was the one in the back right corner if you are looking at the machine( the one that touches the back right bearing on the back of the machine holding one of the short belts. That is the only pulley in the whole machine that the thin part of the pulley is not facing out.

After turning that pulley around and realigning the x/y axis my prints finally came out square! It took forever to solve this problem because it is something that doesn’t jump out as an issue. You also can auctually make your prints come out square even with that backwards, just not when using the axis align tools which made the trouble shooting of this problem a little harder to diagnose.


Upgrading to UM2+

Old UM2 Feeder

The new feeder alone is worth the upgrade. My UM2 before the upgrade would under extrude fairly often, but not enough to get completely frustrated. I ended up trying to troubleshoot the feeder before the upgrade to find out why it wasn’t working completely properly. The pattern on the filament that the feeder made on the filament was perfectly consistent so I was very confused on why it wasn't working.

After taking off the motor for the feeder I realized that the motor shaft was slightly tilted. The reason why it didn’t create a change in the pattern on the filament was because when it was far enough away from the filament it would not even be touching the ailment enough to move it but when the grub got close to the ailment it would then push through the filament. Increasing the temperature of the PLA corrected my under extrusion issue for a long time and I just got used to putting the PLA at 220 C. If you are in a similar situation where you have to increase the PLA temp with UM2 I highly recommend to check to see if the shaft of the feeder motor is at all tilted. The reason why my feeder motor didn’t make a wavy pattern on the ailment was because it was just loose enough to straighten the shaft when it was pressing up against the filament. It is also important to note that the printer didn’t make any slipping or strange sounds instead it was the lack of sound that made me questions something was off. Only when increasing the tension of the feeder you could hear the motor slipping.

If you run into a similar issue, buy the upgrade kit, replace the feeder and all your problems will go away! I personally wouldn’t but a new feeder motor of the old UM2 feeder design.

New UM2+ Feeder

This alone was worth the price of the upgrade. With the feeder now being geared, simply put it just makes sense. You simply just don’t get under extrusion issues caused by the feeder. There is a noticeable power difference in how the feeder with ease can move the role of filament.

I remember going through trouble shooting guides where people recommended to take spool off the holder and try to straighten the path to the feeder as much as possible to prevent slipping. In this case you don’t even have to think about the feeder slipping. It is also important to note that I find if there is any chunks taken out of the filaments some external force is stoping the spool from moving most likely if you are just using PLA. So don’t change the tension right away to try to correct it. I find because of the extra power if you are using a role of filament that has been taken off an put back on and not spooled perfectly back will grind the filament and without any issue correct the filament. That being said always do your best to make sure when storing filament that it is wound tightly.

The UM2+ Print head

The new printhead is also an improvement, but is more of a refinement then a dramatic difference on the surface. The Olsen block being built in though is amazing though. Being able to switch out nozzles is awesome. It also pushes the limits of the printer to have the Olsen block built in.

The main upgrade that is AMAZING about the new print head is the built in spacer they now have for the TPFE coupler. I contacted a print shop I know runs Ultimakers constantly and asked them how often they would have to replace the TPFE couplers from the UM2 vs the UM2+. They estimated that they would need to replace the TPFE coupler in the UM2 about every 300-400 hours of print time. The new ones they estimate to be 7200 hours. Especially for new users of Ultimaker or 3D printers in general it isn’t obvious that something like a TPFE coupler would have to be replaced that often on the UM2. When having under extrusion issues it became a first point for me to always check the coupler. Now it is nice to know I would run into this issue almost ever anymore.

Also for anyone who likes to have spare parts in stock it is a different TPFE coupler from the UM2 compared to the UM2+

Upgrading your printer tips

Make sure when retightening the pulleys that you make sure the pulleys are pushed as far as the can go to the side of the printer and that the axis are protruding out at all when retightening the grub screws on the pulleys. Also make sure all the bearings are completely in the housing and aren’t partially coming out of the case.

The video if you are following what you see and not what you hear that is a MISTAKE! I at first for the axis rods for the head put the long rod on the y axis and the short one on the x. I did the because I took what I heard and saw and melded it together. There are also some other things in the video that aren’t 100% lined up with the voice over. I recommend highly for that reason to follow the written instructions and only use the video as an overview before starting your upgrade.

Make sure the black boxes on your belts are parallel to the side of your box and that there is no gap between the black boxes and where the axis rods clip in.

Check before changing out your axis rods that they are perfectly straight and not bent at all. This will help save some trouble shooting time if you run into any issues.

When removing connectors from the circuit board if there is a connection you are removing without and obvious clip to remove the connector you pull the connect from the wires. Make sure your fingers are as close to the connector without touching it as possible and pull as straight out from the connector as possible. When reconnecting the new connections you shouldn’t have to force any connector into place. make sure that everything is lined up and it should slide right in. If you are forcing a connector too much you are probably bending something.

Design Improvements for Future Ultimakers

Make the electronics panel on the bottom a piece that does’t need to come off to get the the board. Make it so there is a panel on the bottom of the machine when lifting up the build plat that you can unscrew when the printer is in the upright position to access the electronics easily without having the flip the machine on it’s side. This would also make it less likely for wires to get stuck.

Make corner braces to make boxes square without even having to really check if it is or isn’t if all the corner braces are flush to the sides then the box would be square. You would need these on top and bottom.

The LED lights on the box one time came loose on my printer and got caught in one of the belts. Make the strips of LEDs shorter so even if they do come off the side a bit the strip won’t fall into the belt. Also if possible to use an adhesive that is either stronger and/or not effected by heat.

Consider including sewing machine oil when people buy their printer. Main reason for this is new users could easily use the wrong type of lubricant without knowing the right type to use. Even if you increase the price of the printer by 10 bucks I think it is important to have everything you might need included with the printer.

Levelling the bed of the Ultimaker with a 3 screw design is faster for sure and is easier, but I constantly have a corner that is not possible to be perfectly level because you can’t adjust it. Using a 4 screw system will fix a lot of levelling build plate issues especially when doing 0.1mm instead of 0.3 for first layer.

Rubberize the feet and/or have adjustable feet for the Ultimaker. There is 102 different feet design out there for the Ultimaker to fix issue of one leg of the machine being a bit too high or to correct a slightly unlevel table the a user put there machine on. I think there is so many designs out there for the feet because it is a known issue. also by having rubberized feet it would make less vibration noise.

As a whole though I am very glad to see how Ultimaker clearly took a lot of user feedback when making the UM2+. That is also the reason why I took the time to write this post because I know Ultimaker consider customer feedback and if just one user runs into any of the issues I have had that it will help them to more quickly diagnose there issue then it was worth taking the time to write this.

All the best!

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