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UM2+ Extended rarely finishes a print

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I am so fed up with this printer. Out of approximately 10 prints it might finish one. This is printer is not used at home, but in a lab, so I can't monitor it over night. 90% of the time the filament breaks (different kinds as well) because the motor skips. I have to slow the print wayyyyyyyy down, but even then it's hit or miss. Even basic objects, such as an octahedron, it fails on. Here is what I have done to for troubleshooting:

- Ensured proper temperature to prevent heat creep (this includes retraction settings as well)

- Ensured proper tension on the feeder

- Cleaned the entire printer from top to bottom, this includes disassembling the feeder and extrusion unit

- Checked the quality of the PLA (brittleness, etc.). We only use PLA in our lab. (PLA from Toner-Plastics.com)

- Tried every different way to ensure adhesion. I find the best results is with no heat on the build plate, blue painters tape, and to clean the tape with rubbing alcohol.

- I have completed about 2.3x10^{23552} atomic pulls

- I have done numerous torture tests to ensure the proper temperature, etc.. I found the best results are 205-210c

- I leveled my bed with numerous heights; .06, .07, .08, .09, .1, and .15mm. I found the best results are at .1mm. I have also done dynamic bed leveling as well.

- For each print I always check the mesh quality in NetFab, I go through with a fine tooth comb on Simplify3D to make sure everything is good as well.

I'm trying not to go Office Space on this printer, so any recommendations on what I am doing wrong would be much appreciated.

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I had a bit of a "learning curve" when I started too. We don't have the + kit, but here is some advice.

Filament matters, but you have tried a bunch already. I would recommend going back to Ultimaker brand filament until you get things figured out.

I also moved the filament spool and added bearings. I put the spool below the printer so that the filament goes into the feeder at a more gentle angle. As straight as possible. I made a spool holder with ball bearings in it so that the spool free spins.

Oh yeah! Check the d@mn PTFE coupler thing. The white thing in the print head. It is a consumable and wears out at higher temps. It can cause extra resistance just before the hot end. It is a pain to inspect and replace. Buy the I2K insulator from GR5.org. It's worth it.

Bed leveling is also important. (Maybe everything is important...) Anyway, don't yank prints off the bed. Don't use a scraper. Don't wrestle with it. The print should just "pop" off the bed at the slightest touch. When the print is done, position a desk fan directly in front of the printer (pointing at the printer), set it on high, and WAIT. The glass and the plastic will cool at different rates and eventually the print will easily come off the bed. Be patient. It will take longer than you want it to. If need be gently remove the glass and then wrestle with it, but waiting is better. This is important because it means you won't have to re-level the bed every other print. I haven't leveled my bed in about 6 months. We print something every couple days. I set the nozzle to bed distance to one or two post-it notes. Sorry, I don't remember which.

For PLA set the bed temp to 60c. Print straight on the glass. The geometry of the part matters too. Put helper discs at the corners. I don't use rafts.

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Are the prints dying at the start? Or half way through? Are you getting nozzle clogs?I Is the filament breaking? Is the feeder chewing up the filament?

I know it is hard to diagnose these problems the next morning. Often one problem can cause another and you don't know which happened first.

Good luck.

 

Thank you very much for the response. There is really no set layer where they die off. Sometimes it will cut off at the beginning, other times it will cut off near the end, or middle. Sometimes the filament breaks, while other times it just stops from the nozzle clogging.

I'm not 100% positive, but I think it has something to do with the motor itself. It really struggles to grip any filament I use (I have 10 separate spools), and constantly clicks. I'm just hoping that it isn't an actual hardware issue and it's something I am doing, because my error is much easier to fix lol. I do keep my filament stored in plastic bags in a paint container. I don't have it dehumidified, but they are all really new and our lab is pretty dry.

Have you ever tried mineral oil on your filament? I was doing some reading last night before I went to bed and I read about someone doing it with PLA to help keep it from clogging in the extruder. I'm not sure how effective it actually is though.

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I've read that too, but I have never had to try it.

The PTFE coupler bit me in the @ss for a while. It is hard to inspect and replace, so you end up spending a lot of time chasing other "ghost" problems.

I also feel like there is too much resistance on the stock spool holder. You could make something fancy, or you could get a lazy susan and put the roll of filament on the floor next to your machine. This will give the filament a lot of space to straighten out naturally and ease into the feeder.

https://ultimaker.com/en/resources/173-the-feeder

I keep my feeder tension loose. Just like the link above shows. No clicking. No grinding. At least since I changed my spool holder set up. I have even printed semi-flex material with this set up. But nothing is a single variable issue. And of course you have the +kit, so the feeder is different.

Since you have the +kit, you should be able to easily swap out the nozzle. It might be a good idea to put in a fresh nozzle just to rule that out of the equation. Then you can take a hard look at the nozzle clean it up nice.

One problem that I had several times, was that something happened that made the feeder slip and grind the filament put a little. It might have been too much resistance on the spool holder, it might have been a dirty nozzle, maybe I was too close to the bed, the PTFE was degraded, or what ever. Anyway, that little extra grind mark won't cause a problem until it makes its way to the print head. Then it gets stuck. Done. Dead print. Tear a part the feeder to clean up the mess.

Clean up the knurled part of the feeder. You don't want that caked full of past problems.

I also botched the job one time when I set the temperature wrong. I left it set to ABS temps. Well that just caramelizes the PLA and caused all sorts of problems, because the printer doesn't know something is wrong. It just keep chugging away and making things worse. Its like a person that can't feel pain.

Try this. Remove the filament from the machine entirely. Go to the advanced maintenance menu on the machine and choose Move Material. This gives you control of the feeder motor by spinning the wheel. (Make a replacement for that annoying thing). Manually feed the material in and see if it grips it. Run is up and down a little in the bowden tube. Don't run it all the way up to the print head. Maybe apply a little resistance to see how much it takes to make it slip. Does the motor click when there is no resistance?

When you are done with the experiment, run the material all the way out. Then go back through the standard material loading sequence to make sure that the machine "knows" where and what the filament is.

And again. I would stick with the OEM filament (Ultimaker brand) until you are having consistent success with that. Then start playing around with other filaments. For the record, I don't use Ultimaker brand PLA. I use PLA from 3D Universe and love it. But I think it is important to limit your variables.

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So, you were right, shit was the filament. I was avoiding it being the reason for so long because I found, what seemed to be, a good filament company willing to do whole sale price for 10 or more spools. I ordered a spool of ColorFabb, replaced the entire hot end and wiring, and now it runs like no ones business, printing exactly how it should. What is frustrating is that I have got to get rid of all these spools. I honestly don't want them touching our machine again lol. The quality of the prints is making me want to shed a tear :D.

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