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vitalsparks

How I improved my UM2 beyond my expectations

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There is no doubt that the Ultimaker machines are extremely good, but there were a couple of aspects that I disliked right from the start. The worst one was the location of the filament reel and the feeder, which I found to be highly inconvenient especially since the feeder needs regular attention if the printer is being used every day. Another was the difficulty in loading new filaments, needing a lot of pressure to get it started without shaving the plastic and jamming the feeder, made worse of course because of the awkward location of the feeder. Also, on many occasions if I wasn't present at the point when the hotend was being primed, a great glob of plastic would be dragged onto the build-plate, collide with the printhead, and mess up the model.

After the first few months, I was so frustrated with these problems that I set about solving them, with 100% success. These solutions have been in daily use for nearly 3 years now, and so I have decided to share them with fellow users here in the community as they have been thoroughly tried and tested.

I had made videos of these in action and posted them on YouTube. I was going to post links to them here, but I decided instead to go the full mile and create a home for them on my website together with instant links to download the model (stl) files you need, and full details of how to print and use them.

Here's my website -   www.vitalsparks.com

I had intended to start an Ultimaker section on my site over a year ago, but I knew it was going to be a huge effort to get the thing started, and free-time was not on my side. However, now I have kick-started it (prompted by the annual TCT 3D Printing Show at the NEC next week) I will find it much easier to move forward - and I still have loads of hints, tips, and mods to share. Just keep an eye on my website over the winter.

If anyone here is going to the show, I may bump into you on Wednesday somewhere near the Ultimaker stand.

Jeff

Edited by Guest
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What I do instead of something like the Filcatch is just add a couple lines to my start gcode that causes the nozzle to drag across the build platform at the start before printing. At times, I have placed a small ridge of painters tape to drag a cross to shear the the excess plastic from the nozzle on the way.

Something like this (for UMO) at the very end of the start Gcode moves the platform back to the nozzle at X=5, Y=5, Z=0. From here it goes into the sliced model Gcode which starts at the same level thereby dragging from 5,5,0 to the beginning of the print. When the print starts, all the boogers have been left along the way. and the nozzle is clean.

...

G1 X5 Y5 Z-15 F9000 ;drag nozzle

G1 F9000

M117 Printing...

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What I do instead of something like the Filcatch is just add a couple lines to my start gcode that causes the nozzle to drag across the build platform at the start before printing.....

Sounds like a good idea - easy to do in Cura with UM2? I have modified gcode for my Prusa i3 using Cura, but the facility does not seem to be there (to the best of my knowledge) for UM2.

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That FilCatch is a nice idea: I use to do the same manually with a pincette, but this would automate the process. :)

But for sharpening the filament tip, cutting it off in an angle of 45° to 60° (thus in a sharp point) with an electronics cutter seems way faster and easier. Then it can easily be inserted in the feeder too.

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But for sharpening the filament tip, cutting it off in an angle of 45° to 60° (thus in a sharp point) with an electronics cutter seems way faster and easier. Then it can easily be inserted in the feeder too.

 

Yes, I used to do this too when I first got my UM2, but I found it to be less satisfactory when I moved from PLA to other types of filament, especially nylon types which do not cut easily and cleanly, unless the cutters are expensive precision flush-cutting types that are also in first-class condition. That is why I made the sharpener which has worked flawlessly ever since I started using it.

Also, getting the filament easily into the feeder is only part of the story - ensuring it cannot catch on anything on the way to the nozzle is another advantage of having a symmetrical chamfer on the leading edge of it.

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My printers were too busy to print a FilCatch thing. So I decided to model one out of steel wire (chromium steel, inox, very hard and with spring-effect; the same steel as used for dental retainers on kid's teeth). But apart from that it is the exact same concept as yours. I placed it on a height where the nozzle just touches it when moving across. When the buildplate rises, it also touches the steel wire, but due to the spring steel, it bends upwards and then bends down again without damage. This works well too, and it should live longer than a plastic one. So, thanks for that great idea. This might be a solution for those cases where 3D-printed ones wear out too fast?

See the photos:

steel_filcatch1.thumb.jpg.2b3e229fdf742ed53c4aae4fd1e2016d.jpg

steel_filcatch2.thumb.jpg.fd3c7644d3c3de0d2f8b078fdad96205.jpg

Edited by Guest
Added photos + corrected typos

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