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Enduring long streaks of print failures

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Posted · Enduring long streaks of print failures

I bought my Ultimaker 2 in 2015.  My first print, the Ultimaker Robot, lacked definition and symmetry.


At first, I could never get a good print.  Adhesion problems, warping, unreliable dimensions in along all three axes, sagging, etc.  Within weeks, I had my first hot-end-completely-encased-in-PLA catastrophe.  There wasn't much help available online back then, and the support folks I talked to hadn't ever seen that problem before, so they couldn't quite understand what I was describing.  After about a week, I finally freed the hot end from the giant blob of plastic.  For several more weeks, it was endless print failures--not just bad prints--but useless blobs of plastic.  I tried all of the advice I could find on the internet, including the suggestions that contradicted the other suggestions.  But nothing seemed to make a difference.  And most of that advice was about making small improvements, like reducing stringing or a little warping.  Very little information about dealing with flaws at the scale I was experiencing.


I had splurged on the Ultimaker, because I'd wanted a tool, not a research project.  I wanted to make things, not learn how to tune a 3D printer.  I lost interest in 3D printing for a while.  From time-to-time, I'd give it another try and get a few crummy prints before another complete failure or blob-encased hot-end.


Almost four years later, I tried again, and suddenly, everything just worked.  I still cannot explain why because I hadn't changed a thing.  Default slicer settings and printer temperatures.  I was still on the original spool of filament that had loaded into the printer since I'd unboxed it years earlier.  Stranger still, the printer continued to churn out successful prints.  I started printing more and more.  I began to trust that if the first few layers went down fine, I wouldn't have to babysit an entire three- or four-hour print job.


When that first spool ran out, I dreaded having to load a new one.  To my surprise, I got even better prints with less stringing.  I was able to clean and relevel the build plate and still get good prints.  I used up several kilograms of PLA prototyping and making things that I actually used.  This was the dream of 3D printing.  I've never been able to explain how it went from always failing to always succeeding, but a long stretch of successes made me confident enough that I could depend on the printer.


And then, after more than two years of zero print failures, I entered a new streak of nothing but failures.  And, once again, I have no explanation for what changed.  A four-hour print I'd run in the morning was fine.  But the same printed started in the afternoon ended up missing most of the upper layers even though the Ultimaker screen said it had finished.  It turns out the feeder ground away so much filament in one spot that it could no longer advance it, so even though the printer had gone through the motions, no plastic had been extruded.  After fixing that, the next two prints detached partway through, leading to two more encapsulations.  One had so much plastic inside the fan bracket that it took two days to remove it from the print head.  That particular design flaw had always bothered me.  A simple failure (print detachment) becomes a literal hot mess.


I finally ordered an Olsson block after seeing how the nozzle tip extends farther below the fan bracket than the original integrated nozzle and header block design.  The Olsson block was relatively easy to install, and I got exactly one good print out of it:  The Ultimaker Robot.  After seven years of using an Ultimaker, I finally know what one is supposed to look like.


But the very next print, whose first 10 layers I patiently watched go down perfectly, later lifted dramatically at all edges and not only warped but turned blobbish.  I shrugged it off as a fluke due to bad adhesion.  I re-leveled the build plate and restarted the same print job.  Again, the first 10 layers went down beautifully, but when I check on it 30 minutes later, the entire print had detached and my shiny new Olsson block was mired in a blob of plastic that been scooped up by the stupid fan bracket.


Once I clean that up, maybe everything will work flawlessly again.  But maybe I'm due for another year or two of endless print failures.  There's no way to know.  How do you motivate yourself to keep trying, when you don't even have a hypothesis of why you sometimes get a long streak of success and sometimes get a long one of failure?

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    Posted · Enduring long streaks of print failures

    It looks like you have issues with the print bonding to the glass. So you would need to look into bonding methods, and try various methods.


    Room temperature and air moisture have a huge effect on bonding to the glass, if you would not use any bonding method and print on bare glass. In freezing dry air, PLA might bond excellently, but the day after in warm moist air, it might not bond at all.


    You also need to look into your glass cleaning method: never use soaps, window cleaners, thinners, and that sort of stuff: these often leave traces of soap, detergents, or oils that destroy bonding. Fingerprints also destroy bonding. Clean with isopropyl alcohol first, and then with pure warm tap water only.


    Try a small but very diffucult model, such as an inverted prism, and try various bonding methods until you find one that works reliably on such very difficult models. Stay with the printer and closely watch what happens while printing.




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    • 2 weeks later...
    Posted · Enduring long streaks of print failures

    Thanks, but the problem is not always about bonding with the build plate.  It's that the printer fails one way or another for long streaks, and then, inexplicably works perfectly for a long streak.  I have literally tried scores of recommendations designed to address whatever the latest failure appears to be from.  As far as I can tell, those are all based on superstition as none of them has ever gotten me from failure to success.  It's just years-long streaks of one mode and then--without changing anything--it switches to a years-long streak in the other mode.


    Since my original post, I've had at least 20 consecutive failures and no successes.


    * I had to replace my Olsson block again, because, after cleaning up the one encased in plastic, the stem of a new nozzle snapped off in the block as I was hand tightening it.  (I was only hand tightening because I haven't been able to print the torque wrench tool you're supposed to use.)


    * I've had no filament extrude--done a hot/cold pull which looked perfect--again had no extrusion--done a second hot/cold pull which also looked perfect--and then the filament flowed again.


    * I've had the material removal operation leave a blob of stringy filament completely blocking the middle of the bowden tube.  That required completely removing the tube and clearing the blockage with compressed air.


    * I've had the initial extrusion that the Ultimaker does before it begins a print make a mid-air u-turn and climb back up to the nozzle.  A lumpy blob of plastic surrounding the tip of the nozzle is not conducive to getting the first layer to adhere to the build plate.


    * I've also had _perfect_ first layers, only to have the extrusion for the second layer prefer to adhere to the outside of the nozzle rather than the first layer.


    * And I've had lifting and warping begin two hours into a print.  I've complete detachments from the bed happen near the end of a print, and I've had prints that split.


    * Retractions before travel moves never seem to be enough to avoid scars and stringing and yet they are more than enough to lift long beads of filament that has already been deposited, which then drag around the print building up like katamari damacy.


    If I were having the same problem time after time, and I got some advice that helped, I think I could stomach this, even if there were still occasional failures that happened at random.  But the very long streaks of failures about which there seems to be nothing in my control to fix is disheartening, especially knowing that the printer is also capable of long streaks of success.

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    • 4 weeks later...
    Posted · Enduring long streaks of print failures

    After taking a break, I tried again.  This time a print failed partway through with a temperature sensor error.


    I replaced the temperature sensor.  That was challenging since I couldn't use the change material process to unload the filament because the printer won't heat the head when the temperature sensor has failed.  After working through that issue, I loaded fresh filament, re-leveled the bed, and tried again.  Nothing extruded.


    So I used the atomic method to do a hot/cold pull, which worked perfectly (so the new sensor seemed to work correctly).


    My next print attempt failed to adhere to the build plate.  It probably had dust and skin oils from all the repair operations.  So I thoroughly cleaned and re-prepped the build plate with glue stick.


    But when I went to re-level the bed, I couldn't turn the printer on.  No fans, no LEDs, no display.  I checked the power connection and found it secure and in the correct orientation.  There was a periodic --click-- about every two seconds, like the sound of a relay, from inside the printer (not the power brick).  The clicking stopped when I flipped the power switch off, and resumed when I flipped it back on.  So there's _something_ going on.


    I assumed a fuse or breaker in the printer had cut out, but the documentation gives no indication that the device has such protection.  So I'm guessing a voltage regulator on the main board has died.


    It seems replacement boards are hard to find.  (I'm in U.S.A.)  The distributor I originally bought the printer from (fbrc8.com) doesn't have any.  The only one that I found online is rather expensive.

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    Posted · Enduring long streaks of print failures

    Maybe the last one could be a bad power supply? If it is degrading, and "on the edge", it could cause seemingly random problems due to a too low voltage at moments of higher loads? But I am not familiar with hardware-failures, so you better get a second opinion on this.


    I still think you need to look into your bonding method too.


    Your series of problems reminds me of a guy who always had problems with laser- and inkjet printers (for printing on paper). He bought lots of new printers, correctly installed them. And then they always would fail after a few weeks, and cause endless problems. It appeared to be a spiritual problem: he had a very strong mind, very powerfull. And after the first couple of accidental print failures, he had firmly decided that "all printers always fail on him". And so they did, because they obeyed his command authority. This does not work when weak-minded people try this, but spiritually strong people can do it sometimes, they have control over matter. There have been switches on the market (around 1995-2000) that you could switch on by *thinking* it on, and switch it off by thinking it off. So you could switch the light in your room on and off by thinking it on and off. But they only worked for spiritually strong people, not for weak minded.


    In case this would apply to you, you can solve it by going back in your mind to the past, and carefully find all moments when you firmly decided "it would fail", "it always fails", "it never works", or all decisions along that line. Find all of those decisions, examine them, examine all the circumstances of back then, and then remove those old decisions you made, so they stop being active.


    Sometimes you find the strongest people are in the technical and artistic sectors, thus among engineers, artists, technicians. That is why they can create things: they have mental and spiritual control over matter and energy.


    (Hmm, now that I come to think about it: we technical people should get more pay...)


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    Posted · Enduring long streaks of print failures
    On 4/19/2022 at 4:37 PM, GregValiant said:

    @geert_2 - I'm not sure what all of that means ... but I like it.


    It means that the mind and spirit can have control over matter. If they are powerfull enough...

    Weak minds are slave of matter, but strong minds can influence it.


    After all, that is how we invent things: we first think them out in our mind, and then we materialise our thoughts in the physical world. Most of the time we do this materialising slowly and via a lot of deviations in CAD, and then via 3D-printing, or injection-moulding, or metallurgy and machining, or wood-cutting, or cement and bricks, or whatever means.


    But people who are spiritually *very* strong, might be able to take a shortcut, and might materialise it directly by "thinking it into existence", so to speak. This direct route often works best if very strong emotions and urgencies are involved, thus in crisis situations. And thus unfortunately this often means in negative circumstances like incidents. For example: someone gets extremely mad because something doesn't work as expected, with a huge burst of anger-energy, because he needs it urgently. And then that huge power and energy outburst of his anger makes his decision or conclusion stick. Typically something like: "this piece of shit never works!!!" And thus, after that powerfull outburst of energy, it indeed never works again...


    Generally, technicians, engineers, inventors, architects and artists are spiritually more powerfull than average people: that is why they can do things, why they can invent or create new things, they can materialise their thoughts and dreams into the phycical reality. It can work in a positive way, but also in a negative way.


    I am not saying this is the case here. But if a problem can not be resolved by physical means, even though it should, it might be worth looking into spiritual decisions that made and old earlier similar problem stick forever. If there is an earlier similar incident, and you carefully examine that old thing of the past, and you remove those old conclusions, then you can make a fresh start.

    Another example: if you are run over by a red sports car, with a driver in black leather suit, then after that incident you might tend to find red sports cars and black leather suits "bad", causing negative emotions and body reactions in you. Even if it happened long ago. That is due to a similar conclusion at the time of the accident. Lots of irrational fears, dislikes, or endless problems come from such unresolved negative decisions in the long forgotten past. Most of the time the reactions are just emotional, or materialising itself as an upset stomach (e.g. if you ever got sick from rotten food) or a faster heart-beat, or negative thoughts.


    But sometimes thoughts could materialise directly into other items, such as sensitive electronics. That is how the light-swiches from the past worked, to think the light on or off. They worked with a random-generator. By thinking the light on, you could influence that random-generator, and shift it slightly above or below 0.5 (if random flipping between 0 and 1). That level shift would be detected to switch the light on or off. Obviously this only worked for strong and positive people. Negative people ("this never works") got no or opposite results...


    Good mind-control occurs also in telepathy: that is communication directly from one mind to another, without a long and cumbersome deviation via brain-cells, mouth and lungs, vibrations in the air, vibrations in the receiving ear, nerve signals to the mind, and the mind interpreting these sounds and translating them into the original thought, hopefully. Today, a lot of young people can't even do that anymore: they need lots of additional via's (=deviations): first converting their complex thoughts into primitive neanderthaler sentences, then into finger-movements, then via a cell phone and radio-waves to a 4G antenna, radio-waves from that antenna to a satelite, radio-waves from that satelite to a ground station, the CIA listening-in via automated spy-systems such as Echelon and PRISM, then back up to another satelite, then back down to another 4G antenna, another cell phone, text messages on a screen (these texts also via lots and lots of electronic via's to address individual screen-pixels), light-waves, eyeballs, nerve signals, and finally to the brain. Not very efficient, if you would ask me... And then they wonder why they have so much communication problems and are not understood...


    Again, I am not saying this mind-thing is the case here. But there could be a spiritual factor, because of the "long unresolved streaks of problems". And if so, then this insight might help resolve it. But of course, don't rule-out purely technical defects such as a bad power supply, faulty computer chips, electromagnetic spikes on the mains, or spikes in the environment (e.g. nearby cell phones often cause spikes that disrupt computer screens, CPUs, USB-communications, etc.), too moist environment, compressed air that contains oil (and thus destroys bonding), and similar stuff... But you can see such purely technical issues clearer after spiritual issues on the matter are resolved.


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