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kimera

Ultimaker Original won't print

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So I've just recently put my Ultimaker together and hooked it up to Cura. I managed to use the start up wizard and the bed levelling wizard to set things up but when I load up a model and hit print the printer head just sits there, while Cura simply displays the current head temperature. Can anyone tell me what's going on?

As this is my failed attempt at a first print, I'm not sure even what to expect. Does the head warm up a bit before doing anything? Does Cura show anything else apart from the temperature?

 

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Been so long since I used the default "Print Window" UI but there is a progress bar at the bottom.

Stupid question... Did you click Print in the print window?

Less stupid, what does the temp read? Is it increasing or just reading room temp?

Even less stupid suggestion, go to File -> Preferences and change the print window type to Pronterface. It is much better for interacting with the printer.

 

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Anon4321: Haha yeah I clicked print, it says 'printing' but nothing is happening and there is no progress bar. The temperature is increasing, it goes beyond 220 and still nothing happens. I'll give changing the UI a go and see what it tells me thanks.

James: No I don't yet but I have ordered one. I don't know if I would say it's the usb though since doing all the tests were absolutely fine.

Also can I note that the head fan isn't moving either. Is it supposed to be constantly on once the machine starts up like the cooling fan at the bottom or only once I get printing?

Another quick question while I'm at it: When I'm feeding in filament before a print, when do I know that how much I'm manually feeding is enough? When it makes a little blob through the head or is that too much?

 

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The fan is controlled as part of the print. For the first couple layers, it is off and slowly goes to full speed as the part is printed.

You need to prime the extruder until PLA extrudes under a little pressure. The start sequence will extrude a little more to be sure and print what is called a skirt to ensure the pressure in the extruder is stabilized.

What temperature did you set in Cura and does the reported temperature ever reach that value and stabilize?

 

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USB is not very reliable. 4 out of 4 times the connection times out right around when the head reaches goal temp. Consider setting temp to 0 in cura and reslice. Then in print window adjust temp to 210 and only when it reaches 210 start printing.

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I found that changing the printing UI actually somehow solved the problem and now it prints huzzah! But now there's no PLA is being extruded. I can manually turn the extruder gear and the PLA moves fine so it's not the traction between the PLA and the extruder bolt, so I think it must be my extruder motor. Has anyone experienced this before?

 

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With the new UI, you have the target looking thing which allows you to move the head in the XY direction with the outer rings cause more movement. To the right of that is a bar that allows you to move the Z axis away from the head using the top portion (increase Z) or towards the head using the bottom portion (decrease Z). The closer to the ends of the bar you click, the more movement is done. Finally, to the right of that is the same construct for the E or extruder.

See note below then use the top portion of the E bar at the 1mm section (I believe that this is the second segment from the middle) to feed the filament through the controller to ensure that the controller and drivers etc are working.

NOTE however that the software has a special "cold extrusion" protection function that prevents the extruder from feeding unless the nozzle temp is something like 180 (or 170 not sure). So be sure to heat the nozzle up to something like 200 before attempting to test. You can do this by entering 200 in the temp box that is towards the middle of the dialog. NOTE that you need to "click out" of the box to get the value to be sent to the printer (or just "tickle" it by clicking the small arrows to bump it up and down by 1 degree).

 

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When nothing was coming out of the nozzle, was the gear turning? Also when the extruder motor is on (during printing) it should be difficult (maybe impossible) to turn the large wood wheel.

Double check your connections for the extruder stepper motor. Check that the stepper driver is installed (there are 5 slots and 4 obvious stepper drivers plugged in for x,y,z and e axes).

 

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No the gear wasn't turning at all. I could still turn the wheel as well. The connection seems fine and the 4 stepper divers are plugged in. However what I believe are cooling fins have fallen off 2 of the drivers. How much do those matter? And if so what can I use to stick them back on if possible?

 

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Unfortunately, yes. Contact support and see if they will provide you two new drivers.

The heatsinks are important. You can stick them back on with this stuff (the alumina is cheaper and probably sufficient):

http://www.arcticsilver.com/ta.htm

Just note that you need a TINY little dot of the adhesive like less than a pin head. More is not better and will squeeze out onto the pins. I literally applied with a pin and if you have a glob of it on the end of the pin, it's too much.

If you need replacements they are everywhere! search for stepstick or pololu driver. Be careful in buying as some will need the headers soldered on and a lot don't have the heatsink. You can twist of the heatsink from a dead driver, scrape off the adhesive and attach with AS TA.

Or you can get them from the original source:

Note: ALL the ones from pololo require headers to be soldered and do NOT come with heatsinks.

http://www.pololu.com/category/120/stepper-motor-drivers

The DRV8825 will probably work without a heatsink, while it is pin compatible, the default microstepping is different and you need to adjust some jumpers. I have two on the XY but they are heatsinked.

The A4988 Black Edition is a nice upgrade with extra current carrying capacity and is pin and functionally compatible for drop in replacement (leave jumpers as there are).

The green A4988 (the one sans the voltage regulator) is identical to the ones you have.

 

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Ok I've contacted support and now awaiting a reply, hopefully I'll be able to get some replacement parts and this issue will be resolved soon.

Thanks both of you for the advice! Learnt some things at least which is always great. And if something goes wrong again no doubt I'll turn back to the forums!

 

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Alright so I managed to replace the driver for the extruder motor (I had previously bought the dual head extension but decided to use the driver provided in that while I wait for a response from the support team) and now it works! Or so I thought...

Now when I attempt to print something the extruder is making an incredible load grinding noise and everything is vibrating, I don't know if this is normal but it doesn't sound it. The filament also isn't going through the bowden particularly smoothly. I can observe it kind of jittering up the tube telling me something is up with the traction between the extruder bolt and filament. Initially the tightness of the extruder was too much I think since the bolt was leaving harsh teeth marks in the PLA. But even when loosening it so the teeth marks were small dots the issue still persisted.

Any advice? When I turn the extruder wooden wheel by hand the PLA goes up the tube fine and out of the head so there's not a jam. Even when using the Cura print UI to control the extruder its fine and no horrible sound. It's only happening when I try to print something.

 

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If the current from the extruder driver is too high or low it makes an awful sound. If the current is too high the stepper can get too hot (maybe the driver also). If the current is too low the extruder tends to skip steps on fast moves like when un-re-tracting.

The way you fix the current amount is by turning the pot. Turning the tiny little pot to change the current is very sensitive. You can easily damage the driver. There is a test point very close to the pot (or you can usually probe the pot itself). The voltage at that test point controls the max current in a linear fashion where double the voltage is double the current. So you can monitor the voltage and increase/decrease by say 20% at a time and see if that fixes the noise.

Keep in mind also that the extruder doesn't normally turn if the nozzle isn't above 180C but it's extremely easy to send the M override gcode to disable this feature if you are controlling the steppers manually through either the cura print window or even better through pronterface.

 

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Could you make a video with sound and post showing the feeder moving through the printer UI and during a print??

It seems like it is working and I hate to tell you to do something that has risk of breaking something or making it worse.

The wooden parts on the feeder are known to resonant making it fairly noisy. When moving with the UI, the steps occur regularly and at a high, consistent rate. During a print, the rate is much slower and might just be hitting the resonant frequency of the wooden parts.

PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK !!! Here are some suggestions but I really suggest that you post the video with sound so we can tell if the noise is normal.

One low risk thing to try is changing the meshing of the small and big gear by loosing the feeder stepper motor and pushing it so the small gear is forced more into the bigger gear or less. Just note that too much pressure could cause the feeder to stall and the motor to run hot. Too little will cause "slop" and the material flow might not be accurate especially after a retract is recovered.

A second option would be a different gear set. This is a double helical set which has the benefit of a constant mesh. I've used it for a few months now and it works well. Printed in UM Blue PLA. It really quieted the retracts (when the feeder reverses to relieve the pressure in the nozzle as the head moves to another position).

The knob broke off when the printer was knocked over and if you read the comments it is common for it to break off so you might want to not print it. Print with at least 80% infill. I used 100%

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:40334

The one note is that it was VERY difficult to get the small gear pressed onto the motor shaft. And due to the double helix, the center line of the gears must align.

Other option would be to try and decouple the feed from the back of the printer as the back serves to amplify the sound. See things like (read the comments though):

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:53690

and:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:131534

This is really the point where you PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK !!!

The more risky way is to reduce the current the driver uses for the motor. However, I and others have damaged the drivers messing with the current. See http://wiki.ultimaker.com/Electronics_build_guide

Use very small changes like 1/20th of a turn. Reduce it too much and the motor miss steps and not feed when it is supposed to. In theory, reducing the current should not damage the driver but other have said that too low can cause damage to it. By reducing the current, the motor "steps" with less force and less force will produce less noise.

Good luck.

 

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I would like to avoid fiddling with the pot since I don't really have much experience when it comes to those sort of things.

After watching a couple of videos of extruders at work I think I can say that my extruder is rotating too fast. It seems to just continuously rotate without any retraction and the first layer of the print is very fat and blobby. And I guess this explains how my filament is stripped so quickly. Also the sound my one makes is much, much louder than what i've heard in videos, like it's hard to speak to someone else in the room! The 2 washers between the wooden gear and the bearings can be seen shaking vigorously as well but I've tightened that section with extruder bolt as best I can so I think that's a result of the fast rotation causing resonance in the whole extruder section.

I'm not sure what this problem is related to now. My motor seems fine and surely the driver I just replaced can't be faulty as well. Unless I really do have to resort to fiddling with the pot.

 

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There are a few things that can cause your extruder to spin too fast. The most likely and easiest to fix is missing jumpers. All 3 jumpers should be installed. Look at this picture and look at your board. Note that ALL 4 stepper drivers have all 4 jumpers EXCEPT THE Z driver. The jumpers are those little things almost touching the drivers. It should be just like this picture except the picture shows a 4th jumper on Z but it's not doing anything as it is only connected to one pin. You might instead not have the jumper at all which is fine. More importantly look at the E driver jumpers:

Circuit_complete.jpg

 

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The second most likely problem is you have the wrong number of steps/mm for the E axis (extruder). You can check this on the ulticontroller if you have one or you can use pronterface. Do you have an ulticontroller?

The 3rd most likely problem is you have the wrong stepper motor. Is there a part number on it?

 

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If you had posted a video in the first place we wouldn't have all gone down the wrong route and you would have saved 2 days. It's not too late to post a video and save another 2 days just in case we totally misunderstood your problem. Again!

 

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I'm glad you stayed away from the pot. Hmmm, drugs are bad... mmmkay....

Best not to futz with it...

In addition to the things GR5 mentioned. Two other things you can do in the cura UI that will cause this behavior.

First would be setting the filament size much too small. It should be 2.85. Actually, it should be set to whatever you measure the filament diameter as using calipers.

The second and I've done this and I know the freakin extruder goes crazy is to choose the volumetric flavor of gcode. Quickly, that mode generates gcode where the e feeds are in 1mm3. In other words if the gcode needs 1mm3 of material during a move, the feed will be +1. However, if the printer isn't in volumetric mode, a feed of 1 means that the printer should feed a linear amount of 1mm. However, this will produce 6.4mm3 of material (pi * ((2.85/2) squared)). Basically, the printer is feeding at a rate that is 6.4 times faster than it should.

Marlin supports volumetric mode but you need to send M200 D<millimeters> command to get it into that mode. This is all somewhat experimental so it's best just to change the mode to the correct setting. I don't think the value is saved in settings.

By the way, if someone is wondering why this was supported, it is because the gcode becomes portable to other printers using different filament sizes. The gcode specified feeds in common terms of mm3 and the printer decides how much of a linear feed is required based in the size of the filament configured in the firmware to extrude the requested volume.

 

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My board seems fine. All needed jumpers are there.

I do have a an ulticontroller but haven't installed it yet since I wanted to iron out these issues before I try to add anything new. Where do I check the steps/mm on the printerface then?

Here are some videos of the issue if it helps at this point. The first shows how the extruder sounds and acts when I adjust it through 0.1, 1 and 10 on the printerface. The second is a noisy attempt at printing. I try to focus in on the rattling washers to aid my earlier description. No filament was being extruded at all during the videos since it had already been stripped from previous attempts.

 

 

 

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