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Percentage of Prints Completed

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I wanted to take a poll and see the different rates of success for Ultimaker 2 owners. I have been using this machine for about 6 months and am getting about a 25% completion rate. That is, 1 in 4 prints make it out of the machine. (Printing things that take under an hour)

My friend said that is dismal, but for me this is a good streak.

What is your normal success rate?

 

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Starting with a Rapman in 2010, a Reprap Huxley in 2012, the Ultimaker 2 is my 3rd printer. It is the first machine where I can start a job go to bed and have a good chance that the 10 or 20 hours job will deliver the final product.

Still it has to be improved. But after 3 months I can say the completion or success rate with good PLA is around 90%. Depending on the colors its between 85 and 95%.

With Taulman Bridge it is still difficult to have a reproducible quality and avoid warping. But it went up from 40% to now maybe 75% and it has to be above 90%. Otherwise I will not use this material in the future.

 

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I think I get better than 19/20 so I would say > 95%. Meaning 95% of the time it does *not* clog part way through, it does *not* get knocked off the bed, it does *not* curl up at the corners.

The most common failure for me is lifted corners. By far.

For me PLA is the easiest. I have much more trouble with ABS and Nylon. Possibly partly because I haven't printed as many objects in those but they have serious shrinking issues.

It used to be my most common failure was first layer issues, but now that I have the metal and glass beds of the UM2 and the UMO HBK upgrade, that's not so common.

 

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I would say my rate is also around 80/90%.

Just as with Robert, sometimes I test materials or challenge myself to very tricky prints.

In that case I kinda try out a profile or some settings and sometimes I learn I could have better used different settings instead and I try again.

 

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I would also say that 95% plus seem perfect at the moment, although the last 10 prints have been perfect, no finishing required.

I started out with a very hit and miss success rate, the improvements have been partly sorted out small issues with the printer, part educating myself on material flow rates, and partly educating myself on what does/doesn't print very well..

I do design my own stuff when I can, and my success rate with that is very high.. some stuff from Thingiverse/Youmagine can be a bit weird, not that it doesn't print, but more it needs more finishing that I like.

 

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My success rate is over 90% nowadays - and most of the failures are somehow related to my own stupidity. For instance, leveling the bed frequently enough seems to be too much to ask from me. :oops:

However, getting above 50%-60% rate has required a few mods to my UM2:

 

  1. Printing IRobertI's feeder (twice, as the stock feeder didn't allow to print the feeder well enough)
  2. Replacing the knurled wheel of the feeder stepper motor with MK8 drive gear
  3. Improving the filament path (new reel location, reel holder with bearings, additional filament guides)
  4. New location and fixture for the feeder stepper motor
  5. Adding heat insulator between the heated nozzle block and the white Teflon isolator
  6. Improving cooling of the print head (new fans, new airflow direction, anodized aluminium parts)
  7. Building enclosure for the printer in order to close the printing chamber
  8. Improving nozzle temperature sensor
  9. Protective cover for the control wheel and the memory card on the front panel
  10. Using UPS for electricity intake

I have made some other mods as well, but those are not so relevant from reliability point of view. Mods #5..#8 wouldn't probably be needed for printing PLA. Mod #9 wouldn't be needed if I didn't have a 2-year-old son. The need for mod #10 (well, it's not actually a mod) depends on reliability of power as well as duration of a typical print.

Some people reach high reliability without mods - I can only envy them. Maybe my needs are peculiar as I'm mostly printing solid (100% fill) parts with ABS and I have quite strict requirements for their geometric consistency.

 

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I would say that i'm at 90% success with my UM2 and even more because the failures i had were most of time me trying to print some challenging stuff just to see how the printer would handle them (sometimes it fails and sometime it's a total win!).

Other failures include clogged nozzle because of bad settings for woodfill, or power shutdown (now solved with a UPS)

I'm really curious of the reason you only estimate a 25% success rate. What are the failures you have?

 

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why 3poro needed to make so many alterations to get a decent print? What are you doing different than the others who have 90%+ success rate ?

 

Good question. Either my prints are peculiar or I'm particularly demanding - or I was particularly unlucky with my UM2 (as it was out-of-box). Well - I am demanding and I am prone to having trouble with my hardware. What comes to my prints, here are some of the latest prints from my desk:

recent printed parts (Nov 2014)

The filament reel is there for scale. Most of my prints are ABS with 100% infill, half of them have print times of over 12 hours - all the way up to 100+ hours. As I'm using them together with other components, their geometry needs to be consistent. To me it looks like others are mostly printing some sort of sculptures coming from fantasy/sci-fi scenes :)

As long as I didn't have my printing chamber closed, most of my prints came out warped. I did try different settings, different bed adhesion tricks etc - but I couldn't fight warping. For me, UM2 became really useful after mod #7. Maybe partly due to closed chamber (which increases the temperatures inside the printer), I really needed mods #5, #6 and #8. I have noticed I'm not alone - there are posts by other people addressing the same issues. IMHO, the original UM2 nozzle temperature sensor does not meet its specifications. Also, I certainly wasn't alone with my Teflon isolator problems.

What I'm actually most surprised about is the (relative) lack of discussion about the filament path. There are some mods around by different people, but it looks like it's not a huge problem for most. Maybe my lengthy prints set untypical requirements for it, I don't know. However, I couldn't really live with the original design. Significant part of my prints failed as the filament got tangled or didn't come out from the reel or got eaten by the knurled wheel.

The good news is - now I finally feel my UM2 serves pretty well as a tool. It feels reliable and it produces high-quality prints. A few months ago most of my activities with the printer were around fixing/improving the printer itself.

 

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Printing with ABS is always tricky, i have a 100% success rate with ABS (because i never printed with it :mrgreen: :mrgreen: )

I can understand easily that the success rate of long ABS prints gets down to 50% because of all the problems you mentionned.

I can't understand why/how you can get a low success rate with PLA, it's very easy to print in my opinion.

I would expect a low success rate for Woodfill as well, and probably a medium success rate with XT

 

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one could think that (maybe just for your needs) that the design needed improvement, but I actually think it is a

strength of Ultimaker that through its open source nature there is room for modification.

Did it benefit you specifically or do you feel you could have gotten this same result with any other machine?

I know I spoke to Poro about the PT100 (I don't know the outcome right now), but as a company we are

open for discussion and innovation, and so is this entire community.

I think it would also be interesting to have a follow up conversation with Poro and evaluate his mods.

What do you think Poro?

 

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I can't understand why/how you can get a low success rate with PLA, it's very easy to print in my opinion.

 

I mostly agree. If I was printing exclusively PLA, I wouldn't have had many problems. No need for closed chamber, maybe not even need for new temperature sensor, additional insulation for the Teflon isolator etc. However, if you use ABS at least part of the time, even PLA becomes a headache - here's why:

 

  1. When you print ABS (or otherwise use high temperatures which are likely to cause the Teflon isolator to deform), PLA seems to get stuck to the ridges easier than ABS. This is probably due to its lower melting point and its hardness. My experience is - a half-used PTFE isolator might still serve you for ABS prints, but it will let you down when printing PLA.

     

  2. Printing ABS very easily leaves some ABS dust to the Bowden tube, feeder and extruder. As PLA is printed with lower temperatures, the ABS particles easily cause the nozzle to get clogged - or partly clogged. Changing from ABS to PLA needs to be done carefully and it makes sense to start printing PLA with as high temperature as possible.

 

Some of the problems with ABS can certainly be avoided by using PLA - and PLA only. However, when ABS printing works, the parts are really pleasant to work with.

 

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one could think that (maybe just for your needs) that the design needed improvement, but I actually think it is a

strength of Ultimaker that through its open source nature there is room for modification.

Did it benefit you specifically or do you feel you could have gotten this same result with any other machine?

 

 

If I would have needed to touch the SW side of things, I would certainly appreciate the open source approach a lot. I have some thoughts about what Cura should do better, but I can live with it as it is now - and I'm too busy to start coding the improvements myself. At some point I may want to go beyond 260C, then I'll have to start diving into the software - unless I make a HW shortcut ;)

 

http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/topic/7710-print-more-than-260ºc-with-a-um2/?p=72634

 

What comes to hardware modifications, the community is actually more important than "open source" (OK, the latter might catalyze the community, but this gets a bit off-topic). If you see all the crazy mods people are making to their quadcopters, PCs, cars etc - source code is for sissies ;)

 

...and Ultimaker certainly offers the community. Without it, there would be too much of unnecessary/redundant work.

 

 

I think it would also be interesting to have a follow up conversation with Poro and evaluate his mods.

What do you think Poro?

 

I'm trying to share my mods to get feedback and to help others... Sometimes I'm a bad boy and I'm making stuff the "old school" way. If I would have made my feeder stepper motor fixture 3D-printable, I would highly recommend it:

 

partsstepper motor holder, insidestepper motor holder, outsideoriginal motor cut-outoriginal motor cut-out with bearingoriginal motor cut-out with bearing, close-upassembly 1/8, looking from inside the UM2assembly 2/8, looking from inside the UM2assembly 3/8, looking from inside the UM2assembly 4/8, looking from outside the UM2assembly 5/8, looking from inside the UM2assembly 6/8, looking from outside the UM2assembly 7/8, looking from outside the UM2assembly 8/8, looking from outside the UM2

 

...but at the time of the mod, my UM2 was waiting for spare parts - so I had to use saw and drill instead :D

 

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I am seriously struggling with ANY prints with my UM2 - I would reckon my success rate is below 10% and this is with both PLA and ABS.

I am typically wanting to print parts with a relatively large footprint (about 50-75% bed plate size) and I predominantly want to work with ABS due to the intended usage of the parts. I have tried every possible combination of glues, including the 'Staples' PVA stick supplied, photo-mount spray, a specialist fabric bonding spray, liquid PVA in various concentrations and have even considered putting a double-sided adhesive sheet on the glass to print onto that. I am currently trying the Acetone & ABS puck method - we'll see what happens. I've tried so many different combinations of bed plate temperature, nozzle temperature, fan speed etc that I need to use Taguchi Methods to evaluate which are the most significant factors. I currently have the printer working with an external cover, which I made from 5mm modelling foam board to provide an internal temperature within the printer of approx 40-45oC. I've tried brims of varying sizes, adjusting fill percentage, increasing wall thickness, etc, etc I've looked at the science of glass temperatures for various plastics to try to assess what's going on and why shrinkage occurs

I have referred to the forum many times and have searched on 'prints warping', 'prints lifting' and numerous other terms and it seems that these are pretty much universal experiences. However what I have yet to find anywhere is a description of what each of the printer variables means in terms of the effect on the print. I have seen people say that the fans shouldn't be used on ABS prints, that the bed plate temperature should be 110oC and that the external cover should be used to avoid over-rapid cooling of the print as it builds-up. Then again I've also seen people saying that after the first few layers the fans should be switched on and the bed temperature reduced to 90oC and the cover removed to prevent warping.....! Which is correct???? All of these methods are contrary to the Ultimaker 'default' settings....... I have tried contacting the Ultimaker help desk and had extended e-mail exchanges with them but even they don't seem to have a full grip on all the variables to make a print successful.

I know that 3D printing via material deposition is still an emerging technology but I need to hit on a 'foolproof' solution for my prints that gives me at least 80% success rate. I'm trying to make parts for clients or for actual applications and I don't have time to man-mark the printer every minute it's working! At the moment I cannot classify the UM2 as a 'tool' because it isn't, it's a frustrating 'toy' that needs constant management and even then when something goes wrong at hour 11 in a 12 hour print there's nothing to do but scrap it, waste the material that's gone into it and try again. I'm at the point where I've got no option but to scrap the printer, suck-up the £2k waste of money and disappoint clients, or spend yet more money on another printer that might be more successful.

So I guess this is a 'last gasp' appeal - what can I do that will turn this 'toy' into a true business 'tool'?

 

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These are the settings I have. Currently my PLA success rate is close to 100%

I'm using faberdashery PLA, loosely coiled. Mounted on a spool off to one side on my UM2. Loose filament better fits the curve of the bowden, lowering friction...

Bed temperature 57C

Nozzle 215C

Fans variable ~ 20% to 40% once the first 3mm or so have been printed.

Bed levelling using Illuminartis method (ignore the piece of paper way, it's seriously inaccurate) those first

layers need to be really squished onto the glass plate for good adhesion.

Most general parts printed at 0.1mm, 50mm/s, usually 100% fill. Combing off - to avoid "blobs"

Retraction 4mm, speed 35mm/s

UM's (Bas) updated stock UM2 feeder (with the metal grommet) works exceedingly well, recently I'm using a modded version of Irobertl's feeder but with a metal grommet I've added into the feed path to really lower friction. No need for anything else in the filament feed path there (imho)

Atomic method every now and again to clean the nozzle. I use 3mm ABS for this. Heat to 240C, while pushing through, cool till solid, heat up while pulling. If gunk, repeat. Tried the cleaning material, not so impressed with it...

Glass bed as clean as I can get it and with no glue. I use a camera lens cleaning cloth to get it literally "squeaky clean"

These are the general settings for PLA I've found work really well. But you may need to "tweak" settings per print slightly for say a very small print, or if you have overhangs, spans or other stuff to get the very best results.

As it stands the UM2 (imho) rocks as a printer. I personally am planning on buying another in the near future! :smile:

Edit - Clarity

 

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I have been printing almost exclusively ABS and my success rate lately is probably 95%

The biggest improvement in reliability was the firmware upgrades last summer which fixed leveling bugs and improved the priming cycle.

Lately I have been using Roberts feeder, but it worked just as good with the original feeder and ABS.

Apart from that the only modification I have done is to add a small pulley below the feeder to get a more straight path for the filament into the feeder.

I can not recall that I have had a single clog with ABS (my home made filament with particles in not counted :smile: )

If I remember correctly, I had a feeding issue once, which was caused by a thin string of ABS jamming the filament in the bowden. Particles seems not to affect the feeding.

With PLA and other plastics, the success rate is a bit lower, maybe 85-90%

The reason why ABS wins is that it can take any amount of retracts, when (at least some grades of) PLA are eventually destroyed by the feeder after repeated retracts.

I have been printing both Velleman and Ultimaker ABS, both works fine for me.

However, when it comes to ABS, if you try to print "unsuitable" designs, ABS might prove difficult to work with.

Most things I print are rather small (1-4 hours) low objects with nice smooth corners.

If you try to print a tall object with sharp corners and thin walls, you are pushing it.

I printed this one for a friend for example: http://www.durovis.com/opendive-howto.html

And ended up with these cracks in the lower wall:

2014 12 07 4653[1]

Now, the print finished successfully and the cracks will not affect the functionality, but I don't like when it looks like that.

The thicker upper wall did not show any cracks.

I consider this to be a non optimal design for printing in ABS. If I designed it myself I would have made nice round walls, like welding goggles. I am sure it would have printed fine in ABS too then.

 

I printed another even larger thing in ABS lately , it was actually the upper part of a human scull :shock:

Due to time constraints I had to leave the printer unattended over night but the scull came out perfectly fine after 15 hours. I could more or less promise delivery next day because I knew that kind of shape would not be a problem with ABS.

 

So, for ABS, there are tricks but it is also about how suitable the shape of the object is for printing in ABS. Large square boxes are typically not suitable. (And I would not select 3D-printing to manufacture such objects anyway)

 

My tricks for ABS are:

- No fingerprints at the platform, glue with Tesa Easy Stick when platform is cold.

- Make sure the platform is properly leveled, preferably a bit close so there is excess plastic in the first layer.

- Platform at 90-95C

- Temperature 260C for Ultimaker ABS and 255C for Velleman.

- Fans OFF (except for tiny details in the end of the print)

- Cover the front of the printer if the object is taller than about 20mm.

 

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