Reviving a neglected 3D printer

This past summer, a friend, myself, and our respective partners teamed up and got a 500 sq ft (~45 sq m) studio space in our neighborhood to use as our own art/hacker/maker space. Among the tools that I moved from the house to the studio was my long neglected (2+ years) Makers Tool Works Fusematic 3d printer. I've recently been printing a lot of 3DBenchies to test it's performance and figure out what needs tuning.

Undertaking this tuneup reminded me why the printer has been neglected: because 3D printing takes so damn long. Each 3DBenchy takes 60-90 minutes to print at .2mm layer height and 10% fill. so I might only get a couple of tests printed in a Sunday afternoon down at the studio. But now I have a collection of lovely yellow boats and a story to tell.

First job was installing the PEI film to the borosilicate glass. I'd never had consistent luck with glue stick or other adhesion applications. It was a giant hassle to get installed and I went through 2 sheets of the 3M adhesive before I got it right. However, now that it's installed and the bed is readjusted, I couldn't be happier. I'm having excellent adhesion now.

On to the tuning. A quick calibration cube print showed that my calibration parameters were still pretty decent. Then it was time to start the benchies.

Benchy #1 is a complete mess. I used Slic3r to slice it, having forgotten about more modern tool chains. But the worst of it is mostly from mechanical issues.

Benchy #1

Benchy #1

Benchy #2 is only different for having been sliced in Cura. That helped a bit, but there's still issues.

Benchy #2

Benchy #3 is, IIRC, after I tightened up the Y-axis belt. It helped a tiny bit, but not that much.

Benchy #3

There were a #4 and #5 where I was adjusting the Z-Axis config. I coupler I had (5mm to 8mm) was making the Z-Axis wobble. As both the drive screw and the stepper have 5mm shafts, I flipped it around so the 8mm end was on the stepper. This helped a bit, but not that much, so I skipped on pics of them. I proceeded to order a 5mm to 5mm coupler to get rid of the wobble all together which helped more on Benchy #6.

Benchy #6

Then I tightened up the belt for the X-axis and printed a partial Benchy for Benchy #7. There's still some shifting in there at the same place that I need to eliminate.

Benchy #7

I think I want to try new belts along with toothed idlers instead of the 605 bearings that are installed as idlers right now. That will be the next upgrade if I can't find another way to fix this. More to come as it happens.