Wednesday, March 10, 2010


So after last nights meet-up at Metrix create:space, we now have a functioning makerbot. Today I tried to take what we learned from Bre and all the other helpful folk at Metrix to make our makerbot print. Fast forward, and five hours of work later and we have this lovely mess.

In this tangle of noodles, failed rafts, and half printed objects, we have these guys

one Android head and one bottle opener....both turned out pretty nicely, but upon first use, the bottle opener failed...
At that point, everything went down hill, partly due to me and partly due to frankenbot getting tired. After printing the bottle opener, I remembered that Matthew at Metrix told us to make sure that the z-axis components were tightened, so I partially took apart Frank and tightened up the components. When I tried to print again, the plastruder kept getting jammed. The last 3 hours of my day were spent troubleshooting and trying to figure out why frank would print half of the raft then unexpectedly have the feed get jammed. I suspect something is misaligned, or not getting heated properly, so we'll be taking the plastruder apart and investigating the problem.


  1. You may want to take a look at your skeinforge settings before you take that step!

    A common cause of filament freeze (and thus, extruder jam) is the temperature settings on the raft!

  2. Try bumping up your heat. Ganter over at the UW ME was having the same problem, and boosted his heat to 245 and they're printing now.

  3. Also make sure to floss the teeth after a jam. It's easy to take out the motor and clean them up and put it back in.

  4. First, wow someone is actually reading our posts.

    Secondly, if I remember correctly, the temp was at 250 (or 255 I'll have to check the video). We can't seem to separate the ceramic part from the rest of the plastruder. The ABS has cooled and has adhered itself to the rest of the parts. We're on Spring Break at the moment, but when we return we'll probably crank up the plastruder to melt the ABS out and separate the pieces. Stop us if that is the wrong thing to do.

    P.S. Will definitely floss Frank.

  5. One note on temperature: your thermistor is not a calibrated temperature probe, and as such "250" degrees on your firmware settings might correspond to a much lower temperature at the actual print head.

    Hardcore Nerd Solution: Calibrate the probe by immersing it in freezing and boiling water, and/or using a candy thermometer (they go up high enough I think) to test the heat at the very tip of your nozzle.

    Sane Solution most people would use: scoot the temperature up a few degrees if you're getting jams, and if the jams don't stop do it again. As I recall, you'll know if you're running too hot by the way the plastic oozes out of control!

  6. Re: disassembling the plastruder: if you're talking about the filament being frozen into the barrel, this happens all the time and the solution is indeed to crank up the extruder to temperature, turn the motor in reverse, and yank the filament out. You should try to avoid working directly on the lower half of the module when it's hot though!

    I'm pretty sure you can get to printing again without disassembling the plastruder though. Try with fresh filament and higher temp settings and I'll bet your jams will end all on their own.