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Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgrades

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Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgrades

Postby satoer » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:37 pm

Hi Everyone,

I think I’m one of the first lucky people with the new Felix 1,5 printer with the nice linear ball bearings on the X and Y axis.
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Never owned a 3D printer before or touched a 3D printed part, I was quite surprised with the quality of the 3D plastic parts. Not just the precision of the printed objects, but also the strength of it. I was always under impression that the laminated printed layers where quite brittle, and if je press real firmly it would all crumble.

I’ve made this review for the new guys like me, with the problems I’ve encountered and how I solved them.

First of all, Kudo’s to Guillaume, the precision of the design is extreme tight. For example, If you put all the parts on the Z axis, there’s no room left. Not a single millimeter play.

Well now time some pictures of the newly build Felix 1.5 printer since I haven’t seen them on this site. Note: I’ve made the fillament holder myself, and is not part of the 1.5 kit (you may download it for free below). Also I tossed the spiral wrap, I personally think the braided sleeving is a much neater solution for the cables.

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All the parts

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Assembled Felix 1.5

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The new linear Y axis bearing

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Below Heated Bed

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The new extruder part design

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The new aluminum connection

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X axis motor mounting

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X axis linear bearing

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X axis cable

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Z axis carrier part

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New electronics housing. Notice the reset button hole position :P

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Cable inlet

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Felix with the cool light bar and tweezer bracket upgrade, you can download this over here:
Cool light LED bar upgrade
Tweezer Bracket

Problems Solutions and upgrades:

Alltough I’m very happy with the printer and the design, I have had some problems with it. So here is the list with troubles and the solutions I’ve implemented it to help others with maybe the same problems.


X motor mount clearance:

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While manually moving the axes by hand to check the binding, I’ve discovered a problem with the Y-axis motor shaft hitting the X motor. Turns out that they accidentally sent me the wrong X-motor mount. After printing the right part (I fixed this problem temporally by clamping the X motor to the aluminum Z-beam). I Still had not enough clearance.
I needed to file about 1 mm of the X motor mount to fix this.

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Just enough clearance after the fix


Heated bed was not exactly 90 degrees with the Z axis:

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A problem I’ve encountered was that the heated bed was not exactly 90 degrees with the Z axis. This will result in slightly skewed parts.

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So I’ve aligned the Y linear bearing by putting 3 sheets of paper between the bearing and the mount on one side.

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I Also needed an extra washer under the belt bearing otherwise the belt grinded the upper big washer.


profile settings Skeinforge:

I’ve had some problems with the user profile settings in Skeinforge… Turns out the profile directory is ignored in windows 7 / 8. And all profiles are here: “C:\Users\[USERNAME]\.skeinforge\profiles”, so you have to copy the supplied profiles to this directory. Just create a new profile in Skeinforge, and search for it in explorer, to find the exact location. Also Repeties-Host needs to start as Administrator, otherwise Skeinforge can’t write to the programfiles directory.
Before I Figured this out, I used slic3r. This is a much user friendly slicer, but as it turns out, Skeinforge does a better job in slicing. So I encourage you to try to get Skeinforge running. It must be one of the worst user interfaces ever, but it does a good job calculating the slices.


Overheating stepper motor:

Another problem I’ve encountered was overheating stepper motor controllers. Which resulted in stopping and jittering stepper motors. After done some googling I’ve found out that you have to adjust the stepper motor controller with the small potentiometer on it.

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First turn it all the way counter clockwise and then adjust it clockwise until the motors move without problems on the highest speed.


Reversed X axis tension-pull part:

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Not a problem, but an easy improvement: I’ve reversed the X-axis tension-pull part. Seems much stronger this way to me then the picture in the manual (this way there’s more plastic behind the pulling forces.


Heated bed aluminum bar and linear bearing not on the same level:

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Put an extra crinkled washer and big washer on both adjustment screws on the Y axis linear bearing.

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The middle part is not on the same level as the linear bearing part, so this way you can compensate this. Otherwise you have to screw the middle part really tight.


Warped corners:

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The Kapton-tape did a worse job keeping my printed parts on the bed. And the parts got warped at the corners. After several test I’ve found the best solution. A sanded glass plate. I’ve cut a 2mm thick glass picture-frame plate to the heated-bed size and sanded it firmly with wet waterproof sandpaper.

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This holds the part extremely well, I can’t get the part of the bed while heated. But after the heated bed cools down to a temperature of 40 degrees, the part gets loose of the plate. I think the plastic parts gets a good grip between the scratches, and if the glass cools down, the glass plate shrinks and breaks the connection between the scratches. Also a nice extra is the flat finish on the bottom part, without the stripes of the “in between layer” of Kapton.


Fillament leaking hot-head:

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Another problem I’ve encountered was fillament leaking from the extruder (between the hot-end and the heat separator). Guillaume thought that the hot-heat wasn’t screwed tight enough into the heat-separator. But I’d such a hard time screwing the two parts from each other (using two Tongue-and-groove pliers) that I don’t think that’s the problem. If you want to separate these two parts, make sure you heat it to 200 degrees.
I’ve fixed this by winding some Teflon tape on the thread (The same stuff plumbers use), And screwing the part back together tightly.


Loose Hot end:

After printing several items, the Hot-end became lose in his casing clamp.

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I’ve fixed this by crinkling up some Kapton tape and clamping this between the hot-end and the new clamp.


Overheating Heated bed mosfet:

The mosfet heating the heated-bed became very very hot. If I touched it with a wet finger is made a sizzing noise dissipating al the moisture. I’ve fixed this by screwing a large piece of metal on it acting as a cooling block.

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Make sure the metal of the other mosfets does not touch each other. If so, you enable the fans or the extruder.


Loose heat sinks:

I haven’t found a solution yet, but gluing heat sinks on the stepper motor’s isn’t really a good solution for me. A slight bump or touch can bump off the heat sinks. I need to make some kind of clamp or something. Maybe glue it in place with silicone?


Fillament holder:

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I had some problems with the fillament string strangling while the fillament roll was laying on the ground. It also melted (well, not really melting, but it became soft and bended) if it touched the heated bed. So one of the first thing I’ve made with the printer was a fillament holder. It’s a simple design, but doing a great job. I wanted the holder above the printer to save desk space.

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The long length of the aluminum bars is not the prettiest solution, but I’ve done this to give the moving printer head al lot movement-room without snatching too hard on the fillament roll.

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I used 3 aluminum tubes with a diameter of 2,5CM. No bearings on purpose, otherwise a lot of roll could wind down if the printer head moves fast and snatched a part of fillament.

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Some prints I’ve designed and printed:
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So, what if your toddler loves the bumper cars… but there isn’t a bumper car Duplo toy (big Lego). You design one yourself!

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Or this hexagon rail crossing :P


So, this is it for now, If you have ideas to improve some of my fixes please let me know!
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Last edited by satoer on Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:17 pm, edited 4 times in total.
My Felix 1.5 printed designs on Thingiverse
E3D Hot end upgrade for your Felix
Tweezer bracket for your Felix
Led bar upgrade for your Felix
satoer
 
Posts: 352
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:00 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgr

Postby Trnquill » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:00 am

satoer wrote:I think I’m one of the first lucky people with the new Felix 1,5 printer with the nice linear ball bearings on the X and Y axis.

Welcome to the club! I, too, just recently got my 1.5. First 3D printer for me, too. I did a small write up of the building process including some of the problems I have. You can read it here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=85 Haven't managed to take any pictures of my machine but now that you showed yours I think I don't have to! :) I'll post some pics of my filament holder later on, though.

satoer wrote:First of all, Kudo’s to Guillaume, the precision of the design is extreme tight. For example, If you put all the parts on the Z axis, there’s no room left. Not a single millimeter play.

Isn't there some play in your Z-axis? If you push the Y-axis support (the big plastic part under the heated bed) from its tip, does it move back and forth? Mine does. There's about one millimeter of play at this point because the Z-carriage sits a bit loose on its aluminum rail. I don't think this is noticeable in the prints (well, not the whole 1mm that's for sure!) but there's certainly enough room for the wobbling Z-axis spindle to wobble the whole Y-axis around. This can bee seen in the prints as light vertical banding. In my prints the banding occurs every 1 or so millimeters which kinda narrows the cause down to Z-spindle. I believe a standard threaded rod makes the Z-axis rise 1,25mm for every turn. That's why the banding occurs at same intervals and is consistent throughout the print.

satoer wrote:While manually moving the axes by hand to check the binding, I’ve discovered a problem with the Y-axis motor shaft hitting the X motor.

Yep, same here. The Y-axis motor shaft was just hitting the X-axis motor body. I ended up cutting the Y-motor shaft shorter. Later I discovered you could maybe move the Z-axis slider away from the X-axis motor (horizontally, towards front of the printer) making room for the shaft. There's some play between the slots in the aluminum extrusions and mounting bolts of Z-slider.

satoer wrote:A problem I’ve encountered was that the heated bed was not exactly 90 degrees with the Z axis. This will result in slightly skewed parts.

Oh, I have to check this, too!

satoer wrote:I Also needed an extra washer under the belt bearing otherwise the belt grinded the upper big washer.

I would need this also. Because the bearing is so well buried under the heated bed I've yet to find energy to add the washer. What I did instead was apply a very thin coat of silicone oil on top of the belt to stop it squeeking... :)

satoer wrote:I’ve had some problems with the user profile settings in Skeinforge… Turns out the profile directory is ignored in windows 7 / 8. And all profiles are here: “C:\Users\[USERNAME]\.skeinforge\profiles”, so you have to copy the supplied profiles to this directory. Just create a new profile in Skeinforge, and search for it in explorer, to find the exact location. Also Repeties-Host needs to start as Administrator, otherwise Skeinforge can’t write to the programfiles directory.

Strange, I'm running Windows 7 and do not have the problem you describe with the profiles. I copied them under program files and use (and edit) them just fine. All you have to do is run Repetier-Host as administrator. However, this is not something I like to do. I'm thinking about moving the profile files to some other location (default location you suggest would be fine). What I think also needs to be done is move the working directory under some user folder. Otherwise Repetier-Host tries to write temporary files under your program files folder and fails if you don't run it as administrator. Have you tried pointing all the working directories to some other place, not under program files?

satoer wrote:Another problem I’ve encountered was overheating stepper motor controllers. Which resulted in stopping and jittering stepper motors. After done some googling I’ve found out that you have to adjust the stepper motor controller with the small potentiometer on it.

That's exactly what I encountered, too. First all was working OK but after awhile (~15 seconds) the jittering started. I got a quick response here in the forum ("all the way CCW, then 1/4 of a turn CW") and was soon printing away just fine. What Guillaume told me later via email was something I didn't think of: You are not actually tuning the stepper drivers to prevent overheating of the motors but to avoid overheating of the stepper drivers themselves! This is what causes the jittering. Stepper drivers go into self protecting mode and shut down for a brief moment. That's why you need to turn down the power to make things work. It would be really nice to have this kind of vital information in the manual!

satoer wrote:The Kapton-tape did a worse job keeping my printed parts on the bed. And the parts got warped at the corners. After several test I’ve found the best solution. A sanded glass plate. I’ve cut a 2mm thick glass picture-frame plate to the heated-bed size and sanded it firmly with wet waterproof sandpaper.

I have had no problems with the Kapton. The parts stick to heated Kapton like hell. I think I can remove them while the bed is still warm (at least parts with small base) but I usually wait until bed is around 35 degrees. Then they are quite easy to remove.

I will try the glass plate soon. What annoys me with Kapton is the lines you mentioned. They pretty much ruin the bottom of any part. And it doesn't help to have that narrow strips of Kapton as was provided with the kit. It was fantastic to have Kapton included in the kit, though!

satoer wrote:The mosfet heating the heated-bed became very very hot. If I touched it with a wet finger is made a sizzing noise dissipating al the moisture. I’ve fixed this by screwing a large piece of metal on it acting as a cooling block.

Could this be due to using the glass? More mass to heat equals more energy to be used which leads to hotter components.

satoer wrote:I haven’t found a solution yet, but gluing heat sinks on the stepper motor’s isn’t really a good solution for me.

I tried the "double sided heat tape" pads provided with the kit but could not see how they could ever work. No adhesion what so ever. I used heat sink glue instead. Sticks pretty well. I'm not tinkering inside the electronics box at all bumping the heat sinks, though.

satoer wrote:I had some problems with the fillament string strangling while the fillament roll was laying on the ground. It also melted (well, not really melting, but it became soft and bended) if it touched the heated bed.

Me, too. The worst part was soft/melted/bent filament when it traveled near the bed. I constructed filament holders to vertical beam of printer and added few filament guides to help keeping the filament where I want it. As everyone using bearings to help filament rolls roll, I suffer from overly sensitive rolling. :) I solved the problem having one filament guide really close to the roll which with help of stiff filament keeps the roll quite well in control. I think I'll add some kind of a "break" to help even more stopping the filament spooling off from the roll.

satoer wrote:So, what is your toddler loves de bumper cars… but there isn’t a bumper car Duplo toy (big Lego). You design one yourself!

Are the cars made from several parts or did you change the filament during printing?
Trnquill
 
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Re: Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgr

Postby aikx » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:51 am

Later I discovered you could maybe move the Z-axis slider away from the X-axis motor (horizontally, towards front of the printer) making room for the shaft. There's some play between the slots in the aluminum extrusions and mounting bolts of Z-slider.

Be carefully with this! Moving the Z-axis to the front you will get wooble from the Z-axis spindle!
aikx
 
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Location: Cologne, Germany

Re: Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgr

Postby dognotdog » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:21 pm

I don't think the hot FETs are a problem, as long as they continue working. They have a max junction temperature of 175°C, so the case being really hot isn't a problem.

As for the little heatsinks, you need to use some thermal ADHESIVE, not the same heat paste you use for the heat bed resistors. Usually some two component glue, like the stuff from Arctic. The thermal paste is only good if the heatsink is pressed onto the chip by other means, by itself it's insufficent.

Also, about the Kapton... seems people get really mixed results. If I have the Z distance of the hot-end properly set, and wipe the bed with a bit of acetone before a print, I have problems getting parts off, even after the bed has cooled, especially large rigid pieces. Before I started applying acetone before prints, I always got curled up corners, but no more.

I am not sure about the Z axis slider... I have enough clearance with the X motor. However, it is not clear to me what the canonical way of aligning the slider with the extrusion should be. There is a bit of play, as well as the slider being a few tenths short of the 80mm width of the frame.
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Re: Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgr

Postby satoer » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:57 pm

Isn't there some play in your Z-axis? If you push the Y-axis support (the big plastic part under the heated bed) from its tip, does it move back and forth? Mine does. There's about one millimeter of play at this point because the Z-carriage sits a bit loose on its aluminum rail. I don't think this is noticeable in the prints (well, not the whole 1mm that's for sure!) but there's certainly enough room for the wobbling Z-axis spindle to wobble the whole Y-axis around. This can bee seen in the prints as light vertical banding. In my prints the banding occurs every 1 or so millimeters which kinda narrows the cause down to Z-spindle. I believe a standard threaded rod makes the Z-axis rise 1,25mm for every turn. That's why the banding occurs at same intervals and is consistent throughout the print.

Nope, no play in the big Y axis support. But that’s not exactly what I meant. I meant the tight design of the parts on the Z-beam. The Z motor, the Z motor mount, the Z slider, the X motor and the X motor mount. They all fit exactly on the Z-beam.

Yep, same here. The Y-axis motor shaft was just hitting the X-axis motor body. I ended up cutting the Y-motor shaft shorter. Later I discovered you could maybe move the Z-axis slider away from the X-axis motor (horizontally, towards front of the printer) making room for the shaft. There's some play between the slots in the aluminum extrusions and mounting bolts of Z-slider.

But what about the fixed aligning of the threaded Z control rod?
Strange, I'm running Windows 7 and do not have the problem you describe with the profiles. I copied them under program files and use (and edit) them just fine. All you have to do is run Repetier-Host as administrator. However, this is not something I like to do. I'm thinking about moving the profile files to some other location (default location you suggest would be fine). What I think also needs to be done is move the working directory under some user folder. Otherwise Repetier-Host tries to write temporary files under your program files folder and fails if you don't run it as administrator. Have you tried pointing all the working directories to some other place, not under program files?

Hmmm... I had this problem under Windows 7 and now under a 2 day clean installation of Windows 8. I haven’t tried moving the working directory. But I don’t have problems running repetier host as administrator (as long as I don’t have to disable UAC completely).
themselves! This is what causes the jittering. Stepper drivers go into self protecting mode and shut down for a brief moment. That's why you need to turn down the power to make things work. It would be really nice to have this kind of vital information in the manual!

Yes, I serious thought the controller was broken. I would be really nice if it was mentioned in the manual as part of the “finishing touch”.
Could this be due to using the glass? More mass to heat equals more energy to be used which leads to hotter components.

Probably. I also heat the bed above 70 degrees. But as Dognotdog mentioned below you, it probably isn’t a problem. I haven’t measured the real temperature, but for me, if I get blisters on my fingers by touching it, it’s time for some extra cooling ;)
Are the cars made from several parts or did you change the filament during printing?

Image
It’s made out of two pieces. One with the outer shell and one with the rubber bumper, seat and steering wheel. It was actually a test to check how precise the printing can be done. I made the parts to fit snug, with 0,3 mm in between. It’s tight, but its fits!.
As for the little heatsinks, you need to use some thermal ADHESIVE, not the same heat paste you use for the heat bed resistors. Usually some two component glue, like the stuff from Arctic. The thermal paste is only good if the heatsink is pressed onto the chip by other means, by itself it's insufficent.

Thanks, I’ll buy that! (but it would be nice if it was supplied with the kit ;-) )
Also, about the Kapton... seems people get really mixed results. If I have the Z distance of the hot-end properly set, and wipe the bed with a bit of acetone before a print, I have problems getting parts off, even after the bed has cooled, especially large rigid pieces. Before I started applying acetone before prints, I always got curled up corners, but no more.

I haven’t used acetone, but I did clean it before every print with spiritus. (cleaning alcohol)
My Felix 1.5 printed designs on Thingiverse
E3D Hot end upgrade for your Felix
Tweezer bracket for your Felix
Led bar upgrade for your Felix
satoer
 
Posts: 352
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:00 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgr

Postby Kjetilei » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:44 pm

satoer: Thank you for the great write up of your experiences! I love the bumper car model :) Maybe you could post it in the printed parts thread? Regarding filament roll holder: my simple holder with ball bearing does not experience any problems with too little/much friction as long as I'm twisting the filament 270 degrees effectively letting the filament work as a spring that smooths the pulling effect from the extruder.
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Re: Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgr

Postby gfeliksdal » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:12 am

@ Satoer: Thanks for the write up! Compliments to how neatly you've built the printer. I hope you get your printer up and running as soon as possible with the peek replacement.

@trnquill: Please check the "common problems/tips and tricks" thread how I reduce/eliminate z-wobble.

@dognotdog: I align the z-rail by feeling along the edge with my finger. The edge should feel the same over the whole length of the rail. This way you should be able to align it quite precisely.
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Re: Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgr

Postby aikx » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:32 am

@ Satoer: After finishing the 1.5 Upgrade, optimizing the Z-axis an calibrating i printed your filament holder (SFact, Normal Quality). Simple and effective solution!! (the printed diameter was about 26mm, added some tape over the tube)

@ gfeliksdal: 1.5 Upgrade is the right step. Together with satoer filament holder the maschine prints and prints.... x-y-axis feel mutch stiffer and precision with sFact „Normal Quality“, is very good.
Tested the white filament (after blue transparent): allows lower temperature and higher extruder speed. I am very happy with this! Thanks!
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Re: Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgr

Postby Trnquill » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:18 pm

gfeliksdal wrote:@trnquill: Please check the "common problems/tips and tricks" thread how I reduce/eliminate z-wobble.

Thanks, I'll try that! Too bad you have to disassemble half of the printer, though... Would have been much easier to do when I was int he middle of build (if the fix was mentioned in the manual, for example).
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Re: Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgr

Postby BlubberBert » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:47 pm

hey everyone,
i have a project with some friends from my collage, where we should install a felixprinter 1.5 and make him print some stuff. but we have a problem with the repetier host. we can calibrate all 3 axis but we can´t move it manual. there is always an error, how i screened it. hope someone can help us, cause the time is running out :(
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