I know I’ve been fairly quiet on here but I have been working on a few things behind the scenes.

Over the next few days I’m going to write about my super cheap enclosure, printing in ABS, a volcano hot end upgrade kit, how I’m getting on with the wham bam flexible system and SMuFF (I now have all the parts printed).

I also feel I’m almost in a good enough place to do a comparison post of pre mods and post mods (aimed at Ryan).

So watch this space…

In the post I wrote about the latest changes I had made to my predator, I described how I had mounted the magball arms and which adaptors I had used.

Well a few days ago, Nealz Engeland pointed me in the direction of these adaptors on thingiverse. How are these different I hear you ask? Ignoring the first two files on there, the second two files allow you to use the PCB adaptors supplied with the smart effector! This improves the precision of the carriages, reducing calibration deviation even further.

I printed the version without the hole for flying extruder and designed these adaptors. They attach in front of the PCB carriage adaptors and the rubber tubing used on the flying extruder attaches to them.

I printed them in ABS, but more on that later…

I received the Wham Bam System the other day. Before it came, I had watch of the youtube video here and a read over the instructions on the website.

One of the recommendations is to remove the glass bed or build surface that is currently installed to the printer. I can understand the logic in this, as surfaces like glass aren’t very good conductors of heat. Therefore, to install another build platform on top would reduce the effectiveness of the heated bed.

After mulling it over, I decided that the heated bed had to come off. To achieve this, you need to heat it up to at least 90 degrees Celsius. The adhesive holding it down is then soft enough for you to be able to use a combination of spatulas and flat bladed screw drivers to gently prize it off.

What remains is a very thin heated bed. During the removal of the ultrabase, it is virtually impossible to not bend or misshape it. You could try and bend it back into shape, but the first knock or fast probe would bend it out of shape all over again.

I took the decision to bond a 4mm aluminium plate to the top of the bed. I got the plate laser cut by a nearby company who have done work for me in the past, but any laser cutting company who deal with aluminium should be able to do it for you. There is a company on ebay in the UK who will laser cut a 380mm piece of 4mm aluminium for £29 (including postage). I used JB Weld to attach the heated bed to the aluminium with great success.

Following the instructions, I then installed the heated bed.

I then installed the bed to my printer.

I’ve done a bit of printing with it so far, but I’m still tweaking my cura profile to match it. One thing to remember when printing PLA is that you need to halve your standard first layer. My first layer is now 0.1mm but I’ve still seen a little bit of lift (I am not using a brim anymore). Another note as well, I was also seeing temperatures on the build plate 5 degrees lower than what was being reported by the printer (maybe due to not soaking the aluminium plate long enough, I don’t know), but I now print with a heat bed temperature of 75 degrees. Wham Bam state you should print with a temperature 10 degrees higher than you did before.

My mesh height map is not fantastic, but I am hoping that the duet will deal with that.

I’ll add another post about using the Wham Bam Flexible System once I’ve done some more printing.

Just a short post to say that I have now received the Wham Bam System and I am already itching to get it installed.

A couple of things to note. I had to pay import duty of £37.58 (which included £12 processing fee). Bit of a bummer but was expected.

Secondly, I am currently trying to decide how I want to mount this. My options are mount directly on top of the ultrabase glass, mount directly to the heated bed (which is super thin) or remove the glass, mount an aluminium disc to the heated bed and then mount the Wham Bam system to this.

If anyone has any thoughts on this, that would be great!

As quick as that I am back to the original 1.8 motors. I now remember why I never used the ones I posted about.

They are 2.4 amp motors and I had them running at 1.8 amp and they were still skipping steps. I think I’ll get some 0.9 at some point, just need to research the best model. Didn’t take long to swap them back.

I will update GitHub accordingly soon.

Since I last wrote a blog post, I have carried out several changes to my current setup. The aim of this post is to try and consolidate all of the changes I have made to try and put a stick in the ground for the readers.

Summary of changes so far

The controller board has been changed to a duet 2 Ethernet. This has been detailed here and here. As well as this, I have changed the effector to a smart effector. This change also meant changing the hot end from the standard v5 clone to an authentic E3D v6. These changes were detailed here.

Arms

My setup summarised above was using the original arms that came with the machine. If you follow the Facebook group for the predator, or any other social media channels, you may have heard about the issue of the rapidly wearing rod/arm connectors. This is where the ball in the middle of the connector becomes loose and introduces play into the system. I was suffering from this issue, and it meant that the calibration deviation on my machine was getting worse and worse. One fix for this issue suggested by the community is to replace the rod connectors with ones made by IGUS. These would be great for a normal unmodified machine, but as we’ve already fitted a smart effector, these aren’t really the way to go. It would also be very difficult to make sure that the rods are the same length. This is critical to ensure that the printed parts are accurate, especially as resolution decreases the larger the part.

I ordered a set of arms from Haydn Huntley. He has been known for supplying high quality, high precision arms to the delta community for several years now. I decided to stick to a length of 440mm for the arms, although it has been suggested that arms as short as 405mm will still work. The reduction in length to 405mm will counter the loss in height when fitting a smart effector (which is around 30mm due to the different position of the hot end). I’m not going to tell you which length to order as I have not read anywhere of anyone ordering 405mm and getting them to work over the whole print area. If you feel you will need that extra z height, maybe go for 415 or 420mm. If you are planning to use any sort of multi material changer at some point in the future and will be planning to purge the material outside of the build platform, then I would stick to 440mm arms. The order came within about 2 weeks or so. Just keep in mind that when getting them delivered to the UK that you would be paying somewhere in the region of £30 import duty. They come well packaged, in a cardboard tube and have the length of each arm written on a label. All the ones I received were 440.38mm.

To enable the arms to be mounted to the carriages of the predator, some custom mounts are required. It would be great if the adaptors included with the smart effector fit, but unfortunately, they don’t. I used the adaptors designed by Nealz Engeland but I found that some modification was required to get the holes to line up with the carriage. Don’t forget to swap the little ‘flag’ over required to activate the optical end stops.

Carriage Adaptors

I carried out this change while also carrying out some maintenance on my machine. One of the good design factors of the predator is the ability to remove an upright from the machine without much hassle. The predator even stays in place without requiring any other support. I removed each upright in turn and stripped it down to parts. This way, I was able to check that all the rollers of the carriage were correctly in contact with the extrusions and that no play was present. Fortunately for me, there was no play present, but I have read on Facebook, about a number of other predator owners that have had to adjust their rollers to make sure they are all in contact. I also swapped the original 1.8 degree motors with 0.9 degree motors and re-tensioned the belts, but more on that later.

As mentioned earlier, I have previously upgraded the effector from the original to a smart effector. I had modelled up a mount to allow use of the original arms and to mount three radial fans for cooling. The design can be found here.

I have since updated this design to allow the fans to be mounted to the smart effector while using magball arms instead. The design can be found here.

When mounting the arms to the printer, make sure you alternate the polarisation of the magnets. With mine, Haydn fixed the labels on each on at the same polarisation, which made it easier to alternate the arms. Basically, mount one arm label in to the effector, then one arm label to the carriage and then alternate. This helps reduce magnetic interference of the fans etc. Also make sure that you apply lubricant to each of the ball cups. I used bike chain lubricant as per Haydn’s advice.

Arm alternating

Motors

The motors are very easy to change from one type to another. I had a bunch of motors left over from then I had to send a 3D printer to 3D printer heaven. The main thing to check is that the toothed gear is fitted with the same offset as the gear at the bottom of the printer. Wiring is the same as a 1.8 degree motor. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 0.9 degree motors with removeable cables, in which case, you just plug the old cable into the new motor. Don’t forget that the steps per mm need to be changed from 80 (for 1/16 microstepping) to 160. I’m still assessing whether changing the motors has been a good change or not.

Motors I Used

PanelDue

Only a small note to say I’ve added a PanelDue 7 inch. I have mounted it to the top of the frame as shown below.

Duet firmware updates

Along with the above hardware changes, I have been trying to tweak my duet config to improve my settings. I have uploaded my current config to a separate branch on my github for your use. You will notice that the acceleration and jerk are quite high. Below are a couple of pictures of an example part. Ignore the bottom of the part, I am currently working to improve the quality. I will endeavour to keep github up to date.

I have moved a couple of items out of config and into my start gcode. I now do the following.

G32 ;This carries out a delta calibration at the start of the print
G29 S2 ;This reloads the mesh height map which is cleared when carrying out the delta calibration.

That pretty much brings you up to speed.

I had converted my predator to a BMG clone (a fysing one) fairly soon after getting it, after using one on my linear plus. I had purchased the same brand based on the assumption that if the first one works well, why shouldn’t this one. But on receipt, I noticed that the plastic gear fitted to the main shaft wasn’t mounted perfectly concentric. I fitted it anyway and for a few weeks it worked as expected.

I then noticed a piece of plastic had fallen off, and on further inspection, it was the plastic holding in the little bearing on the main body. This missing piece of plastic resulted in a reduction in the amount of pressure that could be applied to the plastic when extruding. After super gluing it back in place, to enable printing to continue, I decided that I should be looking for alternative brand.

That’s when I came across the Sanjiu all metal BMG clone extruder on aliexpress. The main difference between this and other BMG clones is that the whole body is made of machined aluminium rather than being injection moulded plastic. There are even threaded holes to allow you to mount a fan if using it as the heatsink of the hot end (although working with a delta, this isn’t an option). So I took a punt and ordered one.

IMG_20190705_172148IMG_20190705_172154IMG_20190705_172841IMG_20190705_172845

When I received the extruder, I stripped it down as far as I could and took pictures of all the components. Everything is made from metal (apart from the roller bearing cages for the one gear). It all assembles really easily and is obviously well made. The main difference between this extruder and a plastic equivalent is the weight. This weighs 68g compared to 131g of a clone. We all know that weight can make a difference but I believe the better rigidity of a metal extruder outweighs the cons of added weight.

I have since fitted it to my machine and I haven’t had any issues with skipped steps. Only time will tell if it works well or not. I shall give an update on it soon.

So I purchased some Eryone PLA and I thought I would write a short review on the two rolls.

Standard PLA

The first roll was standard Eryone PLA in green. The Eryone PLA is the best wound PLA I’ve ever seen. Its coiled perfectly, unlike other brands I’ve bought that have looked like someone has wound them by hand. The PLA came well sealed, with no signs of water inside the vacuum sealed bag. All in all its a good start.

I decided to print the plastic on my Anycubic Linear Plus. As in previous posts, it has been rebuilt so the frame is upside-down, the controller board has been replaced with a Duet 2 Ethernet, the extruder has been replaced with a bondtech clone in a flying extruder configuration and the hotend has been replaced with a genuine E3D V6. I’m generally happy with the print quality, although I do get some banding.

One little model I like to print to test filament is … not a benchy, but Phil A Ment. As you can see, it came out very well.

It was printed at 50% scale and it looks great. I’ve since printed a few other parts and I am loving this filament.

Glittery PLA

Next up is a roll of Sparky, Glittery purple PLA. Just like the green PLA, this filament came well sealed in a vacuum bag, with no sign of water. What I can say though, is that the filament was not wound as well as the standard PLA. I think this is a bit of a let down considering Eryone have shown that they can easily achieve a good looking roll of filament One question I would be asking is whether Eryone actually make this filament or whether someone else makes it for them.

Again, I tried this filament out on my Anycubic Linear Plus. First thing you may notice with this filament is that its not super glittery but its still impressive. The particles of glitter need to be small enough to get through at least a 0.4mm nozzle if not smaller (as standard they can go as small as 0.25mm).

To test the filament, I chose a model that I thought was most appropriate for glittery purple filament (and because my daughter would like it). I chose fluffy the unicorn.

I think fluffy looks really good and my daughter really likes him/her (not sure which) too.

Conclusion

So would I recommend or buy Eryone PLA again? Yes, without a doubt. Its well presented, well packaged and prints beautifully. It’ll definitely be in my basket when I’m next ordering filament.