Solidoodle 2 – Arrived, let the printing begin!

It took about 12 weeks – 10 for manufacture, and 2 for delivery. I finally have a Solidoodle2 running test prints.

First issue to over come out of the box was trying to find documentation on where to start. Does it need calibrating, does it need a firmware upgrade, etc.. Couldnt find any guide that started “OK so now that you’ve opened the box”, similar to the way you normally would with a paper printer. So I just plugged it in, downloaded the software, and tried a few test prints. About 20% of the prints would stick to the heated bed, so after emailing support, I found that the bed temperature was set too low. Turned it up and it changed to about 90% success rate.

On most of the medium sized prints the Y axis motor skipped when going from front to back (image below). Emailed support again, lossened and aligned the Z belts – Fixed.

The black circles are where the Y axis motor was skipping.

The black circles are where the Y axis motor was skipping.

I then printed a few small-medium sized items every couple of days for the following 2 weeks. Tried a 4hr Dailek print which was perfect, so decided to increase the size and try a 2 part Terminator head (7hrs). The hot end refused to get hotter than ambient temperature. Checked the trouble shooting links and forums to find out the heat resistor had burnt out and needed replacing. Emailed support again and was told that I needed to return the hot end assembly and they would post out another. Total time/cost would be 5-7 weeks for ~$14 postage or ~$64 for 2-3 week turnaround time, which is more than they sell the replacement part for. Looked online for Australian hardware and found this 6.8 ohm heat resistor for $2, and also some ebay items that will be good replacments.

There are a few different guides to help improve the print quality of the Solidoodle 2, most easy to get to information is in the forums: Soliforums, and older google group forum, and Ians Solidoodle tips blog.

Despite the fact it has failed already, I look forward to when it’s back up and working again.

Here are some of the items printed before the resister burnt out:

I have also used my Raspberry Pi as a 3D print server but the success rate was random at best. It sometimes failed a quarter of the way through and just melted the plastic underneath the nozzle. It also didn’t return the hot end to home position after the job was completed. These might just be configuration issues, so I’ll try again when I get the chance as it could in theory work very well. I also have to say the Raspberry Pi used was an older model B with 256MB of RAM and not a newer one with 512MB.

UPDATE 11-2-13

Replaced the heat resister in the hot end with one of these. Cut the heat-shrink tube around the wires and de-solder the faulty one, replace the heat-shrink and solder the new resistor. Make sure to put some heat compound around the resistor before jamming it back into the hole and also make sure it’s not shorted to the aliminimum cube. I also had  to sand the hole to clean it out of old heat compound.




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