I may have jumped to the wrong conclusion on overheating and a fan as the cure to the shifting problems. Let me explain my new discoveries, 12 hours after my initial success.
I live in Thailand, so it is always hot here. My room with the printer is about 30C (86F) and the aircon is barely blowing cool and I need to get it fixed. So you can imagine, electronics get hot.
Today I decided to see if my printer stayed “fixed” over night. My first print (air-con on and 82F ambient with house fan pointed at the Arduino) started off OK, but then exhibited minor (but tragic) layer shifting. Second print I turned the fan off and air-con off, (ambient air of 86) and it was a total disaster, so I felt my previous hypothesis of the overheating was correct. But, my third print made me question this theory. My third print was air-con off and fan off, with ambient temp at 87F; the print started off pretty horrible and then in the middle of the print I heard the X-axis motor making a little “chirp” from time to time so I turned down that pot a teeny tiny amount and the print immediately improved (you can see in the picture). Then I did another identical print, fan off, air-con off still, and it came out perfect. So I did another one in the blazing heat of my man-cave, and it came out perfect. I then did one more print (in full on heat mode) and it came out perfect. I went to lunch. See the attached picture of my 6 test prints this morning.
My theory on the heat is now blown. I have no idea of why I get shifting prints at various times. I celebrated too early last night, mostly due to the lure of a good meal and cheap beer.
Also: My belts are tight and not slipping. I have used Singer sewing machine oil on all moving parts like the solid rods and threaded screw for the Z-axis. I use the LCD and move the Z-Axis top to bottom and works great. I manually push the extruder along the X-Axis and it moves smoothly. I push the bed, and it moves freely.
Other issues around printing that may be part of the mystery: I run my code from the SD card, as I cannot get 4 different notebooks (and 2 cables I know that work) to talk to the Arduino. But interestingly, I must have the PC turned on with the USB cable plugged in in order to print from the SD card. If I do not plug in the PC/USB/Arduino, the control panel still works, such as “home” and moving axis and other functions. But if I try to print, without the PC as part of the equation, nothing happens after I select my file to print (using the LCD screen). It just sits there and the head temperature does not budge and will not do a print , but I can regain control with the LCD panel by cancelling print and doing all the other functions like home and moving axis’s. I cannot print without the PC attached. PC has no function other than being plugged into power and then plugged into the USB port on the Arduino.
To add to this mystery, I cannot communicate with my PC to the printer. I know the power goes from my PC to the Arduino, as I can see that happens as I unplug the mains power from the printer, and the Arduino controller continues to run and the LCD runs. But I cannot get the PC to talk at all to the Arduino, and I have used 4 different notebook computers (I feel like Edward Snowden), and have downloaded the latest Arduino IDE to make the magic happen. In my Windows “device manager” list, there is no magical appearance of the “Ports (LPT COM)” as part of the tree of devices, as per all the various Arduino instructions. I have read forums on Arduino and getting this to work for about 5 hours, with no improvement. Seems a lot of folks cannot get their notebooks to talk to Arduino, but others just say “follow the instructions, it is easy”. Any suggestions would be super appreciated.
Because I cannot talk to the Arduino, the firmware, etc.. is as it was shipped by gMax.
Lastly, I have another odd problem: my prints start at random positions on the table. If I am lucky, they are close to the middle. But very often, the extruder will go right to the edge and just start printing! Just thought I would mention it, if someone thought it might be related.
- My print shifting issues are no longer 100% certain blamed on heat. Not sure what the pattern is. Not sure if it really gone away.
- Odd problem, not sure if it is related, but my notebook(s) do not talk to the Arduino, at all. Any suggestions welcome, as I am about to pop for a new Arduino to see if that fixes it.
- To use the SD card, I must have the notebook plugged in and powered up. Power is getting to the Arduio via the notebook, as it stays on if I pull the mains plug.
I am getting rather burned out, as I have put a lot of time into the printer, and was hoping to be a bit further ahead! Can anyone help or make a suggestion?
To: JUSTDON; my potentiometers only turn about 270 degrees, and that is it. So, mine are now set at the middle of their possible travel, maybe a tad higher. I am to the point of replacing my Arduino and RAMPS (the Arduino first), to see if that allows me to get control of the system via the USB cable. You may need to also think about this rather drastic move (for you I would replace RAMPS first). I am extremely frustrated with all of this and if some money cures it at this point, I chalk it up to a life lesson. The boards and prices (gulp on the RAMPS) is here: https://ultimachine.com/category/catalo ... kits/ramps
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