Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Solidoodle 4: One year later

I've had the printer a full year now, and I would say that I've printed at least couple hundred things.  I've downloaded things from Thingiverse, designed my own parts and prototypes, and overall gotten tons of good use out of this machine.  Here it is printing a battery case for my Hubsan X4 quadcopter right now:

My only complaints are: 

  1. The Y axis, which consists of a bar on either side of the machine, is a real pain to keep from binding up (and before you ask, yes I've done all the procedures to equalize tension, align, lubricate, etc.). When it binds up, I get infill gaps.  I run through aforementioned procedures and it's good for a few prints until I start getting infill gaps again. 
  2. The X axis carriage seems to have an some kind of uneven incline, causing prints not to stick as well to the mid-left side of the build platform.  The adjustments on the build platform don't help because the incline is uneven, thus the issue is only over a small part of the platform, away from the edge.  I haven't found any procedures to address this. My only guess is that I need to replace the horizontal aluminum rods, as they must have somehow gotten bent.  
  3. I have never been able to successfully print anything close to 8".  There is a limit around .25 - .5" from the edge of the build platform that, if hit, causes the belt to skip. If this happens it not only ruins the job, but I have to disassemble and realign everything or subsequent prints will come out all screwed up. It's a total nightmare and must be avoided.  I would not buy this printer for it's build platform size.

Besides that, the stock filament holder situation lead to a lot of failed print jobs early on.  Filament would always fall off the side of the reel and get hung up.  There are a lot of ways to fix this fairly easily though.  (I printed some reel clips that do a good job of keeping the filament on, but they are a pain to put on every time and are easily lost).

My friend recently got a Replicator 2x, and it's awesome.  A lot more expensive, but probably what I should have gotten.  Then again, 3D printing is still in its early stages, and as they say... the grass is always greener on the other side.
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