Debugging the MakerBot Replicator 2X

makerbot

Spent an interesting afternoon with Roland working with his brand new MakerBot Replicator 2X 3D printer. The printer arrived while I was in the States at the World Maker Faire, and Roland had been able to make a lot of progress - more than I expected.

He had unpacked, setup, and adjusted the printer, and was cranking out lots of sample parts including some that he downloaded from Thingiverse. Today's session was primarily Q&A - talking about his toolchain, processes, and design trade-offs.

It turns out that the MakerBot documentation is fairly light on some details - so he didn't realize the necessity of cleaning the build platform regularly, typically with acetone and alcohol. The documentation is also written from the perspective of a U.S. user and makes lots of assumptions that aren't valid for overseas users - like the ready availability of 3M blue tape at local hardware stores.

The biggest issue we ran into was that the left extruder wasn't working properly. After a little inspection we noticed that the knurled shaft was incorrectly aligned and wasn't grabbing the filament, as you can see in this photo:

makerbot replicator

Disassembling the extruder, we were able to realign the shaft so that it worked properly, at least for the first print:

makerbot replicator

makerbot replicator

After we buttoned everything up again, Roland was able to print using both of the heads for the first time.

3d printer

makerbot

makerbot

Unfortunately the left extruder started acting up with the next print and will require more debugging/trouble-shooting. It's almost as if there is a missing spacer or spring.

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