A Labour Of Love

I have been working with 3D printers for the last 17 months or so and let me tell you, these things are not easy to get on with! It is very easy to see why people give up on them quickly, it takes a lit of patience (and in my case, a lot of breathing room) to get the configuration right. even then, once you think you have cracked it, something happens like a speck of dust lands on the print bed and BOOM! Everything goes out of whack and you have to start tweaking things again.

I suppose it is rather ironic that the first things I printed successfully with my 1st printer were some new components to help strengthen the frame thus allowing it to print to a higher level of quality. I then printed better quality components to replace those first pieces I printed! Honestly, it was like I had gone mad, trying to build a machine by splicing replacement part after replacement part just to edge the resolution up even the tiniest little bit to get closer to my desired print quality.

Unfortunately for the CTC models, they are plagued by a raft of issues with the physical structure of the case which means that excessive reverberation through the case has a noticeable effect on the print quality. This was one of the firth things I fixed, but it was just one in a long list of things which took a very long time to figure out. The truth of it is you really can’t rely on these things to keep their calibration once you have perfected it for one model, things will slowly slip away until print quality is once again impaired.

Still, this journey I have been on with this one little printer taught me such a range of invaluable techniques that have made working on the following two printers easier by no means! Bed height, bed temperature, filament temperature, filament quality, print head condition, ambient temperature … there are so many factors that could ultimately mean that a 100 hour print could suffer a catastrophic failure on hour 99.

When you decide to work on one of these things you must be prepared to put your all in to it. It takes blood, sweat and tears, it leaves you sat in a corner trembling and by the time you have got things figured out that little black box will own a part of your very soul. However, when you complete your first print and it has come out beautifully … then you will know why we put ourselves through this.

It truly is a labour of love.


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