unexpected 3D print

Opqrstu3D designs models for our printer and models for our Shapeways shop. Mostly, Shapeways models are too complicated to print without support on the opqrstu3D printer. I always print without support, because I don’t like the works that come after removing the support, like cleaning and sanding.

Anyway, this week I was cleaning up the Shapeways shop (removing unpopular models) and saw a light, I designed at least four years ago. I deleted it with pain in my heart. Yesterday, it was Friday. Time to check out weird things. This week’s weird thing was to check out how Leapfrog Creatr would handle the deleted Shapeways model. The first three trails failed, but at minimum speed (10 mm/sec) the robot did an amazing job and produced an unbelievable an completely unexpected 3D print:

iLED Amsterdam © opqrstu 2017

The robot printed these things (without support) upside down. The printing of the first 30 layers was very tricky. These layers are far from perfect, everything moved when a new layer was added. The design is simply to steep to print. When the angle became less steep, the printing stabilised and without problems Leapfrog Creatr 2013 completed it’s most complicated print job ever. Layer height: 0.3 mm.
Lesson: try the impossible and you will become a wiser man. Another opqrstu3D print experience.

nozzle confusion

Today, I spent four hours to get Creatr on the road again. A major and so far unknown 3D print problem occurred and the robot still refuses to do some decent printing. It started with a normal problem called clogged nozzle. Irritating, but unavoidable. Opqrstu3D solved this problems many times. Retract the filament, remove the nozzle and replace it by a clean one. (Put the clogged in acetone and clean it the next day with a needle.)

Some months ago, I ordered new nozzles. Leapfrog sent a new model and unfortunately this model did not work for Creatr 2013. Bad news, because the old model is out of production. Weeks later, when I was at Leapfrog HQ testing their new printer called Bolt, opqrstu3D asked LPFRG to look again. They did and three new, old nozzles were found. Today, I mounted one of them. After changing nozzles, it is a good idea to check if Z-axis is still okay. This was not the case, so I adjusted it. Normally, opqrstu3D does this digitally in Slic3r, but today I tried it manually. It is tricky, but I want to control my robot in every inch. I got my wrench and it took an hour to re-level the bed. I started printing again, but until now, Creatr only produced crap. Opqrstu3D changed filament, re-adjusted Z-axis and even mounted another new nozzle, but the robot refused the act normal.
Four frustrating hours after the clogged nozzle, it was time to relax and have some coffee.

nozzlesDuring coffee, I reviewed my activities, took a closer look at the spare nozzles and noticed, what might solve the problem tomorrow: new, old nozzle look like old nozzles, but they are not exactly the same! The old nozzle (right) has a pointy head, while the new, old nozzle (middle) has a rounded head, just like the already rejected new model (left).
The main problem today was a very bad first layer, the main problem with the already rejected new model was: a very bad first layer. Tomorrow, I will mount an old nozzle, adjust the Z-axis again and opqrstu3D is pretty sure: Creatr will start printing nice again.

We skip time and yes, after I mounted an old nozzle and re-leveled the print bed, Creatr is back were it belongs: printing things the way opqrstu3D wants it: almost perfect.
But there’s bad news! I contacted Leapfrog, told them this story and asked for a solution. How can I get new old model nozzles? “Impossible, these nozzles were manufactured in China and the company that made them does not exist any more.”

Opqrstu3D has only two old nozzles left. I clean them and use them again and again. One thing is sure: they do not get any better. When they are finished, Creatr becomes useless! A great, three years old, 3D printer (€ 2.100,- ) will be garbage, because a very small but essential part is no longer available! Bad news (death sentence) for the robot and everyone who still uses this robot to create wonderful things. To test Creatr on an old nozzle, opqrstu3D designed & printed a new light (next post). Leapfrog said it’s time to buy Creatr HS. Opqrstu3D thinks: “It’s a shame, but this is how the world works today: at the age of three, machines must be recycled, because it’s too expensive to support them any longer.