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  1. #1
    Regular 3D Printer
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    Do stepper motors get tired and weak with old age??

    I'm working on getting a Cube3/Ekocycle printer going. I had to replace the motherboard -- thanks to help from geofreitag -- to get it working.

    Now, when I try to print, it seems that it cannot extrude filament well enough to make a print.

    0) I am running it with Cube V1.14B firmware - same as my other two printers that work perfectly.
    1) I have tried PLA and PETG, using temp parameters that work fine on my other printers. I also tried a working PLA cartridge.
    2) I am using a B2B PETG cartridge which just made a 16 hour print - perfectly - on one of the other printers.
    3) When I do a purge operation, it barely pushes out 12 inches of very thin filament. Normally I would get a meter's worth.
    4) I have tried very loose and normal Z-gap settings.
    5) When it tries to print, the filament doesn't stick, and it quickly tapers off to a very thin fiber.
    6) I get the same bad result on both the left and right extruders.

    What's going on here!?

    I will welcome any suggestions, and will try any recommended procedure.

  2. #2
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    Since there is nothing in the filament path to stop it you have two choices. Extruder clogging or filament motor driver weakness. Does the right side work as expected? Clogging would also imply filament stripping and clicking. The temperatures register correctly or as expected? The nozzle assembly works well in another printer?

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Tom.

    Since there is nothing in the filament path to stop it you have two choices. Extruder clogging or filament motor driver weakness.
    -- I am leaning toward motor weakness. Does that happen?
    Does the right side work as expected?
    -- No (point 6)
    Clogging would also imply filament stripping and clicking.
    -- The filament didn't strip - after the fruitless purge attempt, I was able to extrude filament by manually turning the cartridge drive cog. It does make a knocking sound, however - deeper and louder than the sound they make when stripping the filament. Odd...
    The temperatures register correctly or as expected?
    -- Ha! Excellent question. I always use a USB stick to print, so do not normally see temperatures. But if the temperature was low, I would expect it to strip the filament, which it didn't. I will check temps....
    The nozzle assembly works well in another printer?
    -- Yep (point 2)

    I'll report back after checking temps.
    Maybe I should order a stepper motor or two.

  4. #4
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    Motors getting weak, specifically on both sides, doesn't sound plausible. But it also doesn't sound like a particular driver on the motherboard. Something is not delivering enough power to the filament stepper drivers.

  5. #5
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    I did swap out the motherboard, as the original was broken. This is the first time I've tried to use it since the swap.
    I am using the same power supply that works with the other two printers.
    I wonder if the driver/motor setup changed between versions.
    I see definite external differences among the three printers I have here.

  6. #6
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    I've played with better than 10 of these from all time periods of production. Performance is certainly been very consistent. Something is not providing enough umph to the stepper motors. These things just don't burn out slowly. They either work of fail. What is the likelihood of something being plugged in backwards?

  7. #7
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    I did swap out the motherboard, as the original was broken. This is the first time I've tried to use it since the swap.
    I am using the same power supply that works with the other two printers.
    If I got a plug backwards, wouldn't the motor run backwards or not a all? Also, as best I remember, the plugs were keyed.

    I see definite external differences among the my three printers. No idea about the insides.

    ------later---------
    Well, after doing a couple of more purges (almost a meter on the left side, but only 30 cm on the right) I finally got a good print of my little test cube on the left side.
    I also used a different build plate, which seems to stick better - same Cube Glue on both.

    I did learn that if you hold the shaft with pliers the motor "skips" - makes a clunk sound loses some rotation. I thought it might just bog, but it keeps running and making the "clunk". Not a whole lot of torque - like 1.5 wrist-beerbottlecap (a special 3d printing torque value).

    I wonder if the motors were sluggish from sitting around for a year in a warm attic (England) and a hot garage (Texas)?

    Do you think it would be ok to put a couple drops of silicone lube in at the motor shafts?

  8. #8
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    Now you really got me curious about changed things over time

    The 'cogging' you feel with the stepper held still is a skipped count. That is what sets home on the x and y axes by running to the end of the axis. F/W manages maximum torque and keeps track by counting steps... 200/rotation.

    Most stepper motors should have oilite bushings in them. Should be lifetime lubed. I think your printer is possessed

    - - - - - - - - - -

    http://www.print3dforum.com/showthre...ll=1#post47071

    With all the pix I take of the printer and things, you'd think I'd have a good image of the filament driver motors... but NOOooooo!

    Next time you get in there, John, can you post up some pix including part numbers for both stepper types?

  9. #9
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    It gets weirder...

    When i switched build plates, it began to print.
    The one I was using at first was kind of rough, with nozzle dents and grooves from improper Z-gaps. I cleaned and sanded it, and slathered it with Cube Glue, but it still seems nothing will stick to it.
    The other plate was from one of the good-working units, and the first test stuck and finished.
    I will re-clean and sand the 'bad' plate again to see if it will work better.

    Another funny thing. I went ahead and squirted a couple of drops of silicone spray around the motor shafts. After I did that and ran a purge cycle, the left side skipped almost continuously and only extruded about 20cm of filament - I did 80 cm before! That makes me wonder if there is some sort of clutch arrangement in the motor.

    But now it is printing a PLA part just fine!

    I don't like not understanding what this sneaky machine is up to!!

    If/when I ever get inside it, I will certainly get some photos of the steppers and part numbers. Should have done that when it was apart for the board swap!

  10. #10
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    Well... you know... <dramatic pause> </dramatic pause> There was a rash of bad build plates that would cause printers to simply shut down and refuse to service the job at hand. You're lucky it at least tried to print!

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Clutch on the stepper huh... Yea... no. That would be a premium feature. 3DS did nothing premium!

 

 

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