Help Printrbot Plus V1

Hardware talk for newbies: questions, advice etc

Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2017-Dec-Sun-12-Dec

Hi, I bought a Printrbot Plus v1 i think it is now, it was one of the first Laser Cut printerbots and had some updates like y tensioning but not bed leveling.

I had a child a month after and the bot has been in storage until now (so almost 5years), i am trying to get it working again and it is not behaving as it did in the first months, i was able to easily print our Yoda and the calibration shark figures when i first got the bot.

The machine seems to be random, i spent a day sorting it out and then noticed the Z was at 2degrees, which i corrected and then had issues trying to get the first layer down. I set the Z height screw so that the hot end was a paper thickness from the bed height when the Z is at home. The first layer print just seems to extruder too much ABS and then moves it around the heated bed without laying it down.

I had 2 successful prints before then, Loubie3D 25% to scale schrodinky and her dragon. The print was not as nice as my first yoda.

I am at a loss, i need to improve this printer as the better half has banned me from buying another machine (i also couldnt afford it).

I have now with me 2 straight 4 start z screws, GT2 belt (5metres) + Pulleys and have been trying to print out a self aligning Z coupler and belt tensioners with no success.

I know this bot is good because it had some great prints when i first got it but i think over the years with no use and the fact that its wood its probably gone out of shape.

Any help will be appreciated.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby RetireeJay » 2017-Dec-Mon-22-Dec

That's probably about the same machine that I have.
I don't have belt tensioners; never needed them. I simply adjust the belt tension by hand and use a tie-wrap to cinch the belt in place at the correct tension.
My Z couplers from the motors to the drive screws are wood, probably like what came with yours. There's no urgent need to upgrade there either.
My Z screws are the original 5/16 - 18 spec, although I did substitute brass for the original steel when I built the bot. They work fine.
I level my printing surface with paper shims.
I guess the biggest upgrades I made were adding aluminum L rails to the bed to make the wood stay flat, and using glass on top of the heater. NO PROBE for me!! Once I have the bed level, it stays that way for months.
When you adjust the bed for proper clearance, you have to do the adjustment at all four corners and use shims as necessary.
There are several other small adjustments I've made, but I'm just encouraging you to work with what you have and get it up to its original capability before you go changing things and adding new components. Every change brings with it some new learning curve!
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2017-Dec-Wed-06-Dec

Thanks retireejay, I think it is the same machine. I will find a thread on here about leveling the print surface. Do you have a picture on here of the Aluminium L rails for the bed?
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby RetireeJay » 2017-Dec-Wed-08-Dec

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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2017-Dec-Thu-05-Dec

Hi Ritireejay, I managed to get it printing yesterday to print z brass nuts to printrbot LC adapter. But the z height still seemed to be a issue, I have attached a picture.

Also repetier host was being very strange and for some reason. Reversed the Z axis when I pressed up the gantry came down. It also displayed an error when I tried to connect repetier host to the printr.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby RetireeJay » 2017-Dec-Thu-10-Dec

aerogeek wrote:But the z height still seemed to be a issue, I have attached a picture.

What, exactly, does the picture show in terms of a z height issue? Those "washers" look fine to me.

aerogeek wrote:Reversed the Z axis when I pressed up the gantry came down.

Were you using Repetier when you printed the washers? When you press "home" for the Z axis, does it home correctly? Does Repetier always move the gantry down when you press Up, or was that a one-time fluke? (If Repetier thinks you have a Prusa instead of a Printrbot, it may do something like this because on a Prusa the bed moves up and down instead of the printhead. But ultimately, the same G-codes for Z work because on either machine, moving to a more positive Z increases the clearance between the head and the bed.)

aerogeek wrote:It also displayed an error when I tried to connect repetier host to the printr

Was this error reproducible? What was the error message?
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2017-Dec-Thu-14-Dec

Hi, I'll get on the computer in the shed and give you more information so you can help me after the lil one has gone to sleep. This is the message I was getting last nightmultiple times.

The Z crashed last night, when I homed the Z the probe touched the table and the nuts unwound and loosened from the gantry. I have to sort that out, or tempted to replace with the new T8 4start z screw I have.

The surface of the washers isn't smooth and it seems to be uneven.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2017-Dec-Thu-16-Dec

RetireeJay wrote:
aerogeek wrote:But the z height still seemed to be a issue, I have attached a picture.

What, exactly, does the picture show in terms of a z height issue? Those "washers" look fine to me.


The surface did not look even/flat, it looked gouged in places and had peaks in places, I know my extruder is calibrated. So its either not calibrating the Z properly or flow rate not calibrated correctly. Which I am checking now.

RetireeJay wrote:
aerogeek wrote:Reversed the Z axis when I pressed up the gantry came down.

Were you using Repetier when you printed the washers? When you press "home" for the Z axis, does it home correctly? Does Repetier always move the gantry down when you press Up, or was that a one-time fluke? (If Repetier thinks you have a Prusa instead of a Printrbot, it may do something like this because on a Prusa the bed moves up and down instead of the printhead. But ultimately, the same G-codes for Z work because on either machine, moving to a more positive Z increases the clearance between the head and the bed.)


it did not home correctly, the hot end bottomed out on the bed and the nuts came loose, I don't know why. I have played around with it today and have set the Z stop up again so that it does home correctly. hopefully this is sorted. but the head Z axis did go in the wrong direction yesterday, I don't know why.

RetireeJay wrote:
aerogeek wrote:It also displayed an error when I tried to connect repetier host to the printr

Was this error reproducible? What was the error message?


I got the error message today as well, I don't know why it seems to be working fine now. I have the printrboard Rev D and the connections look fine. I will see what happens today.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby RetireeJay » 2017-Dec-Thu-19-Dec

If you try to home on the Z axis when there's leftover plastic on the end of the nozzle (particularly if the nozzle is cold and the plastic is solid) then the carriage never gets low enough to trigger the Z switch because it comes to rest on that blob of plastic. When this happens, the nuts back out of the carriage. In my opinion, this is a good safety feature because it prevents motor-driven power from pushing the nozzle into the bed (something's gotta give!). I have a pair of small "diagonal cutters" that I use to cut off all plastic from the end of the nozzle before I try to zero my machine in Z.

Changing to different screws won't prevent that from happening. But once the nuts back out of the carriage, you have to re-establish the correct left/right "balance" for the carriage when you have the nuts re-seated. (BTW, it's best to actuate the Z switch to stop the motors turning. Shutting down the power while the motors are turning sometimes causes glitches affecting the firmware.)

To extrude exactly the right amount of plastic, you need to have the Extruder steps/mm calibrated correctly (which you said you have done) and you ALSO need to tell the slicer exactly the right diameter for your filament. Although you can buy filament that is nominally "3mm" or actually 2.85mm, or if you have the small-diameter extruder, 1.75mm, the actual filament diameter is rarely exactly the nominal size. So you have to measure it with a digital caliper. And often the filament is not actually round, but elliptical. Cut off an inch or so of filament and measure it carefully with the caliper, finding both the maximum and the minimum diameter. Then take the average of these readings. (I do this on three separate pieces of filament and average all six readings).

Then, the only other trick is to get the first layer thickness tuned in exactly right. If the head is too low on the first layer, it will still create the plowed-up ridges and these may create persistent problems that last for several more layers. I typically specify the first layer to be a little thicker than all the other layers; this gives a little more "forgiveness" to the system.
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2017-Dec-Fri-06-Dec

I think I corrupted my firmware, the previous night. I spent most of last night this morning upgrading to the gt2 belt and pulley for the X and y axis. I agree that it's clever that the z axis nut undoes itself when it hits bottom.

Well tonight I'll look up firmware fix for the rev D board.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2018-Jan-Mon-15-Jan

Hi Ritireejay,

I was looking around for a "fresh" or healthy firmware for the Rev D board but can not find it on here or other places. is it better/faster to get a version of Marlin from the machine site and edit that ?

my bot is too old to have autoleveling or any of the other new features.

thanks again for all your help.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby RetireeJay » 2018-Jan-Mon-16-Jan

For the Rev D board, do a search for "Unified" firmware on this forum; it will point you to a Github location.
If you need to compile from scratch, you can also use the latest stable version of Marlin, but you will have to do a lot of editing in Configuration.h. Many of the issues you need to look at are mentioned in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=10160
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2018-Jan-Mon-16-Jan

Thank you! I feel like a leach, I wish I could give back to the forum/community but my experience level/time is insufficient at the moment.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2018-Jan-Wed-18-Jan

So all the belts are upgraded successfully, once you do it it's all obvious but I did struggle to start incase something was missing in my upgrade list. For example I could not find anywhere obvious to say that you only need one pulley for the X axis belt and pulley upgrade the opposite side is the idler that can be kept as is.

The Y axis more straight forward no second pulleys etc to worry about.

The firmware issue didn't exist today which was odd, no red screen of death etc. All started fine.

I went on to upgrade the Z which on the face is simplest upgrade. However I had to knife down the sides of the Z nut to PB slots (4mm gap front and back) . Simple once I knew what the issue was.

I got the new screws in did the couplers etc and found the brass nut for the T8 clashed or bottomed out on the new Z coupler. The hot end stops roughly 4mm from surface of the bed. So I have a choice of cutting the brass nut down so total length is 10mm and not 15mm or put a glass plate on the heat plate which will really mess with the bed heat up rate.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby RetireeJay » 2018-Jan-Wed-21-Jan

Congratulations on the upgrade! And that's wonderful that your firmware is working. :D

I have a glass plate on my printer, and the plate heats up to 70C just a little slower than the extruder to 235C. (I mainly print T-Glase.) I guess if you want to print ABS, then the glass plate will slow you down because you have to get it so much hotter.

Maybe you can fix the problem by raising the heater up higher off the bed, for example by putting a layer or two of cardboard or cork between the heater and the wooden bed. These are better insulators than the plywood, so it will improve your performance. You don't really have to bolt the heater plate down terribly securely; my assembly with glass and heater plate is held by plastic clamps I printed, not by bolts running through the glass and the plate. (The plastic clamps are held by bolts).
PaperShimAndNylonClamp.jpg
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2018-Jan-Thu-02-Jan

Hi Retireejay,

That's a nice solution. Is that Silicone mat under the glass plate?

I had to "upgrade" as the issues I was having with trying to get a print were horrendous. My trial print with only the belt upgrade was so much better until everything came unstuck from the bed (the z height was too high for the print for some reason). Its the only reason I decided to carry on and change everything.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby RetireeJay » 2018-Jan-Thu-08-Jan

Yes, that's a silicone mat under my heater. In retrospect, it's not the optimum choice because its thermal conductivity is greater than cork or cardboard. But it's been working for me so "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
BTW, as long as you're using a Ubis head, things will be fine. If you try an E3D you will have to do some modifications because the head is much shorter and the wooden structure around the head becomes a problem.

Prints breaking free from the bed are an extremely common problem; there are dozens and dozens of posts about it. Getting sufficient adhesion to the bed requires a combination of two things: (1) the correct clearance between the nozzle and the bed on the first layer - everywhere on the bed; and (2) a suitable surface that sticks to the melted plastic. To achieve (2) you have to consider cleanliness as well as the choice of materials, e.g. cleaning the surface with alcohol before a print. See viewtopic.php?f=16&t=7033 for a catalog of posts.
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2018-Jan-Sat-06-Jan

Thanks for the genius idea, paper level is better than the springs in my opinion. I did the mod yesterday only I used the Anycubic Ultrabase and at first I thought it was all ok and then this happened!
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby RetireeJay » 2018-Jan-Sat-07-Jan

Oops! More adhesion than you wanted! :o

Actually, my glass plate has a divot in it for the same reason. I was printing on bare glass with T-Glase; the glass was warmed to 70C, and perfectly clean. So I turned the plate over, and now I use a glue stick to coat the glass before printing. It still gives me all the adhesion I want, but the glue bond will break before the glass breaks. Problem solved.
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
"My next printer is..." Prusa i3 MK3
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2018-Jan-Sat-11-Jan

What kind of things do you print? I got a refund from Amazon but the ultrabase is now stuck to my heat plate and I don't want to try and dismantle it incase the flimsy heat plate breaks. So will use abs acetone mixture in middle of plate. No response from Anycubic yet as to why.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2018-Jan-Tue-16-Jan

So Anycubic haven't been helpful and I unstuck the ultrabase from my printbed today. I was being very careful to not damaged the print bed. I did remove it and now looking for alternative. As my printrbot can't print I need something that can be clipped into place or temporarily adhered to allow removal or replacement.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby Mooselake » 2018-Jan-Tue-17-Jan

Double strength window glass and Elmer's School Glue Stick

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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby ktfergus » 2018-Jan-Fri-14-Jan

Lately, I've had pretty good luck printing directly onto Garolite, as long as the bed stays warm enough. You can get a 12" x 12" x 1/32" sheet from McMaster for $6.50. I like the flexibility it has; when you're done printing, just unclip it, give the sheet a small twist, & the parts pop right off. As an added bonus, it also acts as a nice insulator for the print bed. My bed stays 10C warmer during a print with the garolite in place.

Here is a recent print I did, using PETG & bed temp of 120C:

Image

Image

-Kelly
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby aerogeek » 2018-Oct-Tue-14-Oct

ktfergus wrote:Lately, I've had pretty good luck printing directly onto Garolite, as long as the bed stays warm enough. You can get a 12" x 12" x 1/32" sheet from McMaster for $6.50. I like the flexibility it has; when you're done printing, just unclip it, give the sheet a small twist, & the parts pop right off. As an added bonus, it also acts as a nice insulator for the print bed. My bed stays 10C warmer during a print with the garolite in place.

Here is a recent print I did, using PETG & bed temp of 120C:

Image

Image

-Kelly


Hi Kelly, nice print! I ended up moving to a typical aluminium bed with a glass plate on top, i lost a lot of Z height but i dont mind i wont print anything that high anyway. I am printing with PLA now and i am struggling without a part cooling fan.

I also found a replacement ubis micro-swiss nozzles which i desperately needed so suspect my printrbot will last a couple of more years.

I got a gear head v2 extruder and a new printrboard from printrbot before Brook had to sadly close printrbot.
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Re: Help Printrbot Plus V1

Postby ktfergus » 2018-Oct-Tue-16-Oct

I am printing with PLA now and i am struggling without a part cooling fan.


You could always mount a small fan powered by usb. Here are two for $13.98 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/ANVISION-Bearing ... dpSrc=srch. Then you wouldn't need to mess with wiring anything to the board.


[edit] I just checked thingiverse. This looks like an elegant porintable mount: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1256445. Altough you'll have to get a 50mm fan.
-Kelly
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PrintrBot Model: 1403 (Simple Metal Assembled) :: DIY Heated Bed, with 305mm Extended X Axis
PrintrBot Model: 1403 (Simple Metal Assembled) :: 305mm x200mm DIY heated bed
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