Announcing a new habit – Makerbot!

Due to a long and strange twisting string of circumstances I recently ended up with a makerbot kit at work. I have a build video and a lot of info, but here is the first of two quick posts about my trials and tribulations with this little guy. This is more a question to the world, as I am having a terrible time finding answers for it.

I built the bot and printed a whistle within a few hours. Everything seemed copacetic. A few weeks went by (in which I got to go to nyc resistor and meet Bre) and I came back to the bot to print something. It was just not working right. It would extrude for a little bit and then stop, and I could force it to restart and then it would stop again. I’m not sure if the extruder was bad, or the tip was blocked, or the software was just messing up. I took apart the hot end to check for blockages, but I didn’t heat it up fully before disassembly.

Well, this happened. I had two wrenches, one on the shaft and one on the extruder tip. I was trying to unscrew the tip after drilling the plastic partially out of the barrel. And then the brass tore in two. I eventually hit it with a very hot hot air gun (not a hair dryer) and got the plastic to melt out and then I was able to unscrew it easily. So the moral of the story is to always clean out the tube before attempting to unscrew a hot end.

Then I ordered parts from makerbot, assembled the parts when they came in, and still had the same problem! My bot will print out the beginning of a raft if it is warmed up enough, but then it stops extruding and just wiggles around for a long time, not printing anything.

In possibly related news, both versions of the extruder have seeped plastic from above the fender washer. See a picture below. You can see a plastic piece that looks a bit like a leaf coming out of the left side of the washer. In my mind this means that my motor is pushing the filament according to plan and the tip must be blocked.

I just can’t see any reason why my brand new tip would be blocked when I could see light through it!

Well, I’ll put the answer here when I find it. I have a wade’s extruder and a new hot end on its way. Possibly those will fix it. Possibly not. I will also have an upcoming post on making a new hot end, and the Makerbot Cupcake making of video.