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3D Printing – Troubleshooting 19 June 2016

Posted by David Wilson in General.
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Not much to say – just WOW.


Most useful 3D printing troubleshooting reference ever!

– David

3D Printing with the Jaycar Delta Rostok TL-4100 12 June 2016

Posted by David Wilson in General.
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Some tips and tricks to get you up and working quickly…

Tip #1: Assembly instructions

The book that comes with the printer is badly organised and the assembly instructions lacking in places.
The trouble shooting pages at the beginning of the book … you’ll need these later!
And be diligent about the screw sizes that you use. This will save you being caught out later.
When you put the top of the printer together… read, read, and check. Have the angle brackets level with the stainless steel bars, and the top plate on top of that. This will give you an extra few millimetres and possibly save you later driving the print head into the platform.

Watch this assembly video… have it in front of you as you build.

Additionally this web site has some supplemental instructions that are critical to pay attention to. Particularly around the print head and a possible short circuit with the temperature sensor… you may receive it in this condition. When you’re threading the wires around… be sensitive to the fragile nature of these wires.

Tip #2: Firmware update

The web site here has firmware for the printer. It also has a link to the arduino software for loading, compiling, and installing the firmware update.
There is a file called Configuration.h – in this file is a line that you can set the height of the printer. It will likely already be set at 274 (millimetres)… I had to change mine to 270 because I installed the top plate lower that I should have (top plate was flush with the stainless steel bars.


Tip #3: Update EPROM settings

Back to those pages in the front of the instruction manual… one of them says to change a value in the firmware.
Do this on your PC using the Repetier software as shown in the book.

Tip #4: Repetier software

I tried to configure things using the Mac software… and had a particularly hard time. Turns out that the Mac software is very very much out of date and it doesn’t look like a update will be coming out anytime soon. So I’ve recycled an old PC, installed XP (yes… I know)… and I’m driving the printer using that.
Now, being that this is an old PC… when printing there is a message that pops up saying the onscreen display will not be updated while printing… actually it’s a really nice feature that graphically draws the object as it is printing, layer by layer… You can turn ON this feature in preferences… DO NOT DO THIS. if the software says it’s disabled, leave it disabled. I force enabled it and had a 2 hour print blow out to over 12 hours… and the resulting output was horrible. The software struggled to send print commands while it also tried to update the display. Your millage may vary – you can try this at home – you have been told.

Tip #5 : Troubleshooting – hardware

When you turn on the printer and the LCD display lights up… if you see a message at the bottom of the screen like MAXTEMP – look at the front of the book again and it will give you a guide as to what is wrong. If everything is working it should say something like “printer ready”.

Tip #6: Slicers

Using the Repetier software you open .stl files (and probably some other object types). These objects then need to be “sliced” and turned into a string of commands (G-Codes) that can be sent to the printer for printing. As shipped Repetier has two slicers built in. I’ve for the moment settled on using Slic3R with a 0.2 precision. The settings are _mostly_ as specified in the book. Layer height is 0.2 and critically the first layer parameter is 0.35 (this makes sure enough plastic is extruded to ensure the object sticks to the platform),
You can edit some of the other settings later after doing some print tests. Slower printing should give you more accurate results…

I have also been to the Slic3R web site and downloaded the latest version of the slicer, replacing the installed components supplied in the Repetier software.

Tip #7: Calibration 1

I’ve gone through a role and a half of plastic so far doing calibration… it can be a long road.
There are additional calibration instructions at the tech brands web site. http://www.techbrands.co.nz/store/product/tl4100.aspx
Read these instructions. Coupled with the firmware update for printer height and the turning of the three screws to fine tune things… you should get this setup and working in a relatively quick space of time. Make sure that you have some sheets of paper on the platform to protect it from damage. Your end result is to have one sheet of paper under the print head with a little resistance on it when you pull the paper.

There is nothing wrong with the print head being too high an not having your print sticking to the platform. You’ll learn by observing and adjusting.

Tip #8 : Calibration 2

Now you need some test objects to print.
These two are good.
1. 5mm calibration – http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:24238
For me this was a real test as the first 3 x layers printed well. The last two, when I looked really really closely during printing, were extruding too much plastic.
This was fixed by updating that EPROM setting I mentioned above.

2. Lots to test, including overhang: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1621676
This is an object I’ve designed in sketchup. It tests precision and overhang (without support objects).
You can test on this object using different slicers and different precision settings.

As you print each object – document what you did, mark the object with which print number it is so you do not lose track of things.

Tip #9 : not printing?

I had an issue that appeared to be the plastic was not feeding correctly. I had switched from white PLA to black PLA (because I ran out of white). I had been printing mic calibration objects just fine… learning etc… and then I couldn’t print anything… the extrusion would not work.
In the end I determined this was because the nozzle was blocked…
Heat up the head while in the extruder.. and when hot – use the software to retract the plastic as quickly and as much as possible. Remove the plastic, Cut off the end. You need to get that blockage out. I’ve also used a socket set to remove the hot nozzle and poke plastic in the top and pull out the dirty plastic… and using that same trick, push in white plastic left overs and when I observed white coming out the nozzle I new it was clear.

Tip #10 : where do I get this stuff? (AliExpress – wow!)


Good luck, hope that helps.

– David