Just like with other technical devices, a 3D printing machine works best when necessary checks and maintenance are done. Failure to do so or having not enough knowledge of the printing process will lead to failed prints and unwanted downtime. Here are some things you can do to prevent this from happening.
Check and Clean the Driver Gear
The driver gear should always be clean and kept free from plastic residue. This is the part that grips the plastic filament. When it is used, plastic particles could loosen from the filament and will then fill the grooves. This will lead to the deterioration of the filament and will likely start to slip, instead of being fed continuously.
Be sure that after a specific period of time you check and clean it using a small brush. The drive gear is often mounted on the motor shaft. Check also if it is firmly attached to the shaft and in case of loose screws, tighten them.
Clear the Print Tip
In the head of a 3D printing machine, the plastic filament is being melted at the bottom part of a small tip. This reduces the nominal diameter of the filament to a small hole. Secure that the top is not clogged with dust and other particles.
It could happen inside of the filament itself or on its surface if it is not cleaned. The tips could be fully or partially blocked. When this happens, you can solve it by letting the plastic to cool and eject it manually.
The Building Plate should be Flat and Clean
The very first layer in a 3D print is the most critical as it needs to adhere to the surface of your build plate. Therefore, the plate should be flat and parallel to the side and depth of the printer. At the same time, the distance between the print tip and building plate should be 0.1mm.
Lubricated Rods and Stretched Belts
Unwanted dimensions should be avoided and you can do this by keeping the belts tights and making sure that the rods and feeder screws are all well-smeared.
Screws and Connectors
A 3D printer has so many moving mechanical parts and its structure vibrates in time of operation. Therefore, you need to check all fasteners and secure that everything is properly seated. Also, review the electrical contacts to see if the connections are clogged or if there are wears in the cables.
It is highly important that the printer is turned off and the power cord is unplugged before making any adjustments on the electrical connections.
In order to make the most out of your printer, proper care and maintenance should be done. You should not wait for a problem to happen before you make a solution, instead, you can always prevent them from happening with regular maintenance.
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