We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
Today our upgrades for the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer that we are using made by BC Technological Solutions have arrived and we are already eager to start installing them. We’ve had to wait a bit for these to arrive when we have ordered them earlier this year, but it was well worth the wait – the shipping should be faster at the moment once you make an order. We have ordered both the Aluminum Arm Upgrade and the Removable Heated Build Plate Upgrade that the company makes for Replicator 2 and Replicator 2X owners and although a bit expensive, these are probably the best you can get if you need to stiffen the build plate and add heated build plate to your device.
We have already installed Aluminum Arm Stiffeners from Performance 3-D on our Replicator 2 3D printer and they are working quite well. The Aluminum Arm Upgrade from BC Technological Solutions however is much more advanced product as it is not in the form of an addon to your existing plastic arms, but completely replaces them. Another important advantage is that with the new metal arms for the build plate are designed in a way to accommodate linear bearings for the Z axis of the 3D printer. We have already made the Upgrade to Linear Bearings on our MakerBot Replicator 2 earlier this year for the X and Y axes. While doing the upgrade however we have discovered that with the stock plastic arms there are no suitable linear bearings that we can use for the Z axis, one of the reasons we actually decided to get the arms upgrade from the BC Technological Solutions.
By design the Replicator 2 3D printer from MakerBot is not designed to be used with ABS filaments as it does not come with a heated build platform and while we do not miss this feature much as we do not often need to resort to ABS printing. The problem is that there are already quite a few interesting experimental filaments that also require a heated build platform, so we have decided to add that functionality as well. Looking over various options raging from cheap DIY solutions to the more serious upgrades kits available we again ended up going for the Removable Heated Build Plate Upgrade from BC Technological Solutions as the best choice that not only adds heated build platform, but also includes some useful features such as the removable build plate attached with magnets. The only drawback with this upgrade is that it does nto include all the required things for installation on a Replicator 2 – you still need to order a 24V, 9.2A power adapter separately as the standard power adapter of the printer is not able to handle the increased power usage when using the heater. So you need to take into account the additional cost for a power adapter such as the 220W Meanwell GS220A24-R7B adapter that we have also ordered separately and are currently waiting it to arrive any moment now to start installing the upgrades.
If you remember a while ago we’ve had a weird issue with the filament guide tube on our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer. Since then we’ve replaced the teflon filament guide tube with a new one and the device was working normally again, but we also started experimenting with different ideas about optimizing the spool holder position in order to eliminate completely the guide tube as a means to avoid possible issue in the future. The general idea was to develop an overhead spool holder that would attach to the top of the 3D printer and sit on one of the sides of the 3D printer. While working on this idea designing a simple and effective solution we’ve come to another interesting and much easier solution that tends to work surprisingly well in out experience and we’ve decided to share our findings with you to help you get less issues if you are using a Replicator 2. It requires you to reposition the filament spool holder and to print two small parts that will be used to guide the filament to the extruder. All in all you can do this simple modification is no time at all.
First you need to remove the filament spool holder from the standard position at the back of the printer. You need to attach it to the back plastic panel of the 3D printer, surprisingly it was a perfect fit and the result is really good as it brings the filament spool at a perfect height that would allow you to avoid using a filament guide tube. Furthermore you can use two spool holders, one on each side of the back of the printer making it easier to switch the filament as well as making it compatible with the Replicator 2X if you are not using the top cover. This does not require any modification to the printer itself whatsoever and works really well for the moment based on our own experience using the modification.
Next you need to print two of these filament guide adapters that we’ve posted on Thingiverse and attach them to the cables that go to the extruder of the printer. They are with a clip on design, so they are easy to attache and not so easy to detach from the sleeved cables and then you just need to pass the filament through the two holes of the printed guides and insert it in the extruder. As we’ve said already it is really easy and works very well. After we’ve done this modification/upgrade to our MakerBot Replicator 2 we’ve seen a decrease of the problems with failed prints associated to filament jams when compared to the standard design with the spool down at the back and using the PTFE guide tube for the filament.
If you do try this please report how it works for you and if you are seeing any difference on your end. This modification is originally designed for MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers, but it will most likely work on other models that are similar in design to the Replicator 2.
We’ve seen people using dial gauges to level the build plate of their 3D printer more precisely for a while already, but we have just decided to try doing it ourselves just now. We’ve had a dial gauge, but we did not have the right adapter to mount it on our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer, but when we saw this on Thingiverse and after checking the 3D model we’ve decided to give it a try. This is an adapter to mount a Dial Gauge on a DaVinci 3D printer, but it seems that it fits just fine on the Replicator 2 as well. The uploaded 3D model does need fixing before attempting to print as it has some non-manifold segments that may mess up the printing result, depending on the slicer software used.
The dial gauge mounting adapter may use some tweaking depending on the size of the gauge that you have, for our the mounting holes on the adapter are a bit lager, but nothing that cannot be fixed. The process of leveling the dial gauge to match the level of the printing head of the extruder could be a bit tricky as we are talking about tenths of millimeter precision here. Once you have everything ready you can quickly and easily attach and detach the adapter with the mounted dial gauge on it to precisely level the build plate and not rely on feeling or using methods such as a very thin piece of paper. The end result is a that you will be getting less failed prints and spend less time readjusting the build plate level between 3D prints. So if you have a dial gauge lying around you may try mounting it on your 3D printer and giving a try to the more precise level adjustment method.