Today I was able to get back to the 3D printer after several days dealing with a major server crash.
After talking to my AU collaborator, I wanted to try extruding at the recommended temperature of 185C instead of 210C that I’d been using. One problem with hotter extruding is that the tip tends to ‘leak’ filament at idle.
My friend also recommended a colder bed, saying he used 30C instead of 60C.
I also configured an old APC UPS due to a power outage yesterday due to wind so that the printer wouldn’t die during a print if the power went out again. Although we have a generator, it takes 1 min to detect and respond to an outage, and a UPS saves the day during this interval.
I powered up the printer and used pronterface on my PC to set the extruder temperature to 185C. Once at temp I test extruded several cm of thread and it worked perfectly.
The last modification I made to the printer was to replace the tape on the aluminum bed with blue painter’s tape I bought earlier in the week. I figured this tape had a nicer pattern which might give better grip to the print.
I started the latest version of slic3r on my PC and set the new extruder and bed temperature as defaults, then loaded the 20mm cube and exported new gcode. I copied the gcode to the printer SD card, then inserted it into the printer and started the print. It was fast!!! The cube printed in 15 min, which is about twice as fast as the first time. I used a honeycomb fill pattern, which contributed to the speed, but it was still very fast. The new cube was identical to the first cube except for the fill pattern.
Finally, I found a model of a moai (Easter Island statue) on the web, and loaded into slic3r. It was a bit big, so I scaled it down by 50%, created the gcode file and copied that to the printer SD card.
It printed in just over 2 hours, and although there were issues with the filament not coming off the spool smoothly, there were no problems with the print. It’s awesome! The blue tape worked perfectly; I needed to really tug to remove the finished print.
I’ve attached photos of the moai printing as well as the final print. I also added some photos of the filament on the reel showing how it seems to be poorly wound at the factory. I’m not sure what I’ll do about that. Probably I’ll just live with it for this spool and buy a different brand from now on.