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Tronxy X3S 3D Printer Review – Part 3: Upgrades to Fix Bed Leveling Issues (Permanently)

November 14th, 2017 No comments

Karl here. I have had the Tronxy X3S 3D printer for a while now. It prints well but as I mentioned in previous articles I had to level for every print. Actually near the end I would just overpower the stepper motors while the skirt was printing and level. Leveling front to back was not affected. Only the z height. So this worked but it was frustrating. Before that I tried several different things to mitigate. I thought maybe the endstop for Z homing was inconsistent and replaced it. I tried heating the bed for extended period of time thinking that maybe some thermal expansion. Didn’t help. I finally did a major change to the X carriage with success. I even moved the printer to our local library and the bed stayed leveled for a demo. I call this a success, and will show how I did it. Inspiration for this modification came from the CR-10. This is the biggest mod I have done for any review so far.

3D Printed Parts for Upgrade

My objective was to reuse as much as possible of the original kit. I designed the bracket in Fusion 360 and remixed the Z motor brackets in Windows 3D Builder. To do this upgrade you will need to print 2 Z motor mounts an 1 X/extruder mount. They are published on Thingiverse.

Bed

The easiest place to begin with is the bed. This mod alters the extruder position so the Y stepper motor needs to be relocated outside the frame so no build area is lost. I had some extra belt I think came with this kit that I used. The belt lengthens from the original position.

X Carriage

First remove the Z motors and metal brackets. We will not be reusing the metal brackets. Remove the Z rods. Take off the top 2020 extruded aluminum from the top of the printer and slide the whole X carriage off, and disassemble the left and right wheels, stepper motors, belt etc. The triangle wheel assembly does not need to be broken down. Both extruder and X stepper will be located on the left now. I slid only the triangle wheel assemblies on with the new orientation. I made a little mark on the left and right acrylic wheel assembly to get my positioning right for 2020 aluminum. Center the 2020. I ended up with about 9mm on each side. You will need to drill a hole in the acrylic so a second nut can be used on both sides.

Drill hole through acrylic approx. where indicated by arrow on the bottom set of holes. Enlarge the bottom holes on the back piece so you can use a screwdriver and tighten. Take your time and drill slow. Do this on both sides.

Here is the left side. I mounted the steppers after installing.

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Mount the Z rod brackets upside down on the back in the top holes of the wheel assembly so that the Z rod lines up with the center of the 2020 below.

I tested the orientation of the Z rod nut upside down by changing one side. I really don’t think it matters.

Now mount the Z motors. I didn’t have the proper length nut so they look loose. No adverse effects. If it bothers you can install a washer or nut. The brackets are keeping it from bouncing.

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I have only done a couple test prints, but they turned out fantastic. I can’t say definitively, but I do think I see an improvement. I am running low on filament right now and will test more for final review. The goal was to fix the level issue but any improvement is good.

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Final thoughts

The leveling was driving me crazy on this printer, so I had to find a solution. I started with a goal of changing the orientation of the wheels and just started taking the printer apart. With more than one printer this makes it an easier task. By chance I was able to reuse the existing Z rod brackets and saved quite a bit of time. It did take 2 iterations of the X/extruder bracket, but ultimately didn’t take very long. I had one setback. On the first iteration I had the stepper motors touching, and the steppers got very warm so I put a 5mm gap between them and seemed to resolve the issue.

If you noticed my X axis limit switch is off set it is because I am running stock marlin, and did not build in the offsets so I just moved the limit switch to accommodate. I will follow up with a how to upgrade the firmware, and get rid of some of the annoyances with stock firmware.

After this upgrade I can say it is very much on par with the CR-10 now with some savings. After this upgrade you can get 350 x 330 x 390 mm. I didn’t realize until testing just now that 10mm is lost in the Z. You can get 400mm wide but there is a clearance issue with extruder hitting the triangle brackets. You could probably just clip on a larger mirror with no issues and stick with the existing bed and let it overhang.

I would like to thank Gearbest for sending the printer for review. They sell it for $269.99 including shipping.

Categories: Hardware, Testing Tags: 3d printing, hack, review, tronxy

Tronxy X3S 3D Printer Review – Part 2: Upgraded Heatbed and RAMPS Board

October 25th, 2017 3 comments

Karl here. So the bed I mentioned in the first part of Tronxy X3S review is not very good. It took about 10-11 minutes to heat up to 60 deg Celsius. I also mentioned I was going to upgrade the board to a RAMPS board. Today we are going to look at both these upgrades.

New Heated Bed

I can take no credit for this one but I wanted to pass this along. Folger tech sells a 12v 280w heated bed stick on pad. I picked this up for $20, but is now $22.

In order to do this upgrade you will need a MOSFET, 12V/30A power supply, and of course the pad above. Super easy installation. Remove the bed and stick on the self adhesive pad centered. Replace the power supply with new one. Should be self explanatory. In order to power this bed a MOSFET is needed. A MOSFET allows you to power a high current bed and not run all the current through the board. I won’t go into much detail about the MOSFET because it has been written about a lot.

I did try the new bed with the existing power supply and without a MOSFET. The stock power supply heated up very quickly. I don’t think it would make it through a 10mm cube before failing. I also connected the new bed directly to the board without the MOSFET and the connector started to fail almost immediately.

Bed heat up times drastically improved.

  • 60 deg Celsius in 2:15… took about 10 minutes previously
  • 100 deg celsius in about 10 minutes… I could not get it past 70°C before

You’re looking at about an extra $60 for this upgrade. Right now, a Tronxy X3S is $289 + $60 for this upgrade. Getting close to CR-10 pricing.

Here are some power measurements with a Sonoff POW.

Power usage idle and both hotend and heated bed on

RAMPS 1.4 Upgrade

I did upgrade to a ramps board. It was my first time using a RAMPs 1.4 and Arduino MEGA board. It was very easy to do. Wiring is well documented. I don’t feel I gained anything other than fixing a few annoyances with stock firmware, and a little bit of build volume on the x and y. Now if your board goes bad here is an inexpensive solution. I picked up this kit and this adapter from Zyltech.

Arduino MEGA

RAMPS 1.4 Board

RAMPS 1.4 Connection Diagram

There are few considerations:

  1. If you decide to use the stock LCD then you will not have an SD card to print from. The stock screen with the X3S does not have an SD card and octoprint is a good solution. If you need to print via SD card you can substitute this screen for the adapter.
  2. The Z motor connectors are very close. I used some male to female Dupont connectors for testing, so I could go back to the stock board easily.

Here are the changes from the stock Marlin firmware that I made.

So once I flashed the board, and made my connections I tested the directions and end stops. If a motor is moving the wrong direction you can adjust 2 ways. Flip the connector on the board or adjust in software. I chose to just flip the connector.

The only physical modification I did was move the X endstop to place the nozzle at the corner of the bed instead of using an offset.

Final Modification

This one was simple. Download and print. I printed a new shroud out of PLA. It was designed by my buddy on thingiverse.

The head design on the X3S is the same as the Tronxy X3.

Closing

I will be putting the main board back now, and printing a bunch of stuff for Halloween. I will share the final thoughts on this printer at that time. I would like to thank GearBest for sending me the Tronxy X3S for review. You can buy the 3D printer from them for $289.99 including shipping (Coupon GBX3S may shove a few dollars off the price).

Continue reading Tronxy X3S 3D Printer Review – Part 3: Upgrades to Fix Bed Leveling Issues (Permanently)

$99 101Hero PYLON is a Poor 3D Printer, But Could Prove Useful to Learning 3D Printing Technology

October 3rd, 2017 6 comments

Anet A8 was one of the first sub $200 3D printer I found last last year, reviews were surprisingly positive. It is now sold for around $150 shipped (with A8PRINT coupon), and experienced reviewers often recommend it to people wanting to get started with 3D printing on a budget.

But last week, as I browsed products on Banggood, I found something even cheaper with 101Hero PYLON 3D printer going for $107.99 shipped with coupon 349da5, and further research lead me to the official website where they sell it for $99 excluding shipping, and provide documentation and video tutorials.

101Hero PYLON 3D printer specifications:

Rocket printed with 101Hero PYLON

  • Printing technology  – FDM (Fused deposition modeling)
  • Host Material – Steel + ABS
  • XYZ Bearings – Steel
  • Print Size – 100 x 100mm
  • Layer thickness – 0.1mm
  • Nozzle diameter – 0.4mm
  • Printing material – PLA
  • Material Diameter – 1.75mm
  • Power Supply – 20W
  • Dimensions – 260 x 240 x 300mm
  • Package Weight – 2.4 kg

The 3D printer comes as a kit that you need to assemble yourself, and also includes a power adapter, a 2x 30g PLA filament (black & white color). It’s said to work with Windows 7 and greater, as well as Linux.

The printer was initially launched on Kickstarter for $49 (+ $30 shipping), and backers received their 3D printer around the beginning of this year so we have already reviews. The best one I found was from Maker’s muse where he explained how they could come to such a low price: 3D print pen technology for the nozzle, and rather weak motors. As can be seen from the red rocket on the right, it does not always print nicely, and while he does not recommend the 3D printer, and instead tell people on a budget to go with Anet A8 in comments, he was impressed that such cheap 3D printer would even exist.

Others were not so forgiving, with one person titling hist video “DO NOT BUY THIS 3D PRINTER (101Hero = 101Zero)“, but  tswaen took a more philosophical approach, saying it was ” license to really learn and understand how 3D printing works”, and wrote instructions showing how he upgraded it to make it better. If you like a challenge, and are interested in this 3D printer, there’s also a private Facebook group where you can share your pain experience, or learn from others.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: 101hero, 3d printing, hack, review

ESPurna Firmware Now Supports Power Meters “Augmented” with ESP8266 Modules/Boards

September 25th, 2017 15 comments

Sonoff-Tasmota and ESPurna are the two main open source firmware used in home automation devices, such as Sonoff wireless switches, based on Espressif ESP8266 WiSoC. Xose Pérez – aka Tinkerman – has recently purchased “dumb” power meters / kill-a-watt meters, added WiFi to them with ESP-01 module and Wemos D1 mini board, and implemented support in ESPurna firmware leveraging earlier reverse-engineering work by Karl Hagström.

The power meter above looks exactly like the one I’ve been using for review for over two years, and has been more more reliable than other models, such as Broadlink SP2 (with built-in WiFi) that gave up on me after a few months.

Xose actually noticed that old and newer models of the power meters were based on different solutions. Karl’s meter relied on ECH1560, while Xose’s new meter was instead based on Vango V9261F, which has a public datasheet, and was already being worked on by Domoticz community.

While he connect ESP-01 to one of the meter, he found Wemos D1 mini was much easier to connect thanks to a built-in 5V support. He still had to include a Hilink AC to 5V DC power supply module, a baseboard for the Wemos board with an optocoupler and resistor. Finally (not shown in pictures), he hot-glued all cabling to make sure nothing move, and that’s important as you don’t want anything bad happens with AC voltages…

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The power meter can then be calibrated and configure in ESPurna user interface, and you can also handle the data through MQTT, Domoticz, a REST API, and/or Home Assistant. Support for V9261F has been implemented and tested, but while the older ECH1560 solutions have been implemented, they have yet to be tested.

The power meter can be purchased for about $12 and up on eBay or Aliexpress, ESPurna firmware on BitBucket.

Designing a 3D Printed Jig to Flash Firmware to ESP8266 based Light Bulbs

September 18th, 2017 6 comments

Karl here. I have to say that my favorite part of 3D printing is designing things from scratch. Recently a reader was asking about a way to flash a lot of Ai Lights on a project he was working on. I suggested 3D printing a jig that pressure fits pins. He didn’t have a printer, and we exchanged contact information and he sent me one of the lights and some pogo pins from Amazon.

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Design in Fusion 360

I started by taking a picture of the light to get my pin placement. I set a scale by measuring a known distance then printed and tested. It took about 3 iterations to get them to line up in real life. Keep in mind camera lenses distort reality and knew It would take a couple times. I would just let a few layers print then stop and line everything up. I had a mostly working prototype in a couple hours. I did have to go back and add an additional pin after I found out that 100 needed to be grounded when powering up so took a couple more tries to line that pin up. The first couple times pressing into place it is very snug. After 3 or 4 times it becomes easier to remove.

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First Iteration

Building the Jig

I built this thing too many times, but I finally settled a reproducible method. First print at least 2 copies of the jig. Insert pins in jig then place on 2ng jig with pins up. 2nd jig is only for alignment and to keep straight. Once aligned super glue the pins to the jig and let dry. Do not get glue inside the pins or they will get stuck. When I was first putting this together I was doing it the other way, and glue kept on seeping down to the pins and making them stick. This method of gluing worked the first time.

After gluing solder on your leads, use some shrink tube, and make sure to connect pin 100 to the ground. I thought it needed to be temporary, but I forgot to disconnect one flash. I test flashed the light about a dozen time with 100% success.

The method I used to connect is with the leads connected to PC, I press the jig in place slightly offset clockwise a couple degrees. Press in, then turn counter clockwise until you hear a click. When it clicks into the pads and PC dings it is ready to flash.

This was a fun little project and if you would like to print it you can find it here.

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ECDREAM A9 Apollo Lake HDMI “TV Stick” Review with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 17.04

The ECDREAM A9 is arguably the first Intel Apollo Lake ‘PC stick’ available for purchase. However, in reality it is surprisingly large, and when compared to earlier Intel Atom ‘sticks’ and mini PC ‘boxes’ it lies somewhere in between. Measuring 2.3 inches (58 mm) wide and 0.6 inches (16 mm) thick it feels almost double in size of the original Intel Compute Stick (1.5 in/38 mm by 0.5 in/12 mm) and like nearly half of a mini PC (Beelink’s AP34 is 4.7 in/119 mm by 0.8 / 20 mm). Given that you only get two USB ports, an micro SD card slot and the obligatory HDMI and power port, the large size would be better justified if an Ethernet port had also been included given other smaller ‘sticks’ have shown this is possible.

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However the reason for its size is due to the oversized fan and heatsink…

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and that will be the deal-breaker for most. Because it is not a quiet fan, but noticeably noisy. However, that is under Windows as the fan doesn’t run under normal Linux.
Taking a look at the package in more detail…

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Inside the box together with the device is a short HDMI extender cable, a power supply (with no international variants or adapters), a manual (which is more of a Windows get-started guide) and a further slip of paper with a picture showing what the ports are. The device comes with a large detachable cap that covers the HDMI port. Then inside the device underneath the fan and heatsink is the Intel Apollo Lake SoC, memory chips from Micron, eMMC from Foresee and an Intel wifi chip all matching the advertised specs

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The device comes pre-loaded with activated Windows 10 Home 64-bit and has nearly 18GB of available free space to fill up with Windows updates.

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Unusually the updates were initially switched off

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The Windows performance is impacted in part due to the slower Foresee eMMC

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Overall the device performs better than Cherry Trail devices and as expected

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4K video (at 30fps) can be watched through Chrome and Kodi and the fan keeps the temperatures down

Temperatures with Chrome 4K (Left) and Kodi (Right) – Click to Enlarge

and the external temperature is acceptable at around 30°C.
However, as mentioned the fan is audible in comparison with other ‘stick’ PCs with fans. Using a battery powered clock as a baseline in a highly unscientific comparison you can judge for yourself, comparing Intel Core M STK2M3W64CC Compute Stick…

… to ECDREAM A9

Initially I was rather happy that the fan didn’t start under Linux, however without it temperatures rocket and the device crashes when playing high definition videos.
Looking at the hardware from a Linux viewpoint the CPU is an Intel Celeron N3350 Apollo Lake
 
useable storage of 28.9GB plus the micro SD card option

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2GB DDR3 1600 MHz memory

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Intel 3165 wireless

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HDMI audio

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and everything (except the fan) works using Ubuntu 17.04 with the ISO’s default kernel. This includes Sandisk micro SD cards
which still fail on Cherry Trail devices.
Unfortunately however there is no option in the BIOS allowing Linux to boot directly:
so the Ubuntu ISO had to be respun using ‘isorespin.sh’ to add the rEFInd boot manager

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Having installed Ubuntu to eMMC, and running my usual benchmarks there can again be seen the performance improvement over Cherry Trail devices (STCK1A32WFC is the Intel Compute Stick Falls City, STK1AW32SC is the Intel Compute Stick Sterling City, and STKM3W64CC is the Intel Compute Stick Cedar City)​​

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Exploring the fan issue further shows the failure appears to be a BIOS ACPI table related issue

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even though there are many options in the BIOS for thermal configuration
By recompiling the kernel with a ‘hacky’ patch it is possible to get the fan working
but because the BIOS isn’t populated with appropriate DMI strings it is unlikely that this device will receive mainline support.
However with the fan running the temperature is controlled even after stressing the CPU

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making 4K video (30fps) watchable

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Although I encountered an issue in that Chrome would successfully stream 4K videos in Windows, yet under Ubuntu it kept intermittently pausing waiting for network data. If I first downloaded the video then playing it was fine using Kodi.
As 32GB of storage is now really too small to run both Windows and Linux given the size, and frequency of Windows updates I installed Ubuntu with my custom kernel to a micro SD card and resized Windows to use the entire eMMC. Again some juggling with rEFInd was required to boot as the micro SD card is not recognized directly during the boot process.

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Interestingly there was a slight overall performance increase which is probably due to the slow eMMC. The maximum temperature for the eMMC-based benchmarks reached 80°C after running the ‘openssl’ tests compared with a maximum of 57°C also after the ‘openssl’ test on the fan-assisted micro SD card so thermal throttling would not appear to be a contributing factor.

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The device comes with a very unrestricted BIOS so there are lots of ways to brick it
To conclude the product is bulky given its advertised ‘stick’ form factor, and is limited because it only has 2GB RAM. The fan with its noise under Windows and lack of support under Linux limits the product’s appeal. In terms of support, the Windows drivers are available from the manufacturer’s community web page although their specification page incorrectly states the CPU model. It is currently priced at USD 129.99 at Geekbuying who kindly provided the sample for review. [Update: Using GKBECDA9 coupon brings the price down to $113.99]

Raiscube R2 3D Printer Review – Part 3: How to Install E3D Hotend Clone For Faster Prints

June 26th, 2017 3 comments

Karl here with the final article on Raiscube R2 3D printer for now. Going to talk about the challenges of this upgrade, and how to do it yourself. This has been one of the most frustrating projects that I have worked on. I set 3 goals for this upgrade:

  1. Simple as possible
  2. Least amount of modification to the printer
  3. ability to revert back

I don’t feel like I met my goals but I feel like I made it 90%. Trying to meet the simple as possible with least amount of modifications is what caused me so much grief.

What is needed

E3D Installation Steps

  1. Print 3 parts from Thingiverse above with 50% infill and .2 mm layer height
  2. Remove all the spiral wrap around all your wiring.
  3. Remove the tape for the fans, and disconnect all the wires going to them.
  4. Remove all the hardware off the x carriage and remove the metal x carriage bracket.
    1. First raise your x carriage most of the way up.
    2. Remove 3 screws holding on the cooling fans: 2 on the front 1 on the back.
    3. Remove the fan of stepper motor with 2 screws holding the fan on.
    4. Remove 2 on the bottom of the carriage to remove the stepper motor and hotend assembly.
      1. Remove the hotend from the stepper motor with the 2 setscrews on the front of the stepper motor the hotend will fall out.
      2. Follow heater cartridge and thermistor back to the board and disconnect.
    5. Remove the x belt from the carriage by cutting the 2 zip ties
    6. Remove the 9 screws on the back holding the bracket
  5. Now with your rotary tool remove a 32mmx20mm rectangle to make space for new hotend. Leave the 2 screws holes that mount the stepper motor in the event you want to revert back. Direct drives are sometimes easier with flexible filaments.
  6. Take the fan that was used to cool the stepper motor and install on the parts cooler.
  7. Assemble the E3D clone and bracket
    1. Disassemble the parts into bowden connector, heatsink, heat break, heater block, and nozzle. Leave the heater cartridge, and and thermistor in the heater block.
    2. Tighten the nozzle all the way into the heater block and back off between and ¼ and ½ a turn.
    3. Hand tight the heat break until it reaches the nozzle and take 2 pliers and tighten snugly. Be careful not to damage heater cartridge and thermistor. Don’t over tighten.
    4. Put some thermal paste on the top part of the heat break and screw on heatsink hand tight.
    5. Screw on bowden connector.
    6. Wrap the kapton tape around the heater block to insulate it from cooling fan. Wrap several times covering top bottom and sides.
    7. Mount on 3D printer bracket from thingiverse. Use some screws and bolts leftover from build. Sandwich between mount and clamp.
  8. Make the modified x carriage bracket and reinstall.
    1. Screw in all 9, and install the E3D assembly in bottom 2 left most screws.
    2. Install fan that came with the hotend with notched part up ensuring the fan is covering the bottom most fin.
    3. Install the new parts cooler in the left most screw hole that held old cooler.
  9. Run a new wire from the main power terminals feeding the board and connect to the fan that is cooling the hotend. It is imperative that this is running 100% at all times.
  10. Connect the parts cooler fan to the wire that goes to the fan terminal.
  11. Velcro the stepper motor to the top of the printer on the right side in the orientation that suits your needs. I feed mine from above.
    1. Lower the x axis by hand while screwing the Z couplers together and set the hot end the furthest away from the extruder stepper motor.
    2. Cut the bowden tube to suitable length to allow free movement and not bind. Keep in mind it will need to move all the way to the top.
    3. Install the bowden connector in stepper motor.
    4. On the end of of the bowden tube going to the hotend, bevel the outside edge with a knife and measure back 45mm and make a mark with a pen.
    5. Insert the marked end with the bevel into the hotend until the mark is as close as you can to the connector
    6. Press the other end into connector on stepper motor.
    7. Connect stepper motor wire.
  12. Either reinstall spiral wrap or use velcro to manage all your wires back the board and connect the hotend, and thermistor to the terminals.
  13. Adjust endstops and relevel the bed.
  14. Print

Printing

I have found I need to lower my print temperature from stock, and keep retractions down around 2.5mm. E3D recommends 2mm for direct drives and slightly longer on bowden setups. 2.5mm has worked well for me and turning down the temperature.

Wrap up

I don’t have anything that can weigh these small weights accurately but going by specs I removed about 184 grams or .4 lbs. Not too shabby. That is quite a bit of weight not being thrown around allowing faster speeds. It should be able to print at higher temps as well with an all metal heat break and allow more kinds of filament.

I wanted to explain why I had so much trouble with this upgrade. The step where removing a bit of the bracket is what caused it. I really didn’t want to do such an invasive modification to the printer and I tested several different mounts. I could never keep the heat break cool enough and it caused the heat to creep up the heat break and jam. It would work for about an hour then it would jam. Having an hour between iterations, and all that filament made this take a long time.

I would keep the piece that was cut out in case you need to go back to stock for some reason. The fan cooling the extruder stepper motor will blow down on your part and might cause issues. Some metal tape should be fine. Not a lot of heat should be transferred, and the glue should not burn.

I would really like to thank Gearbest for sponsoring this upgrade. If you do decide to perform this upgrade please think about purchasing from them (Coupon: CNXPrusa may help).

Raiscube R2 (Prusa I3 Clone) 3D Printer Review – Part 2: 3D Print Samples, E3D Clone Installation, Tips & Tricks

June 20th, 2017 No comments

Karl here with part 2 Exploring Raiscube R2. That is the official name by Raiscube. Gonna look at some more prints. Some mistakes I made in first part and some simple mods. Maybe not so much mistakes but an oversight.

Oversight / Mistake

So in the first part of Raiscube Prusa i3 review, I mentioned there were not very good instructions, and they sent a blank SD card with the kit. I was wrong. On first inspection, it looked like a factory sealed SD card but it is not. It is an 8 GB card with videos, instructions, pictures, parts list, STL, and gcode files as well as an old version of Cura. Not blank at all with about 1.5 GB of files. It didn’t include settings but if you install the latest Cura, it just takes a little tweaking to print well.

Official specs from SD card

Brand RAISCUBE
Model No. R2
Extruder Qty Single
Machine Size 450 x 420 x 480 mm
Printer Size 210 x 210 x 210 mm
Package Size 423 x 430 x 200 mm
Machine Weight 8.0 kg
Gross Weight 9.0 kg
Filament Colors White ,Red,Black,Blue,Green ,Yellow etc.
Filament Diameter 1.75 mm
Precision Z axis: 0.004 mm;  XY axis: 0.012 mm
Printing Precision 0.1-0.2 mm
Layer Thickness 0.1-0.4 mm
Nozzle diameter 0.4 mm
Power Supply 110/220V, 250W
Max Control Temp. Extruder 260 °C
Max Temp. of HotBed 100 °C
Recommend Temp. ABS:    Nozzle:235 °C  Hot Bed:100 °C
PLA:    Nozzle:200 °C  Hot Bed:50 °C
Printing Format STL/OBJ/G-code
System Compatibility Windows XP/Win7/Win 8/Linux/Mac
Language English
Connecting SD card/ USB

YouTube Videos

RAISCUBE R2 Leveling&Printing

RAISCUBE R2 Installation Video

RAISCUBE R2 Installation DEMO

With that being said I am not sure I would have struggled as much had I known the videos were available. I watched some of the videos but it is hard to know if I would have made the same mistakes.

Free mod

One of the complaints I had in the first part was that I had to level the bed after every print. I have been watching and reading a lot on 3D printing, and I ran across a video that was talking about placing a nut between the screw and the build plate and after trying myself it makes so much sense. Not only is it going to help make a moving plate more rigid it will compress the springs more. There were extra nuts in the kit so this one is a simple welcome freebie. I haven’t leveled the bed much at all after this. I also think it improves quality as well keeping the build plate more rigid.

Prints Before E3D Upgrade

New filament I just received. Some Blue WYZworks Blue PLA. I was tweaking at the bottom, so please ignore the under extrusion at the feet. I changed the flow back as soon as I noticed. All these prints are stock unless otherwise noted.

Another pre sliced file on sd card. Little trouble with overhangs. Overall prettygood. New tool holder

Last and final print on SD card. Kids liked this. Prints in one piece and moves as soon as removed from the print bed.

Moved into new office/work space, went onto thingiverse and printed off some hangers.

Orange Pi Lite development board case.

Joined the fidget spinner crowd, and printed off a bunch of these for son’s birthday party as gifts in different colors. About $1.30 each spinner.

E3D Clone

I have been working for a while on converting to a bowden style E3D clone. I have it mostly working but want to make sure I have a good working solution. My goal is to make it a simple upgrade with the least amount of work and modifications. It worked with the first iteration, until I started longer prints. I am pretty sure it is due to heat creeping up the heartbreak. I think with some Kapton tape insulating the hotend and new mount with bigger fan I can fix the issue.

1st mount with stock E3D fan.

This printer prints really well stock without any modifications, but you have to print slower to avoid ringing. Ringing happens when the print head is accelerating and decelerating and reducing the weight of the x carriage helps reduce this. The R2 is a direct drive type printer. Which means the stepper motor that pushes the filament is on the x carriage. This can be changed to a bowden style and weight can be reduced substantially.

In addition, this converts to an all metal heatbreak. The stock R2 has a short PTFE tube in the heatbreak which limits your temperature to max of 245 deg. Above 245 the PTFE starts to burn and melt and release bad fumes.

Example of Ringing. Stock left E3D Clone Right. Printed same gcode. This was short enough print that finished with E3D clone. Printing slower also reduces ringing.

I think this is a winner. Using 40mm fan instead of 30mm, and not obstructing airflow.

Filament Reel

One additional benefit changing to a bowden style is that you filament reel doesn’t have to turn as freely to get better prints. If you are printing stock you can improve your prints just by making the filament flow better to the hotend. Initially I raised the spool holder to above and behind the printer to improve the flow. With the stock setup when the direct drive is moving around if there is friction on the spool it will slightly twist the hotend as it is moving. I am talking about .1mm variance but you can see this on your prints. There are several spool holders on thingiverse, I am using this one with some bearings that I modified for my needs.

3D Builder

I had been using TinkerCAD to make modifications to parts, but I just noticed windows 10 has a program called 3D Builder built in. It is working OK for what I do most of the time. It is rudimentary for 3D modeling but I find it useful for what I need. TinkerCAD still seems better for slightly more complex stuff but for some simple changes 3D Builder opens quickly and I don’t have to log in. It might be that I have used TinkerCAD more.

Closing Thoughts

Wow! This has been challenging for me to work through the troubleshooting on the E3D upgrade. Stock printing with this printer yields good results. Only if you want to print faster is the E3D really necessary. As long as jamming doesn’t happen with this new design I should be able to share on Thingiverse, and final short write up and comparison. If you would like to purchase this printer you can use this code CNXPrusa on Gearbest and grab it for $179.99.

After the next E3D upgrade article, I’ll be working on TEVO Tarantula 3D printer next sold on GearBest for $418.59. Pretty excited about this one.