Returning to FDM printing

This week I've returned to printing with Plastic using my Ender 5. A blog post on how my Ender 5 is setup, customized and what I plan to do with it is coming soon and I'll update here when it is out.

So why did I stop printing?

It's not like I didn't want to 3D print. I bought a resin printer in the year to 2 years I haven't been printing on the ender 5. The actual truth is, it became a little bit difficult and so I stopped. In this particular case, I kept having nozzle blockages. The blockages meant I actually had to do something to my printer to make it work reliably again. That meant spending time on it.

3D printing is a hobby in itself and it's not like I don't have an abundance of hobbies to keep me busy. So, spending an evening on the printer (or possibly longer) put me off.

This week, however, I just bit the bullet and did it. I diagnosed the problem to be heat creep. I had replaced the entire hotend with a cheap look-a-like which was also meant to be "all-metal". Try as I might, it had never worked. Instead of replacing it, I'd just left it.

At some point, possibly after I had stopped printing, I bought myself a Phaetus dragonfly BMS hotend. Looking at my Amazon page to get the link, I bought the hotend about a year ago.

The hotend is all-metal and can print up to 500 degrees C, with the right additions. The hotend is a drop in replacement for the Ender 5's hotend, however, I did have to use screws that were shorter to make the hotend butt up against the carriage correctly. At the same time, I replaced the thermistor to a cylinder style one. Fortunately, that was the same type as the original, so no firmware reinstall was required.

Once everything was back and installed, I heated up the printer and kept an eye on it. The first thing that happened was I got an error stating that thermal runaway had happened. After a little bit of googling, I realised that this was because I hadn't done a PID tune on the new nozzle.

Fortunately, I had prepared Octoprint to do this at the click of a button. It even stored the values too. Once complete, and the nozzle was indeed heating up as expected, I moved on to setting the z offset.

Once complete, I loaded up new filament and did a layer check to make sure everything was ok. Once I was happy, I started printing small models to build confidence.

Next job is to get those models off thingiverse that I've been meaning to get around too...

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