3D Printing – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I installed the E3D-V6 hot end on my printer and was humming along printing parts. Things were going well. Too well.

I fired up a batch of parts and went off to do something else. That’s how well things were going, I wasn’t watching the printer like a hawk anymore. That appears to have been my fatal mistake.

I returned to the basement when the job should have been done only to see a messy blob of plastic on the platen and the cooling fan and shroud hanging free. It appears that the double-stick tape I used to attach the cooling fan and shroud had come un-stuck. Just for more fun, the hot end then proceeded to drag it back and forth over the parts until it had melted it’s way right though the ring of the shroud.

Blobby mess.

What a mess.

Here is a better photo of the fan shroud.

Should be a complete ring.

I wasn’t happy with the shroud and mounting system so this forced me to redesign some new parts. It was pretty fun to figure out how to model the complex shroud. I have to confess that I used Autodesk Inventor to model the part as trying to do this much work in FreeCAD would have been a huge exercise in frustration.

New hotness!

I managed to get one printed out but then discovered that I made the wall section way too thin in the ring part and the layers didn’t adhere. But it sure looked nice.

I also made a fan mount that fit on the first try (I’m getting better at this 3D printing thing) and was was going to use the faulty shroud to print the next iteration when all of a sudden the plastic stopped feeding.

Now what?

It turns out the cheap press-in tubing fitting that was on the extruder decided that it wasn’t going to hold the tubing anymore.

The culprit.

Halted for the want of a $4.50 part. Of course it’s metric and the local stores don’t have one. But McMaster-Carr does!

So the printer is grounded again until the part arrives. Probably Monday.