Category Archives: modifications

Custom Start G-code : Is It Worth Changing 

Custom G-code snippet

When you load your Gcode into your printer, it will carry out exactly the commands it is told. Are the default ones the best for your printer…

Why customize the start g-code: Your 3d printer will do exactly what G-codes you tell it to do. So with a bit of careful programming you can optimize your start G-code with no ooze and custom heating.

Why change the start g-code

My 3d printing days go back to the old version of cura, when the version was a lot higher than it is now….(15.xxx)

Once you loaded up a model…set up how you wanted it to print…what you want it printed with…you pressed slice, and it popped out a file that contained the start commands and the stop commands.

Loading this onto an SD card and putting it into your 3d printer, it would happily heat up sensibly, move to the start position sensibly and then start printing.

As slicers have progressed it appears that less thought is put into the start code, almost having it as an afterthought.

Most slicers now place the print nozzle at the printing height before moving onto the bed, or heat both the bed and nozzle up at the same time.

I did try briefly in the past to add custom G-code but it normally just ignored it.

But i revisited it recently after trying out prusaslicer and it trying to crash my machine into one of my bed screws at the start….

What can be done

Once you start looking into what you can change in G-code you will be amazed and perhaps a little afraid to have a go.

But once you start and find that you can control your printer at its lowest level you feel in control.

The start code for most slicers now consists of heat the bed, heat the nozzle, zero the axes, move to the initial layer height, go to the first position and start printing.

Some, as i said above , even switch both bed and nozzle on at the same time, trying to overload your power supply for the length of time they are both on.

The old cura was a lot more gentle with the printer.

Zeroing the axes, moving the printhead up 10mm,heating the bed, heating the nozzle and moving to the start position all in one smooth movement.

This code had the advantage of missing any screwheads in the corners of the bed.

If you looked into it you could sit down manually and write your own g-code for your model using the special strings available and then process it through your favorite slicer.

But why would you- the slicer can do the heavy lifting, you just want to treat your printer with respect at the start and prevent damaging your nozzle as it moves to the start position for printing.

My safe routine

So instead of the standard start G-code trying to break my nozzle off i decided to create a similar routine to the original cura.

But even better, as i got fed up of the ‘snotty nose’ initial ooze and pulling off the filament at startup to reduce the risk of it not sticking i decided to have a look at this as well.

Using the prusaslicer, the startup process i decided on is :

  •  Heat the bed
  • Heat the nozzle to a ‘safe’ temp (160C)
  • Start with no fan
  • Zero the Axes
  • Move z axis up 10mm
  • Move the printhead over the bed
  • Go to the first layer height
  • Heat the nozzle the rest of the way
  • And  start printing.

My first few attempts didn’t end up doing what i wanted, but i persevered and found that using the special placeholders over rode the standard coding.

I used the Marlin g-code command reference to find what i wanted to do.

There are commands to start the heating process and then you can go off and do other things while it is still heating (M104- nozzle heating), or you can start the heating and wait till it is finished to carry on( M109 nozzle heating and wait).

And there is a host of other commands.

My Custom Start G-code

So my list of G-codes for the prusaslicer ended up as :

M190 S[first_layer_bed_temperature]; heat the bed and wait
M109 S160 ; heat the nozzle to a non drip temp
G21; set the system to metric
G90 ; with absolute positioning
M82; set the extruder to absolute
M107; start with the fan off
G28 X0 Y0 ; zero the x and y axes
G28 Z0 ; zero the z axis
G1 Z10.0 F2400.00 ; move the gantry up 10mm to clear any obstructions
G92 E0; zero the extruder
G1 X15.0 Y15.0 ; move the nozzle over the bed
G1 Z[first_layer_height] ; move the nozzle down to the start height
M109 S[first_layer_temperature] ; get the nozzle up to temperature
M117 let's Print…; put on the screen a messageCustom G-code snippet

Did it do what i wanted

The standard heating of the bed first before loading the power supply with anything else did work, i maybe will try starting the bed running and then zero the axes and all the other setup before going back to wait for the bed to finish. – i will update if it seems to work well and not drop the power supply volts on my anet A8 clone.

Setting the nozzle to a safe temp of 160C does get the filament soft but not oozing, this is for pla but may also work for ABS – as yet untried.

Moving the printhead up to miss everything – that worked well.

And again moving the nozzle over the bed – i had to adjust it a bit as the home position is off the bed rather than the corner of the bed.

Moving the nozzle back down shows me whether it will collide with the bed – it shouldn’t if the bed is leveled correctly.

And finishing the heating before printing, again works well with no ooze as the nozzle is so close to the bed.

I did try printing the skirt while heating the nozzle up, but as the filament was not liquid enough to be extruded then it failed while trying to feed the filament…not a good move.

And yes with the two special placeholders it prevented the slicer from putting its code over the top and messing things up.

Will this work with other slicers – yes

You may have to change the placeholder text

Cura has {material_print_temperature_layer_0} as the first layer nozzle temp

And {material_bed_temperature} for the bed temperature.

So those will need changing in the routine above.

But everything else is standard G-code.

In Simplify3d they call it custom scripting – but as i don’t own a copy then….the support area is your best bet i’m afraid.

here is a list of prusa and slic3r placeholders

and the cura ones are here

Advanced start G-code

What else could be added

Bed leveling – once i have my other machine up and running again i will be adding this and seeing if it really does help.

Linear advance – i want to investigate this as it does improve your overall printing.

Within prusaslicer and slic3r there is a section on conditional programming, so you can have your slicer make decisions on your G-code.

So if you always want your second layer temperature to drop a few degrees you can add this to your custom start code rather than setting it up in the slicer.

But be warned that the slic3r and prusaslicer conditional code uses different commands – so once you start getting into that level then it is best to stay with one slicer.

But with the conditional coding you can setup temperature towers for a specific model – changing the nozzle temp at certain heights.

You could run a speed test to see where you start to skip steps in the x and y  axes.

Thee is a host of things you could investigate, but start with the custom G-code to control your machine how you want it to startup and move forward from there.

I hope that this has given you the confidence to have a go at changing your start code – even if it is only changing the message on the lcd (M117)…it just makes the printer yours…..

Most stop codes are ok, they will move the print nozzle up a bit or home the x axis and switch off the heaters. But again you could customize this – but make sure you don’t knock off your model…

 How to Apply Kapton Tape to Your 3d Printer Bed

polyimide tape on bed

Do you want a smooth bottom to your prints, whether they are PLA or ABS or TPU. Well it is worth finding out how to apply Kapton tape tape to your print bed to achieve this.

Applying kapton tape to your 3d printer bed: Using a high temperature covering on your bed to allow your prints to stick will help in two ways – it protects the bed surface and gives you a smooth bottom to your print.

Applying Kapton tape to your printer build plate

Kapton tape or polyimide tape as it is more generically known (Kapton is a trade name of DuPont) is a high temperature tape, mainly now used in the electronics industry.

You have seen flexible pcbs…well they are made out of polyimide with copper tracks on them. You can solder parts to these as well, that is the sort of heat this material can take…

Using it to cover the print bed will allow your prints to stick to the surface of the tape and make them adhere while printing and when cold can help remove them.

Remove all the old surface adhesive

To start this process you need to get rid of the old surface coating .

What i am doing is replacing the surface on my aluminum build plate.

I know a lot of you have gone to a glass plate – and the process is the same.

So with IPA, or other solvent remover get rid of all of the old coating and adhesive.

You have probably dug into the old coating when trying to get prints off the bed—i know i have, and cussed a bit when doing it…

You try and stick it back down, but it never really sticks and gets caught in the first layer…

Once the print bed is clean

Once all the old adhesive has been removed then use a final wipe of IPA to get rid of any grease from the fingers or residue left from adhesive removers.

Plenty of water and soap

Depending on what you are like with putting screen protectors on your phone you may be able to get away with not doing this step, but most of us need to do this.

Get a spray bottle with water and a bit of dish soap – it can be cold water.

Making sure that you are not going to get anything wet that shouldn’t – and make sure your printer is off if you are working on it.

Spray the water liberally onto the surface.

Different widths of Kapton tape

There are different widths of polyimide tape and different approaches for applying it.

I have 50mm width ( 2 in) and wouldn’t go under that width, but you can go up from that to over 200mm (7.8 in).

Why the difference….well you can cover the bed in one piece rather than strips.

But before you rush out and buy the wider one, think about how you use your printer….

Do you print mainly small items, or are they large and cover the whole bed.

If they are small then it maybe worth going for the strips….

My reasoning is that i can replace a strip and the rest of the bed is fine, if i use the whole bed in one i have to replace the whole surface at once….

It probably makes no difference in the end, but i dislike wasting things…

But back to the now drying bed….

Cut a strip longer than the bed

Decide whether you want to go side to side or front to back.

My preference is front to back as i don’t remove the bed.

With the bed covered in the water and soap spray – make sure you smooth it over with your hand to ensure all over coverage.

Any parts not covered in the spray will allow the tape to stick to the bed immediately – this is not what we want.

Cut a piece to the right size plus 50mm or so (2 in) – this way you don’t have to position it exactly.

Make sure the sticky side does not touch anything, picking up any dirt or dust as this will make an impression in the bottom of your prints….

Lay it onto the bed in approximately the right position.

If there is enough water the tape will be able to be repositioned by hand – you will be able to slide it around.

If not it will attempt to grip – you can remove it easily at this point and spray more water onto the bed surface and try again.

Right to the edges

In the corners of the bed are adjusters.

Do you cover them or not – well i suppose it depends on whether you Kapton tape and ipa

need to get to them and plan on printing to the edge of the bed.

But remember if you are using 50mm width tap – four strips of this are 200mm and if your bed is 220mm then you will be adding a thin strip down one edge….

Or miss about 10mm either side – which is how i do mine.

This accounts for the adjuster screws…

So sliding the first piece towards the edge and getting it as parallel as you can by eye leave it there.

Spray some more water onto the bed and cut another strip to go next to this.

Lay the next strip onto the bed next to the first strip, you should be able to slide it to butt upto the edge of the first.

But don’t force it into the edge as this may cause a ridge and a thickness which will interfere with the first layer printing.

Spray, cut and place the other pieces onto the bed.

Squeegee the water out

Now comes the interesting bit – getting the water out from under the tap to make it stick to the bed surface.

Using a squeegee – an old credit card, screen protectors come with them, or even car body filler ( but not used ones with filler on please….).

You can use anything that will not scratch the surface and is relatively soft and flexible.

Start at the center of one piece and work towards the outsides.

Have some paper towel available to mop up the excess as it is squeezed out from under the tape.

At any point you see a large air bubble or crease appearing then stop and lift the tape.

Lift out the bubble or crease – spray with water and reposition.

It may take a time the first time you do this and you may get a few small bubbles left – but as with the screen protector you can chase them around to one place and towards the edge of the bed.

Do this for all the strips.

Heating the bed for the first time

After squeegeeing we need to make sure the last traces of moisture are gone before printing on the surface.

So now reinstall the bed surface if it was removed from the printer.

Make sure all the excess moisture has been removed from around the edge .

Some people trim it to fit exactly to the bed – it all depends on the type of person you are.

Personally i tend to leave the edges overhanging as they are useful when you need to remove it in the future.

As long as they are not going to interfere with the movement of the bed – or anything else with the printer then what’s the problem.

If anything i wrap them down the sides of the bed to reduce heat loss from there…

So now switch on the printer and selecting the bed temperature heat it up to about 70C.

And wait…….

Go have a cup of coffee and leave it for about an hour.

What you will come back to will horrify you – all those bubbles.

That’s where in the last stage if you get almost all the moisture out from under the tape it lessens the impact of this stage.

With the squeegee start at the center of the strips again and move any air bubbles out towards the edges. again with it in strips it is easier to get rid of the air bubbles.

Group them together to make larger bubbles.

If you cannot get these to the sides of the tape you can pop with a very sharp pin and force the air out (smallest hole you can so only just pierce the tape – a lot won’t like that stage but it does work if you can’t move the air out to the sides.

And you should now have a bed surface covered in Kapton tape.

Preparing for printing

So if you are going to print ABS, then you need to cover this surface with the ABS juice ( acetone and bits of ABS dissolved).

Or spray on hairspray to make it adhere better.

Or if it is PLA or TPU you can try it bare.

Sometimes the PLA has trouble sticking to the polyimide, if that is the case a little hairspray ( when the bed is cold) will help it adhere.

Cleaning the surface of the tape with IPA will remove any grease and again help with adhesion.

As will increasing the flow rate of the first layer – but watch out for elephants foot.

Once you see the shine you get when you take the print off the bed it will make you smile and think you never want to use a different surface again…

Until you cannot get your prints to stick and…..

Removing your prints

Once you have printed your model you will be eager to remove it.

I don’t blame you, you are excited to see what it looks like.

But be patient.

Make sure any item you use to lever up underneath your model doesn’t have any sharp corners, these can dig into the surface covering and rip it.

Just moving under the base a little and then using the scraper as a lever can lift a lot of the model up.

What i find is if this happens go around the other sides and do the same rather than just lifting the print from only one side helps preserve the bed coating.

Abs still warping

If when you print abs you still find it warping – especially on the corners try using prusaslicer or slic3r to add mouse ears on the first layer.

You could even  go for a skirt that has a height to prevent draughts from around the model. This is something i will try and report back on once i have an enclosure built.

Printing PLA onto polyimide tape

I have found it very hit and miss having PLA stick to the Kapton tape.

Even with the bed heated to 50 or 60C it still just drags the initial adding blue painters tape over the top

lump around.

You almost want to extrude a bit of filament then stop the print head and press it onto the bed to anchor it before starting your print.

This is something i will try and remember to look into, once i get the hang of changing the gcode at the start of the print.

But the finish you can get – especially if it not over any of the joints in the tape is mirror like and worth the hassle.

It is almost worth printing the bottom as the finish surface in some instances.

I now have started adding blue painters tape over the top of the kapton tape to guarantee the prints stick.

If i was good i could have a strip of blue tape where the model start printing on the brim and the main model on the kapton tape…..something i could experiment with…

Well i hope you do try using the Kapton tape for a surface finish.

Let me know in the comments whether you have a different method to apply it and i will try it.

What else can you use kapton tape for

As you use the cooling fan to cool the extruded filament you also have a chance of cooling the hotend block.

Doing this will cause the heater to be used more often than it should be adding stress to your power supply.

Covering the hotend block in kapton tape will give it at least one level of insulation – the better is to use the cotton insulation – which again is covered in kapton tape to secure it.

This way you will find that when you activate your fan – especially if you go straight for 100% – it does not thermally shock the hotend block.

Can you repair the surface

If you do happen to dig into the surface then the chances are high that you will rip a piece out of the tape.

Can you repair it.

You can try to stick it back down or you can but a larger area out of the tap and splice a piece in but the next time you print over the splice it will pull off again.

So if you start to rip it up then it is time to replace it.

This is where using the strips can win over the one piece – you just replace the strip that is damaged.

I have a glass plate i don’t need kapton tape

I know that the glass plate is a smooth surface, but if your print sticks too well then you may have another problem i see reported al over the web.

That of the print ripping a piece out of the surface of your glass plate.

Then this needs replacing.

If you cover it in kapton tape at least you have another interface to take the pressure off the glass surface and prolong its life.

Which types of glass plate is this more likely to happen with – well anything that is hardened may become brittle to the point of fracturing.

Whereas softer glass this may not happen as readily.

 

Anet A8 fan- do you want to hear the silence?

One of the most frequently asked questions on the forums is how do Anet A8 fan upgrade I silence that Anet A8 fan noise?

Well this article will explore the options you have.

 

Which Anet A8 fan is installed?

You have two fans which can be installed when building.

Most people ditch the extruder cooling fan or modify it  and only replace it when they have issues with heat on the extruder motor melting the filament causing jams.

The other is a radiall fan which is used to cool the filament as it comes out.

The radiall fan is capable of moving 18 cfm (cubic feet per minute) at 7000 rpm (revs per minute).

Supplied with a voltage of 12v it draws 0.18A so consumes about 2watts of power.

The bearing type is a sleeve bearing.

So when you are printing you enable this fan to come on to cool your print.

It is not on constantly or fully on, this is the one you can control either from the gcode file or the menu screen.

It will not start below a certain percentage and ramps up to full speed.

After a few weeks of operation this fan may start to get noisier, and maybe even squeal a bit when starting up.

To start with lifting the label and placing a drop of oil on the spindle quietens it down, but very soon the noise is back.

What options do you have?

Essentially you have got three main options.

Replace like with like. So keep going with a sleeve bearing.

This is a plain bearing with a pin in a sleeve.

The lubrication is good at the start but quickly moves away from the area where it Is needed and wear starts, along with vibration and noise.

Increased temperature will increase the wear of the bearings.

As said above a drop of oil will increase the life of the bearing.

The fan starts out noisy and gets noisier throughout its lifetime.

These types of bearing will fail with no notice – so if you do go this way then keep a couple of spares in just in case.

They are the cheapest of the options.

Or look into a ball bearing fan- make sure you get the dual ball bearing as some of these are ball bearing on one side and sleeve bearing on the other.

The ball bearings or bb fans are more expensive but longer lasting.

They tend to be louder at the start than sleeved bearings, but will quieten down with run time.

The performance out of the box over time is good.

Again higher temperatures will prematurly wear the bearing due to loss of lubricant.

They have a more predictable failure mode by getting noisier before failing.

Or you can go with one of the newer hydrodynamic bearings.

Although these are essentailly a sleeved bearing they have been modified to allow the lubricant to circulate.

They are the most expensive, due mainly to licencing fees.

They are very clever in the fact that they use the fans own rotation to create a flow of fluid around the bearings.

These are extremely quiet bearings and fans – almost whisper quiet.

These bearings are sealed so should not lose lubrication over their lifetime. Even when runnig at elevated temperatures.

Failure of the seal is probably the major cause of fan failure

You do have to watch out for some inferior types which are not so good, but generally all of these types are extremely quiet.

Another modified veriation of this type of bearing is the sso bearing, where a magnet keeps the bearing centralised to further increase its lifetime and allow operation in any direction.

The sleeve bearing and bb fans are readily available in axial and radiall modes.

But the hydrodynamic fans tend to only come in axial fans.

The actual volume of air throughput is lower with the hydrodynamic fans, so you may need a larger one to compensate.

But to get the silence I would go for a 40mm cooling fan and a 50mm duct fan.

axial
Amazon anet a8 40mm fan
standard 40mm fan – click to see the reviews

2 off dual ball bearing fans
Dual ball bearing fan X2 – click to see the reviews

40mm Gelid fan anet a8 fan
40mm Gelid fan- click to see what people think

bearing oil bearing ball bearing hydrodynamic
voltage 12v 12v 12v
current 0.12A 0.132A 0.05A
air flow 6.7 cfm 8.69 cfm 4.8 cfm
speed 7000 rpm 7500 rpm 4500 rpm
noise 25 dBA 31.5 dBA 17.9 dBA
guarantee ? 12 months 6 years

So there you have the main types of fans with their bearings.

Instead of that jet engine taking off why not treat yourself to a quiet print experience and change to a silent fan.

You will be amazed at the difference in noise, I know I was.

50mm gelid fan
50mm Gelid fan – click to see reviews

Here’s a link to the 50mm

The only difficulty is mounting it, being an axial fan you need to funnel the output flow down onto the hot extruded filament.

But there are mounts for this available to print and fit, so there you have another noise removed.

Bearing replacement is covered in the article on changing your bearings to igus bearings.

All you have left is the motor noise and this is dealt with by the addition of the trinamic drivers the TMC range.

These will be covered in another article.

Hopefully now you will be replacing that jet engine of an anet a8 fan to being one where you an hear yourself think.

Thanks for reading

Phil

Anet A8 mods : Adding an auxilliary socket to the Anet A8

anet a8 mods: 3d pen into auxilliary connectorAnet A8 mods are an ongoing process, here is another one to add to your printer.

This time it is something you may have not seen before: Adding an auxilliary socket to the Anet A8

I bought my Anet A8 a couple of years ago and built it up.

Having played with it for a while I found that I needed some tools which could all be powered from 12v.

This got me to thinking, what if I added an auxilliary socket to the Anet A8 to power these tools.

Instead of hunting for mains power block I could just plug and play.

I then got to thinking what could I use it for.

I came up with a short list – which I am sure will grow.

So I have:

  • Heat iron, to help with prints that come loose at the edges
  • 3d printing pen, to add more adhesion if necessary and fill in parts that partially fail to keep on printing – to repair supports that fail.
  • I am looking into a hot air pencil, the best I have seen are run from mains and are 1kw heaters!
  • led lighting to enable lights in places you don’t normally see them.

I am looking to keep the current drain from this socket down to 5A – so we have 60w to play with.

It maybe that I can design a hot air pencil as we only need up to 100C for ABS and abut 60C for PLA. So using a hotend heater and a 12v controled fan with a pair of thermistors – one on the heater to prevent overheating and the other in the air stream to control the fan speed to prevent cooling of the block too much – or even just a thermistor on the heat block to keep it up to temperature.

12v lighting to see under or around things to help with maintenance.

I may even be able to design a mini grinder to clean up the bed and maintain a clean surface to assist adhesion.

Under printer storage to keep all of these tools handy and tidy will be a necessity.

Fitting the Anet A8 mod auxilliary connector

So to start.

We need a connector.

I have been looking for a connector to fit the circular hole in the middle frame. This hole is about 10mm diameter.

I failed and found the din range of connectors, used for soldering irons and other tools already.step drill and din connector

Mine doesn’t come with screw locking but is just a push fit.

It also has a connector shell size of 13mm, this didn’t fit into the hole.

I have a set of step drills – very handy for jobs like this where you need to increase the hole size.

I selected the one which would give the right size hole and marked it with tape to prevent overdrilling.

As the frame is made from acrylic, known to be fairly brittle, I put the drill bit into a battery drill to keep the speed down.

Taking it slowly and hardly pushing the drill into the hole, it cut drill usedsurprisingly well for a bit.

You can tell when you are overheating the acrylic, this is when you stop getting swarf coming out.

At this point stop the drill, clean it off, get all of the melted plastic off and promise yourself that you won’t spin the drill that fast.

I found that the correct drill size was going to become one size up before cutting right through, so you will need access to both sides of the frame.

As it was I had to remove the screws from the power supply before I started, as the drill was going to be drilling into this.

Once the center hole is big enough for the connector to fit, I held it in position to drill one of the securing holes.

A 3mm drill bit went through the hole – so was used to start the hole.

Removing the connector, I upped the drill bit to 3.5mm, allowing for tolerance on a m3 screw and slop for hand drilling.

Don’t do what I did on the first hole, which is to drill all the way through with the 3mm bit and then try the 3.5mm – I could feel it trying to catch and chip, almost breaking the acrylic frame piece.

Fit the connector back and push a screw through the first hole to locate where the second hole should be drilled, and using the same technique of starting with a 3mm nd moving up to a 3.5mm , drill the second hole.

With hind sight – you maybe able to fit the connector behind the acrylic frame, only drilling two mounting holes to secure it. This will need to be tested for connector security as you may not be able to push the tool connector home fully.

Wiring up the connector

I chose a 5 way din connector.

This gives us options for interconnects.

We can add intelligence behind the frame or we can design tools with intelligence.

With a 5 way connector you also get the outer shell of the connector, so you do have 6 ways to connect.

The first connection was the 12v.

We need two wires and I chose the outer two pins as the 12v feed and 12v return.

This will be connected straight to the power supply and will always be on.

A future mod may be a switch to isolate this connector.

A thought for the other wires is to use a pair as temperature feedback, with the last pin as a digital input.

So all of the pins were wired up prior to final fitting.

A heavy ish pair of wires for the 12v fee and return, terminated the other end in fork crimps to be fitted to the power supply.

Lighter wires have been used for the other four wires , including the shell of the connector.

These have been tucked away behind the frame and taped so that they will not interfere with the power supply.

Fit the wires to the power supply terminals before refitting the power supply to the frame.

Then fit the auxilliary socket, bending the wires and making sure nothing is going to short out- it is probably preferable to cover the soldered connections with heatshrink to prevent shorting, but make sure they are not too long so as to interfere with the fitting of the power supply.

As I said before, tape up the unused wires and tuck them out of the way.

Make sure you create a diagram of the wiring, in 6 months when you design a superb new bit of kit, which blows up if connected the wrong way round, you will be fiddling about checking which pins the voltage is on.

When creating a diagram, make sure to show whether it is from the front or rear of the connector.

At present, all I have to connect to the aux socket is a 3d pen and this works well.

I am trying a 12v soldering iron to see if I can connect it to the socket, but have not tried this yet.

A 12v light can be made easily from an empty pen – or even printed, with a clip to secure it onto the frame and position it where you want light for maintenance or other tasks.

I am limiting the power drawn to 60w as I am still using the original power supply – with a 350w as a backup still in its box!

So there you go, now you have an auxilliary socket on your Anet A8, what are you going to plug into yours?

If you have a tool that you know will be useful to plug into your new anet a8 mods: aux conn fitted auxilliary socket for the AnetA8 why not leave a comment in the box below to share with us all.

So here’s a picture of the Anet A8 mods, the auxilliary connector fitted.

Thanks for reading

Phil

Ramps 1.4 connections : making them safe for the Anet A8

Make your Ramps 1 4 connections safe for upgrading your Anet A8 3d printer.

Ramps 1 4 connections upgradeRamps 1 4 connections : board

The ramps 1.4 board combined with the mega2560 is a common upgrade when the main board blows up on your Anet a8 3d printer.

It is not that you cannot get the original boards , but that the ramps, when programmed with marlin, gives you a lot more opportunity to upgrade your printer.

This is not without problems, one of the main ones I keep seeing on forums is the overheating of the connectors.

For the Anet A8, with it’s high current demand, the standard connectors are not good enough for the long term.

Yes they might work in the short term, but they will overheat and possibly catch the insulation on fire.

Can you safely use the ramps 1.4 on an anet a8?

You can replace the input connector, along with the bed, nozzle and fan connectors with ones suitable for the job.

I have looked into this and found a connector suitable for 20A camdenboss connectorscontinuous use.

It is a screw connector again, so you will need to check the tightness on a regular basis, but with this simple maintenance it will serve you well.

It takes away the pluggable input, but for the safety you get with this connector then to me that if justified.

It is a pcb screw terminal connector from camdenboss cbt0158/2 (ebay link)- it is a 2 pole stackable connector able to handle 20A continuous.

So this means you can make any length of connector you want as long as it is in multiples of 2 – so 2,4,6,8 etc.

We are looking for a 4 way and a 6 way, so it is ideal for this.

How do you replace the connectors?

You will need to de-solder the input connector and the output connector along the one side of the board.

I started with the input four pin connector.

You will need a soldering iron, solder, pliers, solder wick or solder sucker and flux cleaner.

 

 

Start by clearing your workspace, and if you have a helping hands then secure the board in this upside down, with the connector pointing towards you.

Dependant on how the board has been designed, with or without a lot of clearance for the pins, for me determines how the connector is removed.board towards you

If there is a lot of clearance on the connector pins with the plated through hole then you can heat each pin up and clear the solder from around the pin with the solder sucker. If it is tight then I tend to add solder to each of the pins and heat along the row so that the whole connector can be slid out with the molten solder allowing the pins to slide out, then you clear up the solder.

Normally I tend to use the latter technique on pins that are closer together, but I tried to clear one pin to see that it was quite a tight fit, so went ahead with the flood removal technique.

I will probably get shouted down for this technique, but I have used it in my last job with no problems.

What I do is to heat each pin of the connector and feed more solder onto them.

You then go along the row heating each pin up until the solder melts again.

You will need to keep doing this until you see all of the solder around the pins becomes molten at the same time- I will lay the soldering iron down to touch as many pins as possible at one time to help this technique, feeding solder on as necessary to keep good thermal contact without oxidisation.

You can hold the connector in your hand and put downwards pressure on it to see when it comes loose, don’t pull too hard as this can damage the plated through holes – even rip them out.

You might find that it takes a couple of minutes to carry this out, depending on the wattage of the iron you have.

Mine took 30 seconds of going between the pins to get them all hot enough to remove it easily.

After the connector is out you will need t remove the excess solder with a solder sucker and solder wick.

Make sure you clean off all of the flux before you fit the new connectors.

The new connector is a modular one and fits together making up connectors in multiples of two.

So we will need two pairs for the four way connector.

They slide in with the dovetails keeping them tight together.

Once you have made up the four stack and cleaned out the holes for the connector you are ready to fit it.

two almost together
sliding two together

two fully home
two fully home to make a 4way conn

What I tend to do is to push the connector in – noting how tight or loose it is, ensure you fit it the right way round so you can fit the wires into the connector.

Push it all the way home – if it is really tight then stop – remove it and examine the holes – you may find a little bit of solder left down one of the holes. Clear this out and try again – never really force it in as again you have the chance of damaging the plated through holes and causing a problem of no connection on some pins.

Once it is all the way home, solder one end pin and stop.

Now look at the connector and see if it is still in the right place or has it moved – it is normally trying to fall out at this time as it is underneath the board with no support.

To readjust the connector heat the solder up and once it is molten readjust the connector to its right place. Stop heating the solder.

Check it again and once happy solder the other end pin, and check once more before soldering the rest of the pins.

Make sure you refresh the solder a little on the first pin to ensure that there isn’t a dry joint trying to form due to overheating the solder while adjusting.

Now clean off the flux with flux cleaner, IPA or acetone.

You have successfully replaced the input connector with a 20a one, congratulations.one connector done

All you have to do is to remove the 6 pin one for the heated bed, nozzle and fan.

This one you can try the same, but I found that with the pin pitch and the number of pins I couldn’t get all off the pins molten at the same time, so resorted to the solder sucker and once all of the visible solder had gone removed the connector.

I constructed a 6 way connector out of three pairs and dry fitted it into the holes.

I found that the locking parts on the connector next to the power connector were interfering with the fit, so took a scalpel to them and removed them.

The connector now slid into the holes and was fitted tight to the board.

Turning it over I soldered one pin and checked the connector, this time it hadn’t moved so I soldered all of the pins and cleaned off the residual flux.

You could cut the original connector into a 4 way and refit that, but I felt it was too much hassle and just used all 6 of the new connector.

The wires to fit into the holes are stripped a maximum of 8mm – so I would pick 5mm as a good length.both upgraded

The connector can take a wire size of 0.2 to 2.5mm stranded and 4mm solid, or 30-12AWG.

So you now have a modified ramps 1.4 board with connectors suitable for the job, they can handle 24A IEC or 14A UL – so dependant on what spec you want to use depends on what maximum current it can handle.

Why is this – well it is to do with the allowable temperature rise of the connector, UL allow a 30C rise in the temperature whereas IEC ( vde and imq) allow a de-rating curve of temperature against current and the specs are a little different.

If you have a different way or any comment on this article please leave it in the comments box and I will get back to you.

This has been an article about upgrading the Ramps 1 4 connections, replacing the connectors to suit the Anet A8 3d printer current, preventing melting or fire hazard.

Many thanks for reading

Phil

Anet A8 Mods – How to Make Your Own Heat Block Cover

How to make your own heat block cover

– don’t let the cooling fan spoil your prints

What Anet A8 mods have you done?

All FFF 3d printers use a similar technology, the heatblock.

anet a8 mods - covered nozzle
one of the most important parts – the nozzle

This is the way they get the filament from the standard 1.75mm or 3mm down to the 0.4mm to create your model.
The heat block is a lump of metal with a 12v ( normally – there are 24v ones) heater cartridge and a thermistor, to report the temperature.
These lumps of metal are hung below the printhead.
As the filament comes out of the nozzle and bonds with the layer below by melting into it. Continue reading Anet A8 Mods – How to Make Your Own Heat Block Cover

Anet a8 upgrades : Adding Led Light to See Your Prints

What Anet A8 upgrades have you done?

Buying a 3d printer is exciting.

Putting together an Anet A8 can be frustrating but rewarding.

what are we prinitng
what are we prinitng?

Printing with it is brilliant.

But one problem is that you cannot see what you are printing! Continue reading Anet a8 upgrades : Adding Led Light to See Your Prints

Anet A8 upgrades : External Mosfet for the Bed

Anet A8 upgrades : Anet A8 3d printerA lot of people are interested in the Anet A8 upgrades, especially the mosfet mod for the heated bed.

The reason for this is a lot of misinformation out on the web about the mosfet on the main board being too small and causing fires.

If you really want to carry out this mod then follow the directions in this post.

We will go through everything you need to do to carry this procedure out safely. Continue reading Anet A8 upgrades : External Mosfet for the Bed

Anet A8 Power Supply – Adding a Mains Socket.

Adding a mains socket to the anet a8 power supply

The anet a8 is powered from the mains.

The supplied kit has a mains lead which is connecteanet a8 power supply mains switchd to the anet a8 power supply directly.

To switch on and off the printer involves pulling the plug.

If the printer starts going wrong and you need to stop it quickly, then pulling the plug may be the only option – can you reach yours quickly?

If not there is a mod you can do easily to add a mains switch and socket.

This mod makes it easy to move the printer around, with out the cable trailing and allows the printer to be switched on and off when stood in front of it.

So would you like to see how easy it is and what is involved? Of course you would. Continue reading Anet A8 Power Supply – Adding a Mains Socket.

5 Mods for the Anet A8 3d Printer

The Anet A8 is a cost effective introductory printer into the 3d 5 mods for the anet a8 : Anet A8 3d printerprinting world.

As a build it yourself model, it is up to you how you modify it.

The standard build is good and will teach you a lot about 3d printing.

But it can be improved on easily and cheaply. Continue reading 5 Mods for the Anet A8 3d Printer