Taz Tweaks

I've been messing around quite a bit with my 3D printer lately. The aim of all of this tinkering is to get my major complaints addressed so that I can start prints and walk away without coming back to a giant hairball. To that end, I've been designing and building accessories and add-ons to help stabilize the printing environment.

First up: I built a dry box for the filament. This should help to keep moisture at bay and prevent flash-steaming and popping on my prints (which leads to surface quality issues). Inside are dessicant packs and a pair of 3D printed axle mounts that hold the filament up over two exit ports. These are just 3.5mm holes drilled in the side of the box, with a bit of nitrile (scavenged from a pair of surgical gloves) glued over to provide a seal.

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This setup seems to be working well so far. I'll really be putting it to the test when I start using nylon filament, and in particular the MatterHackers NylonX carbon-fiber filled filament I got recently.

The other major improvement is an enclosure. I blogged about the initial attempt last time, and since then I've been working on formalizing the design and trying to figure out the details. Yesterday I printed off an armature designed to mount to the side of the printer and hold up part of the enclosure sheeting. Four of these will be positioned on the corners of the frame, and connect front-to-back with a length of raw filament that the sheet will clip to. A set of printed clasps will hold the sheets in place and allow for easy disassembly to access the printer.

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One minor tweak that I think will help make prints come out more consistently is retrofitting a wiper onto the machine. Newer Lulzbot models come with one built in, but the Taz 5 didn't; fortunately, LB sells wiper inserts on their site and I was able to print a basic prototype and test it. It worked pretty well, but when I tried to print a part that was too far over on the X axis the print head collided with the wiper. I'll need to be a bit more clever to avoid that in the future.

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