3D Printer Maintenance

Printer Maintenance

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3D Printer Maintenance
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Failed PrintYour 3D printer was printing great and now it’s not.   3D printers print great when you first get them and if you don’t properly maintain them, they will fail.  In this article I will explain how to maintain your printer to ensure your ability to continue turning out great prints.  All 3D printers require some amount of routine maintenance to continue printing.

 

 

10 Routine Maintenance Steps

Experts say you should perform routine maintenance on your 3D printer about every 1500 hours or every two months. This is true, but you should also perform maintenance before and after each print.

Tools/Items Needed to Maintain Your Printer

  1. Synthetic Oil With PTFE (High Viscosity)
  2. Small Wire Brush
  3. A good set of hex key screwdrivers and hex key wrenches (MM and Inch).
  4. Flashlight
  5. Needle Nose Pliers
  6. Palette Knives (for removing your prints)
  7. Blue painters Tape or Kapton Tape (for your print bed)
  8. Glue Stick
  9. Hair Spray (glass bed adhesive).
  10. Wrenches for removing the print nozzle
  11. Denatured Alcohol
  12. Acetone

  The following steps should be done every time before you print.

  1. Clean/Maintain the print platform, replace the tape if used.

    (Warning the Print Nozzle and Bed can be very hot, around 400 degrees Fahrenheit!)

  2. Preheat the nozzle and extrude a small amount of filament.
  3. While the nozzle is still hot, use a steel brush on it too clean any excess filament.
  4. Preheat the print bed and level it.

    Do these steps every 1500 hours of printing

  5. Disassemble the extruder and brush excess material from the filament wheel teeth.
  6. Perform several cold filament pulls on the nozzle. (I’ll explain later).
  7. Check all the belts for tightness and fraying.(replace or tighten as needed)
  8. Check that all screws throughout the printer are tight.
  9. Oil all the rods with good Synthetic Oil With PTFE (High Viscosity).
  10. On the issue of updating firmware, my opinion is that if your printer is not broken; do not upgrade your firmware. Doing so might be the last thing you ever do with your printer.

Cold Pulls

Cold pulls are great for removing debris from the inside of your nozzle and also removing clogs. Just follow these easy steps to perform a cold pull.

  1. Heat your nozzle up to 200 Celsius.
  2. Insert you filament until you see it flow from the nozzle.
  3. Turn the heat off or down to 100 Celsius.
  4. Once the heat reaches 100 Celsius grab the filament give it a firm pull.
  5. The filament should pull free and be in the shape of the interior of the nozzle.

That’s all there is to a cold pull. I would suggest that you do this at least three times to ensure the nozzle is clean.

Final

If you perform the steps as discussed here you should enjoy your printer for much longer and continue to see exceptional print quality in your prints no matter what printer you use.

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27 Comments
  1. Ronan says

    Very helpful info to know. Thanks

    1. Jeremy Fister says

      Too true…cleaning is everything!!!

  2. Richard Bynum says

    The “cold pull” is a great idea. Good tips! Thanks!

  3. Michael Perkins says

    Thanks, great info

  4. Michael Perkins says

    Lots of good tips on maintenance , saved the tab

  5. Michael Perkins says

    Wish I had one to practice on..lol

  6. Tom Baxter says

    Here are a few things that I have found helpful.
    1. Adding some additional G-Code to the end of my prints that does additional retraction has helped immensely. It helps ensure that filament isn’t getting left in the hot end to cool down at the end of a print.
    2. When using blue painter’s tape, I find it best to give it a slight sanding with very fine sand paper.
    3. Gallon size Freezer Zip-Loc bags & extra desiccant are your friend. The freezer bags tend to hold up a little better than standard bags.

  7. mperkins37 says

    maintenance is KEY

  8. Tom Baxter says

    I have to disagree with you about the firmware updates. Updates can improve performance, add features, and also increase safety. You obviously need to make sure you prepare and weigh the pros and cons before you update. There is a risk of ‘bricking’ a printer when you update, but you run that risk updating your phone or computer. Educate yourself ahead of time, and you should be fine.

  9. Charles Goldman says

    How do you perform a cold pull with a Bowden setup? Impossible I think!

    1. Tom Baxter says

      I have a Bowden setup on my MPSM v1. I remove the set screw holding the bowden to the top of the heat sink. Then I do a few cold pulls. Once I am done, I put everything back together, and “Bob’s your Uncle”!

  10. Leesa R McClure says

    Great tips.

  11. mperkins37 says

    All I have to do now is win one & I can put all these practices to good use lol

  12. mperkins37 says

    No new articles since the 11th…

  13. mperkins37 says

    Any new articles coming soon? Contest has you comment & look at articles, hard to do when there are no new ones

  14. Kelly Freeman says

    Thanks for the tips!

  15. Melissa Englebright says

    This is a very interesting article, thanks for the information =)

  16. Brian Martin says

    I’ll be honest.. I did most of this stuff before I even made it to 1500 hours but still good tips. Heck I did a cold pull on the 4th or 5th day of owning my 3d printer lol..

  17. Kerby says

    Nice!

  18. mperkins37 says

    No new articles in weeks…

    1. Henry Jolly says

      I’m working three more. Plus I have reviews coming!

    2. Tom Baxter says

      I think the site admins here are trying to take on too much at once. There are several sites that I believe they operate as well. (hacks.today, addgeeks.com, gocryptly.com, etc.) I think they are spread too thin, and as such some of the sites go through lulls where there are no updates. Then other times, there are new articles every day. If you are new to the site, I definitely recommend going back through some of the older articles. There are some pretty informative articles by Stan Baldwin and Nathan Cox.

      1. Michael Perkins says

        Still no new articles… Agree they may be too thin, they want us to browse & comment for daily entries on the contests but they dont supply new material to look at

  19. Michael Perkins says

    No new articles in weeks! wonder whats up?

  20. Michael Perkins says

    No articles in a LONG TIME, whats up with that?

    1. Daniel Faegnell says

      Two of our staff members (me for one) have been off for quite a while due to personal reasons. We will try to be back on in full force again next week.

      1. Tom Baxter says

        Daniel, I definitely feel your pain with personal reasons keeping you from work. I think the bigger issue is the feeling of “radio silence” on the site. I quick post to let the community know what’s up would go a long way. The maker community in general has always been very open and understanding. So I will leave you with a quote from Dr. Evil…
        “Throw me a freaking bone here… I need the info.”

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