This weekend I finally got an opportunity to mount my extruder onto my machine and attept a print. I am using HPDE as my current printing material and photo paper as my bed. I have still been having problems with the accuracy of my Z axis and didn't pay enough attention to the print head during my first few prints. I eventually noticed that the head was being pressed into the printed shape so much (due to a slipping Z axis) that the print head was wiggling its way out of its PTFE holder / thermal barrior, causing irreversible dammage to the holder. I went ahead and ordered two more, in case this happens again, as well as ordering a supply of ABS plastic for extruding. From what I have read, ABS doesn't have the warping / sticking problems that HDPE has, and I should be able to extrude it faster, cutting down on print time.
Here is an image of my last print.
You will notice that the raft is too thick to be practical. This is a configuration issue that should be easy to fix in the future. I was attempting to print a pully from the Darwin STL Library and got past layer 8 before the Z axis slipped.
The next step is for me to get my Z axis more solid so this never happens again. I am seeing that the weakest link of my Z axis is the motor coupling, so that is where I will direct my attention.
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