Maintenance

All 3D printers require maintenance at regular intervals for consistent operation and performance. To prolong the life of your printer, to prevent excess wear to its components, and to ensure reliable operation, perform the following tasks at the suggested intervals:

Every week / 50-100 printing hours:

  • Calibrate X, Y, and Z axis
  • Clean build plate with soap and water, rinse with alcohol

Every month / 200-400 printing hours:

  • Lubricate all linear bearings and bearing rods
  • Clean threaded rods and lifting nuts of debris
  • Lubricate threaded rods and lifting nuts
  • Clean extruder drive gears with brush
  • Inspect printhead and clean of excess residue
  • Replace print plate surface sheet (as needed)

Every year / 1000+ printing hours:

  • Lubricate all linear bearings and bearing rods
  • Clean threaded rods and lifting nuts of debris
  • Lubricate threaded rods and lifting nuts
  • Open extruder drive assembly for inspection
  • Clean extruder drive gears with metal tool
  • Tighten X- and Y-axis belts, replace if excessively worn

Nozzles

Printer nozzles may clog or wear differently depending on how they are used and cared for. Some abrasive fill-type materials may reduce the useful life of a printer nozzle to only 1-2 weeks. Printing only with PLA and taking care to avoid burning the material, a single nozzle may last an entire year or more.

Nozzles should be replaced if:

  1. You are experiencing extrusion/flow problems and other causes have been eliminated.
  2. You are seeing odd surface patterns/unevenness on top printed surfaces that can’t be accounted for by over- or under-extrusion

CLEANING THE FILAMENT FEED DRIVE GEARS

There are two feed motors inside X-bar, one for each extruder. Over time plastic residue and dust from the filament can build up in the teeth of the drive gear and prevent proper feeding. It is possible to clean the drive gears of filament through the small apertures on each side of the X-bar using the wire brush included with your printer accessory kit.

  1. Make sure the filament has been removed from both feeders.
  2. Press down the control dial to bring up the SETUP menu.
  3. Select FILAMENT, then select FILAMENT 1
  4. Choose MOVE FILAMENT
  5. Turn the control dial in either direction to turn the feeder motor.
  6. Once the feeder has stopped moving, insert the cleaning brush (provided in the toolkit) into the cleaning tunnel. Move the brush back and forth a few times to clean the feeder.
  7. Remove brush from the cleaning tunnel. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MOVE THE FILAMENT FEEDER WHILE BRUSH IS INSERTED!
  8. Repeat steps #4, #5 and #6 a total of 8 times to complete cleaning the drive gear
  9. Repeat steps 3-8 on feeder two to clean both drive gears

 Lubricating Bearing Shafts and Threaded Rods

It is recommended to lubricate all bearing shafts and threaded rods on your printer every 1-2 months under normal operation. If the printer is placed in an enclosure or other heated environment the lubricant will dry out more quickly and should be lubricated more frequently. A lubricant is provided in the tool kit. Apply thin layer of it on all rods, including the two Y direction rods under the hot bed, and the threaded rods for Z-axis.


REMOVING AND REPLACING NOZZLES

Please use the Nozzle Exchange process below to remove nozzles. Attempt to remove nozzles from a cold extruder may damage the printer.

  1. Select MAINTENANCE from the printer’s LCD display menu
  2. Select NOZZLE EXCHANGE
  3. Printer will automatically heat up the nozzles and raise the extruder module to the proper height for easy access. Wait until LCD screen’s prompt it is ready to proceed
  4. Remove the old nozzle using the socket driver (provided in tool kit) and safety gloves. Nozzle will be very hot.
  5. Using the same socket driver and still wearing safety gloves, screw in the new nozzle
  6. After replacing old nozzle with new one, press down the control dial, and the extruder will go back to the home position.
  7. Complete the nozzle exchange by re-calibrating the nozzle height, from the CALIBRATION menu.

MANUAL CLEANING FOR CLOGGED NOZZLES

Follow the steps above to remove the nozzle for cleaning. After removal, either soak the clogged nozzle in acetone/solvent liquid (it may take quite some time to dissolve clog completely), or burn out the old debris on hot flames.

NOTICE: Take care when using blow torch, stove, or other high heat source; safety gloves and long handle pliers are needed to prevent any injury.

Once the nozzle is cleaned with either heat or chemical, you should be able to see light through the nozzle when looking through. Lastly, reinstall the cleaned nozzle and once again run the nozzle leveling procedure. Other nozzle cleaning methods can be found on Internet, user discretion is advised


PRINT SURFACE MAINTENANCE

To clean the build plate, it is recommended to use 70% rubbing alcohol, or dish soap, and nothing stronger. This is very important, as solvents like acetone can damage the print surface on the print plate.

Remove the build plate from the printer before cleaning. Begin by using typical household dish soap and a sponge. Dish soap is particularly effective at cleaning residue left by any water-based glue used for bed adhesion. After washing with soap, wipe down the bed with a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol to clear it of any remaining residue. Make sure both sides of the build plate are clean and clear of residue or debris before returning it to the hot bed. Any plastic or other debris on the back of the build plate will cause issues with leveling, bed adhesion, or damage to the print surface.


MANUAL LEVELING OF PRINT BED REAR EDGE

The rear of the print bed is not adjusted for regular leveling. The calculations for the X-leveling and the Y-Leveling are made based on the height measurements at the rear of the print bed. It is possible, although rare, that the rear bed gets sufficiently off level that X-axis leveling becomes inhibited. If you notice you are unable to maintain X-axis leveling, follow the instructions below to reset the bed height.

  1. With the printer powered off and the build plate removed from the hot bed, use the hex driver, provided in the toolkit, to tighten the four socket screws in each corner of the hot bed. Tighten each screw all the way until it stops, then loosen each screw by four complete revolutions. With a visual check, the back end of the hot bed should appear parallel to the chassis body.
  2. Slide the extruder module to the far right end of the X-bar. Take note of the four semicircular cavities in the hot bed. These are for nozzle clearance while leveling. Using a digital caliper, we need to measure the distance from the back-left nozzle cavity to printer chassis; and the distance from back-right nozzle cavity to printer chassis. See photo for reference.

The desired measurement between the hot bed surface and the printer base should be 37.5mm to 38mm. If not, we need to either tighten or loosen the corresponding socket screw on the hot bed. One full turn of the screw moves that corner of the hot bed up or down by 0.5mm


TIGHTENING X and Y AXIS BELTS

If you notice the belt is slipping or you see echoing around corners, you might need to tighten the belt drives. Belts are held in place by hex screws that can be loosened or tightened using the provided hex driver in the tool kit. When the belts are properly tight, you should hear no skipping noise when moving the bed back and forth, or the print head side to side with light to moderate force.

X-Axis

Remove the extruder. The hex screw is located on the bottom left corner on the front of the machine. Loosen the hex screw. Position the extruder carriage to the far left of the printer. Pull the belt tight with your other hand. Tighten the hex screw while applying tension to the belt.

Y-Axis

The Y-axis is fastened on the rear support bar of the bed. Pull the bed all the way forward and loosen the hex screw on the rear belt holder. Using your other hand, pull the belt tight and tighten the screw while applying tension to the belt.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE

1-year extensions to printer warranties are available for purchase within the first 11 months of ownership of your MAKEiT printer. Outside of warranty coverage, professional service and maintenance can be arranged for a nominal fee. MAKEiT is proud to offer local users in Southern California extra services such as on-site maintenance, demos, and personalized training. E-mail based training and file setup consultation is included for the first month of ownership of your MAKEiT printer. After the first month, e-mail based training and file setup consultation is available for a monthly fee.