I must be cursed when it comes to 3D printers. I have had problem after problem over the years. I got home from work, started a 3hr print on my 6 month old Duplicator I3, and all looked fine. I checked again about 1hr 30mins in and no filament was extruding…. I went to check the obvious things: The spool was free spinning, no tangles in the filliment and the hot-end was hot and clean. After a good 45 mins troubleshooting, eventually I worked out the problem. it seems the exturder motor was not spinning. Now on the duplicator I3 it’s very hard to see the motor turn, so I would heat the end up, press extrude and just assume the filament was slipping and I could push it through the hot-end easily. i swapped the exturder and X axis motor and the extuder itself was fine, so I popped the top off the dupicator i3 control box
It all looked fine. The wires were all nice and tight, but on closer inspection the PCB under the motor controller chip for the extruder looked a little black.
I just touched the black heat sink and, oh joy! the motor controller has fired! The printer was working fine and had a very light workload – maybe 2-4 hrs a week print time. this always seems to happen when I have a new project planned…
Anyway I’m not one to give up easily. I love to tinker, and I happen to have an old ramps board laying around, I’m not going to write a guide on how to mod the duplicator i3 to ramps contol as I found it to be a very easy process, it just took me a wile to cut and add dupont connects to some of the wires. it took me about an hour to sort it all out and get my printer back online.
The only annoying part was I had to rip the LCD out of my laser cutter as the original LCD did not have the pinout to fit the ramps, I probably could have bodged the old LCD in but meh, a new screen is only £12.
As I had the printer in bits, I did some other upgrades. I added a better part cooling fan, an all metal hot-end to let me go to higher temperatures and added a modified Sonoff to power on and off the printer remotely.
All in all I’m happy the crappy Melzi board died as it gives me the ability to add more upgrades in the future such as auto bed leveling and a second extruder.