DIY repair: 3D printer

I participated in a silent bidding last saturday, hoping to walk away with a Makerbot Replicator 2.

Let's take a look at the retail price on Amazon:

mbr-pricing

The used ones are going at USD$900 so what's better and bidding for a broken but repairable unit? :)

.......drum roll........

mbr

Won the bid!

The 3D printer was described to be broken but repairable. Not that helpful but initial eyeballing reveals that everything seems intact except for a missing Y-axis motor and mounting bracket.


Inspecting the printer

Here's how i systematically determined the current condition:

  • printer is able to power on
  • able to jog in the X and Z axis
  • heating is working temperature reflected correctly
  • motor can be controlled in the Y axis (broken issue)

mbr-mileage

This printer mileage is 857h. I'm not so familiar whether this is high or low if the machine is.. 2 year old?

mbr-splash

Basic information showing that the printer is the correct model.

mbr-extruder

mbr-back

As you can see, the printer is rather filthy so lots of cleaning had to be performed.

mbr-y-motor

You can see the belt without the Y-axis motor

mbr-hotend

This is the extruder hot-end where the heating element and thermocouple sits. The printer was not heating up initially so i dismantled it for further inspection.

Nothing major, probably loose wires. :)

mbr-temp

ohhhh yeahhh, heating up!

mbr-controller

Initially, the extruder motor was not working and i suspected that the motor driver was burnt. That required me to access the controller board (i swear curiosity only contributed 99%).

Those 4 green boards are the motor driver. I'm glad i opened it up cos the cover had some chemical stain.

mbr-bottom-cover

mbr-arduino

That looks really familiar. It isn't really that hard to make a 3D printer. Open source made it so much easier.

To do

  • purchase a new Y-axis motor
  • make a motor bracket
  • perform platform calibration
  • PRINT A POKEMON

Lessons learnt

  • ask as many questions you can before buying a used unit
  • open up as many compartments possible to clean things up
  • have a checklist handy to evaluate the unit
  • R E P A I R is fun and I like doing it :)

I hope that everyone embraces the repair culture. It reduces wastage and increases your knowledge. :)

~ ken on a productive monday