This article is for everyone who owns a 3D printer, and is meant to help you look for potential areas of issues with your printer. While reading this article please keep in mind that not every printer will have the same options and features available to check, please consult your manufactures recommendation for their preferred maintenance.
- Check the movement on your axis.
With out the X,Y and Z axis moving properly you will not have a successful print. Checking these areas are very crucial before starting every build if not at least every couple of prints. Listed below are just a few areas you should check.
Dirty smooth rods – Over time the smooth rods might become quite dirty. Clean them with a paper towel and apply a little bit of general purpose machine oil . Then just move the axis back and forth a couple of times. This cleans the dirt and increases longevity.
Debris around the Y-axis pulley – The 3D printing process may be accompanied by the production of plastic debris, such as supports, which will be falling around the printer. Make sure none of it will get between the Y-axis belt and the Y-axis pulley, as it might jam the Y-axis (heatbed) movement.
Loose X or Y axis motor shaft pulleys – Motor shaft pulleys must be secured to the X or Y motor shaft. Otherwise, the motor itself will not be able to move with the axis. Simply check that both of the small black screws are fully tightened in both of the pulleys.
Loose X or Y axis belt – Both of the belts should be tight enough to sound like a low bass note when plucked. It is quite tricky to find the sweet spot. However, once you manage to find it, you will not have to re-tighten the belts anymore.
Jammed linear bearings – This usually happens after hundreds of printing hours. You should be able to spot that the axis is not running smoothly anymore. If that’s the case, then the affected bearings should be removed and greased on the inside (they need to be removed from axis because the plastic lip will prevent the grease from getting inside). Super-lube, or any other multi-purpose grease, will do.
- Keeping your printer and print bed clean at all times.
Keeping your printer clean can be a chore as dust and other particles tend to attract to it like a magnet does metal. The best solution I have found to keep my printer clean from dust is to spray it with compressed air.
Keeping the print bed clean is very easy for my AnyCubic Mega-S, I scrape the Ultrabase glass bed with a metal putty knife and then wipe it down with isopropyl alcohol before every print. You can wipe it down with eyeglass cleaner or dish soap and water as it will dissolve the sugar in the PLA filament.
- Check all wiring and plugs
Checking all of the wires and plugs is very important to do as most 3d printers do have a lot of vibrations and gyrations happening during each printing session. Sometimes things just wiggle loose and need to be snugged back into place.