Thursday, 30 November 2017

Flying extruders and Deltas, Round 2

Mini Kossel and Mega Kossel with Flying Extruders
     Back in February, I tried installing a flying extruder on my Mini Kossel, didn't work out very well because one of the carriages would randomly slip during the first few layers of a print and suddenly it was air-printing and making a complete mess. So I switched back to the normal extruder configuration and kept it that way until I built the Mega Kossel

Mega Kossel Flying extruder V2
    For this version I decided to use elastic bands to hold everything in place, worked a bit better but still hit the same issue of random carriage slips. After watching it do this a couple of times I realised that the root cause was the extruder assembly's inertia damping the carriage movement and overwhelming the motor on the tower, causing the drive belt to slip on the pulley and produce the effect I'd been seeing. At that point I was just trying to get the new printer working, so I striped the flying extruder components off and set things up for a conventional long Bowden system. Further research into Kossel design was obviously needed to sort out what the solution to the issue was.

34mm (left) & 48mm (right) NEMA 17 stepper motors
    It was while building the Sculptor that I finally figured out the issue, it was the NEMA17/34mm steppers that were originally part of my Mini Kossel kit that were the root cause of the problem. Like most ~$300 kits, it had fairly light stepper motors for powering the motion mechanics, and while they were sufficient for normal use, I'd found some old forum posts that recommended longer NEMA17/48mm steppers for use on delta printers, and indeed I'd followed that advice when building the Micro Kossel in the first place, so I did a motor transplant and installed the 48mm motors on the Mega Kossel. The difference was quite noticeable once I powered it up and homed the effector. With the original motors it was possible to shake the effector about 3mm sideways even with the motors powered up, with the new ones the effector felt like it was glued in place, zero wobble or shake that I could detect. 
Mega Kossel Flying Extruder V2
    I used the Mega in that state until early November, then decided to try the flying configuration again. Surprisingly, it worked perfectly even without the counterweight that I'd used in the previous versions so I decided to stay with this version for the foreseeable future. 
Mega Kossel with flying extruder
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