The 3D printer is dead! Long live the 3D printer!

My first 3D printer, the Geeetech aluminium copy of the Prusa i3, died this week. I’ve been printing out some parts for my beehives and it began randomly stopping in the middle of prints, and then it wouldn’t heat the bed or print head properly. I suspect the controller board has failed. I can probably fix it, though I suspect what I’ll actually do is some serious upgrade work as the bed doesn’t maintain its level for very long, the bearings are a little ropey, it could do with a fan on the print head and so on.

So until I can do that I decided to buy a new printer, and in the end splashed the cash on an Ender 3 v2, which arrived yesterday.

First impressions are that it’s pretty well made, quite solid and well thought out, except for the assembly and setup instructions which are, well, below average. Fortunately there appear to be quite a few videos on the interwebs that cover all that stuff.

One thing I will change is the springs under the bed. The supplied ones don’t look particularly reliable. I’ve ordered some replacements that are rectangular in section with flat ends. I’ve also read that replacing the connectors at each end of the Bowden feed tube is a good idea so as I have suitable replacement parts lying around I might well do that at the same time.

Bed levelling was a bit of a slog to get right, but having used the scrap of paper between the bed and print head I switched to a test print with a single layer circle in each corner and the centre of the bed to allow me to judge when it was correct. That seemed to work much better. I’m now repeating the last print I did on the old printer so I can compare the finished articles.

The printer itself is very quiet compared with the old one in terms of motor noise, but the fan(s) make up for much of that — it’s still a long way from genuinely quiet. It’s sitting on my desk next to me at the moment and it certainly won’t be staying there.

As long as this first print turns out ok though, I will consider it a worthwhile upgrade.

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