Knowledge

Extruder mechanism upgraded: Bondtech Dual Drive

Since early July, we have a had a very successful working relationship with Bondtech, the Swedish company producing Dual Drive extruders. The Bondtech extruders without question have brought a step change in reliability of extrusion. Main characteristic of course is the driving mechanism used: Twin counter rotating hobbed wheels.

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BCN3D Sigma: Cleaning the filament feeder

About 7kg of filament later and lots delightful prints with the BCN3D Sigma we noticed  that ground filament and dust had accumulated on the extruder feeder gear. Perfect opportunity to clean the filament feeder by taking it apart, checking out how it is engineered and learn a bit more about the Sigma!

Here is how we did it step by step.

Step 1. Unscrew the socket cap screw shown below to release the bottom Bowden tube. the printed part holds against a nut which is screwed on the tube. Simple and effective!

BCN3D Sigma feeder, lower bowden tube fixing
BCN3D Sigma showing the bottom bowden filament guiding tube fixing system, nut and printed part

Step 2. Unscrew the 2 nuts holding the stepper motor board shield and unplug the stepper motor. Try not to lose the tubular spacers! Take them out and store them safely.

Unscrewing the stepper motor driver board shield on the BCN3D Sigma
BCN3D Sigma extruder motor stepper motor driver board exposed

Step 3. Remove the top Bowden tube from the feeder by pushing down on the grey ring and pulling the tube out . Then unscrew the nuts holding the stepper motor bracket on the frame. Remove the feeder from the Sigma.

Removing the top bowden tube of the BCN3D Sigma
Removing the extruder feeder from the BCN3D Sigmas frame

Step 4. Now start taking the feeder apart. Unscrew the large grub screw and remove the tension adjustment spring. Then unscrew the 3 long hex screws which hold all the parts on the stepper motor.

Unscrewing the tension screw of the BCN3D Sigma extruder feeder
Removed screws from the extruder feeder of the BCN3D Sigma

Step 8.  Dissemble the feeder and clean all the parts from filament grindings and dust with a small brush. A toothbrush will also do!

The parts of the extruder feeder of the BCN3D Sigma 3D printer
Brushing off the dust from the feeder gear on the BCN3D Sigma

Step 9. Reassembly time! Start  by placing the aluminium bracket with the bent part facing towards the cables. Then the plastic spacer and pinch levers as shown below.

Reassembly of the extruder feeder of the BCN3D Sigma
Reassembly of the extruder feeder of the BCN3D Sigma
Reassembly of the extruder feeder of the BCN3D Sigma
Reassembly of the extruder feeder of the BCN3D Sigma

Step 10. Insert the tension spring through the hole of the top lever and screw in the large grub screw to compress it. In my experience 1 turn after the top of the screw is flush with the lever surface give a good starting point in terms of spring tension.

Reassembly of the extruder feeder of the BCN3D Sigma tension spring
Clean_17

Step 11. Take the feeder back to the Sigma and fix the bottom Bowden tube on before mounting on the frame, makes life easier! Then slide the feeder on the studs of the frame and fix it in place with the 2 nuts. Connect the motor back to the driver. IMPORTANT! Don’t forge the spacers!!! 2 on each side of the board.

Clean_20
Clean_21_2

Step 13. Fix the aluminium stepper driver shield back on and insert the top Bowden tube. Done! grabs beer…

Clean_22

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CAD mock up of R8 Spindle and QTC tooling

Drawbar tension for R8 and MT3 collets to work safely with QTC tooling?

We have been asked on a number of occasions, and seen in a number of forums, the question of “How much tension should I put on my drawbar when I use  Emvio (or Tormach) repeatable Z tooling?” This question is a very common for those looking to make a pneumatically actuated drawbar using Belville washers. So what do you need to know about Drawbar Tension?

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Emvio Engineering is now a reseller of all BCN3D products

It is with great pride that we bring to the UK market the products designed  BCN3D Technologies.

BCN3D Technologies started off as a project of Fundació CIM, which has more than 20 years of experience in Rapid Prototyping and knowledge transfer. The results have been impressive and that is why when we first came across the company, we were keen to collaborate with them

We will be keeping stock of as many of their products as our limited storage space allows but will be giving priority to the Sigma. As you may have seen in our earlier post, we were giddy with anticipation when the Sigma was released. In no time you will be able to browse our shop for all four of BCN3D printers:

BCN3D Sigma 3D printer

The BCN3D Sigma – The flag ship model that received the best quality award on 3Dhubs page for April

The BCN3D Lux – A SLA machine working with photoreactive resin allowing for fantastically fine layers and printing speed

BCN3D+ kit

The BCN3D Plus – A Prusa clone kit aimed at those wanting to build their own printers

BCN3DDR Delta Printer

The BCN3DR – Another kit but this time for a Delta printer

BCN3D Ignis laser cutter

The BCN3D Ignis – a premium 100W CO2 laser cutter with honeycomb bed and a 900×650 working area

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Emvio Engineering Nema 17 stepper motor damper installed

Damping the sound of stepper motors on 3D printers

Most of us that tinker with 3D printing have wondered how to reduce the groan and squeal of the stepper motors driving us nuts. Especially when long prints are involved!

For a while now we have been using and selling our own vibration dampers that place a rubber buffer between the stepper and the printers frame. The rubber is thin and stiff enough to maintain accuracy of the stepper motor while reducing the vibrations being transmitted to the body of the printer.

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3D printing obsolete machine parts

Being thrifty in the time of turmiol and economic difficulty is imperative to survive as a company. This has been the case with Oyzo manufacturers Giokarinis of Samos. Every summer we return to Samos for around two weeks to return to our roots and the directors of the company are close personal friends. It was over a glass of ouzo that we started discussing that their factory would have to reduce production in as they were having issues with sourcing spare parts. Bearing in mind that the machines are mature and well used, the original manufacturer had sold up and there are capital controls in place, it was almost impossible to source and import parts.

We took on the challenge to design and manufacture some of the more critical wear parts: the bottle neck grippers

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OnShape logo

Web Browser based CAD? OnShape seems to think its OK

It is not often that the CAD industry gets shaken up as much as it has in the past 12 months. First we had Autodesk Fusion 360 coming out with a Cloud based service and we have recently received word of OnShape.

The pedigree of OnShape could not be purer, it is spearheaded by the founders of Solidworks, an industry favourite for as long as I can remember.

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Smoothstepper series: Lets send some pulses

Welcome to the third instalment of the Smoothstepper series of posts. In this post we discuss what you need to do to make the computer communicate with the Smoothstepper over Ethernet.

When you connect you Smoothstepper to you computer you will need to make a very important decision: Which IP range do you want to use?

This decision will be influenced on whether you want the computer you have running the CNC machine to easily access you home network. In home networks we usually expect the router to do all the work assigning the IP addresses to each computer using the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). For those not familiar with the term IP address, it is the numeric address assigned to a node on a network. Home networks will usually use the form 192.168.0.xxx where xxx is a number from 0 to 254. Do be aware that some routers will issue addresses 192.168.1.xxx.

For a SmoothStepper to be able to talk to your computer you need to have the IP address of the Smoothstepper and the PC on the same range. This means that they need to have an IP address that only differs in the last of the 3 sets to digits. We have set ours as 192.168.0.50 for the Smoothstepper and our computer as 192.168.0.10

From the factory, every Smoothstepper is programmed with an IP address of 10.9.9.9 which means that you would need to set your computer to have an IP for example 10.9.9.8. This is easy enough however should you wish to plug an ethernet cable into the PC, it may not communicate with the home router.

I will let the Andy over a Warp9TD.com do most of the talking. The next two videos show two different methods which can be used to set up your Smoothstepper. Most people that have a computer dedicated to the CNC machine will be covered by following the first video. More advanced users should follow the second.

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Autodesk Fusion 360 Logo

Autodesk Fusion 360: Good start but not there yet

Some would say that finally there is a CAD/CAM package that is suitable for the small/medium enterprises that are looking to make it in the makers world. I must say that I am inclined to agree…partly. Autodesk Fusion 360 came along at the tail end of 2013 with significant power behind it and some of the high impact factor blogs and vlogs (like CNCCookbook and NYC CNC) talked about it at length.

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Messy Cables

Smoothstepper series: Connect it up

Connect it up

In the first post of our series, we discussed some ways to mount your Smoothstepper in your control box. In this post we would like to share some thoughts on how to connect the boards electrically to you drives, switches, encoders and relays.

The most important connection to make is that between your computer and the Smoothstepper. Needless to say, we insist on using a good quality cable for this. All our Ethernet Smoothstepper bundles ship with CAT-6 Ethernet cables. If you have preferred the USB variant then it would be wise to buy a good quality cable and add a ferrite ring to it.

Thinking of the Smoothstepper 2.5 (USB version) or 3 (Ethernet) parallel ports in one (with benefits of course). So you have the options to go with three breakout boards (BOB) that then connect to stepper drives, switches or relays or an all in one solutions that incorporate the drives and the BOBs. The Smoothstepper is outfitted with 26 pin headers on it that will require suitable ribbon cables. We supply ribbon cables with the D25 port connector on the end as we have seen the boards mostly used with BOB’s anyway.

As you may already know, Ports 2 and 3 of the Smoothstepper can have pins 2 to 9 set as inputs or outputs in the plugin. When selecting a BOB, make sure you are getting what you want because usually on port 2, pins 2-9 are input only.

For port 1 only, there is no reason not to go with the generic and readily available and cheap 5 axis breakout board. These boards usually offers optical isolation to your Smoothstepper and sometimes comes with a relay built in. Cheap and cheerful!

In some forum discussions it has been noted that the Breakout board optocouplers may not be as quick at reacting to pulses as the Smoothstepper is to send them. This may be the case on some very cheap breakout boards. On the ones we stock, the reaction time of the worst one was 175ns (nano seconds). That means they are able to accomodate frequencies of up to 5MHz, with the Smoothstepper being able to transmit at up to 4MHz.

A number of other suppliers have expansion boards that link directly to the Smoothstepper with the our recommendations being:

  1. The PDMX-126  is a very capable board and offers a very neat solution for connecting you Smoothstepper up. This is a top notch board that is worth its money if you are willing to pay the price and import duties from the USA.
  2. Our favorite in terms of value is the unassuming C25 as developed and sold by CNC4PC . This board provides a good saftey barrier between the drives, switches and other peripherals and the Ethernet

 

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