Dealing with sudden, inexplicable fails got me to try some new things. I don’t know which, if any, are related to why my Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer just stopped cold without apparent reason, but it sent me back to play with a host program I’d only used once or twice before.
In fact, when my 3D printing guru suggested I use Pronterface instead of Repetier, which we thought might be the problem, I remembered I had a version of it. It was old, so the first thing I did was download the latest version of this venerable – well, for 3D printing! – host program.
Pronterface is apparently one of the most common interfaces used by 3D printer software. It can move and home all 3 axes independently, as well as offering a temperature graph, extrude and retract buttons, a window showing the current layer’s tool path, and a window to enter G-code. Some users complain that it’s too basic or don’t like the program’s look and feel, but it seems very clean and easy to use to me.
The big question is whether and how it works ….
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Wouldn’t it be awesome if things just worked?
Yeah, they do sometimes, but especially in these early days of 3D printing, there are so many variables and things change so quickly that it seems there are myriad things that can and do go wrong.
Lately I’ve been battling a problem with both of my deltabot 3D printers, and I still haven’t figured out what is causing it.
The result is ugly: they just stop printing. For no apparent reason. Everything is going well, and then the hotend just stops moving.
I can’t just give up – it isn’t in my nature.
So I’ve been doing what I always do when troubleshooting any problem ….
I work through a process of elimination, testing and ruling out various possibilities.
Here’s what I’ve done thus far:
- Confirmed that it isn’t on just one 3D printer. It seems that I’m having the same problem with both deltabots.
- Confirmed that it isn’t Windows 10. That’s because it’s also happening on a computer that is running Windows 7. If it were just Windows 10, that’d be one thing, but the other computer hasn’t had an update in years and ran just fine.
- Confirmed that it isn’t the host program. I’m having the problem with both Repetier – two different versions of it – and Simplify. I’ve checked Simplify’s log and see it says the firmware is unresponsive, which brought me to my latest hunch (below).
- Removed the host program from the equation altogether. I put the file directly into the Gigante (yes, I used a ladder to do it). Same problem.
- Confirmed that it isn’t a power problem. One of the computers is plugged directly into the wall, while the other runs through an uninterrupted power supply.
- Ruled out the file itself. This has happened with several files, so it isn’t the design.
- Made sure it isn’t a filament bulge problem. It’s happened with various filaments, including two different diameters (3 millimeter and 1.75).
- Noted that it has happened shortly after the print started and just before it finished. If it were related to the file length, you’d think that would be more consistent.
At this point, I’m thinking it might be the controller board. I believe both 3D printers have Smoothie boards, so that might be it.
So I’ll just keep poking around on forums, talking to people, consulting my expert, and eliminating problems, hoping that one of them is the solution that gets me back up and 3D printing again.
And if this is just a test of my patience, I hope I have already passed!