The Makerspace @ Williams

MakerGear M2

makergear

The Makergear M2 is a small-sized desktop printer that prints additively with standard filament in PLA, ABS, and a variety of other filaments.

To learn how to print on the MakerGear, refer to our guide to using Simplify3D.

Switching Filaments

  1. Using Simplify 3D, heat the extruder head to the temperature appropriate for melting the filament (~190 C for PLA, ~230 C for ABS). It is important to wait for the printer to reach this temperature before continuing.
  2. Navigate to the Jog Controls tab of the Machine Control Panel and use the retract -100 command to start removing the filament.
  3. Remove the filament spool from the printer and replace it with the desired filament.
  4. Make sure the end of the new filament has a clean, sharp edge. If necessary, clip a piece of the filament off.
  5. Feed the new filament through the plastic tube and insert it into the feed hole in the extruder body.
  6. Use the extrude 100 command in the Jog Controls tab to feed new filament into the extruder block. Keep extruding until the color of the old filament is replaced by the color of the new filament and the printer is extruding at a steady pace. You may have to push down on the filament a little bit to get it going.

Troubleshooting

This section contains details on technical problems with the MakerGear M2 and current best practices for dealing with them. If you’re not experienced with handling the printers, report the problem to a Makerspace consultant.

Print head dents build surface / Print head too low

Print head makes lines in the build surface, but won’t extrude. Difficult to slide a piece of paper underneath print head in build position.

Recommendation: Level build platform by adjusting corner screws with hex keys until printer prints properly. Use .gcode file here.

Printer filament wobbly/Print head too high

Printer prints in erratic wobbly lines. Print head observed to be too high off the build platform.

Recommendation: Level build platform by adjusting corner screws with hex keys until printer prints properly. Use .gcode file here.

Printed model warped

When large base surfaces and structures are printed, the corners of the printed model curls upward and might or might not mess up upper layers.

Recommendation: Reduce area of contact with build plate if possible; failing this, coat build plate with double-sided tape. Alternative: If white PLA, set heating bed to 60 degrees. If blue, set heating to 65 degrees.

Printer fails to extrude

Printer begins the print, but the filament isn’t coming out.

Recommendation: Use the ‘Extrude’ button in Simplify3D to manually extrude 100mm of filament at 300 mm/min. If nothing comes out:

  1. Remove the filament and check if the drive gear has stripped the filament (indicated by a filament with uniform gear marks ending in a smooth indentation).
  2. If the filament is stripped, snap it above the stripped portion and re-insert it.
  3. If the filament refuses to budge, or gets stuck when re-inserting, there is probably a jam deeper in the extruder head. Report the problem and we’ll take it apart.

Print curls upward at edges

Over time, the corners and edges of the model curl up and get in the way of the print head.

Recommendation: This tends to occur when the filament isn’t cooling fast enough. Try pausing the print, manually adjusting the curling edges, cooling the print head 10 degrees, and continuing. If the model comes unstuck from the build plate, restart.

Print not sticking to bed

The printed plastic does not stick to the bed itself and comes off easily.

Recommendation: Try 1) increasing heat of heated bed, 2) reducing print speed, 3) not turning on fans

Filament builds up at print head

The extruder produces a liquidy, plastic blob underneath the nozzle.

Recommendation: There is a high chance that the plastic filament is stuck at the hot end. Turn off the printer and contact the Makerspace consultants to assist you with the problem.

Additional Documentation

The MakerGear is less well documented than the LulzBot. However, the MakerGear wikidot has a helpful technical guide for the M2.

Also see All3DP‘s list of 16 Common Printing Problems and Their Solutions.

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