3D Printers, first sight

First impressions after one month of work with a cheap chinese printer. Very loud mechanical noises and levelling the heatbed is near impossible. I build a box to lessen the noise. All the rods were bent, ball bearing lost their balls during disassembly of the printer. The tools given with the printer were of an extraordinary bad quality. Invested in quality tools, changed the bearings and unbent the rods: the heatbed can now be levelled one time for a week. Checked all the printers levels and squaring: One full day of work. The printer is always noisy, but this time it’s the extruder and power fan (the mechanical noise was covering the very noisy fans). Changed the extruder fan for a silent one. The printer itself is now almost silent (except for the control box). Adjusted the voltage of the Melzi Board and tuned acceleration speed. More silence!

There was two build tak in the box. Very efficient with PLA, but only for one week. Removing this thing was a hell, the adhesive being very strong and letting a residue that needed a lot of effort and solvent to remove. Put cheap painter masking tape on the heated bed before applying the new build tak. Temperature setting of the bed before: 60°, after the masking tape coat: 70°. One week later, removing it was overly easy: the masking tape went off with the ultra strong adhesive of the build tak, letting no residue. Used a glass on the bed: heavier, clamp are in the way of the printing head when calibrating the bed. Put masking tape: easy service and efficient.

PLA not sticking to glass bed. Glue, tape: not sticking. Pastel fixative spray from PEBEO: very efficient. One light coat for 3 or 4 prints.


Upgraded the cooling block for a full metal one. Printed a smelly grey PLA at a higher temperature: the original extruder had a plastic axe – bent with the temperature. Changed for a metal one. The heater’s wire were a little short and placed in front of the extruder fan: wire broken when replacing the fan. Changed the heater, but added an outlet so the complete extruder block can be taken apart easily. Arranged the heater wires UNDER the fan. Ball bearing of the Y puller destroyed. Added a tie to maintain the puller perpendicular to the belt.


The print quality is eventually better. The printer is used eight or ten hour a day, no other trouble (for now).

A castle in progress:


Printed some small cars for World War Two era, a Kubelwagen and a Citroen Traction found on Thingiverse, by m_bergman. 15mm miniature for the scale. Layers at 060 micron, raft and supports under the cars. The wheels are not round, and the Citroen rooftop is failed.


Citroen cut in half, wheel removed, Better rooftop and underside, but otherwise a complete failure.


Left: printed with support – no underside detail. Right: two half printed on the side


A Printable Scenery terrain: Stalingrad ruin, with a 15mm miniature. Lines are visible and not intended


Those line are the result of the extruder’s plastic parts. The filament was ripping and some layers were not printed. The metal upgrade fixed this.



It began with a cheap chinese printer, but the Microswiss metal parts, the fan, the bearings, the glass plate nearly doubled the start price. I think I should have take an original in place of this copy……..

One thought on “3D Printers, first sight

  1. Great to read your article, I’m surprised the build quality of the Wanhao Duplicator is so bad, I’ve got a rebranded version that looks identical called the Cocoon Create and it’s been brilliant so far, and I’ve done a LOT of printing on it 🙂 Good to know as I’ve seen these i3 printers on Ebay and recommended them to people after my experiences have been so good, but obviously there are a lot of differences in quality. You can compare my first impressions on my blog https://edditiveblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/aldi-3d-printer-first-impressions/ if you like 🙂

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