Filament Oiler/Filter


#1

I have now had TWO Flux Printer. My first flux was giving me headaches with mainly the issue of failed filament extrusion. I would get models with lines of air, “dry” layers where the filament seemed like sand, and weak adhesion of layers. But then my FLUX died with no USB or WiFi communications at all. The FLUX team was GREAT by the way. They talked me through it all and quickly offered a replacement. The new FLUX is working well, but I was still having extruder problems that I was unsure were hardware or software related.

Then someone on the Thingiverse.com FLUX Forum suggested a filament filter/oiler - a small box with sponge inside that you apply oil to… then you feed your filament through it. It cleans the filament of dust and/or moisture while adding a VERY thin coat of oil to the extruder parts.

I made one with my most agreeable filament that failed the least (FLUX brand PURE) and made one… takes about 40 minutes. I inserted a sponge cut to fit and applied fine machine oil (like for sewing machines). Then I loaded it with my most trouble making filament (Yellow PLA from a local shop on a cardboard reel - I have NEVER gotten a good print with it) and started a small model.

There have been NO pings, bangs, or cracks of sound from the filament backing up. There have been no nozzle clogs as there were before. There have been NO weak or missing layers and no “dry” PLA layers. I can report that this MAY be the best thing since I got my printer… the most excitement I have had.

Check out the print and thread at: http://www.thingiverse.com/groups/flux-users/topic:4890#comment-813216

I will report more later as I make larger prints overnight.


Filament extruder always knocking when printing
Feeding of the PLA making noise during a build
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Comprehensive Flux Delta Setup and Guide
#2

I can confirm (as I am ExcessRope over on Thingiverse) that this has solved ALL of my feed issues. I was having a hell of a time getting consistent feeding from some Hatchbox “Transparent Black” PLA I bought on Amazon; broken, crumbly, or extra thin layers and lots of clunking noises from the feeder mechanism. I was about to give up on it altogether when I started researching for a solution to PLA feed problems. I saw several accounts of installing a filter/oiler in line before the feed motor. As Michael says above, this both cleans and lubricates the filament just a tiny bit and has helped tremendously with my own feed issues. I now have more than 30 hours of printing through this filter and have not had a single feed issue since first installation. It works with Flux brand PLA, as well as Hatchbox brand. It also still allows the use of the extra PTFE feed tube that installs above the feed motor.
Before this, I was getting a really crappy layer about every 10-20 layers. Sometimes the print would recover, other times it would fail completely. This has solved the issue completely for me. I highly recommend you to try this. Just be very light on the oil used and make sure there is not too much resistance on the filament as it passes through the filter. You should be able to tell that the sponge material is in contact with the filament, but not enough to restrict the filament’s passing through. If you have any questions, please ask. I certainly hope this helps several others that have been experiencing feed issues.
Now that my prints are consistently fed, it’s on to tweaking temperatures and speeds! This printer is incredible when it works, and this little mod has certainly made my own Flux work better than ever.


#3

I’ve read this debate on the forums for other printers, and there’s always a concern with what it does to layer adhesion and the chemistry of the printed part. I don’t know the answer, and I haven’t tried an oiler on any of my own setups, but I’ve been a bit scared of trying because of some of those questions.

The non-chemistry detriment that I could imagine is that fact that you’re also oiling the extruder’s drive gear, which needs to grip tightly to feed filament properly.

I do hear the extruder skip periodically, though. I guess I’ll hang out on the sidelines and see what others’ experiences are.


#4

I completely understand your hesitation. I read all the same arguments you mention, but figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. I’m so glad I did. The filament gear was slipping on the troublesome filament before, but the tiny amount of oil seems to have ceased it completely. Also, as I mentioned, I have had several very successful prints since installing the filter and there has been no apparent change in layer adhesion or bed adhesion anywhere ranging from 0.1 all the way up to 0.3 layer thickness and with 2 shells or 3, raft or no raft. I imagine if you put too much oil on the sponge material, this could definitely cause problems, but the 2 drops I used seems to have helped and not caused any issues whatsoever. Please accept this as anecdotal evidence as I can not guarantee this will work for anyone else, but it has most decidedly improved my Flux experience and I have not had a single feed issue since.


Broken feeding mechanism?
#5

This is based on other printers, I haven’t done this with my Flux yet, so milage may vary.

One thing that’s absolutely great for that is the small dremel pads. You just put the filament through and let it clean any dust off. If you are worried about feeding, then it’s easy to add some oil into the felt. Though I’ve done this in the past I generally don’t do it any more (Feeds are generally fine for my stuff, though I occasionally dry out stuff (be careful not to get it too hot, or you’ll have a useless blob!).) I’d put it on before the feed tube in the top, and just let it.

Link to Dremel’s site, they generally come in packs of 5 or 6, for about that many dollars, and are available just about everywhere. Ace/Lowes/Home Depot/etc has them. (That picture is a bit misleading they are almost squat compared to what that picture shows.)
https://www.dremel.com/en-us/Accessories/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=414

The oil decreases the friction with the tube, so if that’s what’s causing the issues, it’ll help (usually, but not always the cause in bowden printers). If it’s problems with the extruder gripping, it’ll make it worse. I don’t know what the extruder looks like in Flux so, I couldn’t really advise.


#6

@james_lan - So, you just load the filament through the center of the Dremel bad?


#7

Correct, the hole is a little smaller than the filament, but it will fit through. It’s large enough and flexible enough to maintain contact, but not too much. (I’d recommend doing it with the end snipped at about 45 degrees.)

If you want to oil it, just drip a couple of drips on the felt next to the filament, it will absorb it, but gradually feed the oil in.


#8

I have made a few prints now, one of them a print that has given me nothing but failure over 8 attempts. It now prints PERFECTLY. The layers are smooth, almost invisible… the printer never failed, never knocked, never mis-fed filament… The Oiler/Filter is DA BOMB! I will never print without it.

Here is the earlier print: Nesting Wall for Tabletop War-games, high quality, raft, no supports, 20%infill, yellow filament PLA from an external 1kg reel, NO OILER:

Here is the latest print: Nesting Wall for Tabletop War-games, high quality, raft, no supports, 20%infill, yellow filament PLA from an external 1kg reel, WITH OILER:

I will continue testing throughout today, but these results are DRAMATIC! I have never gotten a good print from the yellow PLA and I have never gotten so smooth a print as this.

I have read the forums that speak of worry over chemical change and layer adhesion. My take on that is that they are guessing and that the ones who do this with experience are saying there is simply too little oil to change layer adhesion and the oil is boiled off in the extruder rather than added to the PLA. All I know is that if I keep getting results like this, I can stand it!


#9

Awesome! I’ve had nothing but continued success myself. I completed another 11 hour print last night, and yet another 7 hour print today WITH the filter/oiler installed. Smooth as butter.
I like the idea of the Dremel pad, but this way I got to use my printer to make something actually incredibly useful FOR my printer itself! I’m not telling anyone to do this, but Mike and I have tremendous evidence that this solves the feed issues. Hopefully that speaks for itself. If not, well, it’s your printer! Good luck everyone!


Feed mechanism seems stuck
FLUX Delta - FAQ
#10

I think I’m going to try just the Dremel pads without oil first, and then see about adding oil if I’m still having issues.

If you’re an Amazon whore like me, here’s a direct link - http://amzn.to/1T4Mg4g


#11

The success of adding an oiler to the feed process indicates that at some point there is excessive friction in the system.
This could be caused by:

  1. PTFE tubing out of spec (seen this before) or not really PTFE (seen that before also).
  2. Alignment down in the hot end.
  3. A milling problem in the nozzle.

Consider getting on Amazon or ebay and buying some replacement PTFE tube (cheap <$10) to try.
Also, make sure there are no sharp bends or kinks in the PTFE tube.

Also, consider getting some guitar string, piano wire, or 0.4mm drill bit to clean out the nozzle.

Flux folks, How about a maintenance guide for the hotend? I know things need cleaned out
periodically.


#12

It could also be caused by old and dusty filament… which may have been my case. The older the filament, the worse the problem. The FLUX reels that came with the printer did well… but once I started using some larger reels I had for my old 3D PEN, then I started having trouble. I do think there is excessive friction. and a long feed from the bordon motor to the extruder, but I think dust and moisture from the excessive humidity here in Taiwan also plays a factor. I agree that there needs to be a LOT more documentation and FAQs


#13

I just got and installed my dremel pad today. Done about 4 hours of printing and so far there has been no clicking noises at all. So, this is looking promising! I did not apply any oil to it yet. I want to see if this works without applying oil.


#14

My filter has had about 10 hours of printing on it and it’s already looking like this and I still haven’t heard any clicking noises. So, it looks like it’s doing what it needs to without using any oil.

Here’s a picture so you can see how much dirt it has picked up. It started out completely white.


#15

There’s even more evidence FOR our little solution. I’m glad to hear that not using oil is still working out for you. In my case, after about 35 hours of printing, I believe my couple drops of oil ran out and the clicking resumed. I happened to be nearby, so I paused the print, added a drop of oil to the backside of my filter and resumed the print. No more clicking after that. This doesn’t necessarily mean the oil is the solution, but I think your evidence proves that the filter is certainly warranted. Thanks for sharing your results. I’m glad to see it helped.


#16

I think there is hit and miss on the filament feeder while assembling from production line.My Flux has been printing in the last 10 days and hasn’t had any issue from feeder with three different manufacture filaments. Hopefully Flux team will correct the assembling process on this part on the next batch for the other backers.


#17

I agree. I would expect this to be a bigger issue than it has been if it was a consistent error. Consider you self lucky I guess, but considering the results of @Milkdog up there, you may still consider the filter just to keep the dirt out of your machine. It has certainly convinced me to leave it, even if the feeder does start working normally.


#18

Are you using only the Flux filament? Mine started with other filaments. Then the issue of humidity where I live seems to be an issue to the storing of filament over time. I think you may be right that there are some factory inconsistencies. But then other printers are also showing veryible need for oiler/filers with those who need them swearing by them no matter what printer brand is discussed. I think there may be environmental favored as well. Many many variables. For me: it works and noticibly so.


#19

I definitely use Dremel pad as a preventive maintenance. I also printed and used the little USB-C holder design from one of our backer, whose had the error of tool head reset. I think all backers should have that as for PM as well.


#20

@Michael_Haggard - I’ve been trying to store my filament in vacuum sealed bags along with those silica gel packets to help prevent humidity issues. I tried using my food vacuum sealer, but the bags for it were too small for my 1 kg spools. I ended up getting these larger vacuum bags, and it looks like I can store at least 2-3 spools (maybe 4) in the medium size bags - http://amzn.to/1psO9vm, and I’m going to look at ordering these - http://amzn.to/1X4tfNV. Never actually ordered them before. Just currently using the ones that came with my spools.