My first experience with the flux 3d printer


#1

I got my flux on Saturday and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I am waiting anxiously for the software to be perfected. As I live in Taiwan, the box got to me in just one day with no problems. The boxing was secure and the unboxing was straight forward and I was printing in minutes. I am still getting the hang of the tricks and temperament of the machine. I have made three models and two laser engravings so far and am happy. Thanks Flux Team! Those of you with doubts… Please be patient. I am glad I didn’t give up.

After a few days of playing - Some thoughts:
Love the machine… hate the software… but that is soon to be overcome as the software updates. It simply will not run on my macs and I have three of various ages. I want more control of the model on the screen: rotate, scale by %, and such. Windows: It fails without crashing, meaning some processes get locked in a loop and I have to force quit the program. BUT I have been able to use a very small/light Windows machine to get good results at times.
The magnets to the print head CAN come loose at times and cause the print to fail. I have had limited success by changing the rods from one joint to another, swapping them out. It only happened a couple of times.

The nozzle can get clogged with unmelted material. Hard to clear. The feed motor will “click” when this happens… as it feeds three millimeters of materials then clicks and spits back material into the spool. I have had some interesting missing layers and failed prints from it. I think I have solved that problem for now by CAREFULLY using a THIN wire to clear the print head feed.

My biggest problem is learning how to get the model to STAY stuck to the base plate. Glue IS best… Tape is useless. But I have had fails as a model comes loose… however, it is VERY cold in Taiwan now and we have no heat in our homes. I think temp may be a factor.
The Laser etcher is fun, takes a lot of time, and does not impress people as the finished product just looks like an ink drawing to them until the run their fingers over it and feel the etching. There is no setting for plastic, but I will experiment with custom laser settings when I get around to it.

Overall - very satisfied. This is my very first 3d Printer experience and after only 4 days and a busy schedule keeping me away from the printer most of the time, I have printed 4 very good models that impress my friends… and 6 very failed models because of the material feed problem from a clog and from the base plate being cold. Not bad for a novice to 3d printing AND the instructions for the printer being much too limited at this time.
4 1/2 stars out of 5

SUBJECTIVE ISSUE: Pure (uncolored) PLA is unattractive. Models printed in White impress people on first glance. Pure printed models just LOOK wrong and seem to cause people to think the model is not very good. A white PLA model and a pure PLA model that are in every way the same in quality will be judges by people unfamiliar with 3D printed as the white one is good and the pure one was a mistake. However, if I slap a coat of acrylic model paint (used for Game Minis) on a pure PLA model, the problem is solved. But, I like the white PLA as the model is printing so I can see mistakes sooner. The pure PLA seems to hide mistakes while printing, but enhances them once you hold them and see them in the light.
Purely Subjective Opinion

UPDATE ON THE LOOSE MAGNETS:
I had stated that I had an issue with the magnets coming loose at times… but it was ALWAYS on the same side… turns out, that wire placement is EVERYTHING. The power/data wire from the top of the printer to the print head unit is stiff… and even if it is NOT touching anything at all in the movement of the head, the tension of the twisted wire can pull on the head… you must make a trial and error test to see which is the best placement of the wire. Now the problem is solved for me.

THOUGHTS ON TAPE after someone suggested Blue 3M Tape
The tape method yielded NO adherence at all. The model popped right off on the second layer. Perhaps I need to try the blue 3M tape as this was simple artist’s masking tape. I am also finding that the Scotch Brand Glue Stick (red container) is good, but that UHU Stick (yellow container) from Europe is a little better… just a little. And with white glue such as this, a thin layer is better than a thick layer. The thin layer drys quickly to the PLA but the thick layer does not dry and can come loose.


#2

Thanks for sharing your feedback. I’m glad you have the same good experiences as I have had. Go Flux!!

Agree, the software is the biggest obstacle at the moment, but since it’s software and can be improved, it won’t persist.

Regarding clogging, I haven’t seen that yet. Ambient temperatures here are high (20 - 45degC) but air-conditioning keeps it bearable at 22/25degC, which is the temp my Flux has been operating under. Still the head is heated to > 200degC so I’m not sure ambient temp would be enough of a factor to influence. On a related note, there is a problem in version 0.2.6 of the software regarding heating of head when unloading filament. Perhaps your clogging is related? Do you experience clogging when unloading or is it a problem while printing? Temp is displayed while printing, does yours drop when printing ( < 200)?

Regarding loose magnets, what was your initial position of the cable socket in the head in relation to the printer? Was it towards the front, the side with the LED (Flux’s suggested position)? What position is it in now that is working for you? Agree, the (in)flexibility of the cable could well be a possible problem. A ‘softer’ cable may well be advisable for future revisions.

Regarding tape/glue. Flux suggest glue and that’s all I’ve used and haven’t had a model come loose yet. Actually, getting them loose can be a problem as I’ve had to use the blade on anything that is low lying. The Flux initialises in front of the carriages before each print. When using tape, do you cover the whole base in tape to accommodate that or only put tape where the model will be printed? Do you think the difference in height between calibration and printing could have an impact? Sorry, don’t know much about tape and 3D printing.

Please keep sharing, the good and the bad, so that we can all learn from each other’s experiences.


#3

Yes… The software should update in no time. I hope. My biggest issue is that I am a Mac user and the mac version is totally useless now. Good thing I have a Windows box just for small stuff.

The clogging was only an issue once… after changing color of PLA. A portion stayed in the print head but got pulled up when the filament was pulled out. So it was too high in the head to really melt. Was a simple enough process to fix and has not come back… but I also have not changed filaments yet. I am using v0.2.7 of the software. the temp has dropped but not more that to 205 and then only for a few seconds.

I have kept the printer head with the USBC towards the front (led logo). The wire was given a half twist so that it spiraled above the head. This was okay but it was putting tension on the head when the head pulled all the way to the back during the initial calibration before each print. I found that giving the wire a half twist in the opposite direction (after straightening it out again) solved the problem completely.

I have had more than half my models come loose while using glue. The models that have wide bases tend to warp and pull up the corners causing rotational instability. The models with small bases come loose once the model is over 3cm tall, and rock back and fourth with the head. I am getting better with experimentation… but I am not always successful and have had some models start looking very good and seem to work… only to fail near the end of the processes. I am trying thinner glue, thicker glue, more air flow, less air movement… I am totally unsure of my issue at this time. However, I have printed two models tonight with success… I think I was assuming the glue had to be fresh but no I am learning that it should dry first before printing. Learning.

Thanks for the encouragement.


#4

AH! For the Record: I am an idiot.

A bit of explanation and a shared experience for future noobies - LUBRICATE THE BALL JOINTS. This has ended my problem with magnetic ball joints popping out.


#5

Michael,

I’m also new to the 3D printing world. Below is a list of YouTube subscriptions / videos that I’ve been watching in preparation of receiving my FLUX. Great information I hope they help.

I hope this helps.


#6

Thanks! I have just printed my first six part model that is larger than the print bed and needs assembly. I can report that I have worked out all the troubles and am getting great results. But I have still more to learn and your videos are most welcome!


#7

Michael Haggard,

I’m VERY happy you’re seeing success. PLEASE post pictures of your prints.

If I find any more videos that might be helpful, I’ll post it.


#8

Thanks Jerry!

Here is a “I made one” post on Thingiverse that I just made:

This was done with the glue base method… three printing sessions, six parts, superglued. There was an odd mistake made in the handle where air gaps are in three of four layers and are clearly visible. I can fix these with model putty so I call this print a success! After only 7 days with my printer and those days busy with New Year celebrations and parties… I am quite happy with my Flux Printer!


#9

NEW ISSUE:
Need expert advice:

I think I have found another problem that is solvable. I am getting occasional layers that are printing with gaps and holes… and now I have sat and observed while it happens. When this happens, the printer is knocking and making popping sounds. The PLA filament is not feeding well at those times. This is most noticeable when the roll of PLA is past the half way mark of being used up. The motor is pulling the filament just fine, but the added strain of also rotating the roll is causing more strain, I think. I conclude this, because when I turn the roll by hand and give a lot of slack to the filament, the popping stops completely, and the printing is smother.
Example photo -

I may try an external roll on bearings to see if that helps as much as just unrolling by hand.


#10

In mine, there are three smooth raised bumps (probably have a name, though I don’t know what they are called) glued into the bottom of the filament rest area in the lid. Presumably they are intended to reduce the friction of the filament spool as it rotates. A couple of mine started to shift and left some glue residue behind. I could imagine the stickiness of the residue might cause the filament flow to bind as the spool tries to rotate.

Do you see anything like that under your filament spool?


#11

Not at all. However, I see some wear on the walls where the spool turns against… I am under the impression that the FLUX team knows about this and is working on a solution. Should hear something very soon.


#12

shouldn’t be much of a problem when it’s well lubricated


#13

This isn’t an area that one might lubricate. However there IS a fix and I have done it.

On the walls of the reel housing there are places the reel rubs against, plastic on plastic. In a short time, these place wear down and create friction. I have placed a piece of aluminum tape in these places and it has made the printer run much much more smoothly. I did this after talking to one of the FLUX guys that lives near me. They are working on a solution for everyone now. ALSO:

There are TWO white feeding tubes for the filament. I thought the second was a spare. It is NOT a spare. It goes up in the filament holder. Once you connect the tube with the threaded bushing into the printer head, then you use the tube that has no bushing up in the reel housing. Feed the new filament through this tube which sits loosely in the housing. Then feed the filament into the feeder hole as instructed. Once the filament has reached the print head, slide the loose tube up against the feeder hole and then place the reel into the housing and close the door. This has made a HUGE difference in smooth feeding of the filament for me!

I am now printing with NO clicks or bumps in the feeder, and with no gaps in layers of the print. SOLVED!

I will post photos soon.


#14

Here is the extra tube feed just before placing the reel in the housing:

Here is the aluminum tape I used to reduce friction on the reel against the housing wall. There are two places, one not shown, that you can figure out as you see how the reel wears on the walls:

Tape with reel against it:


#15

I have finally sorted out all of my problems. The filament feed problem was due to blockage in the Teflon Feeder Tube from the upper housing to the print head. Once that blockage was cleared the printer feed never had a problem again. The 3M Blue Tape is now my GO TO method for securing a model to the base plate. With both of these issues solved I lowered the temp back down and am now having NO warping issues. Printed a larger multi-part model overnight with NO issues. Came out perfectly. Happy Camper Here!


#16

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