After one good-night sleep, I woke up wondering why such a well-built machine could be brought down to it’s knees by a simple speck of dust… If you read my sad and dramatic post, Print Fail… With Kick-Ass Mirrors! you will see what I went through - and what a lot of us are going through, when it comes to having a print “explode” on you and not knowing why it happened, what you did and what you can do to solve it!..
So I will try to explain it with pictures…
When my first “explosion” occurred I had no idea what I did wrong. Up to that moment I did everything correctly, followed Thomas Roussel’s workflow to the letter, washed my hands and ate my veggies. So I contacted Support - by opening a ticket, and got two fantastic PDFs from Hubbard on how to clean the big mirror and the Galvanometers’ Mirrors…
So I tried to print again and BOOM! Another “explosions”… At this point, and after begin up for three days, I decided that the best thing was to go home and to get some sleep…
The next day ((12 hours ago,) I came to my studio and decided to investigate what else could I have missed. Did I clean the mirrors thouroughly enough? Could there bee some other “culprits”? I checked the big mirror and it looked fine. Then I decided to empty the Resin Tank via a Paint Strainer with 190-Mesh:
After all the resin was transferred, this is what I saw:
So I had a new Resin Tank laying around:
I was going to set aside as the clear resin tank. I double-checked it for flaws and found a small scratch:
This was not a problem, since I was able to fix it using Novus 1 Plastic cleaner. I then decided just to double-check the mirrors from my first clean up attempt:
It looked great, just some small specs of dust here and there.
On Cleaning Mirrors (Three Days Ago…)
If you have “exploding” prints, one of the first things you should check are the mirrors, specially the BIG mirror. Check the Help Pages on how check the mirror for dust and Resin, because when you first look at the big mirror… it looks fine, right? Then place a light (as they demonstrate on the Help Pages,) and your jaw will drop!
Here’s what mine looked like the first time:
That, my friends, is residue from the DustGun air-can! Yes, the “Dust remover” left all that residue, and that’s what messed-up my mirror! This is a sample between a clean area and one covered with residue from the air-can:
(left-side clean Vs. right-side residue)
So I popped open my cleaning kit:
I used the PEC-PAC lint-free pads soaked in 90% - 99% proof isopropyl Alcohol for the bulk of the clean up as for the instructions from the instruction-PDFs Hubbard sent me:
I also bought these sensor cleaning swabs from the same company, since the instructions requires you to build “lollipops” using sticks and folded PEC-PADS, and because these sensor swabs are made from the same material the PEC-PADS…I thought “when in Rome?!”…
The rest of the tools are from my i**Fixit repair kit**, one of the best things anyone should have!
And you get other great tools to repair anything mechanical, electrical and gun-wounds!
It has a the 2.5 hex bit you will need to take the six screws to open the back plate in order to get to the Galvanometer mirrors:
I started by removing the screws. The side ones, which have a round-top:
The top ones, which have a flat-top and are short:
BEWARE!: the instructions failed to mention that the are two screws in the bottom!:
Keep the screws in the iFixit tool-cover:
Next, the instructions show you - in pictures, where the two Galvanometers and the laser’s connectors are:
You label the connectors:
Then you proceed to unscrew the Galvanometer assembly and to clean the mirrors - ONLY if needed:
So this was my first attempt at cleaning the mirrors… I decided to try to print “something” I knew had succeeded prior to all these fails. I picked this guy:
And this is what I got:
Yes, you guessed it; BOOM!… Not only that: when I checked the NEW Resin Tray for debris… I noticed that it already has new ghosting! WTF? Ho strong is that laser?
This Morning: A New Start
With some sleep under my belt and with a new “damaged” Resin Tank, I decided to double-check the mirrors. I went back, checked the big mirror… all was clear “in the Western Front…” Then < I decided to check the Galvanometer mirrors… and to my AMAZEMENT!.. this is what I discovered using a 10X magnifying lens:
And here’s another close-up:
I used one of the Sensor Swabs to clean the speck. Make sure you ONLY use 90% - 99% proof isopropyl Alcohol with these Sensor Swabs and the PEC*PAD wipes! The Sensor Swabs are sold in three sizes: #1, #2 & #3. #1 has a width of 17mm, then #2, at 20mm and #3 at 24mm - great for the bigger mirror of the Galvanometer assembly and the BIG mirror. So, because the #1 was still too big to clean the tinny mirrors of the Y and the X Galvanometer, I had to make a “hand-made” swab! Before closing the printer, I gave the BIG mirror another clean up:
As for the dust particles, which are ALWAYS going to fall back, DON’T USE COMPRESSED AIR! Again, it leaves a residue. Use a hand tool like this amazing Giotto Air Blaster:
And presto! The culprit specs and their friends where out… for now!
Printing “Around” The Ghost…
Because I noticed the weird “ghost image” burnt in my new Resin Tank, I decided to place some “test” objects around the damaged area, to see if cleaning the Galvanometers did the trick or not. I place multiple copies of a model that I got from the internet (can’t tell you from who, burt if anyone knows who built this, let me credit the individual,0 around the center of the Resin Tank:
I went on with the print, and after two hours… BEHOLD THE MAGNIFICENCE OF IT ALL!:
So far, so good. I removed them from the Build Platform and placed them on the stringer:
And I proceeded to the cleaning process. First, a two-minute “shaking” in the first bath:
Followed by a ten-minute rest:
During that time, I carefully clean the Build Platform, with paper towels and without any alcohol what so ever! Only use alcohol if you know you can leave the Build Platform out to dry for a while, like overnight. The last thing you need is contamination of the Resin Tank with alcohol!:
Then I switch the prints to the second bath, which has cleaner isopropyl alcohol:
And gave it the second two-minute “shake” bath:
Followed by the second ten-minute rest and an o.k. song!:
At this time I could clearly see that the print was a success! So, out of the frying pan… and clean the excess Isopropyl Alcohol wit a little-bit of compressed air:
The last part of my personal pipeline is to “bake” the prints for two hours in my Tabletop Ultraviolet Sterilizing cabinet:
And last - but not least, after the two-hour bake-off, I place the prints back for a two/ten Isopropyl Alcohol finishing bath, as I learned from Robert Vignone’s AMAZING website, Mold3D TV. And here’s what the test-prints look like:
(Printed with Grey Resin at 0.1mm Resolution. Duration: 1 h 28 min, and four cups of coffee)
I think this adventure went well after all! I hope someone will learn and use something from this long and interesting experience.
Good luck with your projects!
P.s.: As I just finished writing this post, it started raining in Los Angeles! How weird is this: two miracles in one day!