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MakerBot Stepstruder Mk6 and HBP temperatures

Filed under: MakerBot — jet @ 16:19

Part of switching over to Gen 4 was improving daily operation by locking down the extruder and the build environment. Going to the Mk.6 Stepstruder was already in progress but I really needed to ditch the difficult-to-use but trendy Automatic Build Platform for the Heated Build Platform (HBP). It was great for making kid’s favors at a Maker Faire but a real PITA for complex or experimental objects.

After some decent experiments with the Mk.7 (more on that later), I decided to try the 0.3mm head and 1.8mm plastic on the Mk.6 after the success with the 0.4mm head and 3mm ABS.

It works, but not well enough to actually print. The drop from 3mm to 1.8mm plastic, almost %50, should have worked well with the drop from 0.4 to 0.3 but the extruder doesn’t want to extrude. There was some talk on the makerbot list that black 1.8mm plastic required higher temps, those were red-lined by the software, so I did some measuring on my own.

Back in the early days, getting your print temperature correct was one step from ritual magic. That seemed likely, so I decided to repeat some early tests and wire up second and third sensors to run in parallel with the default sensors.

With these, I collected some data and made some graphs. The sensor tips were put as close to the MakerBot sensors as possible and I waited as long as seemed reasonable for the temperature adjustments to stabilize after a change.

  • built-in sensor that ReplicatorG software reads
  • Fluke 88V temp sensor with temperature probe. Not a cheap device but the readout is 0.1C and it’s fast
  • $20 BBQ grill cooking thermometer. Cheap, easy to use, but I think their goal is to make sure I don’t kill someone with undercooked poultry.

The short answer is this — the replicator is reading at least 10C lower than anything else, so I need to run with much hotter temps than are required by the instructions.

(The images are hosted on flickr for easier commentary)

Mk.6 tests:

Mk.6 with software 0033 (recent tree build)

Mk.6 with software 0029 (distributed)

HBP tests:

HBP with software 0033

HBP with software 0029

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