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Hi,

Welcome to this instructable. We are 4 guys at university who as part of our engineering project have been tasked to make improvements to a RepRapPro Huxley 3D printer.

We started with a printer kit and built it before making improvements and suggest you do the same too.

We won't go into too much detail but will basically outline what the improvements were, the best ways to go about them and the other things we would improve had we more time for the project.

We've named the resultant printer the 'Huxley FU', FU standing for Fanned Up, due to the inclusion of 3 powerful fans to aid in print quality.

*disclaimer - All notes/instructions in any part of this instrutctable are from the experience of us, the students and are not the views of the RepRap project. Due to the open source nature of this type of 3D printer, parts supplied in your kit may differ to those supplied to us as they are regularly updated. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:16625 here is the link to where you can print the parts we have used in this project. This is done at your own risk; modifying printed parts supplied by RepRap may void their warranty, to be on the safe side - print your own parts and modify those. If you happen to be clumsy, please be do not make modifications to your printer - and remember that the bed and HOT-end are HOT; please be careful.

Much love, Aaron, Ananda, Matt & Michael

Step 1: Building of Huxley

We started by building fully a RepRap Pro Huxley

Here is the link for build instructions: we suggest reading them thoroughly then coming back to this instructable when finished:

http://reprap.org/wiki/RepRapPro_Huxley

BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO ASSEMBLE ANY PART OF THE RepRapPro HUXLEY 3D PRINTER, PLEASE READ THE BUILD INSTRUCTIONS FULLY AND ENSURE YOU UNDERSTAND THEM.

Step 2: Modification 1: Printer Frame

The Huxley's metal frame is not very precise and had to be fine tuned in order to give a good quality final print.

We decided to replace our metal frame with one that is laser cut to give extra accuracy. The new laser cut frame is in 6mm MDF and sports holes in the correct places for the holding rods and extruder.

The extruder is also moved a few mm away from its original location as it was too close to the z motor.

'Thing files' available at: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:74001

....oh and we cut our names in to the frame...just 'cos we could.

Step 3: Modification 2: Z Axis Bracket

We found that printing circles was terrible on the Huxley, partly due to the slightly slanted z axis caused by the supplied brackets.

New brackets were designed in Autodesk Inventor and printed... YAY!

The new brackets hold the linear rod directly above the cross threaded rod that goes under the build platform and were super-glued for good measure, along with Ananda's fingers.

'Thing files' available at: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:74001

Step 4: Modification 3: Chocolate

Okay, this didn't actually happen....

When told that we had free reign on what to improve on the printer we immediately thought what every student does. Food!

Various syringe extruder designs were explored and we would love to come back to this at some point as it would be truly epic to print out your own chocolate bar or even bake your own biscuit with the heated bed - then coat it in chocolate.

If we have time after the project we will revisit this Wonka mad plan

*not affiliated to Nestlé

Step 5: Modification 4: Fans Fans Fans

The biggest problem with the printer was that the part being printed wasn't cooling down quickly enough on the build platform. We altered various settings, making it print slower which adversely affected the print as the hot-end was dwelling on one position for too long - :(

We commandeered a desk fan and trialled its use during a print with utmost success - the prints were cooling enough for the next layer to be nicely placed on top of the previous.

One of our amazing lecturers, Glen, had acquired some old computer fans from the IT department and it was this that gave us the idea to build fans into the frame of the printer. The fans are directly connected to the board's power supply - **DO NOT CONNECT THEM TO 'fan' on the main board**.

Installation of the fans has greatly enhanced the build quality of the prints with a better texture to top flat layers and a nicer adhesion to lower layers of print.

Step 6: Printer Maintenance

Thanks for reading our short guide to modifications on our 3D Printer. Remember that to ensure consistent good quality prints you should regularly maintain your printer, the following is just a guide compiled from our experience of what tends to fail after certain time periods. Happy Printing!

We recommend the following PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance) schedule for this iteration of the RRP Huxley pro 'Huxley FU'. The PPM schedule will help prolong the life of the printer and will help by ensuring mechanical parts can stay fairly fault free:

Daily

  • Use acetone based cleaning solution (nail polish remover will work) to wipe the bed, ensure it is not heated.
  • Ensure rear fans are clear of cable obstruction.
  • When feeding filament ensure it has a pointed end, this will help its feeding into the hot-end and extruder.
  • Ensure the y axis linear rods are in place in the supports.
  • Ensure that the nut holding the x axis idler is finger tight.
  • Run the printer fans for no less than 3 minutes before print to ensure smooth operation.

Weekly*

All the daily checks plus:

  • Ensure all the nuts are tight (there are 48 of them).
  • Check that all 6 bearings are in place.

Monthly*

All the Daily and Weekly checks plus:

  • Cleaning the nozzle: Raise the z axis 50mm from home and the hot-end to 200 through 'Pronterface'. Clean the nozzle of any excess material using a wooden spatula or knife **CAUTION** THIS MUST BE DONE WITH EXTREME CAUTION, the hot-end is at up to 250 degrees C!
  • Check belt tensioning on x and y axis. (refer to assembly instructions)
  • Check that all five steppers are firmly attached to the frame/supports.
  • Tighten the U brackets connecting the z axis motors to the threaded rods.
  • Check end stops for wear.
  • Grease linear rods x6 with WD-40 or similar lubricant.
  • The electric connectors and screws should be checked for tightness.
  • Check bed wires for integrity replace if worn.

*Based on using your printer 3 times a week or several times a month; if you use it more regularly you should do more frequent checks. The nature of the RRP Huxley means that though vibrations it is prone to 'shaking itself apart'.

<p>re engineering the heating element should help. fans would dissipate heat which is wasteful. I would try to come up with more precise heat monitoring, with precise feedback control. insulate the hot parts as much as possible... this is one critical thing that deposition printers are falling behind in. with more commercial interest and subsequently more capital investment... I'm sure that more efficient and effective solutions will emerge. </p>

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