Introduction: Flashforge Dual Head Printer Print Head Repair

Hi there Flashforge 3D printer owners.

Welcome to my Instructable on how to make various repairs to your Flashforge dual head printer. This Instructable will cover how to remove and replace various components on the Creator Pro, Dreamer and Inventor 1 (all dual head models). We own an Inventor and (the tech person at Flashforge says) the Dreamer components are the same. Some aspects of the Creator Pro may vary from the information shown below.

Note: If you do not have some basic experience in using simple tools, or you have giant hands, I recommend you find a friend to help you.

I'm also assuming you have some basic understanding of your machine and the names of the componentry.

Before starting note that your print head will move in the X and Y directions by simply moving them with your hands. It wont damage anything if you are doing it slowly. You will have to do this to access bolts and screws more easily. You can home the machine when you start it up again.

My son and I have been playing with our printer for 12 months now and we have learned quite a lot about it (but also made some rookie mistakes along the way). As a result of our lack of knowledge, we (I) have damaged the printer hotend and other components, so have had to effect some replacements and repairs (resulting in this Instructable).

I have struggled to find all the info I needed online to assure myself that the components can be disassebled and how to go about it. There are some Youtube videos but nothing comprehensive. I hope this will help someone somewhere with their printer. I think I have comprehensively described the disassembly process but I have only noted some reassembly tricks at the end. Make sure you take note of what goes where as you disassemble. Bag parts as you go if you like, as there are a number of bolts of different lengths that must go back in specific positions.

Take great care in screwing bolts back in during reassembly. The bolts are thin and the threads are small. The possibility of cross threading is high and re-threading parts will be tricky.

Step 1: Printer Tips (why I Had to Make Repairs)

Since 3D printing is still a relatively new technology in terms of home desktop printing at least, I have found it difficult to find information on how to use our printer and the do's and dont's of its use. Flashforge do not provide much in the way of tips with their printers and minimal tips online. The result has been regular filament jams/clogging at various levels of severity.

We usually only get time to do printing on the weekend, so we often do our print, change filament, print some more then turn the printer off with the filament still loaded. I believe (from reading blogs) that this pattern of use had led to the jamming/clogging problems.

Basically, turning off you printer too soon after printing causes the heat sink from the hot ends to radiate up the filament, and partially melt it well north of the nozzle. This results in severe jamming of the filament (see photo of blue filament in the extruder assembly above). The worst jams have involved major equipment disassembly whilst minor ones can be removed more easily.

My advice: when you have finished printing, remove the filament using the unload function on the machine and allow the machine to cool down slowly for 10 minutes before shutting down completely.

So on to the Instructable.

Step 2: Removing the Nozzle (simple Unclogging)

Tools required: 9mm spanner or socket wrench and a small shifting spanner or pliers

The first time you remove a nozzle, it will be quite hard to loosen.

  1. First use the load or unload program to heat the hotend
  2. Hold the hotend with the spanner or pliers
  3. Remove the nozzle with the spanner or socket wrench. Do not remove the teflon tube at this stage
  4. Again use the load program to heat the hotend
  5. If you can see some filament you may be able to remove it with needle nose pliers
  6. If not, use the tool that comes with your printer to push on the filament from below while pressing on the unload leaver
  7. If you are lucky your filament will be free and you can push it all the way out of the printer head. If nothing moves, more drastic action may be required
  8. Pull out the teflon tube and check to see that it is clean and clear. If in doubt, replace it

Step 3: Removing the R.H. Extruder Motor

If your Right Hand extruder is blocked, then removing the motor may expose the tail of some filament that could aid removal.

Tools required: 2.4mm A/F Allen Key (it comes with your printer), Masking tape

  1. Loosen the 2 bolts that hold on the cooling fan shroud and remove.These bolts are long and also hold the fan and heat sink in position.They pass through the aluminium block and hold the motor in place
  2. Tape the fan out of the way somewhere
  3. Slide the motor rearwards and either disconnect the wiring harness or balance the motor somewhere stable
  4. Use the load filament program to heat the hotend and try to push the filament through
  5. Reassemble (see reassembly notes at the end of this Instructable)

Step 4: Removing the L.H Extruder Motor

Things get a little trickier here as there is a cooling fan on the left hand side of the printer head. It has to be removed first.

Tools required: 2.4mm AF Allen Key & 1.9mm AF Allen Key (comes with your printer), masking tape

  1. Remove Bolts securing the fan shroudand other components
  2. Tape fan out of the way somewhere
  3. Remove 2 bolts holding the fan in place Highlited in Yellow
  4. Remove the bolt holding the ducting that blows air over the nozzles Highlited in Red. Remove the duct
  5. This will reveal 2 countersunk screws Highlited in Green. Remove them with the small Allen key and remove the fan mounting plate
  6. Slide the motor out (disconnect the wiring loom if required) and see previous step for possible unclogging solution
  7. Reassemble (see reassembly notes at the end of this Instructable)

Step 5: Removing the Extruder Assembly Part 1

Getting a little serious here. We are now removing the extruder assembly so we can heat up the aluminium block and hotend.

If you are game, you could try to heat the block and hotend when it is still in situ, but you risk damaging the printers plastic components. I'd rather err on the side of caution and follow this step if I were you.

Tools Required: Unblocking tool, 2.4mm AF Allen Key, heat gun, old floor tile or similar that can block heat

  1. Remove 2 bolts from the underside of the assembly (1 either side of each hot end) Highlited in Yellow
  2. Place the tile or similar item across the top of the printer to block heat from the heat gun
  3. Remove the hotend with the brain box and fans attached
  4. If your heat gun has a temperature setting, start at 200 deg C (PLA) 240 deg C (ABS) and direct the heat at the aluminium block and also the hotend that is jammed
  5. Push the blockage through using the tool supplied. Make sure you get all residue out of the hole
  6. Reassemble (see reassembly notes at the end of this Instructable)

Step 6: Removing the Exruder Assembly Part 2

This is really extreme (in fact I so ham fistedly damaged the extruder assembly/hotend etc that I contacted Flashforge & ordered a new assembly) :(

The parts come assembled with hotends & nozzles and all wiring.

For Inventor & Dreamer Part No FF-EA-D Part Required

For Creator Pro Part No FF-EA-CP Part Required

Flashforge support were pretty helpful and the order process was easy. The parts arrived in a week and a half

Tools Required: 2.4mm AF Allen Key, flat head screwdriver 2.1mm x .75mm (sunglasses screw size)

Note: The screw terminals are Inventor and Dreamer specific. I believe Creator Pro is a simpler plug in job (not 100% sure)

  1. Remove 2 Allen head bots from top of brain box
  2. The lid tilts toward at the front and unclips from the front of the box
  3. Take note of the wiring layout. Wires to be removed are shown above
  4. Use the flat head screwdriver to loosen screws and remove 8 electrical connections shown in Red Highlited box & Yellow Highlited circles
  5. Remove 2 countersunk head screws shown with Red arrows above and remove the used part
  6. Feed the wiring of the new part into the brain box
  7. Reconnect the wiring of the new part (make sure that your hotends are facing the door of the printer (on the door side of the aluminium block)). The wires are side specific and the shielded wires (Red Highlited box) are LH & RH specific. The red and blue wires are position specific
  8. Reassemble (see reassembly notes at the end of this Instructable)

Step 7: Feed Roller Replacement

Due to the major filament jam I had, I tried to use the unclogging tool from the top of the print head. This damaged the feed roller which compromised the filament feed. I sourced new rollers from a local printer retailer (can't find them on Flashforge's website)

Tools Required: Digital Calipers, 2.4mm AF Allen Key & 1.9mm AF Allen Key

  1. Remove bolt Highlited in Yellow. Take care not to lose the spring!
  2. Use the calipers to measure position of the feed roller (critical)
  3. Remove grub screw Highlited with Green arrow, and remove feed roller from shaft
  4. Insert new feed roller and measure position with calipers (11.3mm from outer face of roller to inside face of motor on my machine)
  5. Tighten grub screw

Step 8: Notes on Reassembly

For the most part, reassembly is just the reverse of disassembly. Some problems I encountered and notes:

  • Replacing the brainbox lid is a little tricky as there is a lot of wiring inside. Try to flatten the wiring as much as possible before replacing the lid
  • Reattaching the feed motors is the most problematic step:
    • Make sure the wiring from the hotends to the brainbox are not intertwined as they pass between both motors and clearance here is tight
    • the long bolts holding fan shroud/fan/heat sink and feed motor are tricky to line up with the threaded hole in the feed motors. Take great care not to cross thread these bolts. IMO these bolts are too short, making it hard to get everything aligned. If you have done a full disassembly of the whole print head I suggest you leave the brainbox lid off, leave the 2 countersunk screws inside the box loose, attach the extruder assembly fully and tight (thats the 2 bolts underneath). Place both feed motors in position, then get all 4 long bolts engaged in the threads before tightening. Tighten brain box bolts and bolt lid back on.
  • Take note of the order of parts to connect the feed motors. From the bolt head the order is:
    • Fan shroud
    • Small silicone spacer
    • Fan
    • Large silicone spacer
    • Heat sink
    • Aluminium block
    • Screw into feed motor

    When all parts are reconnected, turn on the machine and go through the bed leveling process. Load filament in both sides and do a test print.

So I hope this Instructable has helped you.

My son and I are still learning and trying new filaments. I'm trying to teach myself how to use Solidworks (see dice photo above) which might be an Instructable for another day.

Happy Printing.