by makeme

Posts Tagged ‘solution’

Easy 3D Printer Toolchain

In Uncategorized on 07, Jun, 2011 at 21:32

The software that controls open source 3d printers is still in a state of flux. It can be difficult to navigate your way through all the options to try to put together a toolchain that will do what it is supposed to do. I know, I’ve been doing just that for a while now.

Eventually I figured that I was only really helping myself because I was piling one patch onto another trying to make things work in my specific situation…and it wasn’t working all that well. So, I started over.

The primary factor in deciding what toolchain to put together is the operating system your computer runs on. Normally, this would seem to be an insurmountable obstacle, but these days it’s really not that big a deal. We can standardize on one single OS by creating a bootable flash drive. I have picked Ubuntu because it’s totally free. So, if you have a 2GB flash drive, or if you can scrape up the cash to buy one, you can simply boot your computer into a brand new OS without actually changing anything about your computer. This step ensures that you are starting from a totally clean install, and that your install is the same as everyone else’s install.

From that point forward all you have to do is download Java, which is free, and Python, which is free, and Arduino, which is free, and in this case I’ve choosen ReplicatorG (best and best supported), which is also free.

But don’t worry. I’m not going to leave you to figure out how to do all that. What follows is a detailed checklist that will guide you through this process. You don’t have to know ANYTHING about ANY of those programs. If you can click buttons (and can afford a 2GB flash drive) you can get your bot up and running.*

*I am sort of assuming you’re using RAMPS and Windows, but I can’t test this process with anything else at the moment.

How to do it (this process is largely based off of this set of instructions on the RepRap Wiki by Bristolalweb)

  • You will need:
    • a computer with 2 free USB ports (one for the flash drive and one for the 3d printer) and a wired internet connection (no need to mess with getting wireless working).
    • a flash drive (at least 2 GB)
    • an Ubuntu image
      • http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download
      • The Ubuntu site is pretty easy to navigate.
      • Getting the Long Term Support (LTS) version is recommended. New Ubuntu releases don’t have support for everything build in; people add that stuff over time. If you get the newest version you will probably find that it doesn’t support one or more of the things you want to do. For example, when you try to use the Universal USB Installer, the newest Ubuntu release might not support a protocol necessary to let the system treat a flash drive like a hard drive. The LTS version will.
      • Make a note of the version name and number: 10.04 Lucid Lynx
    • An installer
  • plug the flash drive in to the USB port and make sure the flash drive doesn’t contain any files you want to keep
    • make a note of the drive letter that identifies the USB key
  • quick format the flash drive
    • open windows explorer
    • right click on the drive letter and select ‘format’
    • select ‘Fat32’ and ensure ‘quick format’ is checked
    • click ‘format’
  • run the Universal USB Installer
    • select the version of Linux that you downloaded
    • select the file you downloaded
    • select the letter that represents your flash drive
    • select at least 1GB of persistent memory (so that you can save things)
      • if your flash drive is larger than 2GB you can select more, but leave 1GB available for Ubuntu
    • click ‘create’
  • restart your computer (or move the flash drive to a different computer)
  • at some point before your normal operating system shows up you should have the option to select a ‘boot menu’ (or something like that). If there isn’t a clearly labeled option or menu (which won’t be available for long, so move fast) then you can try ‘delete’ ‘F10’ or ‘F12.’ If none of those work consult your documentation or customer service representative. There most definitely is a way to tell your computer to boot from the flash drive in the USB port, so don’t give up.
  • When the Ubuntu menu shows up, select ‘boot from USB’.
  • get Ubuntu universe (not a program, this just tells Ubuntu to search a wider list of programs)
    • click ‘system’
    • click ‘administration’
    • click ‘software sources’
    • check the box next to ‘universe’
  • get python and java
    • click ‘system’
    • click ‘administration’
    • click ‘synaptic package manager’
    • click ‘reload’ in the upper right of the new window
    • in the search bar enter the package names and check the box next to them when they show up
      • “python” “python-tk” “python-psyco” “openjdk-6-jdk”
    • click ‘apply’
    • 10.04 seems to have python 2.6.5 by default
    • or, from the terminal (doing it this way didn’t work correctly for me)
      • sudo apt-get install python python-tk python-psyco
      • sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jdk
  • get arduino
    • http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
    • after the download, move the file from the download folder to the desktop
    • right-click on the folder and select ‘extract here’
    • back in synaptic package manager
    • search for “avr-gcc” and “avr-libc”, mark for installation
    • or, from the terminal
      • sudo apt-get install gcc-avr avr-libc
  • get Teacup firmware
    • http://reprap.org/wiki/Teacup_Firmware
    • https://github.com/triffid/Teacup_Firmware
    • download the *tar.gz file (It’s actually a folder with a lot of compressed stuff inside it, not a single file)
    • move it from the download folder to the desktop
    • extract it to the desktop
    • rename the new folder “Teacup_Firmware”
    • open that folder, copy the “config.ramps.h” file and past a new one
    • rename that new file “config.h”
    • load Teacup firmware on to RAMPS
      • open the arduino folder
      • run the file named “arduino”
      • select ‘run in terminal’
      • select ‘file’ then ‘open’
      • click the ‘-‘ button in the upper right and navigate to the desktop directory
      • double-click the ‘Teacup_Firmware’ folder
      • double-click the *.pde file
      • click ‘verify’
        • you should get an error
        • open the Teacup_Firmware folder
        • find the file called ‘makefile’ and open it
        • scroll down to the ‘change these to suit your hardware’ section
        • uncomment the mega2560 line and comment out all the others (assuming you’re using the 2560 and not the 1280). It seems like some of the files use “/” to denote comments (stuff the program ignores) and others use “#” for the same thing. It should be obvious because all the instructions will be surrounded by whatever the symbol for comments are.
      • back in the arduino window
      • click ‘tools’ ‘board’ then select the mega 2560
      • click ‘verify’ and it should compile properly
      • click ‘upload’. Not only will the Arduino IDE tell you whether or not the upload worked, you should be able to watch the LED on the RAMPS board blink an awful lot. That’s a good thing.
        • it might prompt you to try the port ttyACM0 instead of COM1, click ‘ok’
  • get replicatorG
  • connect to the 3d printer
    • open the replicatorG folder
    • run the file called ‘replicatorg’ select ‘run in terminal’
    • wait for it to finish updating itself
    • click ‘machine’ ‘driver’ and select ‘teacup’
    • click ‘machine’ ‘serial port’ and select the ‘ACM0’ port
    • click ‘connect’ and the orange bar should turn green
    • make sure the temperature is updating and jog the axes

At this point you should have a bot that is registering temperatures and responding to the control panel. That’s all for now. I’ll put together another set of instructions describing how to properly tune the bot.

Anyone who tries this out on a system other than Windows, or on electronics other than RAMPS, please let me know. I’m sure it will work with only minor tweaking.

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RepRap RAMPS Build Continued

In Uncategorized on 30, May, 2011 at 19:09

The world can delay me, but it can’t stop me. (huzzah)

I got some v2.1 opto end stops from the guys at Makerbot and a stepper plastruder from MakerGear. It actually didn’t take all that long to get them put together. It also didn’t take much time to start testing the printer and realize that it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. Then I got frustrated with programming (black magic) and then other things got in the way.  Anyway, I got the programming problem solved and now have a Mendel that at least pretends to do everything it’s supposed to do. I’ll share any secret tuning tricks as I run across them.

BTW, what made my Mendel do stupid things was apparently having the end stops inverted in the firmware. If you get everything hooked up, and the end stop LED lights up when you break the beam, but your axes won’t move in both directions, try switching the inversion of the end stops in the firmware and re-uploading it to RAMPS. I guess the controller thought that on was off, or off was on, or something like that.

Before you do that, however, you’re going to have to get those end stops built and hooked up.

NOTE: There are some incidental parts and tools necessary to finish this build. I suggest reading through it first and figuring out if you need some random part like a single 2.54mm connector and its associate crimps. It can be pretty frustrating to realize you need to wait a week to get the right 0.05oz part.

  1. Get out your end stop PCB and take a look at it. Not too complicated, right?
    IMG_0176
  2. Go ahead and put all the components in place. I suggest just buying the kit, but if you want to track them all down individually that’s your prerogative. I didn’t use the RJ45 jack because that’s pretty old-skool (also it doesn’t work with RAMPS).
    IMG_0177
  3. Solder them so they don’t go anywhere. You might as well do all the boards at once. I got 6 so that I could have min and max end stops if everything went well, and if I broke any of them I could use the maxes as spares.
  4. Here are some other resources for opto end stops: Makerbot and RepRap.
  5. The best way to connect the end stops to RAMPS is to use servo cables. At least, it’s easier than building the cables from scratch using 2.54mm (.1″) hardware. You can do that, but it’s a pain. We’ll get to that later.
  6. Hopefully you thought that was all really easy…cuz now comes the hard part. The RAMPS board has two of the end stop connectors reversed; something about squeezing thicker traces on the board. This change means that you can’t just plug the end stops in to the board. First, you have to reverse the two appropriate wires in the connector. To do that you have to get something pointy into the back of the connector and pull up the tab that holds the crimped connector in place.
    IMG_0179
  7. Be gentle. You don’t want to damage the tab.
    IMG_0178
  8. Now you can switch the two wires. Which two wires, you ask? That’s a good question. As you can see on the PCB, there are three pins labeled VCC (+ voltage), SIG (signal) and GND (ground or – voltage). Basically, you’re going to want to switch the wires that are connected to SIG and GND. You can do it at either end of the cable, but try to keep it consistent so it’s easy to check your work. The connectors are labeled on the opto end stop board and on the RAMPS board, so check each a couple times.
    IMG_0181
  9. Do that for every end stop you’ve got. Then I suggest making a big loop of tape (sticky side out), and using it to line all your components up side-by-side for a final sanity check. If you bought a weird color of cable because it was on sale you might want to draw a chart or something to keep track of which colors are which.
    IMG_0182
  10. It might be at this point that you discover your cables aren’t long enough. Tough.
  11. No, but seriously, if that’s the case you’ll need an extension cable. One way to accomplish this feat is by grabbing a scrap rail of headers that are long enough to go into both female 2.54mm housings. The 90 degree headers are good for this.
    IMG_0183
  12. Just bend them and cut off chunks of 3.
    IMG_0184
  13. At this point things get hard to define. Mounting the end stops isn’t all that complicated, but you can run into weird interference issues. The more true to the Mendel build materials and process you stayed the less problem you should have. I used 6-32 socket cap screws instead of 3mm (USA! USA! USA!) because they were cheaper. They are almost 3mm, but they’re big enough that I had to drill out the end stop mounting holes. Then I realized that one or more of the end stops liked to wiggle around, so I had to create a tiny little brace to keep it immobilized. Just do whatever seems to work for you.
  14. I suggest using aluminum flashing for your opaque opto end stop triggers because it’s easy to twist into the weird shapes necessary. It’s cheap, abundant (can pick it up at any hardware store) and most importantly it’s a nice raw material to have around the shop. You can cut it with regular scissors and drill it, so no special tools required. Before you unroll it for the first time, take note of how it’s got that tape holding it together; you want to maintain that (it doesn’t like to roll back up again). Try to keep it from unrolling with one hand while you cut off a thin strip, then tape it back up again before it can pop loose.
  15. You’ll have to move the axes around to test fit the end stop triggers. X and Y are easy…Z not so much. You’ll have to get the axes working properly before you can figure out what shape to make the triggers for the Z-axis. I set mine so that the min end stop is triggered just AFTER the extruder touches the build surface. I figure it’s on springs for a reason.
  16. The MakerGear plastruder build is already documented pretty well over at Makergear.com. I got the 1.75mm version, and the associated PLA, because I wanted this Mendel to err on the side of accuracy. However, many of the parts in the plastruder are still sized for 3mm filament. Because of this I had a bit of trouble getting the 1.75mm filament to work correctly, but I have been assured that it’s supposed to work just fine. Make of that what you will.
  17. Pay particular attention to the steps that involve crimping connectors onto the ends of wires. It’s a delicate operation that is guaranteed to frustrate. Unless you’re already good at it or you have a special crimping tool (in which cases you’re probably only reading through this for a laugh). When you solder the crimp onto the wire be careful to keep the solder from wicking up in between the guides on the “top” of the crimp. If that happens, the crimp won’t go all the way into the connector and you’ll have to get that solder out of there (yes I did that and no it’s not fun).
  18. I suggest using different sex connectors on the thermistor and heater wires (one male and one female) that way you can’t get them mixed up in the future.
  19. When you’re all done building the plastruder you’ll probably discover that the motor Makergear supplies doesn’t have a connector on it, just loose wires. What you want to do is install a 1×4 2.54mm connector on the end of those wires, because that’s the spacing of the headers RAMPS uses for connections. I had one of those, and the appropriate crimps, left over in the RAMPS kit I got from Ultimachine.
    IMG_0192
  20. Install the crimps on the wires, then apply just enough solder to secure them. Take a look at the other motors on your Mendel to figure out what order to install the wires.
    IMG_0193
  21. Make sure the crimps are all oriented the right way (so the tab will catch them) and shove them into the connector. You might have to get creative with a pair of needlenose pliers to get them to lock in place. Keep in mind that there’s not much space in there, so if they’re not going in all the way you might want to mash the crimped part into a narrower profile. See how the crimped part of that red wire is kind of wide? Just squeeze that into shape. (don’t deform the part of the crimp that goes into the front of the connector…that would just break it)
    IMG_0194
  22. Now you can hook the plastruder up to the appropriate locations on the RAMPS board. The motor connector goes next to the extruder Pololu board, the thermistor goes on the T0 pins, and the heater wires go into the D9 terminals (or whichever ones show 12 volts when you try to turn on the heater). I suggest not bundling the thermistor wires with the heater or motor wires since that might cause noise in the temperature reading.
  23. Now enjoy the unique feeling of having all the mechanical and electrical work done because you’re looking forward to a long period of time messing with the software trying to get the machine to do what it’s supposed to do.
  24. I’ll put together another post on just that subject…whenever I conquer it myself.
  25. I like round numbers.

Makerbot Thing-O-Matic Extruder Relay Fix

In Uncategorized on 23, Jan, 2011 at 19:14

As I addressed previously: the Makerbot Thing-O-Matic has a few issues. Also addressed previously: why that’s half the fun!

The best way to troubleshoot something is to find where the problem is and gradually work backwards. At each step you try to confirm that a part works the way it’s expected to work. When a part fails a test, you either fix it or bypass it and see if that solves the problem. If it doesn’t, you make a note and continue moving backwards. Of course, it’s always preferable when you can just fix the problem. Or, maybe replace a part, that’s good too.

Plan C is usually to alter the design to compensate for something that simply can’t do what you’re trying to make it do. When it comes to the Generation 4 electronics and the Kysan DC motor on the extruder (all of them) … I’m down to Plan C.

I tried replacing the old Extruder Controller (EC) circuit board with a new one that Makerbot was kind enough to RMA (thanks Ethan!). I also tried replacing the actual motor driver chip (A3949) on the old board with a new one from Digikey (no joy, also, I’m not sure how happy support was about that). The closest I got to a solution was that the totally new EC would drive the motor for a little while (the old one wouldn’t put out any voltage at all). I backed out the delrin plunger’s thumb screw on the extruder so that there was no load on the motor, and just watched the multimeter. Sometimes it would work fine (11.98v), sometimes it would try (~7v) and sometimes it would give up (80mv).

For what it’s worth, by running through this failure mode several times I was able to find that when the motor stopped turning its resistance was basically shorted out  (1.4 ohms). When it was turning fine it was resisting fine (30-45 ohms). So, I suspect that it could very well be a problem with the motor (a bad winding maybe) that’s causing a problem with the motor driver. My guess is that the motor is basically shorting out while it’s spinning, which dramatically increases the current in the circuit, triggering the A3949 to shut down. It’s probably turning back on a microsecond later, applying 12v again, and shutting down again. Repeating that over and over again is probably what produced the 7v-ish reading.

At any rate, replacing the broken part didn’t fix the problem. It merely illustrated that the new part would probably break too. Several people seem to agree that the current design is beyond fixing. Time for Plan C.

“… I’m using the motor just fine to push plastic , powered from the 12v rail of the power supply in the TOM, using a relay connected to the usual motor control to turn it on and off. There hasn’t been a single glitch in this setup.” – ScribbleJ

Instead of connecting [the EC] to the motor (which fails just as described in these posts), I connected it to a couple of relays. This works in both directions…” MakeALot

The relay kit did it for me. Motor started working perfectly.” – g00bd0g

I didn’t feel like waiting for  support to maybe send me a relay kit, so I cobbled something together from Radio Shack. I am happy to report that I just got through 20 minutes of printing without a single problem (that hasn’t happened in weeks). What I did is basically like what rwensley did, but with only one relay (forward or stop).

Parts list:

Steps:

  1. Figure out where to mount the new components. I cut a small piece off the perf board and drilled 1/8″ holes so that I could mount it in between the EC and stepper driver using the existing mounting points.
  2. Test fit the components. I then elongated the holes because I’d mounted the board too close to the edge of the bottom panel. Remember that the outside edge of the electronics are butted right up against a wall when the bot is closed.
  3. Mark the perf board. I suggest, if you mount the DIY relay board underneath the two existing circuit boards on the same bolts, that you mark it with a sharpie to show where you have room for components. Remember to connect the RJ cable.
  4. Cut the female Molex connector. I left a couple inches of wire, then stripped a half inch off of the end of each.
  5. Drill holes for the Molex connector wires. I used a 5/64″ drill bit to enlarge four of the holes (at least one hole apart).
  6. Hot glue the components in place. You don’t have to do that, but the perf board I used didn’t have any copper on it, so I wanted a better mechanical connection then just soldered wires. It doesn’t take much hot glue, tho.
  7. Wiggle everything. The idea is that things aren’t going to fall apart when you start connecting/disconnecting things and trying to stuff them inside the bottom of the bot.
  8. Wire it up. Wiring a relay is pretty straight forward. Remember to put the stripped end of the diode on the positive wire.
  9. Test it. Not strictly necessary, but it’s good to make sure you got polarities right. I plugged everything in like it was finished, except that I left the two control wires free and just hooked them up to an external 12v source. This simulated the motor controller sending 12v to the motor (actually the relay now).
  10. Connect everything and close the bottom. Yay!

TOM relay

Makerbot Extruder Mystery

In Uncategorized on 05, Jan, 2011 at 18:23

Now that I’m an established blogger 🙂 I think it’s time to tackle the elephant in the room. I’m referring, of course, to the Makerbot extruder “issues.”

I’m not claiming to have a solution, not yet, I just want to try to inject some structure into the problem solving process. There are a lot of references to this problem spread around the interwebs, most of which are speculation. I’m not much use when it comes to electronics, but I can at least compile everything into a coherent troubleshooting process … and then add my own speculation!

First, lets hear from the community:

“I’d try that, but since my last post, the extruder motor stopped spinning altogether.  can’t get it to spin in a build or in the control panel. Ugh.” – Rich

Then I was trying some raftless objects and the extruder drive died 1/2 way through my 20mm cube and I was like “WTF”?” Gabe

I am experiencing something odd with this motor as well.  I was able to complete about 3 prints without any issues.  However recently, the extruder motor stops responding in mid print.” – GodfatherUr

After Makerbot fixed the stop button bug in ReplicatorG, and after so many people reporting that their extruder motors still spin when they apply an external voltage to them, I think it’s safe to discard the theory that there is something wrong with the motors themselves. So, while that’s the thing that most obviously stops doing what we want it to, it seems like it’s just not getting what it needs from lower down in the chain.

That leaves the extruder controller (EC), the motherboard, or the power supply (PS). Lets work backwards, starting with the PS.

According to Makerbot the Thing-o-matic (TOM) ships with a “500w Hercules ATX power supply” which has slightly different specs depending on where you look (17A or 22A on +12V for example)* mine says 22A on the side. I can’t find anyone who admits to manufacturing the thing, although I did learn just how many products are called “Hercules.” So, I did what I always do … I swallowed my pride and consulted wikipedia. The Hercules claims to have over current protection, which should shut down the whole PS if something drew too much juice. Additionally, I didn’t have any trouble finding +12V at pins 8 & 9 (power and ground on the schematic), even when the motor was failing to spin, so it doesn’t look like there’s too little juice either. I followed (in as much as they apply) some troubleshooting guides like these 1, 2, 3 and didn’t find any problems. Replacing the PS seemed to work for G00bd0g but not for Ryan9. I don’t think the PS is the problem.

Ditto for the motherboard. Mostly, I just can’t think of how the motherboard COULD cause the kind of problems we’re seeing. It’s not responsible for extrusion.

The EC, on the other hand, not only controls extrusion but has its own set of firmware. Hooking the motor up to a dedicated power supply demonstrates that there’s nothing wrong with it. The very next thing in the chain is the EC or, more specifically, the A3949 motor driver. As you can see from the schematics, the motor driver connects directly to the motor, supplying everything it uses to function. More specifically, the motor driver takes in a logical signal (distinguished by two LEDs) and power from the +12v rail, then outputs a PWM signal that controls the motor’s speed by turning on and off really fast. To make a long story short, I could never find anything going wrong with anything besides the part of the circuit that connects the output of the motor driver with the motor. Ergo, I think it’s the motor driver that’s causing the problem.

My suspisions regarding this phenomenon is best explained by James, one of Allegro’s (the A3949 manufacturer) technical support reps. After I described the problems to him he replied, “The symptoms you describe are typically related to electrical overstress in the motor driver chip … One risk area is that some applications will use a connector between the motor driver and the motor.  If the connector is disconnected when there is significant amount of current flowing in the inductive load then there will be an out of spec. voltage spike that will damage the motor driver.  As with an ESD event the device may only be weakened by the voltage spike and subsequently fail after 10-20 more hours of operation.”

When I provided the link for the schematic he observed, “I see from the schematic that clamping diodes are in place to prevent excursions of outA and outB from going below ground.  I do not see similar clamping diodes in place for holding the outA and outB to VBB(+12V).”

That’s what I’ve got. Since I suspect a problem with either the chip or the circuit I’m going to have to lean on the technical expertise of EE guys (more of an ME guy myself). My guess is that the design of the circuit is allowing damaging spikes to come back to the motor driver. I don’t know where the first spike comes from, but it sounds like a single bad spike can degrade the chip enough to guarantee failure eventually. I suspect this would account for the interesting variety of failures (or lack thereof) reported by the community.

Personally, I was planning on moving to a stepper extruder anyway. So now I’m just planning on doing it faster. Maybe better electrical isolation of the ICs would solve the problem, maybe not, but at this point it looks like DC extruders are outclassed by steppers even if the extruder problem is solved.

How To Tell If ABS Will Stick

In Uncategorized on 02, Jan, 2011 at 12:00

The Thing-o-matic (TOM) is full of surprises.

Probably the biggest shock I experienced was having my very first build stick like it was supposed to, and then peel off like it was supposed to, on not only the first try but on all subsequent tries. The new belt that Makerbot is including with the TOM kits worked perfectly. It’s a pre-made affair that appears to be two layers of plastic tape that were wrapped around a pipe of the appropriate diameter.

That being said, the belt gradually warped. After a couple dozen rotations (not every build was allowed to progress to the eject stage) the belt had a small section that would lay flat, but was mostly waves so big you could surf ’em.

IMG_0113 (400x225)

It got to where the surface of the belt was rising up many milimeters, which made it useless for printing on. The Makerbot support team indicated that the belt might have been too tight, which put too much force on it and stretched it out into a funky shape. They have yet to get back to me regarding how exactly I’m supposed to adjust the tension of a belt on the Automated Build Platform (ABP).

Since I didn’t want to go back to an old and busted option like the lowly Heated Build Platform (HBP), I took advantage of the old style DIY belts they were kind enough to include with the kit. After fighting with the assembly process I eventually got an ABP with a flat belt again. Unfortunately the belt refused to associate with ABS. I tried sanding the surface (in one direction), and I tried degreasing it with windex and other products … but nothing really worked. I had moderate success with just centering the kapton tape so that the build started out on it. Kapton seems to be a reasonably good build surface.

All this time I was bouncing around from forum to wiki to email trying to figure out if anyone had solved this adhesion problem. The best I could gather was that some people had a problem with the exact same kit and some people didn’t. That implied there was a variable involved in using the kit that was being missed, and so was randomly popping up to cause trouble. A conversation with Makerbot’s support led me to suspect it might be that each side of the DIY belts had a different surface, one was Jekyll and one was Hyde. But, in this case, they both looked exactly the same. How to tell them apart?

What I discovered was that you can find out which side is which with a sharpie. The side that won’t be a good surface for printing also is not a good surface for writing.

IMG_0111 (400x225)

the bad mark is on the outside surface

The side that the sharpie ink can stick to is the side the plastic will stick to.

IMG_0112 (400x225)

the good mark is on the inside surface

The belt I had put together first randomly had the wrong side facing outwards. It was 50/50. I couldn’t find a mention of this difference between the two sides in any of the build or troubleshooting documentation, let alone a method for telling them apart. If other people try this fix and find it consistently successful we can add it to the build instructions so that this problem never appears again. The last thing anyone wants is a 3d printer that would work if only the freakin’ plastic would stick. I haven’t tried this method on anything except the belts from Makerbot, but it seems to have something to do with the inherent properties of the surface of the plastic, so it might work generally (it verified that the pre-made belt is a good build surface).

Let me know whether or not this works when you try it.