Ender 3 Woes - Time for maintenance

Ender 3 Woes - Time for maintenance

I recently started printing some large objects. The prints were taking between 14 and 16 hours. After printing 2 pieces (I'm printing an update of this Shuttle from the 2nd Dynasty Starship III Kickstarter), I noticed that I had some bad extrusion problems. I've tuned the e-steps and PID, so I knew it had to be something else.

2 Pieces of a Shuttle with bad layer lines

Then I remembered an accident that I had when experimenting with Klipper. I had the Z-Offset set wrong and my nozzle dug into my print bed. I'm guessing that it damaged the nozzle. That would explain the bad prints.

So, I started to replace the nozzle and then decided to clean out the hotend. The Ender 3's PTFE tube extends all the way through the heat block and butts up against the nozzle. If there is any gap between the two, it can cause a clog. When I removed the new tube coupler from the hotend, it was stuck to the PTFE tube. I couldn't get it off no matter how hard I tried. So, I used a pair of pliers to hold the tube while pulling on the coupler. I eventually got it off by moving it the opposite direction and taking it off the other end. When I got it all put back together again, I went to reload the filament only to discover that I had crushed the PTFE tube with the pliers and the filament wouldn't feed through it.

Crushed PTFE tube. The gashes on the right were cause by me twisting the coupler while trying to get it to come off

I've been planning on upgrading to the Capricorn PTFE tube anyway, so I went ahead and ordered it from Amazon. I also ordered a tube cutter and a 20 pack of 0.4mm nozzles.

While I had the printer disassembled, I decided to fish my BLTouch wires through the wire harness and remove them from the outside. This made it look a lot better and gives me better wire management.

BLTouch wires routed through the wire harness

As I was rerouting the BLTouch wires, I noticed that I still had my old power wires that I had soldered together (to remove the faulty XT60 connectors). I had ordered some replacement wire a while back and thought that it was probably in the mail. So I headed out to the mailbox and, sure enough, the wire was in the mail. I replaced the original wire with 12 gauge wire with silicon insulation.

My new Capricorn tubing will be here in a few days.

I also decided that it was a good time to upgrade to the latest Marlin (1.1.9 as of this writing), so I downloaded that and configured it for my BLTouch. I was happy to see that my EEPROM values were retained from my TH3D firmware install. I was afraid I was going to have to re-enter everything.

Here are a few videos that I found helpful. They are not my own, they are from Michael Laws at Teaching Tech. Please support him on Patreon.

A Video on Vanilla Marlin and Ender 3 from Teaching Tech
Adding BLTouch to Vanilla Marlin on Ender 3 from Teaching Tech