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ProJet x60 Color-Jet Printer Best Practices (AMUG 2016)

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My AMUG 2016 slide references for Color-Jet Printer (ZPrinter) users or those looking to start using CJP. Includes tips & tricks, DIY machine maintenance, materials vendor options, cost saving techniques and how to package fragile models for shipping.

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ProJet x60 Color-Jet Printer Best Practices (AMUG 2016)

  1. 1. ProJet x60 Color-Jet Printer Best Practices: Maintenance, Trouble-shooting & Post-processing AMUG 2016 Saint Louis John Lee JohnLee@Alumni.Rice.Edu
  2. 2. Disclaimer All instructions and recommendations expressed in the presentation are my own. Neither my employer ABC Imaging of Washington, Inc. nor any other business entity including 3D Systems Corporation is in any way associated with this presentation. Liability Service, disassemble, use and repair your machines at your own risk. I assume no responsibility for any damage or injuries resulting from the use of the information contained in this presentation. Scope This collection of information and know-how is intended to compliment and add to the standard user manuals. It assumes knowledge of CJP standard operating procedures.
  3. 3. DIY Machine Servicing • Not difficult for those who are mechanically inclined. • No special tools needed. • Decrease operating costs and machine down-time. • Parts-only contracts are possible. • If not in heavy use, you might save money not being on contract and buying spares as needed. • Hard copy instructions are usually included with spares from the 3DS support department. • Some dealers may also share the service docs with users.
  4. 4. Secret Menus Activate the Service Menu: Toggle to Status Report, hold down button for several seconds until “Service Menu Enabled” displays. Now on the main menu, Service Menu will be the last option at bottom. (Needs to be done again if machine is rebooted.) Boot up in Diagnostic Mode: Flip power switch in back and keep holding down the button. Handy when removing padding/bracing under gantry after moving the unit. Let’s you boot without having the gantry servo motors re-zero. Networking options are here too.
  5. 5. “Z-Monitor” Plug VGA monitor & keyboard into the electronics box to see additional info from what the log file & error messages contain. Also able to edit the .ini file here as well as through 3DPrint software.
  6. 6. Troubleshooting Guides Officially only dealers can have access to the service docs. But some primary docs are available online. Just do a web search for: “Zprinter 650 Troubleshooting Guide” “Zprinter 450 Troubleshooting Guide” A South Korean company has posted links to download the PDFs. (You didn’t get them from me.)
  7. 7. Error Codes Movement errors like 2303 are followed by (0) for slow axis (front to back) or (1) for fast axis (right-left). Head errors are sometimes followed by a number in () indicating which head numbered 0 to 4 from right to left in the carriage. 0=clear, 1=black, 2=yellow, 3=magenta, 4=cyan In the Troubleshooting Guide, for most errors there is a chart showing a sequence of steps to follow. They usually start off with a simple cleaning, then maybe putting in a new head and then escalate into replacing spare parts. Some codes are related to others so also use search terms seen on machine display or associated with the displayed error code to find other possible steps to try under similar error code charts in the Guide.
  8. 8. A PDF is also available for downloading along with these slides. It is a check list of the several tasks that should be done before or after every build cycle. Following this routine religiously will save you from a lot of problems. In particular, we clean the roller bar before every build and the scraper blade weekly. We laminated this checklist and posted near the CJP’s as a reminder.
  9. 9. Rebranding of Machine Line-Up There are no differences between the ZPrinter x50’s and the ProJet x60’s. Just a different paint job. ProJet 860 Pro is same as ZPrinter 850. (released 2010) ProJet 660 Pro is same as ZPrinter 650. (released late 2008) ProJet 460 Plus is the same as ZPrinter 450. (released 2007) Etc. for smaller 260/260, 160/150.
  10. 10. 860 is essentially an elongated version of the 660 but without the integrated Post Processing Unit. “Premium Color” -Five HP11 print heads jetting clear, CMYK binder. 460 & 260 “Block Color” – Two heads: One HP11 for clear binder and uses the actual ink from an HP 57 Tri-Color head. 460 & 660 have integrated PPU’s which doesn’t allow you to print and de- powder at the same time. Most error codes are the same across the machine line-up.
  11. 11. Rebranding of Consumables zb63 binders are exactly the same as VisiJet PXL binders. zp151 powder is the same as VisiJet PXL Core. They can be used interchangeably. You may just need to break off plastic keys on some binder cartridges. There was a slight price difference in 2015 between the two brandings.
  12. 12. Don’t toss out liter cartridges without breaking them open. There can be up to $50 worth of binder remaining. Use clean funnel to pour into another cartridge bladder to load into the unit. Take care not to contaminate binder system. Also don’t mix up Clear Binder with Cleaning Solution since they are both clear and the only labels are on the outer cartridge wrapper which you’ve cut off.
  13. 13. Alternative Powder & Binder www.Noble3DPrinters.com (Las Vegas) • “Vjett PXL” powder & binders. Lower cost. • Has anyone tried it? Give feedback to AMUG. • We may test it in one of our older Z450’s. • Powder is 80 – 90% Plaster of Paris with smaller amounts of vinyl, starch and other secret additives.
  14. 14. Alternative Vendors-Misc. Supplies Print heads: Buy from Office Depot/OfficeMax, etc. Not from 3DS dealers. Don’t buy the alcohol crush swabs for $5/each. Q-tips & rubbing alcohol are much cheaper. Just take care not to rub the pogos too roughly & shred the cotton tip leaving fibers on the pogos. No need to use distilled water to clean the service station. Tap water in most localities is okay.
  15. 15. Alternative Vendors: Low-Odor CA Glue Thinnest viscosity (5cps) cyano-acylate glue is the basic spec. Big price difference between Low-Odor and High-Odor. The main CA glue we use for infiltration: “L5 Low-Odor” from CA Plus Adhesives, Inc. ca-plus.com ($60 per 16 oz. bottle.) Has long cure time of approx. 2 minutes that allows plenty of time to wipe up the excess and achieve very good even finishes. Don’t buy in larger containers since it starts degrading from the humidity once you open. Write date of receipt on bottle and use “first in, first out” on your stock. Beware the ink on the bottle label can bleed onto your glue-covered gloves and could transfer onto your models. Cover the labels with tape.
  16. 16. High-Odor CA Glue Fumes are very irritating but not toxic. Need to wear full face respirator to use it for regular infiltration. We use it mainly for spot-gluing parts together and for infiltrating very simple-shaped parts that you can quickly wipe off before it cures in less than 7 seconds. SureHold.com #102 High-Odor Glue $15 per 16 oz. bottle. Beware they will try hard to upsell their low-odor version which isn’t as good as CA Plus L5. (It cures more quickly and has slightly higher odor.) Pro-Tech Supply (S. Calif.) is another source. CA Accelerator (spray cans) is useful when bonding parts.
  17. 17. Epoxy – highest strength CJP infiltrate 3DS StrengthMax – Mix in ratio of 5 parts Resin to 2 parts Hardener for two minutes. Don’t use the pump dispensers included. Better to use a measuring cup with milliliters markings. That makes it easier to reseal and store in air tight bags and there’s less waste. Lasts up to a couple of years in storage. Alternative lower cost similar epoxy: AeroMarine Resin #300 with Hardener #21 Pot-life working time is shorter than with StrengthMax (40 minutes).
  18. 18. Known Issues – Color Color matching and consistency is not even close to the level of document printing. • “Premium Color” 660 & 860 cannot make bright white models. The powder supply turns slightly grayish, off-white. This is due to the combination of the automated powder handling system and multiple print heads jetting colored CMYK binder. Micro-droplets of the CMYK binder circulate in the closed powder handling system which colors the powder supply slightly grayish. • Darker colors will shift tone on different surfaces of the part especially on more vertical walls. • “Block Color” 460 & 260 often have streaking or even crap out entirely during build cycles.
  19. 19. Known Issues – Color For the graying powder supply problem, 3DS used to offer a kit to change a 660 or 860 permanently into a monochrome-only machine. (There was also the release of an ineffective air filter addition to the front overflow funnels).
  20. 20. Prep for Moving • Separate PPU from Printer if not already. (see other slide) • Remove binder cartridges and cleaning solution cartridge. • Remove waste tray. • Lock-out powder feeder. (powder can be left in) • Secure gantry with foam. Raise build piston for good fit. (Boot in Diagnostic Mode to prevent gantry servo motors re- zeroing when re-installing the unit. • Remove debris filter and spittoon plate from service station. • For securing to wall of a truck, there are loops on the bottom and straps can go around mid-section. • Custom crates with ramp are available.
  21. 21. Prep for Moving: Feeder lock-out • Hex tool in holder on left. • Alternately turn each of 4 screws only a few rotations at a time so the feeder doesn’t get too tilted. Feeder will be lifted completely off of load cell scale when screws are at fullest extent.
  22. 22. Keep printer and post-processing unit separate. Allows reach into chassis to check if overflow funnels and hoses are clogged. Tool to remove the three bolts is included in the bottom of the PPU. Installation CJP should be in dedicated room due to the dust emitted.
  23. 23. Keep back panel off. Allows for access to binder tubes and easier access to powder feeder. Use scrap peg board to secure left side of top panel. (see Removable Build Plate slides ahead) Shop vacuum cleaner recommended for non-recyclable dust and debris. It’s okay to turn-off the unit for up to a week at a time. This saves consumables since the unit will service the heads every few hours when idle. Installation
  24. 24. Removing Side Panel for Servicing Two sets of pins that go into plastic fittings. Pull out on the bottom first. Can be stubborn to remove. No need to remove the front panel except to replace the LED display. Beware ribbon cable.
  25. 25. Rotary valve can be controlled by Service Menu. Periodically check and tighten metal band ties at ends of hoses. Powder System
  26. 26. Often after transporting a unit with powder loaded, the powder will have been compacted by the vibrations and feeder motor errors will occur. It is necessary to reach down into the bottom of the feeder to loosen it. The tillers at the bottom are dull and won’t cut your hand. Metal tools might damage the tillers. And running “Fluidize Powder” from the Service Menu can be tried before this dirty manual unclogging. Powder System Z450 empty feeder
  27. 27. Clogs can occur in the front and rear overflow funnels. That can kill a tall build cycle making a terrible mess on the deck, rails and bottom of the print heads. After each cycle we do a visual check into the front overflows using a flash light and using a wire coat hanger to dislodge any clogs. For the rear overflow, reach into the chassis and gently tug on the hose from the funnel to feel if it is clogged. Powder System
  28. 28. Low vacuum suction can be caused by clog in perforated diffusor bar in feeder. It just sits in slots in the walls. Easy to access: 2 cover clamps, 1 electrical latch connector, four screws. Take care not to drop screws into the feeder. They will eventually jam the tillers. Powder System
  29. 29. If you’re desperately low of powder and can’t start a build, putting a small weight on top of the feeder towards the back side can make the load cell read a higher level of powder. Likely this would work if you’re only about ½” to 1” too short for the powder level your build requires. (After about 5 hours into a long build cycle, it will pause and empty the overflow funnels so the unit is unlikely to run out of powder before finishing the remainder of the build.) Powder System
  30. 30. Float switches in binder tanks: Are mounted too high giving “low” readings when there’s plenty of binder left. Fail frequently. Whole new tank is replaced. Machine won’t run if any of the float switches in any of the binder tanks or cleaning solution tank reads the fluid level as low. Binder System Tanks can suffer bacterial growth which causes reduced flow or blockage. (overtemp errors) Flush with diluted bleach or order 3DS sanitation kit.
  31. 31. Hot-wire the binder tanks Useful when desperately out of stock of binder or cleaning solution. Or if the installed tank’s float switch is giving a false read. Remove the float switch from a used or new spare tank and plug it in in place of the troublesome one. Or a simple spliced wire can be used. Binder System
  32. 32. Replacing leaky septum's Need hemostat clamp. (Harbor Freight tools) Pick tool to pull out clip. Plastic washers on both sides. Replacing tubing isn’t difficult either. You need to cut the tubing to 5 different lengths referencing removed tubing. Note how Clear+CMYK lines cross over and under each other. Binder System
  33. 33. Waste System Tubing that connects to pipe that drips to the waste tray can get clogged. Scrap FDM filament is handy to unblock them.
  34. 34. Reuse waste trays. Pour down drain. Add back in some water so it has enough weight to make the load cell not read that the tray is missing. No need to buy & stock new ones.
  35. 35. Most frequently replaced parts Orange carriage flex gets abraded from rubbing against the tubing thousands of times. Another frequent part failure is the Pogo Printed Circuit board that connects to the flex cable. Stocking these parts is wise to avoid machine downtime. Location of light diode & sensor.
  36. 36. Replacing Carriage Flex Cable Fast Axis doesn’t have to be removed. Tilt back cover and brace with padding. If replacing the Pogo PCB, it might take a few minutes to align the sheath and carriage cable before you can get the carriage cover into position. Stuff paper towels over the width of the overflow funnel grating so that you don’t drop screws into it.
  37. 37. Replacing FA & SA Belts Straight forward for both belts. Spring tensioner is compressed and locked into place with one of the two hex bolts. Use pick tool to clean pulley teeth and motor bearing teeth while the belt is removed.
  38. 38. Beware loose fit on cleaning solution pump. Whenever removing and putting back the service station, note there are two black O-rings that need to be seated well. It is common for people to screw the service station back in place without the O-rings being seated and pushed down enough. This will result in cleaning solution leaking down onto the waste tray load cell wires causing a “tray missing” error. To test the seal, run Prime Cleaning Solution from Service Menu and look to see the foaming solution around the squeegee.
  39. 39. Removing Fast Axis Assembly Remove heads and keep track of when color binder they’re filled with. Rubber-band paper towels around end of binder tubing. Several simple straight forward electrical connectors plus grounding wire.
  40. 40. Removing Fast Axis Assembly On right side, detach parking cap with waste tubing. Note spring tensioner on back side needs to be released. And note path of tubing between two rail pads.
  41. 41. It mounts onto slow axis bracket with 3 large hex screws. Note two alignment pins. When the FA is removed, it’s a good time to check if snow plows are worn and to clean print carriage thoroughly. Removing Fast Axis Assembly
  42. 42. Festoon Cable Loops down in chassis and follows movement of the slow axis. Also wears out periodically. Needs to be pushed into metal brackets at three locations where it is bundled with black sheaths.
  43. 43. Removing the Electronics Box E-Box can tilt back & stay in place while you detach 13 connectors. They are all different shapes and sizes so you can’t confuse them when reconnecting. Only the gray ribbon cable to the powder feeder can be plugged in upside down. The notched side faces up. Fuse protrudes through bottom.
  44. 44. Electronics Box mother board inverter PC104 Old type Flash drive Power
  45. 45. Newer and older type Mother Boards. Handle boards by edges & touch bare metal to discharge any static you might have. Electronics Box Narrow ribbon cable connects here Older type
  46. 46. Protective Gear Clothes & shoes should be covered when infiltrating. CA glue stains will not come off of them. Mapa Trilites 994 gloves/ Uline nitrile gloves (Use baby powder to dry hands for easier fit.) Full face respirator when infiltrating with high-odor CA. Multiple gases cartridge filter. When de-powdering: 3M 8211 foam seal respirator goggles
  47. 47. Turn off automated gross de-powdering 3DPrint->Preferences->Print (uncheck “Empty build piston…”) The vibrations of the build piston can damage fragile parts and parts that are nested near each other can collide. Not very effective in the first place.
  48. 48. Removable build plate cut from peg board. (See 3DS tech note 1832.) Less than $10.00/set including cutting at Lowe’s/Home Depot.
  49. 49. Flexible tubing can be handy to vacuum interior through narrow openings.
  50. 50. Slide removable plate onto thin rigid gator board for best support while de-powdering large or very fragile parts.
  51. 51. Thinner air wand needle lures Switch to thinner longer needles for detailed parts. Okay to touch the models with them to reach corners and recesses. They bend. 23 gauge, 1.5” length McMaster.com
  52. 52. De-powdering large fragile hollow models without breakage requires some creative gator board fixtures and props.
  53. 53. For better color, towards the end of the de-powdering step, dry-brush or lightly sand colored surfaces. Then air gun away the resulting colored powder outside of the PPU so as not to contaminate the powder supply.
  54. 54. CA Glue Infiltration Get a few different sizes of plastic bins. Don’t use the larger bins for small parts since the larger surface area of the bin will mean more glue is wasted when you recover and re-bottle it. For most parts we douse/pour over the glue. Get two waves of glue over all exterior surfaces in order to saturate it and achieve a uniform finish. Work bench should be well lit.
  55. 55. CA Glue Infiltration Good low odor CA glue will allow a full two minutes or so before curing completely. So place infiltrated parts onto wax paper lined with paper towels at first. After most of the excess glue bleeds off, place onto fresh areas of wax paper and move it around every minute or so to avoid sticking. Good idea to have fans blowing over the work area so fumes are dissipated.
  56. 56. CA Glue Infiltration Use thin pick tool to crease paper towels into corners where glue run off will pool or into recessed details. Avoid wiping or rubbing fine surface details since they are still very weak until the glue cures. Just lightly touch the paper towels to fine thin elements.
  57. 57. Secondary wax coating Bake models at 160 degrees C. Need to be warm/hot to the touch before basting in the hot wax. Despatch is a good reliable make of lab oven. Toaster oven could be used for small parts instead.
  58. 58. Hot waxing metal bin on burner No need to completely submerge model. Just a shallow pool and metal ladle are enough to baste all surfaces of the part. (Wax is just a coating over the glued surface and doesn’t penetrate the part.) We had sheet metal shop make the perfect sized bin. It sits on regular double burner ($50) set on low-medium. Paraplast Xtra low temperature wax is cheap.
  59. 59. Wax excess is wicked off Put back into oven for around 10 minutes on cardboard lined with paper towel. Rotate if the part details and geometry permit. Use pick tool to crease paper towel into corners and recesses where wax can pool.
  60. 60. Print Head Management • It is okay to push a print head over its standard expected life of 1000 ml for clear, 500 ml for CMYK by about 200 ml if you’re not running a large critical build cycle. When replacing one head, replace others at the same time if there’s less than 10% life remaining. • When replacing the clear head, the purge cycle will not remove all the black ink from it. So you’ll get gray streaking on the bottom of your monochrome white or light colored parts. Have it jet a purge block of 15”x10”x17 layers right on top of the alignment pattern. But you don’t need to do this if running dark colored parts. • If having over temp problems, if the head report says max temp > 90, then that head is shot and has to be replaced.
  61. 61. Recycling HP11 $2.00/each Staples Rewards HP57 $3.00/each ecyclegroup.com Binder cartridge shells #6 polystyrene recyclable in some communities.
  62. 62. How to package Color-Jet Printed architectural models with flat bottoms. Simple-shaped, robustly designed Color-Jet printed models and most FDM ABS plastic models usually don’t require this packaging technique. Regular bubble-wrap may suffice in those cases.
  63. 63. Making the Packaging Tray
  64. 64. Multiple small models can be put onto the same tray base. If they don’t have any fragile side details, you might arrange them with their sides touching and then put bumpers around the group of them. But they need bumpers between them too if there are any thin details on their side walls. Short models under about 2” height can be shrink wrapped to trays and stacked in the same box if you put a good amount of Excelsior fiber between them.
  65. 65. Excelsior wood fiber vendor: Vendor is in the Purchasing system. Stark Co. was acquired by S. Walter Packaging. So Purchasing might still have it under Stark name, but I think they updated to S. Walter. http://www.swalter.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=88509732 $54.97 approx. 72 lb. bale #88509732 You also need storage bins for the bale of wood fiber. One bale fits into two bins. http://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-7900/Drums/Fiber-Drum-55- Gallon?keywords=S-7900 Pair of 55 gallon drums, stackable S-7900, Qty. 2 drums
  66. 66. Used AM Systems Broker/Dealer Warren Hill Commonwealth Trading Co., Inc. P. O. Box 22709 Hilton Head Island, SC 29925 (843) 342-9208 CommonwealthTrading@hargray.com www.commonwealth-trading.com We haven’t done any deals with him yet, but have been in correspondence for over 8 years.
  67. 67. Questions/Problems/Solutions to share? CJP online forums? Our downtown Washington, DC shop near Dupont Circle Metro & Georgetown welcomes visitors. 1919 M Street N.W. JohnLee@Alumni.Rice.Edu

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