It prints!

Here are 2 new videos of the FDM 2000 in action.

First print

Yoda print

This is a great step forward but as great as it was it presents new challenges.

Challenge 1
The first 1 or 2 layers have a rough time sticking and generally create a bubble gum mess which eventually smooths itself out.

Challenge 2
The documentation is not very clear on identifying the nozzles and I expect I’m printing with the wrong set up but until that is figured out I’ve increased the flow % to 140.

Challenge 3
I think this is related to challenge 2 with an added issue of finding a good balance in envelope temperture.

Challlenge 4
Foam build surface. I really want to find something cheaper, and less sacrificial. most other printers are using glass beds with kapton tape and either abs juice like kwartzlab makerbot or pva water like my mixshop G1 (will add info on this later). I have a few designs floating in my head for this and will update soon.


Fresh surface

Fresh surface

Lucky me, the other side was unused, and ready for printing.

Build platform

Build platform

The foam build platform was in rough shape and with only 1 piece of foam for 2 printers I was hoping the other side was in better condition. First was to pull the pins holding the foam in place, which wasn’t as easy as expected. Only 1 came out intact, the rest required visegrips. needless to say the caps came off and a few metal sleeves as well, some corrosion was present but I cleaned it up and used the pins from the other platform which were all metal.

its alive

Tuesday open night at kwartzlab i printed an iris ball on the the labs maker bot, not all of it stuck, but overall and very nice print, afterwards i ran a short iris box. it went well.

i also worked on the top enclosue for the makerbot to follow up on teh side panels and front doors i made from acyrilic and the laser cutter.

but the best part of the night was running some further tests on the strastasys fdm 2000. Don ( one of kwartzlab members ) was kind enough to bring in a db25 to db9 serial cable, and with that in hand we started to play.

loading plastic what very easy and it feed through nicely, but the first snag of the night, the nozzle wasnt in place so as we tried to insert it we found more trouble, the nozzle wouldnt thread in, so after removing the head and taking a closer look, we discovered that the thread were stripped out. That head is gonna need some work. but lucky for us we have 2 machines so we swapped heads, loaded the filament again, and started messing around. Not being one for manuals I just explored the menus and options until I found something useful, and after setting the modeler, support, and toolpaths, on the stl of the iris ball, we tried to print.

it was less then successful but not a failure, we got movement, and the head went for a trip and cleaned the nozzle and an attempt to print but not much happened.

Overall it was a good first run, and the comming days should yeild more results, we’re on the right track and I’m taking a few peaks at the manual here and there.


hello world

My name is Mike, and I’m a jack of all trades.

I became unemployed a short while ago and have been following up on old hobbies and projects that I never had time for while I was employed.

My tech interests include solar power, robots, and most other things with wires, and nuts and bolts. My current primary tech adventure is 3D printing. I developed an interest for this after seeing a post on hackaday (which has spawned far too many side projects for me) and was pulled right in.

I began my 3d printing adventure by attempting to build one from the scraps I had laying around my garage. Everything from broken printers to ikea kitchen parts, and internal assemblies from massage chairs. many rebuilds later I cobbled together something resembling the printrbot. this was the first revision to come to life. using arduino mega and ramps, I got it to dry print and the movement and speed was very nice. I just hadn’t worked out the extruder yet.

So around this time I lost my job and my situation changed in other way as well, so I had to put many things on hold. This resulted in limited access to the facilities I once had so in order to continue my work with limited resources I caved in a bought a 3d printer kit. the mixshop g1, it was also based on the printrbot and was very nice to build and setup, but not without its problems like most the printers out there. I upgraded belts and pulleys, got some reasonable prints from it, my extruder failed at one point so I hacked a wades extruder onto the mixshop carriage and kept the hotend which I made fit with the sacrifice of a socket I cut in half to use as an adapter to fit the mixshop hotend onto the wades extruder, and I was up and running again until…

I think my modifications altered the spacing to much and allowed heat to creep to far and I started getting a lot of filament jams so I’m now in the process of acquiring a new hot end. not easy when you’re unemployed and Visa cut you off :p

So if anyone wants to donate a jhead or similar drop me a line…lol

Now, my printers are residing at my local makerspace kwartlab, along with my infinity mirror, and a few other things. but most impressive is some equipment I recently acquired from the local univeristy. TWO (2) Stratasys FDM 2000 3D printers. These things are big, heavy, and awesome (or as a kwartzlab member said “angry washing machines”) and seemingly functional. I got them for the jaw droping price of $300 for both. They came from the arcitectural department who no longer needed them. So now they sit at kwartzlab, as I slowly breathe life back into them. I have the software courtesy of the nice people at and early tests show they heat up just fine, manual movement works, and I’m just waiting on some computer bits to become available to start further testing.

So that the quick version to bring things up to speed.

As I continue I’ll add content about the past 3d printing adventures and current progress, and details of my other projects such as.

BEAM robots (including my wowwee robot collection developed with mark tilden )

Project: Prometheus (robot)

Project : infinity mirror

Project : LED cube (8x8x8)

and my adventures with the laser cutter at kwartzlab, and whatever other tech madness I get my hands on.

Thanks for reading.