Things that went wrong with my Ender 3

Why is it that hard to 3D print across years? Why can’t I have consistent printing experience, while not spending a kidney? I don’t get it. Why is the machine constantly failing? I’m a computer guy, I know that human errors are all over the place but how does a machine break on its own so frequently. And don’t get me wrong, it might be a budget Creality Ender 3 but it’s proven to be a good machine and its components are not majestic. This is me… sad…

It’s not often that I’m deeply sad about technology. Most times I’m angry and I do dirty or too opinionated jokes about the subject and I’m feeling better. But at this point, I’m just sad. Today my printer broke again and I have to spent half its cost to fix it. I just want it to do what it was supposed to do, not something else, not hack it, not do it super fast or majestically. I just want to print plastic stuff for fun.

This pupper is too reaching for its plastic toys

This pupper is too reaching for its plastic toys

A list of things that went wrong

  1. After my first 2 prints, the bed clipper got caught on the right side of the frame, the stepper started skipping and the board was deep fried like a McNugget, one LCD wire was glowing orange for a moment. Result: LCD dead, board resuracted (too many hours)
  2. Couldn’t get BLTouch clone work with Marlin as it had a bug or something? Result: Countless hours debugging
  3. Bed mesh generated with BLTouch was not in effect during printing - G28 was ruining it. Result: Countless hours debugging, went to Klipper
  4. A bit of plastic got into the hotend fan (not the part fan) and it stopped. The hotend overheated and the teflon inside it got too hot. Result: Got to undo the hotend and replace the teflon tube
  5. My raspberry pi (OctoPi) had some undervoltage problem (while being powered directly from a PC PSU), octopi was lagging and the prints were failing. Results: Many random failed prints, went to a proper x86 full blown server that was hanging around
  6. BLTouch accuracy is inconsistent - might be 0.03mm might be 0.1mm. Result: Countless hours debugging, never found the culprit. Gonna buy a new one from trianglelabs? I’m not paying ~60E for a probe
  7. My X gantry was tilted and first 1-2 layers were sometimes a bit off in the back vs front. Result: Bought dual Z system which is not very good
  8. Extruder started skipping (known Ender 3 plastic extruder problem). Result: Bought an aluminum one
  9. While the bed mesh was calibrating, BLTouch hit on a clipper and half of it came apart (after the rest of the BLTouch problems). Result: Me sad, continued to work exactly as before, even with the same accuracy
  10. At some point, the temperature readings started being bonkers. could be constant 5 C (My room is never below 26). Tried several different thermistors, I think the MCU’s pin is problematic. Result: Me absolutely terrified
  11. After changing server the temperature problem was gone for quite long. But it came back after 2-3 power cycles (printer was unused for 2-3 months), and probably hotend MOSFET got overheated and died - when I turn up the temperature nothing happens, the PSU fan does not get noisy as it did. Result: Me writing this post and probably getting the SKR mini

Expected result of my printer in the next 100 hours of tinkering with it. Send help

Expected result of my printer in the next 100 hours of tinkering with it. Send help

Conclusion

After all these, for some reason I still think that Ender 3 is a piece of nice machinery and I suggest to any 3D printing enthusiast to get one. What I do not suggest is getting into 3D printing in the first place. It’s a sad place where your dreams get brutally murdered and your 48 hour long print fails at the last hour or a small fire takes place.

I got the bug though, so I’ll probably continue to have it as a “hobby” - frightened, anxious and sad. I wish you the best of luck.