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Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:51 pm
by Harblar
Not sure if this is the best board to ask this question, but I figured it might be the board most likely to get a response. (feel free to move it elsewhere if needed) :)

So... I'm looking to do an upgrade to my V2 (July of 2014) Frankenstein and I'm just curious what route would be best long term.

My current upgrades are as follows:
e3d v6 hotend
He280 accelerometer probe/board
e3d PT-100 Temp sensor (ugh... that was PITA to install! lol)
e3d Titan Extruder
Aluminum heat spread and flexible magnetic plate w/PEI
Injection molded carriages and 290mm arms
Tricklaser hotend j groove mounting plate

My WILL be done upgrades in the next 1-3 weeks:
SSR for running the onyx Heatbed at 24v with a separate dedicated PSU.
Longer arms (either These, These, or These) Any recommendations between these 3?) *Note* I'm only considering the mag arms based on what my my decision below ends up being.

Right now, I'm looking at two possible upgrade paths (cheap or spendy).

Upgrade Path 1:
(After adding the longer control arms)
Upgrading to an e3d Volcano copper block and some larger sized nozzles.

Reasoning: Can be done for less than $75 or less with the block, socks, and 2-3 nozzles. My goal is to get the full use out of my available bed area (right out to 304mm, which is the the max I can go before the control arms start brushing the tower belts.) the problem is, even after mechanically tweaking, calibrating and using the he280 probe/octoprint delta calibration plugin, I still have a bed height variance of +/- .15mm across the surface. this means with a .4mm nozzle at a first layer height of .2mm I have areas that won't extrude for being too close and areas that won't stick for being too far away. With bigger nozzles I can print a thicker first layer that sticks well across the bed, but doesn't block the nozzle. (.6mm at .35mm first layer works Extremely well.)

The Downside: Lose the ability to print higher detailed parts.

Upgrade Path 2:
Upgrade to Duet and take advantage of the bed leveling abilities and detail improvements of the DC42 Firmware branch.
To do this effectively I figure this is the minimum amount of parts I would need to achieve it (please correct me if I'm wrong)

Duet 2 WIFI board with the PT-100 daughter board
Duet Smart Effector Platform (can the SeeMeCNC ball cup arms work with this effector or does it need the mag arms?)

I also figure to get the most out of it I would need to upgrade the Tower Steppers to .9 degree motors?

What About the stock V2 display? Will it work with the Duet 2? I have a dedicated Shop PC sitting 5 feet away, which I do most of my stuff through octoprint. I really only ever use the onboard display for the purpose of it's SD card, which I trust a lot more to handle prints. Do I really need to got to one of DUET's touch screen controllers? Seems like a waste of $100 knowing how often I'd be likely to use it.

Assume I do those three things, I can probably get it done for around $300... which isn't too bad. If I have to go with the mag arms, I can figure another $20-30. If the Touch screen is required I can figure another $100. So what is the bare minimum hardware requirement for running duet with the mesh bed leveling ability? At what point am I throwing too much money at this particular printer in upgrades? Estimate $300 on the low end (duet boards, platform, and arms) and $500 on the high side (with the steppers, touch screen, and mag arms)

Any solid advice on which option I should pursue would be really appreciated! Thanks all! :D

Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:37 am
by geneb
The best bang for you buck is going to be the Duet, without a doubt. You can get a machined effector platform from here: ... or-adaptor (email them to find out when they'll have stock again).
Carbon fiber arms will give you a slight improvement in print quality at higher speeds due to their stiffness.
You can control the Duet entirely from a web browser and you really don't need the LCD unless you like having a display.


Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:56 pm
by Harblar
Been doing a ton of reading the last few days, and that gave me the final push. So... Thanks, I guess? lol ;)

I grabbed a set of 340.5mm Carbon Fiber Ball cup arms from SeeMeCNC. I have my reservations about trying to print large and or do a decent bed probe with Magnetic arms, M Hackney seems to like the ball cup arms best for similar reasons... Good enough for me! :D

I grabbed a set of .9degree steppers from filastruder. they're not quite as torquey as the stock 1.8's, but should be close.

Also grabbed a copper block for my v6. Had one before and loved it, but a stripped screw while attempting to remove the heater for a heatbreak change the other day led to the dremel and a ruined block... No other choice, I'm afraid. oh well.

Pt-100 daughter board

Duet Smart Effector. I lfound a thingiverse file for an adapter for using the ballcups that I'll probably use for now. It looks exactly like the machined platform you linked to, so it should work just fine. I may look at upgrading to the machined platform and aluminum barbells at somepoint, but for now price is an issue and I'm trying to keep costs down as much as possible.

To that end, I ended up going with a FYSETC Duet 2 WIFI clone. When it comes to electronics I typically hate doing this, but with the amazon coupon right now it was nearly half the price of the official DUET board and most reviews say it is one of the better built clones out there. Guess we'll see. If I have issues, I can always return it, lesson learned, and grab the official version. I'm just really hesitant about throwing too much money at this printer based on the fact that I'm approaching the point where (counting the total cost of mods I've done since I first bought the kit in 2014) could have just bought a third printer with most of these features included stock. As is, I ought to have more than enough spare parts to build a true Frankenstein as a third printer. :mrgreen:

SSR. I'm actually looking forward to this as much as anything. My Prusa MK3's bed heats up SOOoooo much faster, it makes using the rostock almost painful. lol! I've got a spare 24v power supply (the one that came stock with my Prusa) that I'm going to mount nearby and use solely for providing power to the hot plate.

My final mod, which I haven't pulled the trigger on yet, will be a remote direct drive extruder. I like the idea of the zesty Nimble, but am a bit hesitant based on the price. For that price I would think it would at least have dual hobbs like the bondtechs do. The mechanics of it really don't seem that complicated, so I'm also toying with the idea of designing my own remote extruder that works similarly but drives a set of bondtech gears.

Hopefully by Next weekend I'll be dealing with a completely different animal of a printer than I've got right now. If nothing else, I just want a nice, clean, consistent first layer, which I think I should be able to achieve pretty nicely with the above mods! ;)

Thanks again geneb! :D

Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:15 am
by Harblar
Ok... So a couple more questions. I thought while I was waiting for parts to arrive, I'd get the DC42 Reprap firmware setup (for the most part) and Ready to go. Here's the page I found with the latest version (as far as I can tell).

Do I need a set of files from here that I will modify to fit my hardware config or do I use the Reprap online configurator to do all that?

If I use the configurator, Does anyone have a good guide for getting all the right values and settings from my current Repetier firmware and transferring them over? (granted I will have several pieces of new hardware, but I might just start with the simple swap in of the new board and effector, before I lengthen the arms and replace the tower steppers.) Ideally, if someone had a preconfigured firmware for a similarly equipped V2, that might give me a lot better starting point.

As for the tower Steppers that I'm switching over to .9 degrees, I've now seen mention somewhere that it's a good idea to be running them at 24V. Is that true? Am I wasting my time trying to set them (and everything else) up at 12V, when I should just go straight to 24v throughout, since I'll already be doing that for the bed as is? If so Any recommendations for an acceptable psu? Maybe the .9 degree steppers aren't even needed at all? Thoughts?

Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:57 am
by geneb
I'd start with the v4 configuration and tweak from there.

Also, you're aware that SeeMeCNC offers an aluminum heat bed upgrade for the v3, right? It may fit the v2 as well. You can't beat a 110v AC heater. :)


Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:13 pm
by Harblar
geneb wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:57 am
I'd start with the v4 configuration and tweak from there.

Also, you're aware that SeeMeCNC offers an aluminum heat bed upgrade for the v3, right? It may fit the v2 as well. You can't beat a 110v AC heater. :)

Ok. I wasn't sure how close the V4 would be in terms of hardware, but I guess its right in the ball park afterall. Only real difference comes down to the effector, extruder, and hotend... for me, anyway. :D

My main concern was in getting the geometry setup correctly. Comparing the 2 config files definitely helps, though the online configurated one seems to have a lot more included info. I'll probably head over to Duet's forum for more specific firmware questions as I get all the parts and start putting it together.

I notice the V4 is running 12v with the .9 degree steppers so I'm not going to worry too much about it. I notice, though, that they are running at the 16x microstepping instead of 32x. Is there a specific reason for that, or is it just a default that tends to get changed by advanced users as they get the printer properly dialed in?

The AC Bed would definitely be great, but I've already got a Geckotek Aluminum build plate with magnetic flex bed and the SSR is about $150 cheaper than the full SeeMeCNC kit. ;) I could get the silicon ac heater pad on it's own, but the gecko plate has holes through it to secure it to the holes in the V2 heated bed. If the silicon heater fits inside of the hole pattern I might look into it, otherwise I'm just going to give the 24V solution a try first. Still... either way is going to be better than the slow warm up I'm currently dealing with! :D

Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:59 am
by Harblar
Ok... Realized I screwed up on the size of my stepper motor order. Ones I grabbed through Filastruder were 48mm and the ones I have are 42mm! Doh!

Are the ones listed in the Store (for the 3.2) the same size as the ones on the V2?

Edit:NVM just realized the 48mm was referring to depth... Ones I ordered should be fine after all! Ugh time to go to bed! lol :lol:

I also got to looking at my heat bed. The screw holes are spaced right at 294-295mm inner edge to inner edge. Is it possible to trim back the edge of the Silicone heating pad to accommodate these holes? A seller of a similar pad on Amazon (Keenovo) claimed that up to 3mm or so could safely be trimmed off the edges (not sure if that was off from the radius or diameter). They also make customized pads, so I sent them the specs and layout I was looking for. Interested to see what they quote me, though I'm not hopeful it'll be anywhere reasonable cost wise. lol It'd be much better if I could just safely trim 3mm back at each of the 6 screw holes. Possible?

Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:44 am
by geneb
I can't answer your questions regarding the size of the bed heater, but you can email support and get that info.


Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:51 pm
by Harblar
Ok. I'll shoot them an email and find out for sure.

I already got a response from Keenovo on the custom heat pad. $76 for a 305mm pad with through holes for the screws (and a built in PT-100 sensor). Actually not too bad at all, though it would probably take 6-8 weeks to get. Could probably make do just fine with a 280mm pad off from amazon. With the 6.5mm thick aluminum heat spreader, it probably wouldn't make much of a difference. (the pt-100 sensor would be nice though, since I'll already have a daughterboard with an extra channel for one!) ;)

Then again, if I could make the $40 SeeMeCNC one fit and just use the thermistor on my current bed, I'd probably be able to save a few bucks. I'll need to do some more checking.

Been running the numbers and talking over on the Duet forum. If I use the AC silicone heater for bed heat, suddenly I have a free 240 watt 24V/10A PSU, that came stock with my Prusa MK3, sitting there not getting used. Would that be enough to handle everything a Rostock would need (not including bed heat, of course) safely and sufficiently? Seems as though the .9 degree steppers would hold torque and run faster at 24v and since I'll have the printer completely disassembled for this upgrade, now would be the time. :)

Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:18 pm
by dc42
I use a 330mm diameter x 5mm thick aluminium bed plate with a 300mm diameter AC mains heater on my delta, and that works well. So a 280mm diameter heater should work for you, as long as the bed plate is thick enough to spread the heat well.

My delta uses a 24V 5A PSU. With the bed heater being AC mains, the rest takes less than 100W.

Re: Best upgrade investment?

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:19 am
by Harblar
dc42 wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:18 pm
I use a 330mm diameter x 5mm thick aluminium bed plate with a 300mm diameter AC mains heater on my delta, and that works well. So a 280mm diameter heater should work for you, as long as the bed plate is thick enough to spread the heat well.

My delta uses a 24V 5A PSU. With the bed heater being AC mains, the rest takes less than 100W.
Just so we're clear, I'm also posting as Metallikahn on the Duet forum! :D

My aluminum plate is right a round 6.5mm thick It does a really good job of spreading out the original Onyx Plate that came with the printer (just takes forever to heat up if I want to do more than 50-60 degrees) lol

That's great to know about the PSU! When I built my MK3, I upgraded to a 360W meanwell as I was building it. Had the stock supply sitting on the shelf going to waste, which irritates me. Being able to use it here should be absolutely awesome. Seems like I've been tweaking something on my Rostock since day 1, but maybe these latest ones will make it as set and forget simple as the MK3 (as set and forget as you can get with any good 3d printer, anyway) with the added benefit of bigger better prints! Then I'll probably be able to just sit back and fling rolls of filament at it instead of allen wrenches! :lol:

Thanks for the help! Makes all the difference in the world when going for this kind of ground up rebuild.