Igor's Blog

I was doing some 3D printing over the weekend and everything was going well until I noticed that the extruder on my Portabee wouldn't heat up any more. At first I thought it was a loose connection so I tried to adjust all the wiring - that didn't help. Since it was already dark and cold outside I decided to leave it. Early Monday morning I managed to get some time in before work to determine what happened. I had a sneaking suspicion that the resistor that's used as a heating element has given out, but what I found really surprised me.

I happened to have a new heating element resistor lying around, so I decided to do some basic checks with a multimeter. It was showing up 7 Ohms (it's rated 6k8 so close enough). The resistor that was inside the extruder showed as infinity, that's what I'd expect from a resistor that stopped working.

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Next up I got my infrared thermometer and decided to do one last check of the existing resistor, then I connected the new resistor to the printer's wiring to see if it would work. The existing resistor showed cold still, the new resistor immediately started heating up - it actually got red hot!

IMG_1004.jpg IMG_1005.jpg


So that confirmed it for me - the old resistor had to be replaced.



When I cut one of the pins and pulled out the resistor what I found really surprised me. It was completely shredded! Side by side with the new one it looks like a saw cut it to pieces.

IMG_1006.jpg IMG_1007.jpg


I decided to connect the new resistor with slightly longer leads. The wires I used were from an old PC Molex connector. It turned out quite nice.
IMG_1011.jpg


I wasn't sure if these wires could withstand the high temperatures so I insulated them with some Kapton tape.
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I added more Kapton tape around the extruder and heated it up for a test. It worked fine! I've had the 3D printer running all day now making quite a large print without any issues so looks like the wiring isn't melting!
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-i

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About — I'm an enthusiastic software engineer and consultant interested in many fields including J2EE, programming, electronics, 3D printing, video games, wood working and gardening.
See my Resume for more information.
The views expressed in this blog are my own and not those of my employer.
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