Do your prints fail because filament gets tangled or because filament runs out?
by Melvin Cruz, Jon Schull and Skip Meetze
In a recent video blog 5 ways to ruin your filament (and how to fix it)! Tom Sanladerer listed “filament tangled on the spool” as the number one problem causing failed prints in 3D printing. We would also add “running out of filament” as being right up there for causing failed prints in our lab. We mentioned such an incident in a previous blog post. Some new printers have built-in features to deal with these problems (like the Prusa i3 MK3 which shows the Filament sensor as the first in it’s list of new features). Well, we can’t all get new printers, so this Octoprint based system may be the solution for you.
Here’s the good news:
Once you have Octoprint set up, we have a simple solution for you to detect both the out of filament and tangled filament FAULT conditions. It turns out that Octoprint is not that difficult to set up on a Raspberry Pi, and making the detector with this open-source design is easy! When the FAULT is detected, then the printer will “Pause” itself, and you can replace or untangle the filament and then “Resume” the printer to complete the job!
With his Octoprint setup and our design for a switch holder, you can also detect tangled filament problems and save yourself lots of failed prints!
As with Chris’ missing filament sensor, we use a microswitch that changes state when the filament goes missing. In addition, we have configured a hinged lever in the system that is held in place by a small rubber band. With this design, a tangled filament jam pulls the lever away from the switch, causing it to change state. Missing filament causes the same switch action, and Octoprint does the rest!
How to do it:
For detailed instructions on setting up Octoprint and making the sensor, go to:
- STL files can be quickly downloaded from YouMagine: Filament FAULT Detector and they can be quickly printed on any printer using any material without support (100% infill is recommended).
- Instructables: 3D Printer Filament FAULT Detector – Octoprint.
- Instructional videos: Filament FAULT Detector – Octoprint Demo Filament FAULT Detector Assembly Timelapse
- If you need a special bracket to fit on your particular printer, go to Tinkercad: 7290 Filament FAULT Detector and feel free to remix the open-source design.