Not off to a great start with the new M200 Plus


#1

Hi, 

it has been quite a while since my last post here (because I have been printing happily with my regular M200's).

But now I got the new M200 Plus with HEPA cover...and unfortunately it feels like the good old early days all over again. ;)

Here my first impressions:

-Right away I noticed that the Z-axis was very grindy/noisy and also the first test print had a bit of a wavy wall. Since all my other M200's have very smooth Z-axis motion, I decided to investigate a bit more and found the linear rails to be binding terribly. See attached videos. I was able to properly align everything and now it's all smooth again. Something like that shouldn't have left the factory. I'm also a bit disappointed to see the cheapo lead screw again. I somehow expected the new flagship printer to at least have the same ball screw as the regular M200. 

Z-ABS print with wavy wall:

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IMG_5194.JPG

videos of z-axis binding and after fix:

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sticking z-axis.MOV

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fixed z-axis.MOV

-The display/touch panel comes off after a couple hours of printing...the adhesive is not sticking properly. I can push it back in place but it just comes off again the next day. Any recommendations on how to fix that permanently?

panel issue:

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IMG_5231.JPG

-The first print with Ultrat (new roll which came with the printer) and all standard settings came out very badly. All stringy and full of blobs and even a few burn marks. See pics. All fans are functional. Last time I had this issue with my V4 it was a bad thermocouple. I'll do a few more prints with different settings and materials before beginning to ask for spare parts...but it's definitely very disappointing to see this on a brand new printer.

stringing with Ultrat (0.19, high quality, auto fan):

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IMG_5230.JPG

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-Constant issues with printer showing to be offline in Z-suite although it's turned on and on the network (only restarting of Z-suite fixes it). Also had GUI crashes when trying to re-print a file that I have sent and printed via Wifi before (it says invalid zcodex or something like that). Had to reload the file onto the USB stick to fix it.

-The new HEPA cover seems to be a poor design...It has air leakage around the filters (a lot of air blowing out of the top gap between the fan and the filters) which makes the whole filter thing kinda pointless. I had to add some extra foam gasketing to seal it all up. Zortrax team...you guys should look at that.

extra foam gasket (white) to make all air go through the filters:

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IMG_5232.JPG

Overall it seems to go downhill with every new printer and Z-suite version. My old V1 is still the one I use if I need the best print quality (together with an older Z-suite). I assume the older Z-suites aren't compatible with the M200 plus, correct? Or can I also run older zcodes on it?


#2

I ran another print last night. This time with Z-ABS (0.19). Less stringing compared to the Ultrat print but the overall print quality is just terrible.

Even simple shapes like cylinders have surface irregularities...

I'm starting to think it's Z-suite related. Some of the larger surface irregularities were visible in the slicer preview. 

Zortrax Team, do you see these print quality issues too? Do you think it's hardware or software?

I tried to attach the zcodex but the the forum says "You aren't permitted to upload this kind of file".

It's this file from thingiverse (scaled it to 75%).

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2381619

Pictures below...


#3

I know... I'm talking to myself here... :D

A few more observations:

With the regular M200's I use Zsuite 1.7.1, never felt the need to update. Now with the M200 Plus this is the first time I'm using Zsuite 2.x.

Here are a few screenshots of the slicer previews in comparison (Zsuite 1.7.1 vs 2.7.1).  

You can see that 2.7.1 shows a lot of weird artifacts (both were set to Ultrat). With 1.7.1 you can at least see some of the "Benchy" writing in the rear but on 2.7.1 it's just mush. 

The frustrating thing is that I can't even go back to 1.7.1 because the Plus can't read the old Zcode anymore...


#4
You can see that 2.7.1 shows a lot of weird artifacts (both were set to Ultrat). 

in 2.7.1, go to file->preference->preview&performance->performance  and try setting 'Quality of Zcode Preview'  to 100%, then recheck benchy preview


#5

Thank you! This fixed the preview! Sorry, I had no idea this setting existed. Still new to Zsuite 2.x.

Now I’m back to square one why my prints look so bad… they look even worse than the 50% preview.


#6

I didn't know either until I explored preferences few days ago. You prints I think must be something wrong with the printer, and not z-suite (although I dont have a plus, so not 100%). I'd run thru the maintenance guide https://support.zortrax.com/m200-plus-maintenance-guide/and make sure everything is ok from that first. If the plus has a set screw on extruder gear, i'd check that too (not listed in guide for some reason). 


#7

Hi, Andre.

First, we’re doing everything to provide users with high quality products and we’re really sorry for the inconvenience.

As far as I know you’ve contacted your local service center, is that right?

We will be in touch with them in order to fix your printer as quickly as possible.

Regarding the Z-axis, the reliability of this construction is comparable to the one that has been used in M200. Also, this screw is easier to maintain, but we’ve added a cover so that it doesn’t gather any dirt and dust. This doesn’t affect the quality of prints. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t have had such issues at the beginning, we’ll pass that information further.

Regarding the stringing issue, please send me the .zcodex file of the model that you’ve printed with Z-ULTRAT via PM.

We will investigate into the matter and make sure whether it is Z-SUITE or hardware related.

Regarding the HEPA Covers, I will consult it with our specialists.

If you have any further questions, feel free to PM me.


#8

Hi Marta, 

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I contacted my local service center and they responded today. They suspect that the printer got dropped by the shipping company (which could explain the binding Z-axis and why the display is loose...it actually was already loose when I unpacked the printer). 

They said they want to replace the printer and they're just waiting for confirmation from Zortrax for the return shipping label.

I'll keep you updated.


#9

Thank you, Andre for letting the community know of the issues you've had with your new M200 Plus. Please continue to keep us up to date on your progress as we're hoping to start migrating our ten M200 print farm to Plus's once we get a version of ZSuite that matches the quality we've achieved with .9.6.0  with our requisite Z-ABS @ .29 profile. 


#10

OK, here another update...

It was confirmed that the first printer I received was dropped during shipping. Upon closer inspection I found that the little glass in the shock sticker actually broke apart and the red color ran out. That's why I didn't notice it right way (the glass looked white since the red paint was completely gone). This explained the Z-axis and display issues. I returned the damaged printer and received a replacement a week later. Great service!

The replacement printer came without transport issues this time. The shock sticker was intact, display looks fine and the z-axis moves smoothly. Good start... I thought...

Then I did the first test print... unfortunately it's still not good. It's better than the first printer, but still worse than my old M200. 

Here the comparison. All prints were done with the exact same spool of Z-Ultrat. All prints used the same settings at 0.19mm. Zsuite 2.7.1 was used for the dropped printer print. Zsuite 2.7.2 for the prints of the new M200plus and my old M200 .

First (dropped) M200plus (obviously really terrible)

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dropped M200plus.jpeg

Second M200plus (still not great)

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M200plus front.jpg

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M200plus back.jpg

Old M200 (perfect)

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M200 front.jpg

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m200 back.jpg

The new M200plus still has significant stringing and the surface is just not as regular as on my trusty M200. Also the raft adhesion is too strong. Something seems to be off with the temperature.

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raft adhesion M200plus.jpg

After getting this result I started to inspect the printer a bit more closely to see of there's anything unusual going on and when I moved the extruder by hand I noticed that one of the drive axis' wobbled visibly. I then measured it and found a run-out of 0.4mm! See video below.

Further investigation and disassembly revealed that the pillow block bearings of this shaft are bad (one bearing is totally out of spec. The axis of the bore is not parallel to the axis of the bearing race causing the shaft to bend in installed condition. The other bearing has also a tiny bit of wobble, but It's probably OK. The shaft itself is fine and runs true when measured on V-blocks. Also, the other 3 shafts/axis have very little run-out (less than 0.1mm).

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M200 plus run out.MOV

At this point I'm not sure if this is related to the stringing, but it could explain the slightly irregular surface. We'll find out when I replace the bearings. Zortrax team, could you help me to get 2 new pillow block bearings? They're not available on your website as spare parts. I also contacted my service center but they didn't respond yet.

Well, this is the current state of things...my initial impression is obviously not that great. 

But I would like to wait with the final verdict about the print quality of the M200plus until I have replaced these bearings (these are very cheap parts and sometimes you just get bad ones). 

My old M200 just prints perfectly every single time and this with thousands of hours on it. I never had issues with stringing and the layers are always perfectly regular. I expect the same or even better of the new flagship.


#11

OK, here another update...

It was confirmed that the first printer I received was dropped during shipping. Upon closer inspection I found that the little glass in the shock sticker actually broke apart and the red color ran out. That's why I didn't notice it right way (the glass looked white since the red paint was completely gone). This explained the Z-axis and display issues. I returned the damaged printer and received a replacement a week later. Great service!

The replacement printer came without transport issues this time. The shock sticker was intact, display looks fine and the z-axis moves smoothly. Good start... I thought...

Then I did the first test print... unfortunately it's still not good. It's better than the first printer, but still worse than my old M200. 

Here the comparison. All prints were done with the exact same spool of Z-Ultrat. All prints used the same settings at 0.19mm. Zsuite 2.7.1 was used for the dropped printer print. Zsuite 2.7.2 for the prints of the new M200plus and my old M200 .

First (dropped) M200plus (obviously really terrible)

attachicon.gif dropped M200plus.jpeg

Second M200plus (still not great)

attachicon.gif M200plus front.jpg

attachicon.gif M200plus back.jpg

Old M200 (perfect)

attachicon.gif M200 front.jpg

attachicon.gif m200 back.jpg

The new M200plus still has significant stringing and the surface is just not as regular as on my trusty M200. Also the raft adhesion is too strong. Something seems to be off with the temperature.

attachicon.gif raft adhesion M200plus.jpg

After getting this result I started to inspect the printer a bit more closely to see of there's anything unusual going on and when I moved the extruder by hand I noticed that one of the drive axis' wobbled visibly. I then measured it and found a run-out of 0.4mm! See video below.

Further investigation and disassembly revealed that the pillow block bearings of this shaft are bad (one bearing is totally out of spec. The axis of the bore is not parallel to the axis of the bearing race causing the shaft to bend in installed condition. The other bearing has also a tiny bit of wobble, but It's probably OK. The shaft itself is fine and runs true when measured on V-blocks. Also, the other 3 shafts/axis have very little run-out (less than 0.1mm).

attachicon.gif M200 plus run out.MOV

At this point I'm not sure if this is related to the stringing, but it could explain the slightly irregular surface. We'll find out when I replace the bearings. Zortrax team, could you help me to get 2 new pillow block bearings? They're not available on your website as spare parts. I also contacted my service center but they didn't respond yet.

Well, this is the current state of things...my initial impression is obviously not that great. 

But I would like to wait with the final verdict about the print quality of the M200plus until I have replaced these bearings (these are very cheap parts and sometimes you just get bad ones). 

My old M200 just prints perfectly every single time and this with thousands of hours on it. I never had issues with stringing and the layers are always perfectly regular. I expect the same or even better of the new flagship.

Andre,

I would measure the resistance on the heater. If it exceeds 16 Ohms, it's probably the guilty one here. You can test the heater from your original M200 to find out if it's the root of the problem indeed.

Please contact me via PM. We'll send you the required spare parts. Also, I would print the model myself. Just to be sure there's everything ok with the software.


#12

Hi Marcin, thanks for the reply.

I measured the heaters:

M200plus: 15.6 Ohms

Old M200 V1: 15.2 Ohms

I can't easily swap the heaters because my V1 heater has open wires in a screw terminal and the M200plus heater has a connector.

Also, I need to install new bearings first, before I can do any testing. The printer is taken apart. I'll send you a PM with my address.

That's the bearing i'm talking about:

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IMG_5343.jpg

What are your thoughts about the run-out? What is your factory spec for the run-out of the axis shafts?


#13

Check the runout on far sides of the shaft, and note the side with the large run out. Then swap the the bearings on end of shaft and see if it follows the bearing or not.

I'd also check to see if the shaft is bent; place it on a flat surface and see if it rolls smooth flat. Check diameter at ends, if somehow undersized it wont be centered in bearing bore.


#14

I did all that already. It's definitely a bad bearing. The hole of the bearing was machined at an angle relative to the race axis. It's so bad you can see it by eye when spinning the bearing.


#15

If it helps, it looks like standard KFL-08 / FL-08 bearing; $2-$7


#16

Thank you. Yeah, it's a pretty standard bearing. I was just hoping that Zortrax would send me the spare parts more quickly. Still waiting on a response from Marcin.


#17

Here is a video showing how bad the wobble on this bearing is (bearing has been removed from pillow block):

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bad bearing.MOV

And no, it's not the shaft. The shaft is perfectly true. And also clocking it differently in the bearing or playing with the set screws doesn't change anything. It's just a really badly machined bearing which somehow made it through QC.

Here the other bearing for comparison...it's not perfect either, but the wobble is smaller than the play in the bearing, making it acceptable.

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OK bearing.MOV

Marcin responded to me. We're working on how to get replacements.


#18

It's time for another update:

Bearing has been swapped out and the axis wobble is gone!

But unfortunately this did not get rid of the stringing. Still working with Marcin on that...we just can't get rid of it when using the standard printing profiles. Even after swapping pretty much every part on the extruder.

Today I decided to dig a bit deeper to get more clarity about what's going on.

I machined a small hole and placed a K-type thermocouple into the heater block (about 6mm deep into the block, between the heater and the original thermocouple) to find out if there's an overtemp issue.

 

The good news is that the temps are matching up perfectly: e.g. during warmup, when the temp is stable at 160, my thermocouple is reading exactly 160, too. And during printing, my measurement is within 1deg of what the target temp is.

 

The bad news is that I still have the stringing with a seemingly perfectly healthy machine...

 

I made 3 videos, showing the end of the prints together with my thermocouple readout. All prints were done using Zsuite 2.7.3 and FW 1.2

 

 

1. standard Z-ultrat profile (260C), Z-ultrat spool, no nozzle cap; temp match is perfect, but lots of stringing...this amount of stringing does not change, even with all the different swaps I tried (heater change, extruder PCB change, heaterblock/nozzle change, auto fan or 100% fan, nozzle cap installed or not... all prints look exactly the same... like the one in the video)

 

https://youtu.be/D41h5ZADFuY

 

2. ABS external setting, 253C, retract slightly increased to 1.3mm, same Z-ultrat spool; again perfect temp match, stringing is better, but not gone...

 

https://youtu.be/CIYOWeiwGB4

 

3. ABS external setting, 238C, standard 1mm retract, same Z-ultrat spool; again perfect matching temp. Almost no stringing and print looks almost perfect.

 

https://youtu.be/UoLpm98r2Ug

 

 

I don't understand what's going on...the printer seems to have perfect temp regulation, mechanically all seems fine, all axis run smooth...why do I need to lower the temp by 22C (!) from the standard profile to get a good looking print?

 

Z-ABS is similar... stringing with standard Z-ABS setting, but almost perfect print with temp lowered to 250C. Overall the stringing is a bit less than with Z-Ultrat, though.

 

Could it be related to retract? Perhaps the extruder stepper? But I can see it retracting quickly when printing (you can also feel it retracting strongly when touching the filament going into the extruder).

 

Or is it perhaps related to the new V3 nozzle design with its small internal volume, making the whole system more sensitive to filament batch differences? Does the standard M200 nozzle still fit the V3 block? Should I try that? Or perhaps just try a whole V2 heater block with standard nozzle?

 

Any other ideas after seeing the videos? 

 

 

 

Happy holidays!

 


#19

More updates...

looks like there are 2 versions of fan shrouds for the M200 Plus. One which points down and one which points more at the nozzle. 

My printer came with the ones pointing down. Switching to the other ones helped a bit with blobbing, but the stringing is still there...

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original (downward blowing)

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shrouds which blow more towards nozzle

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Marcin...here the pics of the different fan versions as discussed. For some reason I couldn't attach the pics to the PM.

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IMG_5651.jpg


#20

Andre,

Thanks for the pictures. I'm using the version 1.2.0 of Firmware and Z-SUITE 2.7.3 and rarely get any stringing. Given the fact you're using these versions as well, I think we can exclude both as potential factors of the issue.

Let's continue to work together on this case. I'll send you more details via PM.