Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

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Fredl
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Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by Fredl » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:18 am

A friend out of the blue gave me his Anet A8 printer, because he's busy as hell...
I can't get it to work, and since the thing seems to be heavily modded already it's hard to find reliable information on what's the problem.

The problem: No filament coming out of extruder ("air printing"). I figured out that the extruder is probably congested, and additionally I don't know how to properly change the filament (pull it out? print it out? Just fill new filament after the last one?)

Anyone can tell me how to open the extruder / change filament or point me in the right direction (guides / tutorials)?

Pics:
extruderShow
Extruder.jpg
Extruder.jpg (119.64 KiB) Viewed 4848 times
Filament inserterShow
inserter.jpg
inserter.jpg (99.22 KiB) Viewed 4848 times
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Re: Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by snoek09 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:48 am


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Re: Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by ICMF » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:42 pm

First off, can you post some pics of the full printer? It looks like they've modified it from a direct drive to a bowden tube setup, which would mean differences in filament removal.

For your first photo, bolt 1 is your nozzle. Screw 2 should be securing your heating element. Screw 3 should be holding your thermistor.

The first thing I'd suggest is some basic troubleshooting:
Is your hot end heating up? (this is the part that you're calling the extruder) If it's not getting hot enough, you won't be able to extrude any plastic. You should be able to feel heat radiating off the hot end. If it is heating, you can try poking an acupuncture needle in the nozzle to feel for clogs.
Is the extruder turning? That's your 'filament inserter'. It feeds the filament into the hot end, so if the gears aren't turning, it can't push anything. You'll probably have to remove the fan(?) and heat sink(???) from the extruder so you can see any movement.
Is the filament stripped? If the gears are turning, it's possible that they've ground down the filament so the extruder can no longer push it. Again, you should be able to see this when you remove the heat sink.

It also occurs to me since I'm assuming that it's left over from the previous owner... what kind of filament is in the printer? If it's ABS or Nylon or something, and you're trying to print at PLA temperatures, the machine will definitely struggle. Maybe try bumping up the temperature to 260`C? (does the A8 have an all-metal hotend? Can it go that high?).

To change the filament, you need to remove the old stuff. To remove the old stuff, you need to heat the nozzle to your print temperature, release the extruder (there's a spring-loaded lever you'll have to squeeze to open the gears), and pull it out. You don't have a lot of filament sticking out though, so if you can't grab it with a pair of pliers, you may need to release your bowden tube - squeeze the plastic ring down (away from the white tube), and pull on the white tube to release it from the brass fitting. They're a pain in the ass to remove though, so don't be surprised if it's a struggle. You can't print it out because the motor pushes it through the tube and out the nozzle, so once it goes past the motor, there's nothing to push it.

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Re: Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by Fredl » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:02 am

Nice man, thanks for your detailed answer!
ICMF wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:42 pm
First off, can you post some pics of the full printer? It looks like they've modified it from a direct drive to a bowden tube setup, which would mean differences in filament removal.
Here's a pic of the entire printer:
Anet A8Show
printer.jpg
printer.jpg (153.28 KiB) Viewed 4812 times

ICMF wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:42 pm
Is your hot end heating up?
The hot end is getting hot, the printer heats it to 190°C and all filament I have is PLA!

ICMF wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:42 pm
Is the extruder turning?
I didn't check, since there's only a stub of filament left. Instead I tried to change the filament the way you explained it, but it is stuck. Even after squeezing open the gears, I tried to pull it out with force to the point where the filament broke. Now I'm left with ~1mm of filament to work with :roll:

Ok so why is the filament so heavily stuck? And do I need to remove the bowden thingy now?

(He told me "Just plug it in and print right away" :lol:)
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Re: Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by cobramike » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:26 am

Fredl wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:02 am
Nice man, thanks for your detailed answer!
ICMF wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:42 pm
First off, can you post some pics of the full printer? It looks like they've modified it from a direct drive to a bowden tube setup, which would mean differences in filament removal.
Here's a pic of the entire printer:
Anet A8Show
printer.jpg

ICMF wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:42 pm
Is your hot end heating up?
The hot end is getting hot, the printer heats it to 190°C and all filament I have is PLA!

ICMF wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:42 pm
Is the extruder turning?
I didn't check, since there's only a stub of filament left. Instead I tried to change the filament the way you explained it, but it is stuck. Even after squeezing open the gears, I tried to pull it out with force to the point where the filament broke. Now I'm left with ~1mm of filament to work with :roll:

Ok so why is the filament so heavily stuck? And do I need to remove the bowden thingy now?

(He told me "Just plug it in and print right away" :lol:)

Ill tel you why. And you can agree or disagree but as a Ex Owner of a Anet A8 and after looking @ your photos i can tel you how to fix it. But it cost money

Il say this to get this to print wel. Change the Bowden setup And dont use the origenel carrier. thats asking for problems. Also Get new PTFE Tubing from E3d and not the Chinees stuffff.

This is the best way to use the bowden setup.
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2023947
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2514659

Then get a new aftermarket Hotend E3D Clone. But befor you mount it get the
https://e3d-online.com/v6-heat-break

Get a V6 Heat Break Original. So when your printing with bowden setup your bowden tube wil not get pult out of the heaterblok.

Most new users the see a Anet A8 on the internet but dussent now how to work with it. Or even mod it.

What that means is what you have now for setup the bowden is pulling on the bowden tube end pulling it out of the hotend And therfor fillement is getting betwene that. Thats what we call it Headcreep. And that can clog up the hottend.

To get this printer working again put the original hotend on it. And go on youtube how to mod a Anet A8
Whooo Stop befor ask in a post. First use the search or the wiki befor you make a topic.. Just saying.........

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Re: Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by ICMF » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:36 pm

Fredl wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:02 am
Here's a pic of the entire printer:
That's kinda weird. I thought they shipped as direct drive printers. I guess modding it to a bowden would lighten the print head and help with ringing, though it introduces its own set of issues. Must be a grass-is-greener thing - people with bowden printers seem to envy those with a direct drive because of their ability to print flexibles.

Anyway... with that setup, you can definitely remove the fan and heatsink from the extruder motor up top. They are doing absolutely nothing for you. In the long run, it might be worth re-locating that fan back down to the hot-end, especially if you're printing PLA. But obviously, that's after you get it running. :)
The hot end is getting hot, the printer heats it to 190°C and all filament I have is PLA!
I'd try going hotter. Try 210 or 220. It's probably not going to solve the problem, but it might help.
I didn't check, since there's only a stub of filament left. Instead I tried to change the filament the way you explained it, but it is stuck. Even after squeezing open the gears, I tried to pull it out with force to the point where the filament broke. Now I'm left with ~1mm of filament to work with :roll:
If the nozzle is getting hot enough to melt the plastic, it means that either something is preventing the filament from coming out the nozzle (blockage), or from feeding it through the extruder. Unfortunately, that short stub of filament is going to complicate testing both.

I think your best bet would be to remove the bowden tube so you can troubleshoot more easily. It's actually not about removing the bowden per se (it's just a tube; it's not the problem), but disconnecting the filament from the extruder and giving you more filament to work with.

To release the tube from the brass fitting, you need to press the blue plastic ring down, towards the fitting, then pull out the white tube. Since you've got filament in the tube, you will also need to hold the lever on the extruder open, so it's not grabbing the filament. This will be a lot easier to do with two people.

If you can't release the tube (they can be a pain in the ass), you may need to unscrew the brass fitting.

Once the filament is completely free from the extruder, you can test the extruder to make sure it's working. Go into the menus on the printer and manually move the extruder - if it turns, it's fine.

You'll also have a longer length of filament to grab onto, so you can check the nozzle. Heat it up to print temperature, then try pushing a bit of filament through. Not a lot - a few mm should be enough - you just need to see if anything comes out the nozzle. If plastic comes out, then at least you know the filament is moving, so you should be able to pull it out of the printer now. If *nothing* comes out, you've probably got a serious blockage. For blockages, this is a really good video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8uvh6kvr54
Ok so why is the filament so heavily stuck?
Depends where the problem lies. If the extruder is broken, it may not be stuck at all; the motor just might not be pushing it forward. If the nozzle is clogged, it could be that the printer sat for too long, too hot, and cooked the filament inside. It could also be heat creep - you only want the rectangular block on the nozzle to heat up, the heatsink - the part with the cooling fins above it - has to stay cool. The fan on top of the extruder is probably designed to blow over the heatsink to help cool it (hence, moving it back down by the nozzle). So without it, the heatsink could have gradually warmed up, hot enough for the filament to melt inside, then get locked in place when it cooled down. Now, when you heat up the printer, you'd be heating up the heat block (as you're supposed to) but not the heatsink (again, as it's supposed to be), so the filament remains stuck.

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Re: Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by Fredl » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:37 am

ICMF wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:36 pm
I think your best bet would be to remove the bowden tube so you can troubleshoot more easily.
Cool, thanks again for your detailed explanation! I guess it'll take me a few days to implement your explanations. I'll let you know how it turned out!
cobramike wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:26 am
Ill tel you why. And you can agree or disagree but as a Ex Owner of a Anet A8 and after looking @ your photos i can tel you how to fix it. But it cost money
Thanks for your help as well, but as I said: I was given this printer for free and I'll try to get it to work at all before investing money. If problems come again then or it doesn't work out, I'll check your considerations! ;)
I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee :-O

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Re: Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by Fredl » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:42 am

ICMF wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:36 pm
If *nothing* comes out, you've probably got a serious blockage. For blockages, this is a really good video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8uvh6kvr54
Aaaaaand that was my problem! I removed the tube and gave it a strong push at 215°C and litterally a cloud of dust came out of the nozzel...

But it's working now:
Calibration cubeShow
nice_one.jpg
nice_one.jpg (126.26 KiB) Viewed 4769 times
Thanks once more for troubleshooting!
I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow in the knee :-O

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Re: Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by GenCab » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:16 pm

I know this is a dead issue but some info to help anyone else that stumbles across this post with similar issue.

If you or anyone else has blockage (filament wont come out but stepper is turning) use the Atomic cold pull method. Works on all types of FDM printers and should be the common step 1 of trouble shooting.

As explained here.
http://support.3dverkstan.se/article/10-the

Generally a good idea if your changing material types like going from PLA to ABS for example.

A8 can be a good printer but it needs many mods. This is an awesome tinker machine. Not the best for the beginner or user that wants it to "just work"

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Re: Anet A8: I have no idea what I'm doing...

Post by wermy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:47 pm

GenCab wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:16 pm
I know this is a dead issue but some info to help anyone else that stumbles across this post with similar issue.

If you or anyone else has blockage (filament wont come out but stepper is turning) use the Atomic cold pull method. Works on all types of FDM printers and should be the common step 1 of trouble shooting.

As explained here.
http://support.3dverkstan.se/article/10-the

Generally a good idea if your changing material types like going from PLA to ABS for example.

A8 can be a good printer but it needs many mods. This is an awesome tinker machine. Not the best for the beginner or user that wants it to "just work"
Yep, I do this any time I switch materials, but especially when I switch from something high-temp like PC or TPU back to something lower temp like PLA.
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