Snapmaker down!

Tl/dr: If you are using a Snapmaker – I recommend re-tightening the screws frequently otherwise it will shake itself apart!

Picture the scene: It’s morning, I’m sat downstairs sipping a warm cup of yorkshire gold tea. The soft hum of my Snapmaker 3D printer is in the background as it works its way through the next print (Faujasite). It’s mechanical rhythm oddly soothing against the backdrop of bird song and the distant roar of an A road. Suddenly the song changes. The soothing mechanical purr is no more. Instead a deep, thumping, screech comes from up the stairs. I spring into action. Taking the steep, carpeted steps two at a time, yanking myself up using the wobbly banister I make it upstairs. I dash into what we call the ‘Student room’ and find the Snapmaker doing it’s best impression of a CNC machine with it’s hot end.

The print is ruined.

The beautiful print plate is scraped (brass is harder than aluminium). The heating block is dangling out of the bottom of the FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) head.

My tea is cold.

This could happen to you!

So what happened?

I’ve noticed in the nearly a year I’ve been working with the Snapmaker that it slowly shakes itself apart, so am always tightening external screws. I didn’t think the internal ones would be as susceptible. I was wrong.

One of the grub screws holding the print head in place to the heat sink had come loose, dropping the heating block, causing a homing error which caused mass destruction.

Print head from Snapmaker with casing removed – hot end (blue arrow) with thermocouple (white cable) and heating element (red cable). The offending grub screw is identified by the green arrow recessed in the heat sink

Luckily I’ve discovered that the Snapmaker is pretty good for user repairs (I’d previously junked a old heating block due to filament being forced back inside) and after opening up the case (above) I quickly found the loose grub screw. It’s printed a couple of test prints beautifully now so is now re-printing the P2 space group example as I type.. Wish me luck!


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