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Student, Programmer
 · MontréalCanada
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3D printer arrived

Hello! It’s been a crazy week, but I do feel the need to express it here since I made a promise I couldn’t keep about my project.

My 3D printer arrived on wednesday, the day I was going to update the mecanium rover’s part list and start some new tasks. I thought the build process wouldn’t take that long so I started assembling the printer from nothing to something that moves and prints physical objects.

On wednesday I spent 12 hours without any break assembling it. I did stop once to eat but that didn’t take much time. Then the day after I spent an other 3 hours finishing up the wiring and fixing clogging issues in the nozzle. So a total of 15 hours of work to make it all be as sturdy as it could and have all wires managed as good I could.

Then I managed to do a real first print, a small simple cube meant to detect any small print issues. The cube turned out great considering there’s no cooling yet and it was only a 15min print, so nothing too hard on the printer. Then I decided to print an object that would take about an hour to be printed, which is considered a small simple object in 3D printing.

At around 75% of the print completed, I heard a single loud click from the printer. I ran to it to see what had happened and everything had turned off, nothing was moving, not a single light was lit up. The power supply was busted. It was burning hot and I believe there was a faint smell of unknown chemicals surrounding it. I came to the conclusion that it must had been one or multiple capacitors that popped.

So now this is where I am at, I need to fix my new printer and the manufacturer doesn’t seem very helpful. So I’m planning to make a conversion circuit to take an ATX computer power supply to power the printer. However I really do not like the idea of cutting wires on an expensive piece of hardware to turn it into a single-purpose device. So I decided I would make a little board into which I can plug standard 24pin, cpu 8pin and PCIe 6pin connectors and turn them into useable power plugs for the printer. This solution will cost a bit more than my initial budget but at least I’ll be able to replace the power supply at anytime very easily.

Hopefully this explains why I’m late on my project updates. I will try to update them some more today or tomorrow but fixing the printer is my main priority right now, because I spent too much time on it to give up on making it perfectly work.

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Mechanical Engineer Grad Student at USC, Avid Math Wiz
 · Los AngelesU.S.
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thanks for this update

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Harsha Alva
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Mechanical Engineer + Software Developer
 · MangaluruIndia
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Hi Émile Blais-Villiard

As you mentioned, repurposing your ATX just to run your 3D printer is a bad idea.

I’ve found a little hack around this. I use a 24 pin ATX extension cable and have cut the connector on the output side to get 12V, 5V and 3.3V.

https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-8-Inch-Power-Extension-ATX24POWEXT/dp/B000FL60AI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1499229940&sr=8-2&keywords=24+pin+atx+extension

There’s no need for soldering. just bunch all unexposed wires of the same voltages together and put a lot of insulation tape on them.

For this to work, all you need to do is connect PS_ON to Ground.

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Student, Programmer
 · MontréalCanada
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Thanks Harsha but having only power from the 24pin connector wouldn’t be enough. My printer can easily need 300W at its peak when it’s heating up and ATX PSU cables are either 18 or 20 AWG gauge, which can only transmit at most 6A. So I need to connect many 12V wires from the PSU together to spread the load between all of them.

Luckily I found some CPU 8pins extensions and a 24pin jumper to keep the PSU on. So I repurposed both of the extension cables to combine 7 wires together from a CPU 8pins and a PCIe 6pin connector. Right now this is the temporary setup I have:

I ordered a couple of XT60 connectors and a heated bed external power mosfet board to divide the load accross the PSU’s 2 12v rails. Once those arrive I’ll have to do some soldering and build a more permanent solution.

I also repurposed the 2 extra wires from one of the 8pin extensions to plug into the +5v standby pin of the 24pin connector. This will be used to power an USB port and eventually plug in a raspberry pi that will monitor the printer 24/7 since that power supply pin is always turned ON, supplying 5V for USB applications.

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