Print Head/Heated Line Maintenance Kit February 10, 2016
Items included in Kit
-Megohmmeter, used to repole the piezo in the Print Head.
-Multimeter, used to monitor the capacitance of the piezo at room temperature and measure temperatures. It can
also be used as a general purpose multimeter.
-Print Head Adaptor Card, used to test the print heads with the Multimeter.
-Print Head Adaptor Card, used the Megohm Meter to repole the print head Piezo.
-Modified Thermocouple, used to test print head.
-Thermocouple for testing heated line temperatures.
-Syringes, used to do “small” purges of print heads and lines when used in conjuntion with viton tubes.
-Syringe tips w/viton tubing for use with syringes.
-Cleaning Wire, used for cleaning heated lines.
-Kimtech Kim Wipes, highly recommended as the only wipe to use when cleaning the print
Warning – Keep fingers clear of the screws or any open circuits on or around the Adaptor Card while pressing the “Red” button on the megohmmeter. There is as much as 1000 volts DC passing through the Adaptor during the “Re-Poling” operation. Although this may not be particularly dangerous at the existing current levels, the electrical jolt may be painful and injurious to some people.
Regular maintenance of the print head and the heated line will assure successful service from your Solidscape and Sanders Design International 3D printers.
The Megohmmeter and the Multimeter come complete with test leads and test tips. These will not be necessary for performing maintenance on your print heads or lines. These instruments can be used for whatever personal requirements you may have and in those cases where you may need them. Please refer to the operating instructions in the carrying case for the proper operation of these test meters for those purposes.
The yellow multimeter has a digital thermometer and a capacitance function. Follow the included instructions in order to access these functions. Unfortunately, the thermometer only reads in degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, the absolute maximum temperature that the jets should be set at is 257 degrees F (125 C) and only if the true jet temperature is confirmed by use of the digital thermometer. In general, for the piezo system to work properly, a minimum temperature of 223F (106 C) is necessary. This will generally be sufficient for the support material, but the build material will require at least 237 F (114 C) with Rapid-Cast build material, and 244 F (118 C) for Solidscape materials.
Also in the kit are two thermocouples. The one with the black sleeve is intended for insertion in the top of the print head after removal of the heated line. The most effective use of the thermocouple is to insert it as deep into the print head as possible without excessive force. Keep an eye on the meter reading for variations as you insert the probe. The thermocouple may also be inserted in the purge spout, but, the temperature readings may not be as reliable. Comparison readings should be made between the top spout for the heated line and the purge spout. The second thermocouple has a yellow sleeve and is intended for measuring the consistency of heat generated by the heated line from one end to the other. Check below under “Procedures” for instructions on how to perform a temperature profile of the heated line.
Use the Adapter Cards whenever you are testing the print head or making measurements. Always make sure that the “plus” sign on the Adaptor is aligned with the “Red” socket on the Megohmmeter or the Multimeter, or is inserted as depicted in the below photograph. Proper positioning for the print head is for it to hang behind the meter when mounted to the Adaptor so that the display remains visible.
We strongly recommend that you use pharmacy grade isopropyl alcohol that is 91% pure, as a minimum. The other 9% is water and other compounds. Do not use anything less than 91%, such as 70% rubbing alcohol. Lamp oil is a great substitute for VSO and is much cheaper. We are not aware of any problems caused by scented oil, but recommend that you use Unscented oil. We purchase ours at Walmart and it comes in 64 oz. bottles. The brand that we use is “Medallion”.
We strongly recommend that you use an inline filter for the syringe that is rated at 5 microns or less. Not using a filter may expose the print head to small particles that could clog the orifice. Before attaching the Viton tube to the print head, make sure that you push some alcohol through the system to flush it out. Thereafter, the alcohol entering the jet will be clean. Always perform this purging procedure before attaching the tubing to the print head.
Temperature profiling you Heated Line
For this procedure, please refer to the instructions that came inside the carrying case for measuring temperatures. For measuring the temperature of the Heated Line, leave the heated line pluged in to the machine power. Remove the ends or the line from the print head and the tank. Straighten the thermocouple wire out and insert the tip starting at the print head end. The wire should comfortably fit and easily slip in the line. Keep inserting it until it emerges from the other end. Place a mark on the thermocoule wire at the jet end when the tip is even with the tank end so you will be able to tell how much you are pulling it back. Now, pull it back so that the tip is 1 inch inside the heated line. Wait at least 1 minute and then write this temperature in your notebook. Now, repeat this procedure 1 inch at a time, waiting for 1 minute before taking your reading. Label each reading with the corresponding inch position, ie, 1, 2, 3, etc., until the tip exits the jet end of the line. The min/max temperature readings are what you are looking for. DO NOT BE ALARMED. Normal Solidscape lines frequently have a difference between minimum and maximum temperatures of 40-60 degrees C. Ballistic Fluid lines will be between 10-30 degrees C. These variations in the line temperature are the reason the Ballistic Fluid Technologies, LLC recommends the all temperatures are set back to a safe level if the machine is not going to be used for a day or more. Failing to do so can cause the material in the hotter locations of the heated line to degrade and cause a blockage. Even in cases where there is no blockage formed, the materials will still degrade. These degraded particles can accumulate in the internal Print Head filter and require an expensive procedure to clear the debris requiring full dis-assembly and cleaning. This problem is more common with the build jet, and rarely happens with the support jet, except with non- BFT or SS materials.
If the thermocouple wire cannot make it all the way through the line, then there must be a twist, a kink, or an obstruction. Any of these interference problems can cause problems with the print head by limiting the material flow. Try using the cleaning wire included in the kit to resolve this problem. Carefully insert the cleaning wire into the heated line while it is still hot in a similar manner as described above for profiling the heated line. Periodic monthly use of the cleaning wire will keep your heated line in good working condition. Remember, never force the cleaning wire through the heated line. If enough force is used, it can perforate the side of the heated line.
Purging Print Heads
It is recommended that you use one of the kit syringes along with the attached viton tube to manually purge the print head. Leaving the purge cap in place, remove the heated line and place the viton tubing on the barb at the top of the print head. With the syringe full of air, slowly plunge the syringe so the the internal fluid streams from the tip of the print head until there is no more fluid coming from the orifice. At this point there are two techniques that you can use to rinse out the print head. The first is to use the VSO/Lamp Oil. This option can be used for either material, build or support. However, if you use it for build material, the jet temperature must remain above 110 degrees C in order for the build material to remain molten. Using this method for the build material does not dissolve the build material but will purge it out by virtue of keeping it molten. Another advantage of this method is that it does not thermally shock the piezo and significantly decreases the chance of cracking the piezo. Fill the syringe with VSO/Lamp oil, remove the purge cap from the print head and slowly inject some VSO/Lamp oil until it becomes visible at the purge spout. Replace the purge cap and hold it in place with your thumb. Slowly purge 3 cc through the orifice. If it is a support jet that you are working on you can simply proceed to reattaching the heated line and continue priming and calibrating the print head. However, if it is a build jet, you must first reduce the temperature of the jet to 65 degrees C and repurge the jet as above using alcohol. DO NOT introduce alcohol into a print head that is above 70 degrees C. When rinsing with the alcohol make sure that some alcohol comes out the purge spout before replacing the cap and purging out the fluid. This will ensure that you have gotten out all of the VSO/Lamp oil. This is necessary because the VSO/Lamp oil can alter the surface tension of the build material and interfere with proper jetting.
Repoling the Print Head's Piezo
All piezo electric materials possess the ability to shift dimensionally at the molecular level. The proportions of this dimensional shift is axially different. This means that during the shift, one axis dimension changes more than another. In the case of the piezo in the print head, it is in the shape of a cylinder. When the dimensional shift occurs, the length increases and the diameter decreases as an electrical charge is placed on the piezo, and returns to normal when the charge is removed.
All things magnetic share a property known as a Curie Point Temperature(CPT). All magnetic/piezo abilities are lost at this temperature. However, with piezo materials, if a DC potential is held across the poles of the piezo at this CPT, and the temperature is lowered to Room Temperature (RT), the molecular shifting ability can be restored. In the case of the print head total repoling of the piezo as described is not completely necessary. Even when the print head no longer functions adequately, there is still some of the original poling effect remaining. The following procedure restores the residual poling effect to near original. Although, the only way to completely restore the poling effect would be to repeat the original process performed during manufacturing. Since this is all but impossible in the current configuration, this procedure is sufficient to reestablish a high degree of the original poling condition. Another electrical characteristic of the piezo is capacitance.
The ceramic material that comprises the cylinder is also a dielectric. When the inside surface of the cylinder is plated, and the outside surface is plated, it in essence becomes a capacitor. As with other capacitors, the thinner the dielectric material, the higher the capacitance. Another property of the piezo is to change its capacitance as a function of poling efficiency. Therefore, if the capacitance of the piezo is known prior to repoling, the effect of repoling can be confirmed by measurement of the capacitance following the repoling procedure. A successful repoling operation normally increases the capacitance by 5-10%.
When anything over 2% is realized, it can be assumed that the loss in print head efficiency is as a result of lost poling effect. Otherwise, the loss of performance is more likely due to elasticity damage (creep resistance) to the potting compounds as a result of overheating during “Hot Purges” and elevating the print head temperature above 125 degrees C. Elevating the print head temperature above 125 degrees C can cause premature loss of poling efficiency and can also cause thermal damage to the potting materials within the assembly. The potting damage is irreversible. The lost poling efficiency IS reversible to nearly 90-100% of the original condition.
It is strongly advised to monitor the poling efficiency by tracking the capacitance of the piezo at room temperature (RT). It is very important to determine what the actual RT is during benchmark testing and return to that RT when tracking the capacitance. Any variation in the RT can cause higher, or lower capacitance and therefore contaminate the results.
Those operators that maintain a log book of all the things that have been done to the machine, including all of the things mentioned in this guide, will experience a significantly better experience with this technology.
Read the enclosed operation manual completely and understand the function of your device before attempting repoling of the print head.
Study and know the instrument depicted in the below photograph. Notice how the adapter card is installed. The proper polarity during repoling will only be applied if the print head is installed on the adapter when installed as depicted.
Turn the device “on” by turning the knob to the 500 Volt position. Never use the 1000 volt position as this may damage the piezo.
Press the “Test” button and time the duration of the red indicator light for 25-30 seconds. To turn stop the repoling action, press the “Test” button again. Make sure that the indicator light is off.
Take care to not touch the Adapter card during testing. Although there is 500 Volts DC at the terminals, it is at a very low current level and is typically not dangerous but can be very uncomfortable if shocked.
Occasionally, a numerical value will momentarily appear in the display. This is normal. If a number appears and remains during the period that the voltage is being applied, it will indicate the resistance of an electrical short within the print head. This means that the print head will need to be returned to BFT and repaired.
These instructions are incomplete and will be updated periodically.
Visit this website periodically for updates.
Above you will see the three basic materials that we offer. From left to right is Easy-Melt HT formulated for room temperatures between 76 F and 80 F. Next is Easy-Flow premium. This is our original material formulated with "Collapse Melting" properties for protecting very delicate fine features that are easily broken from model expansion during burnout. The recommended operating room temperature for this material is below 72 F. On the right is our Easy-Flow Build material. This material is the standard that all competitors and successors are measured to. It has stood the test of time and dates back 30 years to the very beginnings of this technology. All of these materials are produced and distributed by Sigma TCT under the brand name Rapid Cast, and can be purchased online at: www.rapid-cast.com. These materials are available as shown or packages in convenient large mouth plastic bottles. Inquire at: www.rapid-cast.com.
All refurbished print heads are available for $625.00 each. Quantity discounts may be available. Selectively, BFT will also perform repairs on print heads for a fee ranging from $75.00 to $250.00 that do not involve replacement of the Piezo Insert Assembly.
New Heated Lines are also available for $350.00 each, regardless of the model of SS printer.
Specialty Heated lines are also available at $15.00 per inch.
BFT formulated Build and Support materials are available from www.rapid-cast.com
Print Head design and engineering services are available on a fee plus basis.
Print Heat & Heated line Maintenance Kit, $300.00, plus shipping. (see procedures below)
All payments are to be made through PayPal, either on their website, or through credit card processing through PayPal's virtual credit card terminal. Direct transfers can be made from your PayPal account to ours by sending your payment to: firstname.lastname@example.org
BFT does not accept checks, money orders, or bank transfers.
These are only some of the print heads that BFT has produced over the years. Going clockwise starting at 12:00 is a 3Z series Support print head. Next is a 3Z Build print head. The print head at 4:00 is one of the very first for MMII. At 6:00 is a unique print head built for the SDI series of machines called RTM, BigFoot, and 20/20. Even today these machines are unparalleled in resolution and print quality. At 8:00 is a sample of a Pattern Master print head. And, last but not least at 10:00, is a jet from the T series machines, T7X, and T6X. Ballistic Fluid can still provide any of the above print heads.
Ballistic Fluid Technologies,LLC Solidscape, 3D Printing, Print Heads, Heate, Lines Support. Build
Below is a typical Heated Line. By appearances there does not seem to be much difference between this line and any other. However, with better that 2 to 1 temperature stability over the O.E.M., this series of Heated Lines will help protect your print heads from dangerously high temperatures.
BFT Product Warranty Statement:
All print heads have a limited prorated warranty. This means that for the period of the warranty the print head loses a certain percentage of the price paid for the duration of the period of time specified against a discount towards a replacement print head. As an example, if your print head has a -3.33% warranty, it would mean that for each day you used the print head you lose 3.33% of the purchase price on the cost of a replacement print head. In this scenario a print head costing $625.00 would lose $20.80 per day in trade-in discount value. After 15 days there would only be $312.50 of value left in the print head against the price of a new print head. A 3.33% warranty would only last for 30 days. A 1% warranty would last for 100 days. The following list has the associated warranty percentages.
All Ballistic Fluid refurbished* print heads using Rapid-Cast Build and Support materials, have a -1% 100 day warranty,
provided they have always used Rapid-Cast materials as determined by internal filter examination.
All Ballistic Fluid refurbished* print heads using Solidscape Build and Support materials, have a -3.333%, 30 day warranty.
All print heads currently using, or that have ever used, Jet-Wax Build or Support materials, have NO warranty.
All print heads using any other aftermarket Build or Support materials, have NO warranty.
All general print head repairs on Solidscape print heads have no specific warranty, unless otherwise agreed upon prior
All new heated lines have a 1%, 100 day warranty, regardless of the material used.
All customer owned Solidscape manufactured heated lines submitted to Ballistic Fluid Technologies, LLC for repair, are not
covered by a warranty.
All customer owned Ballistic Fluid Technologies, LLC manufactured heated lines submitted to us for repair, have a -3.333%
30 day warranty. All other parts have no warranty unless otherwise agreed upon prior to purchase.
*"Refurbished" is defined for the purposes of this warranty statement as: "A print head originally manufactured by
Solidscape, Inc., Merrimack, NH, that has been repaired using a newly manufactured Ballistic Fluid Technologies, LLC
Piezo Insert Assembly.
Print Head Exchange Policy
Ballistic Fluid Technologies, LLC (BFT) provides replacement print heads for 3D printers manufactured by Solidscape, Inc.(SS), Merrimack, NH. BFT and SS are not affiliated in any way or manner. For each print head that a customer orders from BFT they must send in an old print head in exchange, working or not working. BFT re-uses the external parts for building refurbished print heads, however, all of the internal piezo parts are totally new. By ordering and accepting this policy, BFT customers relinquish any and all claim to the actual jet that they are exchanging and realize that their old print head will undergo complete dis-assembly and all salvageable parts will be the property of BFT to be used in the manufacture of refurbished print heads. For this, $125.00 is credited to the standard sale price of $750.00 for each print head sold by BFT. In actuality, old print heads have no real value, except to BFT and our customers, and only provide a source of parts for the benefit of our customers in keeping our prices low. Without this policy our sale price for print head using all new parts would be $800.00 to $1000.00 each.
BFT reserves the right to change the above policies without any notice. Upon changing, the new policies are retroactive and replace any and all previous policies.
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