It’s starting to look like a 3D printer!


Not printing yet ... but it's starting to look like a 3D Printer

I would be further on, but I discovered MUCH too late that a whole batch of the 624ZZ bearings were faulty.  Had to disassemble the whole thing, check all the bearings, and replace the faulty ones.  The centre race is a few thou too slim, so when you put a washer either side and tighten it up, it binds on the outer race and won’t go round.

Anyone want 60 bearings that won’t go round?

Will fire it up tomorrow, hopefully, if I can find my laptop and get it going.

11 thoughts on “It’s starting to look like a 3D printer!”

  1. Cool, and pretty good progress. You wanted to take it apart anyway :-) so that you could get lots of lovely shots of it happening. I read on Camiel’s blog that he’d ordered new bearings (and other things).

    Anyway, great progress. Next thing we know you’ll be writing a book!

  2. Hi James,

    cool to see your progress. My Orca 0.3 was shipped in the beginning of October, I think it has a heater block that you made :-) Same experience with the bearings. I still need to replace them (I received some new bearings from Camiel together with the missing insert and the 60 mm fan).

    I received the missing brass insert to drive the filament last week Friday, and since I have been trying to get the extruder to run reliably.

    Were you able to do so? If it is the case, could you please have a look at this topic on the Mendel-Parts forum:
    I hope you gained some knowledge on the extruder/hotend while you were at Camiels place that could help me further.


    1. I am working on a book which provides a REALLY detailed set of instructions on building both Orca 0.2 and 0.3.

      Last week I built by 0.3, and this weekend I built a 0.2. I have LOADS of photos, and I will try and do the extruder bit as soon as possible.

      I am working with Justin Carpenter here in the UK on Orca 2.5 and Orca 3.5. Chief differences are:

      * Linear Bearings (my 3 has bearings as in Camiel’s design, but Justin’s 2, and the 2 we built this weekend as LB’s). They make life HUGELY easier. Justin and I will be producing LInear Bearing upgrade kits, with everything necessary to upgrade both V 0.2 and 0.3

      * Redesigned belt clamps (just push in)

      * Redesigned fan support for both fans, and the magnetic fan support for the extruder fan means you can see inside, and see what’s going on.

      * Redesigned belt idler spacers.

      The LB’s make a particular difference to the X carriage, and make life easier for building the extruder.

      I’ll TRY (no promises) to get the extruder bit of the book done this week.

      BTW with our linear bearing conversion kit, you use almost no small bearings at all … just in the belt idlers.

      Let me know if you’re interested.

      1. Hi James,

        we (the warpzone hackerspace now have our Orca 0.2 up and running. It was a team effort and that really did bring things along at a rapid pace.

        Our results are pretty good, but we still have a few niggles to work out. Occasionally on larger pieces the head “digs in” to the workpiece. It may be that the printbed is not completely flat.

        The build went fairly well, the main problems being the bearings, which weren’t faulty, but had too liitle breadth on the inner sleeve resulting in binding. We found that flattening the washers brought just enough clearance. As washers are stamped out they usually have a slight conical shape.

        The other major problem with the 0.2 is the one solved in the 0.3. Maladjustment of the outer frame causes torsional forces that stop things turning freely and exercise enormous cyclic flexing movement causing an inaccurate print.

        The quality of a couple of the belt drive cogs was not so good, but we printed out spares before they broke :-)

        We’d be interested in your linear bearing mods.


        1. Toll! We’re impressed that you’re up and running. We have 2 Orca 2, and one 3, and none are printing.

          I think I’ve seen some of the problems that [hollie] describes on the forum, but I think the problems are in software.

          I start Pronterface, and everything seems to work, using manual controls. X, y, z, e. and I have calibrated them, and they’re within .02 mm over 100mm. But when I load box.stl, it goes through the motions, but the extruder never even turns (even with no filament).

          I then tried RepSnapper. I couldn’t print, because there’s a bug that means you never know if the hot end is hot enough.

          So I saved the gcodes, then loaded the gcodes into Pronterface. It prints the first layer, but then carries on, but nt extruding (but oozing).

          I then tried just typing gcodes into Pronterface. Home, G20 X29, works. So does home, G21 X29 Y16 Exxxx (I forget the number) … The first time. But if you do it again, the extruder doesn’t turn.

          We’d be grateful to know how you set up your software: any changes to configuration.h? Skeinforge? Anything else?

          BTW we have two Orca 2s with Linear Bearings, and this weekend we upgraded the Z axis on my 3 to LBs.

          We’ll be able to make LB conversion kits available … just as soon as we can get our printers printing!

          1. Hi James,

            sorry to hear that you are having trouble setting up the printer.

            Did we have software issues? Yes! The first problem we had was the firmware was set up for a rep-rap and not the orca. so we did a firmware update with the latest gen6 firmware as pretty much the first thing.

            As to the settings for pla, we hope to have the optimised settings ready for distribution in our GIT repository by the end of the week. I’ll send you the skeinforge profiles we are using by Mail. Every printer is different I am told – but it should give you a start.

            best of luck!


  3. How are things going James? I’ve been following your blog with interest, because I also have an Orca 0.3. How are your progressing on the LB upgrade for the Orca? Could you give me some more info or share the STLs?

    I’ve been working on an upgrade for the z-axis endstop. The tiewrap solution wasn’t really error free, and sometimes the printnozzle would plunge in the bed, and had always to calibrate the z-axis manually. The solution I built for that is online with all instructions at:

    1. Hi, Raggie,

      Yes, I saw your z-stop mod on Thingiverse, and I agree it wants fixing … All the stops do.

      I’ve been having every problem going, and currently need to learn to be an expert at calibrating.

      I’m trying to dream up an automated, or semi-automated way of levelling the print bed and setting the initial z height. I want to use an opto or a Hall-effect sensor, and have a sort of Vernier adjustment, do it isn’t all “suck it and see”.

      Thought I had a great print going the other day, and then discovered that each layer was good … But each layer was +5 Y on the previous layer … No idea why!

      Until I can get printing reliably I can’t finish working on my LBs.

      Will keep you posted.

      1. Hm that sounds trouble-full. The quality of my Orca is acceptable out-of-the-box. Still I must stay around 25mm/s because the quality will degrade. Black is easy, mint is harder but doable, and transparent is almost impossible to print. It took me weeks to calibrate the skeinforge profiles. The profiles Camiel provides do not work at all on my printer…
        I’ve also been thinking about levelling the bed. I was convinced that it influences printquality a lot, but must admit, that I don’t think it’s the most important factor any more. Your profile and Z-X-Y calibration (they should be perpendicular) are more important from my point of view.
        Nevertheless, I’ve also worked with an semi-automated way of levelling the bed. A method from James Blackwell. See these posts:
        and for the Orca/Gen6 software:

        I’ve never experienced something like +5Y for each layer. Did you already upgrade to Marlin? You could try by using my software from the given link instead. It has a small fix for the step-skipping problem which isn’t solved in the Marlin versions from Camiel.

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