This does not JUST apply to our HICTOP printers. I guarantee if you read below and follow what I have been taught recently, your print quality will be as close to the best your printer is capable of. After reading and kind folks sending me links to all kinds of data, I can tell you one thing you MUST do when you change filament, or even an open frame printer with a big ambient temperature change:
1) Calibrate your extrusion rate. On mine, the default Esteps stays at : 94.4 uppon boot, and that is about all I got with a command of manually feeding 100mm of filament just about right at 94mm of actual filament that was measured so that's 6mm short per 100mm . You cannot store this value, so you have to change/check the default every time you power up the beast. After calibration of that roll of filament, I manually set : /Control/Motion/Esteps/to : 96mm which produced 100.85mm per 100mm commanded from the extruder. Default setting feeding 6mm short in 100mm,that's not too good, according to logic and fellow geeks/purist.
Link to YouTube video here:
2) Calibrate your extrusion temperature: I downloaded a test file from thingiverse that is a hollow cube 100mm tall x 10mm wide x 1mm thick. I manually changed the extrusion temp's every 10mm during the print. I was real surprised at the results. 210 was too hot, 185 forget it.
Settings: Nozzle: 210 then to 175 (manual), Bed: 60/50, Infill: 0, Steps: 0.15mm, Vertical shells: 1. Instructions found on the link below...
o 210 - walls too thick and 'lumpy', a small amount of horizontal blobbing
o 205 - looking better
o 200 - looked the best...
o 195 - not much difference
o 190 - starting to 'thin' out
o 185 - got thinner (wall thickness < 1mm)
o 180 - getting worse on wall and fill
o 175 - forget about it, very thin vertical walls
Link to the YouTube Video here:
Link to the test .stl file here:
So as your nozzle temp goes down, so does your extrusion rate. Well it's physics, and it makes sense. Also, once you have found your correct nozzle temp, I would re-run the feed test as indicated they are related. In other words, get out that pencil and note pad.
IMHO - I will now calibrate and check the filament settings in Marlin each time I change a roll, it does not take that much time to print the thing; only thing is on this printer you have to keep and eye on the Z-axis Height to manually change the nozzle temp every 10mm of the print. Do not forget to write this data down on a sticker on your filament roll, that way you will know what to set the printer at in case you have to change it.
I use a SD card for printing directly and currently Slic3r for my slicer program.
Hope this make sense, it makes complete logical sense to me and my prints have GREATLY improved performing just these 2 steps.
Pictures Coming Soon (I hope) of test cubes No. 1 and No. 2., and just now printed No. 3 completed to 60mm at my new feed and temp settings looks good. Now to go print some real BB-8 parts...