One of the common tasks when owning a resin printer is the replacement of the FEP sheet.  While this something which all users will have to do at some point or another, many new to 3d printing find this task daunting at first.  Today we’ll be covering the process for the Mono X, but this process is similar with all resin printers.  As always, I’m in no way responsible if any damages may occur.

In resin printers, the FEP sheet is a consumable that requires periodic replacement over time.  Generally speaking, as long as you take proper care of your FEP sheet, you shouldn’t have to do this maintenance as often, but due to either print failures or the FEP becoming cloudy over time, it does require replacement at some point.  Most machines, use a very similar structure as this one does, so the information that you’ll see here should still apply to your machine.  On this particular machine, the LCD screen isn’t covered by glass or a protector out of the box, and therefore you should consider adding a Screen Protector as well.  If you don’t plan on doing so, then regular FEP sheet inspections should be a requirement for your machine.

To begin, we’ll first need to get a replacement FEP sheet and I personally prefer to order the ones which are recommended by the manufacturer of the machine, however it is also important to note that new developments in the technology are ongoing and new releases may become available in the future.  In this case, I’m using the official replacement that’s provided by Anycubic.

Remove your vat and drain out any excess resin, making sure to properly clean the vat prior to continuing to the following step.  Place a paper towel from which you can place your vat onto.  You’re going to need a bottle cap to use as a spacer, so make sure to have this handy for the future steps.  I find that the bottle caps of a standard soda bottle are the perfect size. 

There are two types of hex screwdrivers for this replacement.  A size 2 and 2.5 will be needed for this particular machine, with the 2.5 being used to remove the first set of screws.  With these removed, you can then use the screwdriver to lift the FEP sheet frame out of the vat’s base.  From here, you’re going turn this over and remove the second set of screws.  At this point, we can give both the vat and the frame another cleanup to remove any remaining resin residue.  In the footage that you see here, I’ve already done this process several times to remove all resin from the surface of the vat and frame, but if you’ve just done a quick cleanup you’re going to want to keep wearing gloves while doing the remaining steps.  

Place the bottle cap in the centre of the FEP frame after having lined up the FEP sheet and frames.  While holding the frame down, you are going to use a pair of tweezers to create a small puncture in the FEP sheet where you are going to place your first screw.  I always recommend doing the four corner’s first before doing the remaining.   You can use your finger’s as a support to help better control the amount of pressure while puncturing the FEP sheet.  The aim is to simply start the hole and not to go all the way down.  After doing the four corners, you can then work your way around the frame and attach the remaining screws.    Once completed, you want to turn the FEP frame over and place it into the vat base.  Once again, you’re going to create a small puncture for the screws, making sure to start at each corner.  Only screw the screws in enough to hold them in place, and work diagonally from each other until all of them are in position.  Slowly moving diagonally, you incrementally tighten these slowly down to ensure that you have even pressured.  Doing this will prevent buckling from occurring in one section of the FEP sheet.  Do this until you reach the bottom, but once again don’t over tighten.

The FEP sheet is attached, but we now have some extra material sticking out around the edges.  To remove this, we’re going to follow the out edges of the Vat frame with a cutting blade.  To keep from leaving smudges on the surface, we’re going to place a piece of paper towel under our hand while carefully following this edge.  You shouldn’t have to pull it off if you’ve cut all the way through the material, so take your time when doing this step.  Remove any leftover material that has the potential to damage the screen and carefully inspect it prior to re-installing the vat.

If you’re looking to add a Screen Protector, you’re going to want to see the following video since it’s a great upgrade that will help protect your screen, especially since this machine doesn’t have a protective layer above the LCD.

Compare to many other 3D printers, the CR10 Smart features causes the levelling process to be quite different.  This can cause quite a bit of frustration among new user’s, so we’ll be going over the process in today’s article.

To start things off, we’ll first need to lower the build plate prior to starting the levelling process.  From the main menu, you’ll go to “Settings” + “Level” and wait for the hot end to probe the centre of the build plate.  From Here, you’ll use the up and down arrows to set the probe offset, and in this case we want the nozzle to just barely touch the build plate or be slightly raised if it crashes into the surface.  Now, this machine doesn’t allow for extreme fine-tuning of this feature, so we’ll go through some other methods later on.  By selecting any of the corner numbers, the hot end assembly will automatically move to that location, and you’ll be able to adjust the levelling nut for the that corner of the build plate.  Repeat this procedure for each of the corner’s making sure to double-check these before moving on to the next step.

With the basic levelling completed, you’ll now do an auto bed levelling.  This creates a levelling mesh that is retained in the machine’s memory and allows it to compensate for an uneven surface.  For this to be effective you’ll first want to preheat the nozzle and the build plate making sure that the nozzle is clean from any debris.  Once this is complete, you can then double-check your print levelling by doing a short print which fits the build surface.  For this example, I will be using a custom file that I’ve created, but you can use anything that similar.  I designed this one to print in a continuous loop depending on the number of brim lines, so I will be using this to my advantage.  This file will be available along with the other support files HERE.  While the printer is moving, we can now adjust the offset if necessary to make sure that it doesn’t crash into the bed but has the correct height.  If you still have to make additional adjustments, then this is where your slicer settings and start G-code will come into play.

If you have problems with the initial layer being too high off the build plate, you can compensate slightly through your slicer settings.  For those new to 3D printing, this might be the least daunting option.  For this example, I’m using Cura, but most slicer’s will have an option which is similar to this one.   Under the Material’s Tab, you’ll go to the “Initial Layer Flow” and increase this slightly.  Since the build surface is so textured on this machine, it does allow for more flexibility with your flow rate, but I wouldn’t increase this too much otherwise the first layer will lift onto itself because it’ll be over-compressed.  If it’s more than 10% higher than your actual flow rate, then you’ll want to use the following method instead.

You can go to “Settings” + “Configure Settings and Visibility” + “Printers” + “Machine Settings” where you can expand the Start G-Code Window.  From here you can modify this line “G1 Z2.0 F3000 ;Move Z Axis up” to adjust the amount if needed.  This line appears in two areas of the Start G-Code.  The first is for the purge line and the second is for the actual print.  The portion which controls the initial Print height is this part here, so you can either increase it if it’s too close or decrease it if it’s too height up.  The good news is that because you’ve already set the Z-offset using the menu options, you know that this value will be within 0.05 increments. So you’ll make your necessary changes and do your print test to verify your results.  Making adjustments with this method does make it much more accurate and for those of you who are even slightly familiar with G-code this might be the best option.

With your bed levelling complete, you should now be able to have a much better chance of your 3d prints succeeding.  For the full PDF guide which includes diagrams and more detailed instructions, you can find this here along with other guides for many other machines as well. 

In today’s today’s article, we’ll be going over the Ender 3 S1 by Creality to see if it’s a machine that’s worth spending money on.  I purchased this machine with my own money in order to do this review, so everything you see here is based on my own opinion.  

With this new machine, with have a newly upgraded build plate which is both flexible and has excellent print adhesion.  While I have had this machine for a couple of months now, the build surface has held up and has no visible damage as yet.  I haven’t had any issues with the prints sticking and removal has been quite easy with the print’s, self releasing if they’re allowed to fully cool down.  In fact, I was so impressed by it that I tried to order a second surface for my Ender 3 V2 which I had upgraded in this Video Here.

This machine has been the first to come with ferrules connection out of the box, which I’m happy to report.  What I have found confusing however is the fact this machine has proper connections while the CR10 Smart Pro still has tinned one.  So although my machine has the proper connection types, I would still recommend you double-check yours since I purchased mine on Amazon and some reseller’s upgrade the machines prior to sending them out. 

This machine does in fact have silent stepper drivers, however they did not upgrade the extruder fans to be more silent, so it can be still quite loud during operations.  This is an unfortunate oversight since the hot end assembly has so many great innovations included within its design.  

Similar to other recent machines, this one has a drawer which contains all the tools you’ll need to repair it in the future.  This is appreciated since it makes it easier to keep everything organized and easy to find when you need it.  I’ve gotten in the habit of storing original hardware, which I may have replaced, in this drawer just in case I need it later on.

The X gantry has a small clip to help to hold the cable to the hot end assembly, and while this allows for clean cable management, it doesn’t quite work correctly.  When printing, the cable for the hot end assembly bends and cause the limit switch and motor connections to become strained.  If you already have this machine, you may which to print this cable support to help keep this portion into place.  You’ll need an extra long M3 screw to attach this into place, along with a Zip tie.  I will have this file available on my website along with the PDF survival guide for this machine.

Thermal Runaway Detection was tested and is fully functional.  The nice thing about this extruder drive is that it can easily be detached with the cable, so you have access to all the connections.  This made it a lot easier to test as a result, and will make maintenance in general more user-friendly. The company has also recently released the source code files for the firmware, which should make it easier to upgrade in the future.  Although not all of their machines are currently available, it’s likely that they may be in the future.  Here’s a link to where you can find the repositories.

With the new dual Z axis, bed levelling should be less of an issue and shouldn’t be required as often.  Both motors are linked together with a timing belt to help keep them in sync with each other.  Although you shouldn’t have any issues out of the box, you’ll want to make sure that your stepper motor timing is properly synced up. For this, you’ll loosen one of the clutch screws for both motors and, with the machine turned on, use the menu to lift it up and down a bit.  You’ll then simply re-tighten them, and should be good to go.

The spool holder and filament run out are both located on the top of the machine and have also been updated.  The spool holder has the filament run out sensor attached to it’s front, which allows the sensor to rotate with the hot end assembly.  While this helps reduce the amount of friction it does raise the overall height of the machine and because of my limited amount of space I had to create a filament guide to get around the issue.   It should also be noted that having the spool holder on the top of the machine can cause more vibrations, which can affect final print quality.  So although this is a great innovation, you may need to do some form of modification depending on your space limitations.

With the upgraded hot end assembly, we now have the new sprite extruder, which uses a direct drive mechanic.  It’s similar to that of the CR10 Smart Pro with one important difference.  In this case, although it is does have a Sprite Extruder, it isn’t an all metal hot end.  This machine has a Bowden tube which lines the inside of the heat break and should be replaced with a Capricorn one to prevent any future issues.  At the time of this recording, some upgradable or replacement parts were not yet available within my area.  The only way to get the upgradable components was by agreeing to the terms of service and become a Creality reseller.  Due to how the wording of certain clauses are, I find this to be risky and have refused to do so.

So what is the final verdict on this machine?  Well this machine is a very reliable one which has become my go to for many prints.  With the source code released, it’s a great option for those just starting or more advanced user’s alike. The only sticking point at the moment is the lack of available replacement parts, so although that’s something they’ll need to address in the future, they have left it open to modifications and alternatives. So for me, this gets a solid 8/10 for both new users and veterans alike.