Space 3D printer commisioning / repair

We were kindly donated a 3D printer which was 50%~ built by a hobbyist who had decided he had too many hobbies already and couldn’t take on 3D printing. Take a look at the restoration/commissioning our member Matt has completed. We now have a fully operational, well tuned 3D printer in the space!


Extruder Spring Tension Increased
The spring tension on the extruder was adjusted to be quite firm to reduce potential slippage of filament.

Faulty X-Y Driver Board
On occasions the extruder on the x-axis would stutter and miss steps, even to the extent that it sometimes reversed direction. Switching the x and y axis stepper motor connections on the board demonstrated that the problem followed the interface and not the motor. @Folknology was very kind and offered a replacement dual motor driver module from his own printer. The replacement driver module rectified the problem Open source driver board details here.

Y-Axis Linear Bearing Issues
After the electronics were mounted and a few trial prints were executed some anomalies in the movement of the heated bed ( y-axis ) were observed, it was definitely sticking in a few places.

Removing the linear rods and three bearings from the y-axis and testing them standalone revealed that they were definitely not moving freely. This was most likely due to one of two causes: the printer had been in storage for a number of years and may have been subject to some corrosion or that it had attracted dirt and dust, some of which may have come from the space rebuild.

All three of the bearings were replaced and that they ran smoothly checked, the linear rods were reinstalled and trued.

Belt tensions
Both belts were removed and the tension and alignment on the X and Y axes were adjusted to be tight and running true.

Grub screws
A number of good prints were then achieved but at some point there reappeared some inconsistencies in the geometry on a number of items. After a lot of head scratching the problem was tracked down to loose grub screws in the drive gears. These were tightened. During this investigation one of the bearings for the y-axis carriage was observed again to be exhibiting some degree of sticking, this was replaced.

X Axis Drive Gear Failure
At this point the printer was able to produce prints of several hours to a reasonable standard and good accuracy.
A problem occurred during a 6 hour print in which, 10 minutes before the end, a catastrophic slippage on the x-axis occurred. Investigation revealed that the x-axis drive gear had failed, breaking into several parts. This failure was probably attributable in some proportion to three factors: increased belt tension; tightening of the drive gear grub screw and degradation in the structure of the PLA printed gear after 4 years of ageing.

Replacement gears had already been printed and were installed and the belts retensioned. Despite several hours of experiments of shimming the x-axis stepper motor, it wasn’t possible to get the printer to operate with shedding the x-axis belt. Eventually, thanks to an idea from @Jagmills, a large diameter washer and spacer were added to the x-axis idler bearing to prevent the belt coming off.

The replacement drive gears for the x and y axes mate more securely with the T5 belts but are a slightly larger diameter than the original gears so recalibration of the x and y steps was required to ensure accurate print sizes.


For more pictures and a more detailed log check out the forum topic here


The space in pictures – Feb 2017

It’s been a while since we had an update on the space. Thanks to the hard work of several members we’re now pretty well set up and open to making… A picture speaks a thousand words so please join me in a quick tour of the space in pictures:

Our main work benches and shelving. Note the LED shelving, each LED is individually addressable (you can control the colour and brightness), they’re waiting to join the IOT “Cloud” with the use of a Wemos ( Maybe you can be the one to help progress this project?

Our laser cutter, several members are now fully trained and have been starting to making various projects developing laser cutting and etching skills , they’re raring to pass these new skills on to other members.

Our 3D printer has been tuned and fettled by a dedicated member. He has been printing parts for other members and it is pretty much ready to be opened up for general use by all members.

Our soldering station has been put to good use so far. We’re looking forward to the magnification, heat pencil and hot plate being used for SMD assembly. Our oscilloscope and meters are out of shot.

Our engineering area where all manner of turning and drilling has taken place.

Member’s storage is starting to fill up with all kind of interesting projects and equipment.

 Our in house designed and manufactured (laser cut) cable storage rack.

It you’re not a member come along on a Friday night to see the place for real!


February Update

It’s been a busy few months for SHM!

We’ve more or less completed our renovation works at the Boileroom and our members have started coming along regularly, working on their many projects. Our fancy laser cutter is installed, working and has already been producing a variety of projects. The laser cutter is a very nice addition, as (for those who don’t know) it is much faster at creating a variety of items – and from cheap materials, too.

a case for an EMF TILDA badge

Milling Machine

We’re looking to expand the machinery available to our members – one new potential addition is a milling machine, for creating all sorts of shapes out of materials like aluminium and steel. This is open to pledges, so if that’s something you’re interested in using or you’d like to know more, please visit the forum thread for more information.



We now have a Slack channel! This is a chat room where a lot of our members gather to discuss projects and generally be social. There’s quite a few of us there in the daytime and evenings – coming to say hello is quite easy 🙂


Next week will be our AGM, currently limited to our members. If you’re a member and want to come voice your opinions and help shape the Makerspace, do feel free to pop along – details are on the member’s area of our forum.

If you’re not a member though, do please feel free to pop along to one of our Open Sessions! These run every Tuesday and Friday from around 18:00 onwards. We often have all sorts going on, so if it’s a flying visit for a chat, you want to come see what a Makerspace is all about, or you have a project idea – feel free to pop along. We advertise our open sessions on our Forum, which is also bustling with lots more information on the ‘space.

Hope to see you soon!



Plans for Friday session 18/11

I don’t think there are any grand plans today, but we will be open for all comers.

I’ll be checking the new laser setup and hopefully doing some test jobs, and no doubt playing with some OpenTRV stuff along the way.

Keep an eye on the comments to see what others are up to!

I’ll be there from about 6pm to open up for those without an access-card.


Space Update

We’ve made fantastic progress with building our space over the last couple of weeks. The benches are now in, shelving is going up, and everything is really taking place.

There are only a few items left for us to do, but it hasn’t stopped some of our members making already – we’ve had various personal projects turn up, as well as work being done to get our 3D printer and laser cutter up and running.

We also have a space webcam (featuring motion detection too!) for a bit of added security, and I hope to write a script that will allow us to create timelapse videos of our open sessions – which don’t forget, are every Tuesday and Friday. Do check the forum if you’re planning to pop in, as we update the ‘Open Sessions’ category when a keyholder is in the space.




Plans for Friday session 07/10

We’re still in the process of refurbishing our new space, so for now we’re sticking to just Friday for our open nights. However, due to the somewhat chaotic state of the space at the moment (still some construction going on), we’re limiting it to members only for now.…

I’ll be there to open up at about 18:00.


Plans for Friday session 30/09

Just a little update for this week’s session. We’re still in the process of refurbishing our new space, so for now we’re sticking to just Friday for our open nights. However, due to the somewhat chaotic state of the space at the moment (more hammers’n’saws than arduinos’n’laptops), we’re limiting it to members only for now. Obviously if you’re in the area you’re welcome to pop by and have a look, but I wouldn’t expect any fancy makerspacey stuff going on just yet.

Watch this space…



September Schedule

This is a bit comically late, but our recent move to the Boileroom has been rather distracting 🙂

  • Friday 2nd September – 18:30 at Games Galaxy
  • Friday 9th September – 18:30 at Games Galaxy
  • Friday 16th September – Cancelled due to refurbishment
  • Friday 23rd September – 18:30 at The Boileroom!
  • Friday 30th September – 18:30 at The Boileroom

Once we’re settled a bit and the access systems are all in place, we’ll be implementing some more open sessions, and wider access for members at any time.

The Boileroom


August schedule

August is looking like another interesting month. A number of members are going to be attending EMF camp, and plans for a permanent space are advancing!

There’s one Friday evening session that isn’t happening. Here’s the schedule for August and a sneak peek at the sign going to EMF camp:

  • Friday 5th August (18:30)
  • Friday 12th August – CANCELLED
  • Friday 19th August (18:30)
  • Friday 26th August (18:30)