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MakerBot Replicator

The MakerBot Replicator

The MakerBot Replicator's dual extruders and big heated build platform make it an incredibly versatile machine, but they can also make it a bit tricky. The troubleshooting guides and documentation in these pages will orient you and get you back on track if something should go wrong.

    Troubleshooting

    Troubleshooting for your Replicator™

    If you don't see your problem listed here, contact MakerBot Support.

    ReplicatorG

    I need help installing ReplicatorG!

    I've you're having trouble figuring out which version of Python you need, or if you're confused about drivers, check out the installation instructions on replicat.org -- we walk you through the installation processes for Windows, Mac and Linux.

    I can’t figure out which is the right serial port for The Replicator.

    First, make sure that you've completed the steps to install the proper drivers for your system. This should happen as part of the installer on Windows, but you may need to do it manually if something went wrong. For manual installation instructions, click here

    Sometimes it can be difficult to tell which serial port you need to select, even if your drivers have been installed correctly. Here's a tip that should help:

    Open ReplicatorG with The Replicator disconnected. Go to the Machine->Connection (Serial Port) menu and note the port numbers you see there. Now, plug in your Replicator , go back to the Machine->Connection (Serial Port) and choose the “Rescan serial ports” option. Have a look at the selections again -- if a different port has appeared, that will be the correct port for your Replicator. If you don’t see an additional port, make sure that you’ve successfully installed the driver.

    I changed my toolhead offsets in ReplicatorG 40, but they haven't updated.

    This is a known bug. You will not be able to change your toolhead offsets through ReplicatorG 40, but you can change them through MakerWare's onboard preferences menu.

    I'm using Linux and my model doesn't show up in ReplicatorG!

    You may have to install a different version of Java. Go to this WikiHow page for instructions.

    I installed MakerWare and now I can't connect my bot to ReplicatorG.

    MakerWare connects to your MakerBot via a service called Conveyor. Once you install MakerWare, Conveyor will run in the background and prevent other programs, like ReplicatorG, from connecting to your bot. To reconnect to ReplicatorG, you'll have to stop Conveyor. The easiest way to do this is through the Services menu in MakerWare.

    How to stop Conveyor when you do not have MakerWare open depends on what operating system you're using. On Windows computers, stop Conveyor through the Services application. On Macs, open up Terminal and enter "sudo launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.makerbot.conveyor.plist". On Linux computers the command is "sudo stop conveyor". If you need to restart Conveyor, you can do that from MakerWare's service menu.

    Every time I try to print, ReplicatorG wants to regenerate my Gcode!

    ReplicatorG comes set to regenerate the Gcode when you press the "Build" button from the model view, but it's easy to turn that option off: just go into ReplicatorG's Preferences and uncheck "Automatically regenerate gcode when building from model view."

    How do I make a model bigger or smaller?

    Once you have imported your .STL file into ReplicatorG, an image of your design should appear in model view. Click the button on the right labeled "Scale". To adjust the size of the model click on the image and hold: dragging to the right or up will enlarge the model, while dragging left or down will shrink it.

    You can also adjust the scale by manually changing the number in the field next to the "scale" button. Inputting a 2 will double the size of the model, while inputting 0.5 will halve it.

    How do I change the heated build platform temperature?

    Go into your generated Gcode and find the line that begins with "M109."

    It will be about fifteen lines down, and the entire line will look something like this: M109 S100 T0 (set HBP temperature) The number after the S is the temperature -- just delete it and replace it with another number. For example, you might find that your ABS prints stick better at 110° C, or that your PLA prints go better if the heated build plate is only set to 40° or 50° C.

    If you like your new build platform temperature so much that you want to use it all the time, you can edit the start.gcode file for your profile -- try going to the "Edit Slicing Profiles" window and clicking the "Locate" button. The start.gcode file is where the temperature settings come from, so once you edit it, everything you slice with that profile should show your new temperature.

    MakerWare

    I'm having trouble installing MakerWare.

    If you have ReplicatorG installed, make sure it's not running -- it interferes with Conveyor, one of the components of the MakerWare package. Running the installer again may also help if the problem is not related to ReplicatorG. If the installation fails a second time, please collect as much information on the failure as you can and Open a Support Case.

    I can't connect to my Replicator 2 through MakerWare.

    This probably means something has gone wrong with Conveyor, the part of the MakerWare toolchain that handles the connection to your bot. Go to the Services menu and select "Restart Conveyor."

    For more help with MakerWare, have a look at the MakerWare troubleshooting page. You can also check out our MakerWare tutorial here.

    Building

    How do I change filament colors or materials?

    The easiest way to change your filament is to use the built-in scripts at Utilities->Filament Options. There are options there for loading and unloading each of your extruders. Just follow the instructions!

    You can also load and unload filament manually using ReplicatorG. Just heat up the extruder you're working with to 225° C. Then set the speed for that extruder to about 3.0 rpm, and run the motor backwards to unload. 30 seconds should be enough time to get your filament out. Once that's done, just run the motor forward while pushing the filament in to load it up again.

    If you're changing colors, you'll notice that you'll need to run the extruder for a few moments to clear out the old color. If you're changing materials, it can take even longer -- make sure that all the old material is extruded before you start a new print.

    I can't get the filament guide tube off my Stepstruder!

    Just pulling on the tube itself isn't enough -- you have to hold down the gray ring on top of the extruder. It's designed to act as a lock unless it's pushed down. Use a finger to push the ring down while you pull. If you continue to have trouble, hold the ring down at a different position. The guide tube should pull out without requiring too much force.

    I can't load the filament into The Replicator!

    Chances are, you just need to use a bit more force while you're pushing the filament in. It can take a surprising amount of force to get it loaded, especially when your bot is new.

    If you're having trouble, use some scissors to make a fresh cut at the end of the filament. Cut the filament at an angle -- a narrow tip will help with loading.

    Then, grasp the filament firmly and push it right down into the middle of the hole on top of the Stepstruder. You might want to hold the filament with a pair of pliers, or something else that's grippier than your fingers. Make sure it's going straight down, not diagonally. You can't hurt your Replicator by pushing on the filament, so use as much force as necessary. Once you feel the filament start to go in, maintain pressure for another ten seconds or so.

    I can't get the filament out of my Stepstruder!

    If your filament is stuck, try opening up ReplicatorG's control panel, heating the extruder, and running the motor back at 3 RPM, gently tugging on the filament until it pulls free. If it's still stuck, stop the motor and then run it forward. Let it extrude for a few seconds, and then try running it backwards again.

    If you've run the motor backwards and forwards a couple of times and it's still stuck, turn off the motor and use a pair of pliers to pull the filament free of the heated extruder.

    My extruder stays heated after I load or unload filament.

    If you have Preheat turned on, the extruder won't stop heating after you load or unload filament. To stop the extruder from heating, choose Preheat from the bot's main menu and select "Cool!"

    There's no plastic coming out of the extruder!

    There are a few different things that can cause extrusion problems. Go to Replicator Maintenance page to find out more.

    The things I’m building won’t stick to the platform!

    Don’t worry - it’s happened to everyone. Chances are you just need to clean the build platform or move it up slightly.

    To clean it, use a lint-free rag with a bit of rubbing alcohol or acetone-based nail polish remover. Acetone from the hardware store works well, too, but make sure you read and follow all warnings on the container.

    If that doesn’t do it, try loosening each knob on the bottom of the build platform by about a quarter turn to move the platform closer to the nozzle.

    If you're still having trouble, you can always run the leveling script again, from Utilities->Level Build Plate. This time use a thinner piece of paper, or move the platform up until you feel the nozzles grip it a bit more. You might need to try this process a few times in order to get it just right.

    Another trick that can help (for ABS plastic only) is to raise your build plate temperature. There are instructions for this further down on this page.

    Keep in mind that you always have the option to print with a raft, which will make it easier to get your prints to stick to the platform.

    My Dual Stepstruder's nozzles aren't aligned correctly!

    The Replicator has a script that makes it really easy to realign the nozzles. This will walk you through it.

    My Dual Stepstruder's nozzles aren't the same height!

    The nozzles on dual-extruder Replicators are adjusted at our factory to be within 0.3 mm of each other's heights, but if you want to fine-tune them, click here to learn how to use a Kapton tape shim to raise one side of the Stepstruder.

    Help! My bot sounds like it's shaking itself to pieces!

    Check to make sure you have acceleration turned on. Attempting to print at high speeds with acceleration turned off can harm your Replicator.

    Replicator Firmwares 5.5 and later have an acceleration option. You can turn it off and on through General Settings in your Replicator's onboard menus or through Onboard Preferences in MakerWare or ReplicatorG. If you are running non-accelerated firmware or have acceleration turned off, you should not print at speeds above 40 mm/s.

    Firmwares from Replicator Firmware 7.0 use a new type of acceleration command, and should only build from .x3g files. Running an .s3g file on a bot running Firmware 7.0 or later is equivalent to temporarily turning off acceleration, and will result in loud, jerky motion.

    I can't find my file on the SD card.

    If your Replicator recognizes that an SD card is present but can't see your file, make sure that the file is in the correct format. If your Replicator is running 6.2 Firmware or earlier, files should be in the S3G format. To create an S3G file in MakerWare, click Export to File in the make dialog and select S3G from the dropdown menu. To create an S3G file in ReplicatorG, generate GCode and then press the Build to File button in the top bar, where you will also have to choose .s3g from a dropdown menu.

    Your Replicator also can't read file names longer than 26 characters -- 30 characters if you count the file extension. Shorten the file name and try again.

    My Stepstruder is stuck/making a weird grinding noise!

    If your gantry isn't aligned correctly, the Y-axis motor can stop the Stepstruder from hitting the X-axis endstop. The Stepstruder will keep trying to move right and hit the endstop, but it won't be able to. This can sound scary, but it's not hard to fix. We explain how to realign your gantry here.

    Why won't the small features on my model print right?

    Some settings are great for almost everything but can cause problems with specialized prints. If you're having trouble with small, delicate sections on certain prints, you may need to go into Skeinforge to change your Restart Extra Distance setting.

    You'll find this setting in the Dimension plugin. It's right at the bottom, under Retraction Distance, which retracts a little bit of filament when you stop extruding so that you won't end up with extra little drips of plastic all over the place. Restart Extra Distance lets you change when it starts extruding again. A positive value will make it start a little bit early, but we've got it set to a slightly negative value, so it starts a tiny bit late. Most of the time this is good -- you're much less likely to get little blobs at the edge of your prints. But if a section of your print has a really tiny horizontal diameter, that tiny length you're subtracting could become a problem. If the value there is -0.2, change it to 0 and see what happens.

    My PLA prints keep failing!

    PLA is great, but it can be a little more temperamental than ABS. Get to know it a little better -- when you understand where the problems are coming from, they're easy to fix.

    How do I update firmware on The Replicator?

    Select the Upload Firmware option from the Bots menu in MakerWare or the Machines menu in ReplicatorG. The software will walk you through the process and tell you when you need to press the reset button on the back of your bot.

    You can also update your firmware through ReplicatorG by going to the Machine menu and selecting "Upload new firmware..."

    Does my Replicator need maintenance?

    Sure -- you'll want to replace the kapton tape tape on the build platform, lubricate The Replicator's milled rods, and update your firmware whenever a new version becomes available. Here are some basic Replicator maintenance tips from Annelise.
    • Replicator Maintenance Replicator Maintenance Watch

    To learn more, head over to The Replicator Maintenance page.

    Error Codes

    There are only a few possible error messages on The Replicator. Click here for a rundown on what they are and what you can do about them.

    I’ve read everything and I need more help!

    OK -- Don’t panic. You’ve just joined a great community, and there are lots of resources at your disposal. To get in touch with the official MakerBot support crew, Open a Support Case or email support@makerbot.com

    Before you get in touch with us, a word on MakerBot support: The Replicator was designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble. It’s also a product aimed at people who are comfortable with DIY. It’s likely that the MakerBot support techs are going to have you open up your machine and run some tests to help figure out what the problem is. They’ll be able to talk you through most issues via email or telephone. When you get in touch with support, describe your problem as clearly as you can, and make sure the set of hex wrenches that came with your Replicator is handy.

 
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