On a much more uplifting entry; we succeeded in melting glass (Studio Nuggets 96) on our machine for the first time last night! We got the crystal clear stuff up to 1100 Celsius (over 2,000F) and was nearly fluid as water! However, our thrifty SCR used to control the nozzle heater was not up to par for the current it wanted to draw (it is a low voltage high current monster) so we had to reluctantly ladle the glass out. We need to redo some minor things but all in all it was a success!
Evidently in my last post I was reckless enough to challenge Murphy by taunting: “Looks like we should be printing our first glass tomorrow!”. It turns out that a couple of seemingly insignificant mistakes met for one big 7,000 watt ZAP setting us back weeks. Our machine’s (once perfectly working) sensitive motion controller took way more than it was designed for cooking components all the way up to the PCI card in the computer. We are mostly back to operation now with three of our four axes on the machine fully operational (X, Z and A). We have Y narrowed down but at the time it is not operational yet.
The “insulation” of our wire made unintentional contact with our 240 volt 30-amp service, but only because we wanted to see how the crucible furnace behaved before insulating it. That said, we have learned from our mistake and as a result the machine is much safer for it. Now for critical things we say “that shouldn’thappen” we have it covered at least once or twice it the event it does happen!
We have ignition! Our printer’s crucible was fired up for the first time (and on the machine) tonight with flying colors. She’s running 1,600F+ in open air (no lid), at about 2/3 power and using only a fraction of the planned insulation.
Looks like we should be printing our first glass tomorrow!