Broken *UP!* 3D Printer

  • I am trying to fix this 3D printer which has been donated to Kamloops Makerspace by @lincolns. It is an early limited version of the UP! Plus series by PP3DP.


    Right now when I plug it into the computer using a USB cable, the device is not recognized. Under Linux lsusb is not listing it, and under windows it is not recognized either. As you can see, I open it up to take a look inside.




    I tried visually inspecting the boards and could not see any defects. I took my voltmeter and tested some of the marked or known positions for appropriate power and found the 3.3V is not being supplied where it is expected. In face GND and 3.3V were short. I have marked it in this picture:

    I unplug the power and started taking the motor drivers and the main module off one by one to see if I can isolate the culprit. It turn out the main board with the big chip on it is causing the short. Here are some better pictures of both sides of that board:

    That is as far as I could get. I cant figure out what on that board is causing the issue.

    I took the sticker off of the chip to see what it is, by you can see that they have sanded off the label :angry:

    Any ideas how I could test this board and further isolate the issue?

  • Was the short still present with the board removed?

    I see a power LED on the board, which might present as a short (depends on the resistor).

    It’s probably one of the ATMega chips, but if they’ve gone to the effort of sanding the markings off, they’ve probably done additional protections as well.

    Is there a schematic available?

    If not, then probably the best bet is just to replace the electronics with something like a RAMBo, Smoothieboard, or RAMPS setup. Then at least you know what you’re dealing with.

    If you remove the CPU board, do you see 3.3v on the main board?

    It could be the 3.3v voltage regulator is blown.

  • Is there a schematic available?

    I could not find any schematics, there is hardly any information available about the printer. The manual is very high level and does not get into any details of the construction, such as the electronics.

    If not, then probably the best bet is just to replace the electronics with something like a RAMBo, Smoothieboard, or RAMPS setup

    You are right, this would make more sense especially since the printer software is also propitiatory and does not run on Linux. I really like to set it up with octo print at the space so anyone can send print jobs to it from their own laptop. I have an unused asus mini pc that I could use for that. So even if we somehow manage to find the issue and fix it, which looks pretty unlikely, it wont be as usable as if we just replace the electronics.

    Smoothiboard looks pretty interesting, but I already have an Arduino mega 2560 that I can use for this. So RAMPS would make the most sense in this case. Looks like it is around $21 on hobby king, do you know a better place to order it from?

    Do you think I would be able to reuse the original motor drivers? If not, what motor drivers would you recommend to use?

  • Linux

    If you are going with a RAMPS board it is setup to take Pololu stepper drivers … there is a description of this board and some alternatives here. I cannot tell from the pictures if the drivers on the existing board match the Pololu footprint. They look to be about the same size as one, what does the pinout look like?

    I used a RAMPS 1.4 board (I think this is still the current version) on our 3D printer and have had no issues with it … the Pololu stepper drivers (A4988) have worked well … but definitely get hot driving the NEMA 17 motors we use … heat sinks are an absolute must. I did not purchase any initially and ended up gluing small screws on as the heat sinks. If you have to get the stepper drivers as well and there is a matching stepper driver that can handle more current I would upgrade if I were doing it again. Having said that the ones I used have worked fine since being installed.

    We got most of our electronics at and everything purchased there has worked well (5 stepper drivers were $50.00 and the Ramps board was $40) … no idea how it compares to Hobby King for quality though. We got some of our parts from smaller distributors … notably the first heated bed we used … and it was a dud. The bed was not manufactured properly and did not have the correct resistance. I burned out the printer’s original power supply because of this bed … not very amusing. I am now very cautious of new (and smaller) suppliers.

    The other items you may want to check as you change the board are the hot end and heated bed (if it has one) thermistors. I think you want to make sure the existing thermistor is a 100k thermistor unit (this seems to be the standard) and has been calibrated for the firmware you end up using … otherwise you will end up doing this yourself. I am guessing the thermistor in the unit already is 100k, and this will not be an issue.

  • I am starting to change my mind. This might be a good opportunity for us to learn a decent and more current CNC controller. We can hopefully reuse our knowledge when we are building the CNC router, or even a laser cutter in future. I am very tempted to get the smoothieboard instead. Here is a pretty good review of the board:

    Another option that we did not discuss would be the beagle bone. What do you think about the beagle bone platform?

  • Linux


    I did a little reading this morning … there are some people who have gone the route:
    Beagle-Bone Black -> Ramps -> 3d Printer (link)

    This in itself would be a huge improvement over the typical Arduino->Ramps->3D printer setup … the 3D Printer would be a ‘real’ computer and easily integrated on the internet.

    Of more interest (as you are suggesting) would be:
    Beagle bone Black-> smoothie board->3d printer (link)

    This seems more generic for future development … a little more risky as there are many unknowns (is not a lot out there about the smoothie board).

    I really like this idea because down the road you could get away from ‘C’ sketches (thinking Arduino here) and look at Python (for flexibility) as a programming language.

    Although the BBB is very attractive does it make more sense to consider using a Raspberry Pi instead of a BBB? The simple reason being the user community.

    I think this is a great idea but definitely more work than just slapping in a RAMPS board. More learning though which is a good thing!

  • Their documentation for building a 3D printer looks pretty in depth and well written. The firmware looks to be under healthy development as well. So far I have not found any red flags. I may order one soon.

  • I ordered a smoothie (x5) a couple days ago, with the intention of trying it out in my MendelMax 3 printer.

    I think you’ll need bigger drivers for the CNC project.

    I have some NEMA-23 425 oz-on steppers (2.8A, bipolar) and a Gecko G540 driver that I can indefinitely loan to the project (I say loan just to cover the case that if the project gets scrapped, I’d like to either get them back or put towards another project).

    I probably have some spare power supplies around as well.

    With the G540’s, you could also skip the smoothie and use a regular PC with a parallel port.

  • Guess what I got in the mail today?


    I know what I am doing this long weekend! Along with the other 100 things on my todo list ;)

    My goal is to put this together and do a test print this weekend.

  • Linux

    Did it work?

  • Took me so much longer than I expected to get back to this. I got the printer moving but still need to configure physical limits and find the right current limit. Also I need to connect and test the extruder. So far so good.

  • I made some progress on the printer. Here is a video of the most recent print on it using PLA:

    Yesterday managed to jam some filament in the extruder as soon as I switched from ABS to PLA. It happened because the extruder fan was not working and it got so hot that portion of filament above the hot area melted and was pushed sideways in the small space between the cold and hot part of the extruder.


    I put the extruder back together and got the fan working. I tried printing with PLA. As you can see in the video there are still some issues with the print. I need to tweak some of the settings, there seems to be gaps where filament breaks up. I already reduced the speed to 50% since the UP! does not seem to be designed for the high speed that smoothie wants to run the motors.

    Here are the settings I used in cura for that print. Let me know what I should try to change.

    I am pretty excited to fine tune this printer! Once its working better, I am planning to print some of the parts @dhylands has designed for the ball dropper.

  • @dhylands gave me some advice how to improve the settings. It is printing much better now, but there is some warping happening after it lays down a few layers:


  • @arasbm I do the following on my Bukito:

    1 - I run the first layer with the cooling fan off, and turn it on full speed after that. In Cura, in the advanced tab, I have Enable Cooling fan checked, and if you click on the … then I have Full Fan on at height: 0.5mm, Fan Speed Min: 100%, Fan Speed Max: 100%, and minimum Speed: 10 mm/sec, with Cool Lift Head unchecked.

    2 - I run the first layer a bit hotter (about 210) and then turn the temp down to about 190 for the rest. Your temps may be different depending on the hotend.

    3 - In the advanced tab on Cura, you can customize the initial layer thickness and line width. I have them set to 0.2mm and 100%, but you might want to try 0.3mm and 150%. This often helps to get a good first layer stick.

    You may need the head a wee bit closer to get a bit more squish on the first layer, but try the things above to see how they help.

    My Cura settings are here:

    but you probably shouldn’t use the Starting GCode directly. It was setup for the firmware that came with the Bukito. I use a plugin “Tweak at Z 4.0.1” to change the temperature after the first layer.

  • @dhylands thanks for all the help so far, this is starting to make a lot more sense! :smile:

    This last print finished without any significant issues. There are some imperfections on the bottom and top surface, but overall it turn out a pretty solid piece. I think next I will try to print the Geneva drive gears.


  • Linux

    One thing that really helped with warping (particularly on large pieces) was adding a heated bed plate. I have not tried ABS though, have you had any luck with it yet?

  • @Chris the heated bed has the same issue as the extruder had. The thermistor is proprietary and unknown. It does not interface with smoothieboard. The solution would be to replace the thermistor with a standard one. I already have some, just need the time to open the bed up and connect the new thermistor.

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    Although I am a bit new to 3d printing, I would say the printer’s main source of headache is it’s printing head. I am not able to identify it, but it isn’t a stock OneUP head, I believe. Well, extruder is definitely not a stock one. It works, but it’s so hard to obtain good results with it!
    It is of a direct extrusion type. Meaning that the stepper that pushes the filament into hot end is sitting directly on top of it. This makes printing head heavy (it visually vibrates on z-motion, if one wouldn’t say wobbles).
    How about we convert it to bowden type? For those of us who aren’t familiar with the word: bowden extruder have extruding motor fixed to the frame and use flexible tube to transfer the filament into the hotend. This makes printhead lighter (it has downsides as well, but I think they won’t be noticeable on this size of a printer).
    Here is a link to a compact bowden extruder:
    I am not claiming that it is a good one since – as I said before – I am a newbie to 3d printing. If you know a thingy that would work better – speak out. I like this particular one because it uses only two printed parts and a skateboard bearing.
    Here’s a link to a super-cheap China knock-off hot end:
    It’s $15 with shipping. Pretty impressive price for fully assembled hot end with thermistor, cooler and all. I am not claiming that it’s good, I am only listing options here.
    Let me know what you think.

  • @toxuin lets do it! Like you said that extruder has many issues and for a shared printer we need it to run smoothly and consistently.

    I think Chris build a bowden extruder a while ago, @Chris can you share a bit of your experience about that conversion, with us?

  • Linux

    I started with a geared extruder (a variation of the Wade’s Extruder) on my 3D printer. This worked well until it did not … the 3D printed components of the extruder assembly always seem to fail very quickly; gears not meshing well, warping of PLA parts due to too much heat … (From what I have read a lot of people have problems using extruders with 3D printed parts.) I found I was constantly printing replacements or (worse) did not have the replacement part on hand to keep the printer working.

    I decided to go to a direct drive assembly that I (again) 3D printed. This setup shows a lot of promise but what seems to be happening is the drive slips when print speed increases; the first layers printed well, but infill layers were not filling in properly. Sadly, I do not think the stepper on my extruder drive is powerful enough for direct drive, and the filament clamping mechanism is poor.

    I thought about a bowden setup but did not go that route. I also thought about using two extruders working together (a ‘bowden’ extruder close to the filament spool and an extruder mounted on the print carriage working together) as I figure it is the additional ‘drag’ from feeding the spool that is a big part of the problem. This seemed expensive and complicated.

    So I settled on an expensive (and I hope) simple solution. I ordered the all-metal extruder drive from Micron 3DP; a direct drive extruder with a geared stepper motor. I have not installed this drive yet (just got it in the mail) but it looks like it will do the job and then some. I believe this will solve my feed problems.

    The print head has definitely been my main source of problems … my hope is that by going to a ‘manufactured’ extruder drive I will resolve a number of issues. I have no feelings for or against a Bowden drive. One thought if you go with the link above is get someone with a really good printer setup (like Dave?) to print it. I printed a similar clamping mechanism for my direct drive setup and the PLA parts did not handle the clamping force well.

    I’ll post pictures if/when I get my new extruder set up.

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    So I got a hotend (E3D allmetall v6 copy) in the mail on friday. If we want to try it on the makerspace printer – we would need to figure out a way to mount it. It has standard groovemount, like seen in . If it would perform well – I don’t mind donating it to the space.

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