Lube Rods And Adjust Stepper Driver Trimpots

Overheating the Stepper Driver

MakerBot 000001 experienced an issue during fabrication where sometimes the X-axis stepper motor would fail to fully complete a motion, causing the print head to be displaced, ruining fabrication. It turned out that this problem was caused by the stepper driver chip overheating.

Jas diagnosed this failure by (first grounding herself by touching the metal power supply and then) touching the back of the driver chip on the stepper controller board. The chip was noticeably hot to touch during operation.

We resolved this issue in two ways:

  • First, we adjusted the drive strength of the stepper driver by adjusting the potentiometer on the stepper driver board. It turned out that we had the drive strength set too high, causing the overheating.

NOTE from Bre: I found that the optimal position for my trimpot is just past the center of it's travel. So if you find the middle and call that 12 o'clock, go to between 1 and 2 o'clock and start there.

  • Second, we lubricated the rods of the MakerBot with a dry silicone grease, to reduce the amount of work done by the stepper motors.

NOTE from Bre: Lubrication is one of the main causes of frustration. You can also use 3 in 1 oil. Be warned that if you travel with your MakerBot in the USA, the TSA will take your bottle of 3 in 1 oil. Luckily it is available at most drug stores.

This completely resolved this issue for our MakerBot.

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