Misadjusted Idler Wheel Tension

It's easy to get the tension in the Idler Wheel wrong. If the Idler Wheel is too loose, the drive pulley won't grab and push the filament.

We had difficulty with our Idler Wheel tension because we tried to adjust the tension after fully assembling our Plastruder, with the Plastruder electronics in place. It turns out that it's hard to get a wrench in the right place if the Plastruder is fully assembled. Instead, it was useful to adjust the Idler Wheel tension with the Plastruder on a benchtop, with the electronics off to the side.

Initially, our team was concerned that making the Idler Wheel too tight might be problematic. We found that we were able to fix the Idler Wheel at its closes position to the drive pulley, and everything worked great. The plastic filament was crushed between the pulley and idler wheel, but this turned out to be a good thing. The pulley applied good, constant pressure to the filament.

One word to the wise: do be careful when tightening down the nuts holding the Idler Wheel in place: acrylic cracks easily under pressure. Using washers to properly fill the space along the Idler Wheel bearing is crucial to having a snug fit without breaking the acrylic.

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