How Do I Get My 3d Printer Fixed?

A friend of mine finally decided to purchase a 3d printer. He didn’t go cheap. He wanted quality. He picked up a Prusa I3 Mk3 printer kit. From his research, it looked like a great printer with a large print volume and stellar reviews. I helped him assemble it. It took us 10 hours to assemble it. When we turned it on, we were greeted with a satisfying, happy control screen! We had done it! Next came print bed leveling, and we utterly failed here. We had no clue what we were doing. We needed help.

Flexion Single Extruder Kit

3d printers are complex machines that can require servicing and repair. If you do not have the skills, knowledge or tools, then using a paid repair service may be the best option. The services are generally very well versed in the issues and know how to fix what they find. They are fast and many of the services allow you to ship them the printer to repair, and then ship it back after repair.

The Prusa I3 Mk3 comes stock with an automatic bed leveling system. This was failing because we had not assembled the hot end correctly, and it hung too low below the housing. We didn’t know that. 

First, Try Manufacturer Support

Depending on the printer that you purchase, you may find that the manufacturer’s website may have troubleshooting tips. With Prusa, we contacted their chat support, and within a few minutes, we were chatting with a gentleman from the company. We went through some testing with him, and he asked us to take some photos with our phone and upload them to him.

The photos showed the problem. He could see that we had incorrectly assembled the machine. He showed us where in the instruction book what steps to redo, and we could repair the faulty assembly and get on our way. We profusely thanked him for his help, but after the long assembly and the stress of it all, we felt that we could use some help.

3d Printer Repair Services

There aren’t that many 3d repair services out there. I think the reason is that 3d printing is relatively new, and there isn’t a demand for them yet. I don’t think (but haven’t verified) that you can take your 3d printer to Best Buy’s Geek Squad for some help. Maybe you can, but having been a technician for them many years back, I know that they’re not cheap and likely they’ll ship it out for repair rather than fix it themselves. 

We decided to search for a repair service. We’re in the Southwest of the United States, and the first service on our Google.Com search was LA 3d Printer Repair. Surprisingly enough, they’re based in Los Angeles, California. We gave them a call, and the gentleman that answered the call (one of the owners of the service) helped us out. He was extremely helpful. He walked us through the troubleshooting, and agreed with the Prusa chat representative, that we had assembled it incorrectly. 

He was willing to stay on the call and walk us through the disassembly, fix and reassembly if we wanted, all for no charge. That was fantastic, and if we weren’t exhausted, we would have taken him up on it. Instead, we convinced him that we would like to send it in for repair. He agreed, and charged a flat fee to repair it, check to ensure that it functioned correctly (so we didn’t get it back and find another thing wrong), and upgrade it to the Prusa I3 Mk3S standard. It was more money, but we felt it was a good option.

Off the printer went to Los Angeles, and two weeks later, it arrived back, very well packaged. My buddy hasn’t looked back. He ran the auto bed leveling, and started his first print. He’s printed over 30 models since, and all have succeeded. We raised a toast to the LA 3d Printer Repair guys for their excellent service!

There are other 3d printer repair services across the world. In the US, another recommended service is in North Dakota. Check out these guys for similar service on your 3d printer:

Can You Repair Your 3d Printer Yourself?

You can absolutely fix many of the problems that you experience with 3d printers yourself. They’re really not that complicated, from the mechanical point of view. Electronically (or code-wise) they’re much more complicated. But to fix moving parts that aren’t moving or not moving correctly, you can certainly do it yourself.

Take a look at IFixIt 3d Printer Repair Guides and Tools: They have a limited number of printers that they cover, but they cover most “types” of printer. The concepts are likely the same, though, so could be useful, even if you own a printer that isn’t in their list. Find something close and see if what they’re suggesting could work for your printer.

I have an M3D Micro, which is one of the guides that IFixIt does cover. It has both a disassembly guide and several replacement guides. Each of the guides is both well written and illustrated. I found it clear in the instructions that I followed (to replace the small cooling fan).

They also offer a range of specialty precision tools that can come in handy for not only your current repair, but any moving forward. I picked up their Apple-specific Torx drivers a while back for repairing a MacBook, and was impressed by the quality. Most 3d printers, though, come with at least the necessary hex keys necessary to disassemble and work on the printer. That’s the norm now, but I got no tools when I originally purchased the M3D Micro. Still, likely a good set of hex keys and small needle-nosed pliers and some small screw drivers will be enough.

YouTube.Com – Your Source For Every Repair

I contend that there is nothing you can’t learn on YouTube.Com. Someone has done what you want to do before you do and has likely filmed it or at least filmed talking about it. That’s certainly true for repairs of 3d printers and fixing issues that come up with 3d printing.

Simply search for what you need, either on Google.Com or YouTube.Com. I am a visual learner, so this helps me dramatically. I learned how to replace the Bowden tube, the hot end extruder nozzle and the hot end insulation on my Ender 3 this way. I had no idea how to do any of that before I watched several videos. Armed with that knowledge, the process was far simpler.

It’s easy to get sucked into watching yet another YouTube video, though. Remember, you’re a maker and a doer. Get the information that you need and go get it done! 

Related Questions

How do I stop my 3d printer from moving?

Your printer shouldn’t be moving around when you print. If you’re using a DLP resin printer, the only moving part goes up and down, and very slowly. For an FDM filament printer, if you are printing too fast, the print head on the X-Y plane flies around and can jerk the printer with the inertia of the movement. Don’t print so fast. Slow down the print speed (in mm per second) and your printer should stop moving and your quality will go up.

Why does my 3d print shift?

The most likely explanation for a shift in an FDM filament printer job is due to one of the cables getting caught during printing. If this happens, the printer’s extruder or its bed are not where the printer thinks they are. The printer will continue to print, but now the print is printing offset from the lower layers. To fix this, ensure that the cables are tied so that they cannot get caught or snagged. Many printers have 3d printed add-ons that you can use to guide the cables to ensure that they do not get caught. Search Thingiverse.Com for these items.

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