Stepper Motor Rated Hours? Loud clicking noise after about 40 minutes of printing.
My printer has 1100 hours of print time currently. I recently encountered this problem. I can print for about 40 minutes and then the print goes to crap, loud clicking noise from the extruder stepper at this point. I tore the hot end down looking for blockages but did not really find anything that didnt wipe off with the hot end heated up.
Is the stepper dieing?
Clicking is normally related to the filament. Either the gear is digging into the filament (chew marks) or the gear is slipping due to loose grub screws. I don't know of any stepper failure mode that would cause clicking. Usually they die by the bearings going bad.
I do believe its the stepper clicking itself. It gradually gets hotter as it prints and the sound gets louder as the stepper gets hotter. The stepper gets pretty hot almost too hot to touch. I need to put everything back together at the moment. I had previously checked gear alignment and gear tension before ripping apart the hotend.
Mainly reaching out as i want to buy a few things from the shop and if the extruder stepper dieing is a common issue i was going to pick up one of those aswell.
Open question: Has anyone on this forum ever experienced an extruder stepper motor (not cable or connections) failing?
Those things seem pretty reliable to me, and the major axis (axes?) have more work to do.
Never had a good stepper itself go bad as yet. But its also possible that the stepper is a bad one from the start.
As to the OP problem, stepper motors can run hot, mine also get hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch. Clicking is usually caused when the bond tech gears 'skip' on the filament. Heat creeps from the motor to the drive shaft and heats the gear up. That then causes the filament to prematurely soften and so it cant grip the filament properly. This causes a click and also under extrusion and in worse cases a clog at the ptfe tube itself. It also causes filament dust/shavings which needs to be cleaned out. One thing to look for. You can fit either a heatsink to the exterior of the stepper or an active cooling fan to reduce the heat the stepper makes. Theres several designs on thingiverse iirc.
Also check the grub screw on the bondtech gear isnt sticking out slightly and hitting the other gear on every rotation, thats a common one too but your issue does sound like a hot stepper transferring heat to the filament issue as it happens over time rather than all the time.
This makes a lot of sense, i hadn't thought of the stepper transfering heat like that. This should give me a good place to start trouble shooting. Thanks! this response will save me a lot of time!
I want to respond back on this for record.
Looks like the issue was some speed settings being cranked and over working the extruder stepper. None were adjusted any further than the software would allow but bringing some speeds down seems to have fixed the issue. User Error mostly it looks like.
Thank you for the responses everyone.
I responded too quicky, looks like the print is going to finish but at about the hour mark it had the same problem. looks like it only was an issue at the end of my first layer, now that the printer is running faster its getting more airflow over the stepper and is printing fine?
I ordered some 40mm heatsinks, not sure what else to do. More googling shows this is a very common problem and possibly after a firmware update this year? Can anyone confirm current or voltage adjustments in firmware? Can i manually go edit that back to whatever it was a year ago?
Not without editing the firmware and recompiling it to make your own custom version.
Another possible cause of the clicking is a clog or partial clog. The extruder stepper is trying to push filament through the hot end and it won't go through. The stepper motor only has a limited amount of torque and it skips a step when there is too much resistance. Try cleaning your nozzle or increasing the temperature a few degrees to make the filament flow easier.
I had completey disassembled the hot end thinking the same based on some research, really nothing in there, took the the opportunity to replace the nozzle at the same time. Still has an issue. Have 3 40mm heat sinks on now, will keep testing.
i want to follow up
with (3) 40mm heat sinks adhered with zipties and thermal pads across the left, top, and right side of the extruder stepper motor. I am no longer experiencing extrusion issues when printing large first layers. The issue, i believe, was a "hot" extruder stepper transferring heat to the filament through the drive shaft. This caused the filament to heat up and soften allowing it to buckle slightly at the gears.
I do believe the issue became present in one of the recent firmware update, as i have printed items this large in the past without issue. I admit i could be wrong and it may be an aging stepper, but i do not know how to test for this. just my thoughts.
If you are experiencing the same issue you can buy a (4) pack of 40mm aluminum heatsinks off amazon for as little as 10$
I hope this helps anyone who finds this thread.
I would be interested in a pic or details about how you attached the heat sinks. I purchased some off of Amazon, but the thermo tape isn't really sticking well enough.
Here you go, zip tied it on. Was pointed out the side sinks should be vertical in orientation but seems to be fine this way anyway.
When I had similar heatsinks on mine I just used elastic bands to give a bit of extra hold. That way you can remove and reuse them easily but cable ties are better for a more permanent setup.
Of course now Ive printed off and built one of the geared extruder mods the motor cant transfer heat to the filament any more so the heatsinks are in my spares box.
really i would be intrested in a developer response as to why i have to do this. I'm back in buisness but what a freaking hassle. why are we pushing more power to the extruder now? im not talented enough, or willing to put in the time to find the settings in firmware. so i could be very off base. please developers respond!!!
I'm not familiar with those mods. Could you point me in the right direction?
Basically either a bnbsx (bunny and bear short ears) or a skelestruder mod. Just do a search on thingiverse. Both are pretty extensive and are full extruder rebuilds that require a few new parts but it was a fun project to build. I basically collected and printed the parts over a 6 month period and then waited until I needed to do a full maintenance tear down for bearings etc anyway and just rebuilt it as a geared extruder. Re wired with connectors on all the extruder cables at the same time to make rebuilds in the future easier too.