Progress continues slowly on my 3d printer. While waiting for the increasingly erratic Chinese postal system, I set about getting the extruder and hot-end working.
The hot-end is responsible for turning the plastic filament into a model, by melting it and squeezing it out of a tiny hole. The filament looks a bit like white spaghetti, or like the cutting cord used in line-trimmers in the garden.
The extruder grabs the filament and pushes it down a tube to the hot-end. The hot-end has a large block of metal with a heater and temperature sensor built into it; these work in concert to keep the metal block at a constant temperature, about 180Â°C for melting the PLA plastic that I have.
So I sent about making sure it was all going to work. First test was to ensure that the temperature sensor worked correctly. The hot-end I'd purchased had a thermistor built into it, which is a type of resister that changes its value as its temperature rises and falls. I did some tests ...