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Hydor + Big Al’s = Great Customer Service!

When setting up our aquarium a couple years ago, I purchased a Hydor 250 canister style filter. The filter has been fantastic, performing flawlessly, and completely silent in our living room.

During the evening a couple days ago, I noticed that it wasn’t moving any water. I promptly unplugged the filter, and shut off the valves to and from the tank. I had just cleaned the filters 3 or 4 weeks earlier, but cleaned everything again, including the impeller. I did notice that the blades spun freely of the magnetic cylinder, but I couldn’t remember if that was the way it was supposed to be, but nothing appeared broken or damaged otherwise.

I cranked up the aeration in tank, and went online and found the Hydor website, and filled out a contact form, and explained my situation. The company is based in Italy, so I wasn’t expecting a response for a couple days, so after work the next day I went to Big Al’s here in Edmonton, expecting to buy a new canister filter. While looking at all the different filters, a saleperson came over to assist, and I explained what happened. They checked their parts and found they had no stock of the impeller for my particular model, so asked if I could bring the filter in and take a look.

Bringing the filter back to the shop, they immediately confirmed that the problem was with the impeller – and no, it wasn’t supposed to spin freely. They applied some aquarium safe adhesive to cement the impeller blades back onto the magnetic cylinder, we tested the filter in the store. It’s moving water again!

After I got back home and reconnected the filter to the aquarium, I checked my mail, and had a reply back from Hydor, asking for a photo of the impeller. I told them that I was able to get things resolved at Big Al’s, and told them about the repair. The next day, I got another reply, and they told me they are sending me a new impeller, at no cost!

I was very pleased with the Hydor filter to begin with, very impressed with their prompt replies, and very surprised about them sending me a new impeller! Big kudo’s to Big Al’s and to Hydor for their excellent customer After this experience, I think that I might add a second filter to the aquarium, just to be on the safe side!

UPDATE:  January 5th, 2018
The new impeller arrived today!  Thank you Hydor!

Handy Tools!

I recently started a renovation on our upstairs bathroom, replacing the old shower, and converting an un-used sauna into a laundry room.  Removing the old shower tiles (2 layers of tiles!) was a big job, and there were also some floor tiles leading into the shower I needed to remove.

I did a bunch of online research, and decided to try out a Dremel Oscillating tool, that I purchased from Home Depot.  The kit came with a grout removal tool, and it worked great!  There was some subfloor that I needed to remove, and using the saw blades that were also included with the kit, I was able to make a perfectly flush cut, so the new subfloor would fit perfect!

The Dremel tool had a nice quick release/locking mechanism to make blade changes easy.  At the back of the handle, there’s a dial to adjust the speed.

Unfortunately, after having the tool for maybe 2 weeks, the on/off switch became extremely hard to switch on, and when I was finally able to move the switch, nothing.  It was dead.

Home Depot refunded my money with zero hassle, and unfortunately again, they had no stock of my second choice tool, a Dewalt.

I ordered the DEWALT Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit from Amazon, and I’m really impressed!

The Dewalt tool doesn’t use a sliding switch, instead it has large a variable speed trigger along the bottom of the handle. There’s a button lock to lock the trigger as well.

The quick release blade change system is even easier to use than the Dremel tool, and the Dewalt kit also included a universal adapter to allow other blades to be used. Only downside is that a hex wrench is needed to lock blades in place when using the adapter, but the wrench is included.

There’s an LED light to see into darker spots (would have been nice to have when doing some of the cuts I had made with the Dremel).

I large carrying bag, and a plastic accessory case is also included, along with a bunch of sanding pads and a quick release sanding pad holder.

I had been skeptical about these tools in the past, but after having one, I regret not getting one sooner. The ability to make very precise cuts, flush trimming, and being able to cut a variety of materials, really makes it an indispensable addition to your tool collection!

Timelapse Gecko Printjob

Repositioned the camera, but will need to make a new piece to get the camera rotated into landscape mode again.  This works much nicer for the timelapse, and can see the object rising from the print bed.  This clip is taking a shot every 10 seconds throughout the print (I think that was the default setting in OctoPrint).

My Gecko

Well, it’s been a while since my last post.  The Gecko printer arrived, and I had a lot of fun putting it together.  There were a couple spots that I had some challenges with, but the support received from the Gecko designer, Chay Chen, was outstanding – and I’ve had all sorts of fun printing some random objects, some upgrade components for the printer, and some useful objects too!

This is just temporary insulation and lighting – it works for now, and helps with the ABS print jobs!
One of the useful things I’ve printed so far – portafilter holders for my espresso machine!
Another useful print job – I designed this fan mount. The new fans make this printer much quieter!

I’ve made a few upgrades/mods:

  1. Replaced clone hotend/extrudere with genuine E3D Titan extruder, and E3DV6 hotend
  2. Added 2 80mm Noctura fans to replace the 40mm mainboard fan
  3. Lerdge dual extruder daughterboard
  4. Lerdge PC/USB module
  5. 5m of RGB LED light strip
  6. Logitech C270 web cam
  7. Raspberry Pi 3
  8. DS18B20 temperature sensor
  9. Power module

The printer made quite a noise when powered up due to the 40mm mainboard fan mounted behind a bunch of perforations in the front panel of the printer. I added the Noctura fans on the right side of the panel below the print bed – one blowing across the mainboard (I think this orientation is actually better for cooling the stepper drivers), and the other across the heatbed MOSFET (had no heating issues, but figured it can’t hurt!) I designed some custom fan holder/clips to attach them to the panel below the printing platform.

I’m currently using the dual extruder daughterboard to drive the RGB LED light strips.  The PC/USB module allows me to connect the printer to the Raspberry Pi, which is running OctoPi (a Raspberry Pi disk image pre-configured with OctoPrint software), and I’ve added the temperature probe (which required a little soldering – adding a resistor and connectors to plug into the GPIO pins on the Raspberry), and also the web cam, connected via USB.

With the OctoPrint software running a couple additional plugins (OctoPrint-Enclosure, and OctoPrint-Anywhere).  I added a DS18B20 temperature sensor to the Raspberry Pi, and using OctoPrint-Enclosure, display the ambient temperature in my printer. OctoPrint-Anywhere allows me to connect remotely from anywhere to see what the printer is up to, and I have an app on my iPhone that allows me to see the current print job status, and even initiate print jobs, or stop them if I see a problem.

The power module hasn’t been wired up yet.  I’m holding off since finding out that the Gecko designer has actually made a number of improvements to the printer design, and is sending out a substantial upgrade kit at no additional cost!  After I receive the upgrade kit, I plan on installing the module while installing the upgrade.  After that’s all done, I’m going to design an insulated enclosure for the printer.

This printer has been a lot of fun – and I’m truly amazed at the support from the East 3D and all of Chay Chen’s team there, and also the wealth of knowledge of other Gecko owners on the Facebook group – East 3D Gecko 3D Printers CoreXY. For anyone interested in getting this great printer, you can order it on Aliexpress.

Now I have to ramp up my CAD skills!  Have been using a Google’s SketchUp so far, and dabbling with Autodesk Fusion 360.  I think I’m going to take a course soon – never too old to stop learning! ๐Ÿ˜€

 

3D Printing Anticipation

I decided that I wanted to get into 3D printing a few weeks ago, and began researching.  There’s quite a range in prices, starting from a couple hundred dollars, and up into the thousands.  I’m a little on the frugal side of things – not cheap necessarily, but interested in value.

Initially I was looking at the Prusa I3 clones, and then into enclosed models like the Creator Pro and Qidi.  I ended up deciding that I wanted a cube style printer – a core XY.  To me, they just seem like they would be the most stable platform.  There are few plans out there, but it seemed like a pretty complex task to source all of the materials necessary to build a printer, so I started looking at kits.  

As luck would have it, I happened across the East 3D Gecko.  This kit is very new – and there have been a couple hiccups dealing with the build instructions, and some minor Q/A issues.  However, the designer/seller of the kit (and his team) have been very proactive in getting issues addressed, and they are updating the kit as things get resolved.  I also found out there’s at least one other person in the city here that has one!  The East 3D Gecko Facebook group provides support – both by members, and the actual designer of the printer, Chay Chen.  Chay has also designed a number of successful Tevo printers as well.

The printer uses a 32-bit Lerdge control board, and has a 310 x 300 x 300mm build volume, and has a fixed build platform – which in my mind, would reduce levelling issues.  There isn’t a lot of info out about the Lerdge board, but hopefully it works out well!  Apparently there’s no parts fan with the kit, but this may have just been the initial test kits that this was missing – but results have been pretty impressive without it.  I did order a couple  inexpensive blower fans, but turns out they might be too big. I’ll know soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

While I wait for my printer kit to arrive, I’ve been busy reclaiming my office space  – it became over-run in the past few years, turning it into an unorganized storage room – so my biggest challenge has been getting rid of stuff.  

Looking forward to the challenge in putting this kit together!