Common problems, simple solutions

#1

I noticed that here on the forum and on the Discord server people are experiencing more or less the same issues. Most of them are very easy to fix so before asking have a look at the following Q&A.

Please note that 3d printing is a very delicate process, you may think that some factors are too small to be actually relevant, but the distance between failure and success is very narrow and every small detail counts!

Let’s start from the fundamentals. The following are critical aspects! They must be met!

#1 Temperature

The MINIMUM temperature you can print is 20°C. I start getting serious failures at 18°C. If you want decent result you need a temperature of at least 25°C for standard resins and 28-30°C for Hi-temp.

There’s no way around it. Buy a heater.

#2 Clean vat and resin

The vat needs to be clean and free of debris. Check your vat before every print. If resin sits for a few days on the vat you probably need to remove the resin and clean the vat accurately.

It’s not unusual to get small debris on the vat after each print. Check thoroughly, filter the resin through stocking if necessary.

#3 Stir the resin

Before every use, mix and stir and shake your resin. This is mandatory. Don’t be lazy.

#4 Calibrate the printer

A well calibrated printer, is a happy printer. Follow the “Leveling and Calibration” articles on the wiki. It’s a tedious work, but it has to be done only once.

On the other hand, it is important to not overdo it! Don’t get paranoid about absolute precision and above all don’t mess too much with the galvo drivers. Just be sure the build plate is leveled.

#5 Check the Z axis end stop

Before even thinking of printing, check the z axis end stop sensor! It is a little piece at the top of the Z Axis. It must not be bent or damaged in any way and it must be correctly connected to the main board.

Do yourself a favor and double check it.

#6 Check the SD Card

The moai is very temperamental when it comes to SD Cards. Not all SD Cards will work, be sure to get high quality branded SD Cards. Don’t take huge size SD, 4-8gigs is better. It doesn’t need to be ultra-fast.

If it doesn’t work, try with another make/model.

Peopoly had some issues with the SD card reader. I believe now they are fine, but if no card seems to be working you probably have a defective card reader. If you are skilled with the soldering iron you can try to fix it by re-soldering all the contacts on the main connector on the card reader board, otherwise contact Peopoly support.


Now some common issues/questions.


Print stops midway
or Laser is incredibly slow
or Tilt action is incredibly slow
or Z motor is incredibly slow
or Moai prints something that is not on the SD anymore
or Moai starts printing a different model midway
or The laser doesn’t seem to fire at all

This is the most common issue ever. Just format the SD Card with an appropriate tool.

If you are on Linux or Mac, remember that the file needs to be in DOS format. You need to convert because Cura exports with linux line endings.

Also check #6 above. You may have a defective card reader.

The Moai printed fine the same model the first time, but not the second.

Turn it off and then on again. After every print. Not a joke.

Supports fail, item doesn’t stick to the build plate

  1. Temperature is too low. See #1 above.
  2. Level the buildplate. See #4 above.

4 Bad surface texture

Possible causes (or any combination of them)

  • Temperature is too low
  • Check the laser power, maybe it’s too low
  • Resin was not shaken/stirred before printing
  • Dirt/debris on the vat/resin

Wavy texture, inconsistent layers, repeated shifts every n layers

Check interference near the moai. Put the printer far away from other electrical appliances. This is actually very important!

If you have one try to place the heater in another spot/position. If you have a self built heater, put the power supply outside of the printer. All that may sound silly, but some the wavy texture disappear by simply turning the heater around.

I hear a clank sound at every new layer

Your model is probably creating some suction. It’s not usually a problem in the sense that it should not damage the moai, but you probably need to orientate the object differently. If it is hollow you need to place better or bigger drain holes.

Object falls off the support structure

This is very common, especially with the fep VAT.

For better results use fewer but thicker supports. It is crucial that you raise the tip penetration inside the model. If you use Chitu it is called “contact depth”, if you use B9Creator it is “penetration”, other software may have different names for it. The default is not usually enough. As a rule of thumbs it should be at least half the tip size. If the tip size is 1mm, make the penetration 0.5mm. 1.2mm contact diameter? 0.6mm contact depth!

Inconsistent layers
or the object looks like melted down in some spots

This is most likely caused by a bad support structure. You probably need bigger supports or to re-orient your object.

The Moai fails to update the firmware

Use the SD Card that comes with the Moai. If you don’t have it anymore, try a different card.

The Moai takes forever to boot

Remember to remove the firmware from the SD Card once you’ve made the upgrade.

The Moai screen doesn’t turn on

Check #6 above, you may have a defective card reader.

All seems to be working but the screen doesn’t turn on.

If you get the printer as a kit and you built it yourself, be sure to remove the protective film from the LCD display. It is very common to oversee that.

If that doesn’t work it could be a problem with the SD card (see #6 above).

Print seems undercured or “out-of-focus”

The galvo has a protective sheet of acrylic that protects the mirrors from accidental resin dropping. Both sides of that transparent acrylic has a protective film that needs to be peeled.


If you have others please let me know and I will add them to the list.

Happy printing!

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#2

v1.0.1 Added a note about issues with the card reader (thanks to @glassTransition).

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#3

For the self-builders: if the screen does not appear to turn on during the first power up, check to make sure the protective plastic was removed before installing the acrylic shell.

Same for the protective plate over the galvo. If prints seem underexposed or ‘out-of-focus’, check to be sure you removed the protective film from both sides of the plate.

These seem so simple, but they have been surprisingly common issues in the past (and not-so past).

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#4

v1.0.2 added notes suggested by @Paradoxical_Cat

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#5

If printer starts printing random films of semi-cured material on parts, check galvo mirrors for a spot, then follow 3DHubs guide to clean galvos for potential solution.
https://www.3dhubs.com/talk/uploads/db5060/original/3X/c/c/cc874e1402af80e805b0fc2728dc1508a990a4e8.pdf

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