The X5SA Learning Curve

So I have been really working my printer to death, and have had some very good results, along with a couple of issues I thought I would share. Just in case they are relevant to others.
The two events I had were both identical at first glance.
First issue was a lack of adhesion to the build plate. I normally use meths to clean the build plate after each print. I had just switched to PLA+ and wondered if there was a residue left by that which could not be removed by meths… so I tried alcohol, and acetone before I found out that Cura had for some reason changed the print cooling method from calculated to set. Therefore instead of allowing the first few layers to cool naturally and adhere to the build plate, the filament was being cooled instantly, therefore no adhesion.

Then I had an issue which was exactly the same visually. I checked the Cura settings, and they were correct. But I had started printing with PETg. so I wondered if there was an adhesion issue because of that. I tried all the cleaning methods outlined above on the build plate. I then tried blue painters tape… I tried hairspray, I tried blue painters tape AND hairspray… all to no avail. Then I heard the a slight click from the extruder. On investigation, it appeared that the Capricorn tube had deformed at the hotend. So I solved that and found that in both cases, the lack of adhesion to the build plate had absolutely nothing to do with the build plate. I have, however ordered a new direct drive high temperature print head kit. As it is direct drive, I am hoping to remove the potential for the Capricorn tube error in future, and as I want to try printing with some of the more exotic filaments, it seemed a good time to upgrade.

When I have an adhesion problem my first thing to do is to add a skirt in the slicer and then stop the print after one layer of the skirt. I then pull up the skirt and measure it’s thickness and look at it under a magnifier to see that it is not only the proper layer thickness but that it is also being compressed between the nozzle and the build plate.

if it’s not the correct layer height then bed calibration or Z axis offsets need to be implemented. Only after that’s been validated so I look at the school glue I use on my glass build plate.

The first event caught me out, because I had changed filament from PLA to PLA+ and that skewed my approach. I did try to add a skirt, but that would not adhere enough for me to be able to view a sample.

The second event skewed me, because I had changed from PLA+ to PETg so I had different temperatures, and filaments to consider…

But as far as magnifiers go, I do use this which is ever so cheap and nasty, but for a couple of pounds is actually worth the money. The screen resolution is better than expected, and it is easy to use… Just the stand is a bit flexible and causes focus issues on the higher magnifications…

if you can’t even get the skirt to stick slow the speed down and get a magnifying glass and look at the nozzle as it’s printing the skirt. If you need to, print a large test object to being the nozzle closer to the front where you can more easily see the nozzle, plastic, bed interface.

Sounds like a bed to nozzle calibration issue to me but sometimes it is just getting that first layer to stick. I use the Elmers School Glue( NOT the repositionable version). My deltas have glass build plates so they must be calibrated well and I have the extrusion for the first layer boosted to get extra squishing into the glass/glue.

The first was the fact that Cura had decided to change the cooling fan settings, the second was because of the Capricorn tube deforming at the hot end…

Although I like the sound of extra extrusion on the first layer … I shall have a look at the settings in Cura to achieve that when the next print is finished … It will take a few days for this print to complete, as the total print time is 56 hours :scream:

And This is where we get to the show and tell part of this ‘blog’. In the past I used to build RC Model aircraft, unfortunately flying model aircraft is far more difficult than flying the real thing… You are missing a lot of the sensory input that the real plane gives you. I do believe this was proved by experiments in the 1950s using pilots and a local anaesthetic… Anyhow, of the planes I have built, I have flown one of them, ONCE. I found the experience just too stressful to enjoy, it should be a pleasure watching something you have spent 1 or two years building take to the skies. But my problem was the fear of watching something you have taken 1 or two years building come crashing to the ground. But I enjoyed the build process, and trying to recreate the smallest details. So what could I do?
Well, it struck me that the number of battleships (either scale models or the real thing) that have come crashing out of the sky is very few. Therefore I can satisfy my enjoyment of creating a scale model and have the knowledge that I can actually use the model I have created, in the manner that was intended, without the crushing fear that it will crash land. For this purpose I have chosen to build an RC Model Ship, HMS Hood. This will be an incredible model to build and it will also take me to a new level of model making. In the past I have built model aircraft using balsa kits. In this new model making venture, I shall be making the core components using my 3d printer, then cladding those components using conventional modelling materials and techniques. The beauty of ship models is that I can go to town with effects, without the same weight limitations I had when building planes.

HMS Hood will be a 1:150 scale model, and will be approximately 1745mm in length, with a beam of 208mm. I have found a CAD model of The Mighty Hood, but it is a model designed for a static model. So I have scaled it in Solidworks, and started to add the servo mounts and battery compartments in the hull sections. Then I shall section the components and start printing them over the next few weeks, before jointing them together and applying a glass fibre skin and then returning to the more conventional aspects of model making. I expect the whole process to be at least 18 months, and will require me to use the printer for cosmetic as well as structural components. I will also be using Arduino to control lighting and sound effects, as well as smoke and steam effects. I will be posting here with build images, and then finally the completed model. I am working from the cad model show here, but having to modify it significantly to convert it from a static to a floating model.


Looking forward to seeing your progress over the next 18 months or so. And don’t forget that your 3D printer slicer will give you the amount of plastic used to make the parts so you should be able to get a good estimation of the weight of things added to the ship since this will be a floating model.

As far as the airplane thing goes, I went through the process of learning to fly model RC airplanes and even after realizing I should first fly a bouncy( vs crunchy ) airplane made of EPP foam which is crushable and resilient to impacts. Unlike balsa and Styrofoam materials. I then tried to fly my ‘bouncy’ airplane and found I was going off to pick it up too much( I wanted to get into gliders first ). So then I found a simulator(CRRCSim) got a microcontroller to work between the PC and RC controller and practiced flying on the simulator.
My next actual flight on the cliff was far more enjoyable and lasted much longer. Only after that did I migrate to craft made of balsa.

My next RC hobby craft I’ve wanted to build and operate has been an RC solid sail sailboat. But I’ve held that dream for 20 years now and have nothing to show so far but I do now have tools like a small CNC, laser cutter and 3D printer so nothing but my drive is holding me back.

Can’t wait to watch your progress with The Hood.


I learned to fly a microlight (in the US, I think they are referred to as ultralights), in fact I had my.PPL before I ever set foot on a commercial flight. So I thought that to fly a model would be easy …I got that wrong :thinking:

But I did enjoy the building far more than the flying of the models anyway.

The only doubts I have about the final model weight is the weight of the fibreglass/servos/lighting/servos and other toys I want to play with. Although I can make simple placeholder models of some of these and specify a unit weight. This will give me a rough idea of the total weight. I will also draw the decking so I can laser cut that myself, so it really is my own work. Using the evaluation tools in SOLIDWORKS, I can even get an idea of balance as well as weight. The Evaluation tools are something I have not played with yet, so it will be a good experience to find out just what they can do…

But that coupled with my upcoming workload in the next few months will ensure I have plenty to keep me occupied :+1::grin:


For reference, HMS Hood was the largest military ship in the world for 20 years:

My grandfather had a model of her that I was not! allowed to play with.

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And another bit of trivia, especially pertinent if you are a Dr Who fan, Jon Pertwee (3rd Doctor) Served on HMS Hood, and avoided the final battle only because he has been transferred back to base for officer training!!!

So as well as being a legend in her own lifetime, a propaganda supremo, she also predated the TARDIS by 20 years (as being Dr Who’s mode of transport)…

Fortunately l have no grandchildren yet, and as my son is 23, he will be allowed to take her for a little spin… But carefully and under strict supervision :rofl:


Just don’t put the electrical system battery packs in the area of the aft magazine!

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Most of my own flying has been on instrument flight plans. I love flying in instrument conditions, and unusual attitude recovery at night “under the hood” (restricted vision) was absolutely my favorite part of my primary flight training. I’ve survived two primary instrument failures; the fun one was my attitude indicator on a moonless night with zero horizon reference while working with a busy departure who were vectoring me while giving me a re-route. I feel like I’ve been a reasonably competent pilot.

I am terrified of flying anything RC. I bought a very cheap RC helicopter and gingerly flew it around the living room until I broke it. I have great respect for folks who can fly a plane remotely while looking at it from the outside.

An RC boat seems way more relaxing. :smiling_face:

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Most of the fast drone pilots(hobbyists) fly with FPV(First Person View) while most RC airplane and helicopter pilots fly LOS(Line of Sight). FPV feels natural with the controls(minus all feedback sensation of the real thing) but LOS requires your brain be trained to do opposite things when the craft is now facing you.

This is the main reason why I needed CRRCSim since I was only flying a wing with mixed elevator/aileron so no tail controls to deal with and just one stick. It was a glider so no throttle either. Once your brain is trained though, it’s an automatic thing and your body just knows what to do. The in-between time is interesting because you will keep questioning yourself and periodically do it wrong and off your plane goes in the wrong direction and recovery is less likely. Bouncy/EPP craft are good for training with the real thing.

I found it interesting you like the challenges of limited/no external visibility but then again, the engineering mind is more tuned to data than not. Must have been really scary though when instruments were inop. You probably have a well tuned built-in Kalman filter which helped.

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I was trained well. The airplane wants to fly. Make small changes and monitor the effect. So it was actually just a case of “Huh, I wondered how quickly I would recognize that when it isn’t simulated in training, and it turns out the answer was pretty much immediately. Cool.” :smiling_face:

I recognize this principle must be the same for flying RC, and I tried that for the RC helicopter, and it helped it take longer before I crashed. :roll_eyes: I supposed the same principle is true in an RC boat, but I’d think the pressure to think fast is a lot lower there because steerage way is so much slower than minimum controllable airspeed.

I can fly a glider pretty good and an electric with tail and ailerons pretty good. But I can’t do the quad copter thing very good at all. Just haven’t mastered the sticks and motion well. I need a simulator for sure.

Ones which have the fixed altitude capabilities helps too.

I look at you and talking about instruments, and I imagine digital stuff, with buttons and switches…

I had a pull cord to start my engine… And not much else, but wonderfully relaxing… but the RC thing. Not relaxing in any way shape or form…

I did try a glider once, again not relaxing at all… Everything seemed wrong to me… But still easier than RC…

So I am thinking boats are going to be far more relaxing… I am kind of thinking tent, barbeque and some beers on a summer’s evening, while seeing the boat do what it should be doing… Slowly, seems a lot more like my definition of relaxing… In a chair, with a beer and the dog running up and down the lake side…:sunglasses::relieved:


There was a guy at the local electric airfield, just south of SeaWorld, where he had a Piper Cub replica and he would fly it around like it was a full scale airplane, slow and methodically turning with correct rudder, elevator, ailerons and it looked beautiful but all around him were buzzing airplanes of all kinds doing crazy rolls and knife edges and loops. But they knew to stay away from the low altitude flight path where the Piper Cub was flying. It was almost comical to see the one plane doing normal airplane stuff with all the chaos going on around it. I don’t recall if the pilot wore head sets or listened to music or anything but he stayed calm.

The boat thing… that’s one of the reasons I’ve contemplated building a sailboat. Calm and slow.

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Piper cub replica is a bit posh :grin:

I flew something like this

There again, I thought any luxuries like doors or a proper seat, were posh :rofl:

But get a reasonable height, you could turn the engine off and float around slowly; but for ages, I liked that… It was calm :relieved:

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I don’t know about posh since it was a tiny RC Piper Cub but cool little UltraLight there! I have too much of a fear of heights but I can imagine the peace you felt when you got up and turned the engine off. My best times flying my RC gliders were when I was alone on the Torrey Pines bluff on a sunny day with just the average sea breeze giving me lift.

Man, you’re going to put me over the edge and get me to start making that RC sailboat. :slight_smile:


I also have a horrific fear of heights… I cannot climb step ladders or even jump off a diving board at the swimming pool. But I think that sitting down while flying the Thruster (and having an engine!!!)makes for a far more comfortable environment, and there is no fear heights at all. Unlike the glider which I found was an exercise in pure terror. When I studied for my pilots license, we were taught to be aware of safe distances between other planes, and in my mind the tow-plane was far too close :cold_sweat:

Then there is the landing… In the Thruster, you approach the field, drop RPM, slight flare and gently sink to the ground… In the glider, you seem to come headlong towards the ground, with a central wheel. Then trying to keep your balance, with the instructor telling you not to let the wings dip or you could cartwheel… Maybe gliding does not give you a fear of heights, but it certainly gives a healthy bloody fear of grounds :rofl:

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