Help please! (from anyone running a ZCorp Z310)

Just picked up a used ZCorp Z310. Have the basics figured out (network and serial connectivity, replaced the print head and all the lines), but it’s behaving oddly on prints. Gets about 20 layers in then just sends the head over to the cleaning station on subsequent layers instead of printing. Spreads a new layer of powder, repeats. No useful info on the log or on the monitor.

Just saturate the whole thing with Zapagap and it’ll. . . Oh wait… shit, never mind. Modern Man has no idea, sorry. :blush:

Scott…Can definitely help trouble shoot what’s happening, but going to need some info.

Can you describe the process from the start of just turning on the machine, loading the printheads, prepping the file(s)…etc? I’ve about 15 years experience and 10,000 hours so this should be pretty straight forward to figure out


Awesome, thanks for the help. I’ll try not to abuse it!

I watched it again today, and I think it’s a binder or flow issue. I’m running suspect binder (sake actually), and it’s not flowing well. Either sake is not a suitable binder, or there’s still a flow restriction somewhere. It was all gunked up with fungus, I swapped the lines and cleaned the filter, but may still have some blockage on a fitting.

The attached image shows the monitor output at the point where it stops printing- I’m guessing the #0 line shows the printhead temp limits, and the current temp is out of range.

Not sure why it’s spreading a new layer while trying to cool the printhead…

Anyway, waiting for a new container of real binder to arrive so I can test it again properly.

@Scott: Just wanting to make sure that I’m understanding correctly, the current binding liquid in the machine is “Sake”? If so, that can really be all the difference in the world with regards to what you are seeing. Does this mean that you’ve also put in a different set of powder as well? I’m not knocking what you are doing just trying to make sure I can at least offer some directions to head in.

There is definitely an “optimal” range that the printheads want to operate at. You’d really have to get into the .ini file to possibly begin to alter these parameters while keeping in mind that there is only but so much binder that can be pushed through the printhead before failing. Mainly because they weren’t really designed to do what the zCorp machine is asking them to do…(i.e. live in a powdered environment).

One definite way to clean out the lines, from the binder bottle all the way to the printhead carriage is to use distilled water and about half a cap full of colrox. Using the provided syringe you can pull the cleaning agent through the lines of the machine from start to finish. Since the delievery of the binding agent is gravity fed there is an optimal viscosity that you’d want any liquid to be that flowing through the printhead.

Hope this helps some.

Yeah, it was literally sake! Someone online said it was a close match to the stock binder fluid, but you know how that goes. Anyway, changed the head and put in some real binder on Friday, and got a nice test print (see below). My whole reason for picking this up was to experiment with non-standard binders and powders, hence the sake. I need something that’s going to be less than hundreds of dollars a gallon.

@scott: just sent you a PM…:slight_smile:

Sake. :mrgreen:

Don’t drink the Zapagap!

[ Deleted ]

Hi Scott,

I picked up a Zcorp not too long ago too. And to my disappointment refilling the powder and binder costs more than I paid for the machine itself! The monopoly/corporate greed with this technology is outrageous. I understand it took a lot of development dollars but a 60 something fold markup on materials is extortion in my opinion! I would be happy to pay anything less than double of the base ingredients cost for something blended that I know that works. I would think the original purchase price of the printer alone would create a sufficient profit margin.

I tried the sake and hydroperm as well. I started with a new printhead and it worked for a short while, I think only because there was ink in the new printhead. Once that ran through I got the same results as you -the printhead kept going to the cleaning station, striping in the print, and overheating errors. I think maybe the sake recipe works ok for different print heads in the other printers but not the HP10 printhead?

After feeling like a failure I mixed some distilled water, isopropyl alcohol (90%) and inkjet cleaner solution (from ebay). I poured it in by eye about 60 parts water 20 parts cleaner and 20 parts alcohol and it seemed to work ok (in hindsight I should have measured the amounts). I have no idea if the cleaner is designed to run through these printheads. I only have a few prints on it but it has yet to break anything… I since have had success printing with hydroperm. The downside is it takes a long long time to dry to get strong enough to handle. To solve this I made a custom build plate that can go into an oven -sturdy aluminum plate with sandpaper glued on the top. After printing I raised the build platform all the way to the top cleaning up powder on the sides of the part so it does not fall of when transporting to the oven but being careful not to disturb the part. I then bake in a toaster oven I bought in the name of science just for this. One hour at 300 F did the trick for the three parts I have tried. Going to do some aluminum pours in the hydroperm molds hopefully this week.

I have yet to find a supplier for hydroperm locally. While I was waiting for it to be shopped I tried some homebrew concoctions (tring to copy hydroperm from the msds) consisting of: plaster (Sheetrock Easy Sand Joint Compound), portland cement, and foot powder. I tried mixing in #80 sand as well. I cant say any of the tests worked any better than hydroperm.

As for the ink solution make sure and check out this link Yahoo | Mail, Weather, Search, Politics, News, Finance, Sports & Videos

I can’t figure out where to get SURFYNOL (R) 465. Airproducts won’t ship to a non-industrial zoned shipping address.

The reason I bought the printer is to print molds for direct pour casting Aluminum. Apparently ZCorp used to sell ZCast that was formulated for this but they no longer sell a substitute as far as I can tell. I called 3D Systems and they had no idea what I was talking about - they only could recommend products for lost wax casting (I’m not interested in that). I sent them an email and they have yet to respond… I should have done more research before I bought the printer I guess. I assumed they still sold it and since it is made out of sand it would be cheap.

I think I found a substitute for the SURFANOL 465. I found a product with the same CAS Number (9014-85-1) over at

I just ordered it and powdered potassium sulfate.

I also ordered some Glycerol by RPI that I found on amazon. Hopefully the recipe works.

I have yet to find a place to get Proxel GXL. I’ll just leave it out for now and see how it works.

Good data. I’m planning to run some sawdust tests this week. I bought a gallon of EBay binder (still absurdly priced), but I don’t want to be debugging two things at once.

Let us know how it turns out. I got the shipment and made a gallon of the binder using the recipe I referenced omitting the Proxel GXL. Note that there is a typo I think its 7.5 g not 7.5 mg of Potassium Sulfate. I have two prints with it and one more printing now. So far so good.

Has anyone tried Ultracal 30? I think I’m going to give it a try. The mixing directions call for much less water than Hydroperm which I think may be a benefit for printing? I’m guessing it would be stronger too.

Sawdust test worked well, until I started getting error 1002. Any ideas on that? Ordered a new printhead since I have no spares.


Infusing with resin:

I used to run a Z Corp machine. I hated it. Expensive and the parts were so fragile. Good for white models though. The texture actually simulates a heavy sand mold texture which is nice. Unfortunately that is 1% of what I need to prototype.

Nice to see some people trying to breath new life into these though. It was cool technology. Butt simple. It makes you bang your head and say, “why didn’t we have 3D printers in 1976!”.

I remember having the same error while running all of their proprietary materials. If I remember correctly, it was either the rails were too dusty or the head station was not clean enough. You have to practically hand polish the inside of this thing after every print.

Probably a printhead. I just got the same error. Does anyone have any experience with how long the heads are supposed to last in terms of printed volume? I’m hoping it was the mystery print head cleaner and alcohol solution I had previously ran through it and not the new solution recipe. Replacing the print head did the trick for me. I noticed you can sometimes get color HP10 print heads a lot cheaper off of places like ebay. I wonder if you can just replace the chip with one from a used black cartridge? I ordered a set for cheap, hoping it works. Does anyone know if there are any aftermarket re-settable chips for this print head?

There is a doc called “ZPrinter®310 Troubleshooting Guide” that explains the error codes. Google that and you can find a download of the pdf.

What is the recipe for the sawdust? And why that material?

I just bought some Ultracal 30 yesterday. I’ll be giving it a try maybe this weekend. Hydroperm is working ok except for taking forever to cure when printed but I can’t find a place locally that stocks it and shipping costs more than the product itself.

The book suggests that error code is either the pogo card or ribbon cable. I have a new print head on the way, I’ll try that first, then a ribbon cable (only $140! :angry: ).

The material is sawdust and a couple water-activated binders (still playing with the mix). I actually went to the grocery store and grabbed a bunch of stuff that seemed like it would solidify with water. Tapioca, soy flour, sugar, wheat gluten, etc. Powdered UF glue would probably work great, but I don’t want the formaldehyde.

I’m planning to use this for producing home goods (tabletop accessories, maybe furniture components), hence the material experimentation. It’s also a good story, using a waste product, etc. Looks promising so far, the parts are nice and spongy in their green state and soak up the resin readily. Pretty good surface finish, and quite strong after curing.

I was thinking of trying UF glue also but the formaldehyde scared me away too. I tried Ultracal30 and so far I can’t really tell the difference from Hydroperm.

Despite what the troubleshooting guide says, looks like my error was indeed a print head. What are the plans for when they go obsolete? Seems like the reliability of the old stock is pretty poor already.

3D Systems still sells the heads. But when they quit and all the old stock runs out from places like fleebay I assume its the end of the line for the printer. If and when that day comes and I still have a use for the printer I might just hack the frame with another print head and throw an arduino in it to control it. It looks like there is some progress on open source software Plan B, an Open Source 3DP (powder and Inkjet) 3D Printer : 12 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables

I have been printing more molds with Ultracal30. Seems to be doing ok although brittle and not so strong and not a very clean perimeters. After realizing that plaster chemically sets using water instead of drying I quit putting my parts in the oven. I think it was doing more harm than good.

The magic ingredient the purpose sold 3D powder has seems to be PVA as far as I can tell but I have heard conflicting information if this is polyvinyl alcohol or polyvinyl acetate.