Initially the only change we made was replace the stock bowden tube with a capricorn one. IDK how long the stock tube would have lasted but after printing about 50 kg of HIPS and ABS at 255C / 105 C bed we had a nozzle jam - due to the capricorn degrading. So then we put a Volcano clone on - its a direct fit replacement cost us about $35 from gulfcoast robotics. The only thing that required was to up the maxtemp in the firmware from 260 to 300 and change the thermistor type from 5 to 1. And as we went from no sock to sock (self rolled) we did a PID tune. My chiron now has well over 100kg of filament under the belt and yes there were some problems.
1,) The X and Y carriage wires are steel and so they broke after a while so we replaced them with High flex silicon copper wires
2.) The Hotend as cited above (we are now in the process to go all metal clone on all printers
3.) The bearing on the x axis gt2 pulley disintegrated.
4.) 1 of the wheels that carry the bed on the 2020 extrusion acted up (I think bearing) so we replaced it
5.) Just about a week ago a print took a piece of the ultrabase with it. I ordered a new buildplate but am still printing while I wait for a new one to come from China. I just slice it in a way to avoid the imperfection on the plate.
Beyond that - it is wise to check your nuts and bolts. The grub screw on the x pulley on the motor came loose once and some of the excentric bearings on the rollers need occasional adjusting.
The 2nd Chiron has had no problems but all shortcomings detected on mine (I print about 2x as much) were changed there too when I had the problem so for example we just replaced the gt2 pulley at the time mine failed as a preventative thing.
And yeah we drape a plastic sheet over it as a chamber and we changed from Cura to Prusa slicer as its much better especially if you print with a nozzle >= .6 We print on the Chirons exclusively with a .8
Last year I fired my Chiron up at kickoff and hat this Monday at 2pm when we met at the school (pre covid)
Which by tuesday turned into this
Well we already had the frame designed off season then things slowed down a bit - not printing wise but building wise as there were designing necessary but here are some pics from the build season
Now are experimenting (all remotely) with wrapping the plastic in fiberglass cloth And working on some gears and stuff like this
Well its all Chiron printed with a .8. The hub/ring, planets and sun is taulman 910 the bevels will be taulman 910 too (as soon as we have a mount that does not give you gray hair putting it together) the tire is TPU the blue case/holder is abs that will be covered at the bottom in 17oz woven roving and then everything else in 2 layers or so of 8 or 10 oz cloth (whatever we still have) . But the point is its all Chiron printed. The gears mesh fine
Here is a pic of the planets straight off the printer
Now I probably could get a hardened volcano nozzle and print CF Nylon but I don’t see the point to use chopped CF. So yeah its not a markforged but it gets us parts too that are good enough. IDK how much better the Markforged would be - maybe the one that embeds the continuous CF. But we know the 910 gears are pretty tough you can hit them with a sledge hammer and they still fit. Everything is printed solid so there is no air inside any of the parts displayed except the black bevel gear which was just printed for fit and is ABS everything gets printed in ABS or HIPS (<10/kg) filament first until it all fits. Then we go to the destination material. And we can average 5-7kg/week per printer if we run them 24/7 which we did for for about 3 month earlier this year printing PPE (prusa shields etc) I bought My Chiron for 400 and I spent less than $200 in 18 month of constant printing for replacement/upgrade parts. IDK how that compares to the Markforged. As for filament we get HIPS from toner plastics for $10/kg ABS/TPU/PETG from Zyltech of Hobbyking and Nylon from whoever has a sale - most of the time from Taulman direct.
As for ease of use… IDK I would have to know the Markforged to make a comparison. Assembly took about 20 min. and you are up and printing there are no maintenance contracts or a place where you can send it for repair. Warranty means if something breaks they send you that part like when I complained about the wire breaking - they sent me a new harness - I opted to not use it as it was again steel wire - made my own) and yeah so you are on your own in that. And judging from the FB group for some of them its a problem like someone brought me his hotend that he “tightened the nozzle” to the point that it snapped off. And we had some spaghetti too when someone forgets to turn supports on or does not watch for the first layer to go down welletc. So IDK if the markforged has a feature that saves users from those kinda errors. So its not like a paper 2D printer when it comes to ease of use