Now, my project partner and I just graduated from high school, and there was a celebratory party yesterday. At 4pm we began trying to run the now functional printer. First, I managed to strip the filament, and then in removing it I tore the leads off the heatercore. That was dumb. However, we dipped into the club supplies and made another one, and soon had an entirely fresh hot-end. We figured that with a fresh nozzle and barrel we might as well try and make it print with the PLA we bought, right?
Fast forward to 7:30am on the next day. The short answer is no. After a pretty solid block of more than 12 hours, the machine is extruding, but not reliably. We're seeing overheating on the board, barrel jams, slipping idler wheels, the works. Temp sensor hardware works great though. I am not a big fan of PLA now, but I am thinking we can solve some of this with better understanding of using PLA and a stronger extruder. We are using the new MK-5 pulley from makerbot, and it's great on ABS. It's not really biting the PLA though.
I'm amazed I am still awake, but evidently this is good project for keeping myself conscious with.