The Bad News.
My precariously built hot end has failed. It has clogged.
The Good News
The good news is that the failure had nothing to do with the quality or reliability of the RapMan kit. It was all me. And, the reason why that is good news is that, hopefully, I can help other new builders avoid the mistakes that I have made.
Mistake #1 - Cutting the PTFE insulator too short.
The directions call for cutting a small slice off the end of the PTFE insulator. The operative word here is SMALL. I sliced off a tad bit too much and, from my research about clogging problems, this is DEFINITELY not a good thing. It apparently allows melted plastic to rise up and cool, clogging the hot end assembly.
I am ordering a new pre-built hot end. But, I am also ordering a non-built hot end kit so that I can demonstrate the RIGHT way to do it. At least the RIGHT way is the plan. LOL!
But, for now, make sure you cut just enough of the material to square the end, taking off as little as possible. Put that squared off end into the PEEK insulator leaving you enough room to cut it again when you assemble the wooden MDF plate.
The directions were absolutely clear. I wasn't!
Mistake #2 - Not paying attention to the material type before taking it from the box.
In taking out the material I've been using for the duck tests, I failed to pay attention to whether it was PLA or ABS. I simply made the assumption that it was ABS.
That meant that I was selecting a test model that was built for ABS, which requires a hotter temperature than PLA. This overheating also probably contributed to the results I'd been seeing and the ultimate clogging of the hot end.
The type is not printed on the reel. It is only printed on the box in which it is shipped.
I usually toss boxes immediately. But, fortunately, I had not tossed it yet. So, I was able to correctly identify the correct material type.
I'm learning that a perfect build is all about paying attention! Fortunately for me, Bits From Bytes makes a very high quality product, has anticipated people with my building skills and makes a pre-built hot end available on their store! :)