SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3 Day 6 – Assembly and Review

Ok, today was day six. I finished the printer and I think it is excellent!! Well, almost. I broke the glass bed so I can’t calibrate or print on it yet ūüôĀ¬† But here is a picture of the printer, minus the glass plate:

I really like the printer and the design. I have not yet had a chance to PRINT on it yet.

The Pain Points

But this is a review of the assembly process, as you read this please remember I like this printer, these are things I had difficulty with during production:

I found some of the part tolerances were TOO TIGHT there were several parts that were too tight.

  1. Inserting the heater bed cables in the X axis was the WORST offender. I used every trick I could find to get them through. In the end I put the thermistor cables through with lubricant, and then put the negative power cable through (well lubed…) and even that took an inordinate amount of force. I was deeply afraid I would damage the cables with the amount of force required to make that happen. I spent over an hour trying to get those cables through in various ways. I tried different posts, I tried using s single layer of scotch tape to hold them together, I tried feeding in various orders, I tried pulling, I tried twisting. In the end I used a water based lubricant and a pair of pliers to shove it threw a few mm at a time.
  2. The screws that hold the face plates on. I know this may seem trivial, but if you only have a hand held L shaped hex wrench and have to mechanically thread them through the plastic pieces that are a bit too tight, it is painful.  Attempting to do this is actually what caused me to break the glass over the heating pad. I dropped the piece I was holding and it fell right smack on the glass. Shattering it onto wonderful spider-man web looking shards.
  3. The screws that hold the stop switch in the Upper Motor Mount Assembly. After putting the first one in I realize there was NO WAY I was going to be able to put the rest in without damaging either the screws, the switches, the assembly, my screw driver, or my hand. So I cheated and used a 5/64th in Drill bit in a hand tool and manually expanded the back half of the hole. That kept it very tight, but made it bearable.
  4. The EZR Struder was extremely tight especially around the wires. I know they made a relief for the wires but I almost broke the panel putting the motor in the panel and visibly notched the cables. None of the cables were permanently damaged, but I was very worried about it.
  5. This was an odd one. The spool holder on the top of the machine was WAY too tight to fit into the top assembly holes. It actually damaged the holes on the top of the machine. Nothing serious but cracked it a bit on the inside. And it still wouldn’t go in.¬† I finally had to take a knife and whittle down the width of the feet with a fair amount to get it to squeak in. Even after that it was still tight, but I didn’t feel like it risked damaging anything any more taking it in and out.

There was one place where the videos, the Rambo installation, where they show one assembly then several steps later it show it assembled differently.  (if you look at the orientation of the cables on the adapter on the video the red stripe is facing the power connector in the video, and the red stripe is facing away from the power in the picture. Apparently the picture was correct. I assembled it to the video. Fortunately no permanent damage was done. Just a lot of head scratching, and mild cursing. Thanks to the comments for helping there.

The Rambo power connector was another pain point. Although it was not a bad one. I was left to wondering if there was a better way to do that? The points that the main power cables came in at kept pulling out (or the second cable did…). I finally got them all in and staying though.

The power fan is pretty loud. I don’t have a db meter… but it’s louder than anything else in my immediate area. I haven’t printed yet so I don’t know about the operation.

The Good Points

When completed this looks like a professionally assembled machine. Cables, belts, pulleys, and fans are all nicely tucked away. The pulley system LOOKS well thought out. I haven’t used it yet so I can’t confirm its functioning but I like the way it is tucked away. I also like the simplicity it can be reached and maintained. It looks like you can get to most places on the machine fairly quickly with little fuss, with plenty of built in access and open places to reach needed parts.¬† Aside from my few nit pick points above this was actually not that bad to put together. It took some time and patience, but was certainly doable. Don’t let the pain points above scare you, there were a TON of steps that I did not have any problems with. Over all the assembly was well documented or video illustrated.

Once I get the last piece in… my glass bed… I’ll start setting up and see how it goes.

Retrospect

Would you do anything differently? I would have done a better job staging the parts up front. I spent a GREAT deal of time trying to FIND the parts I needed for a job. and then RE-FINDING them when I needed them. I usually keep a fairly neat work space, not desk, but work space. However, with this project I found I was overwhelmed with parts, and they were not always together or easy to find. I would also get a hex bit for my drill and better lighting for my desk. The only other thing I’d do is win the lotto and spend my time working on projects like this :)… But that is something I’ve been working on for years.

SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3 Assembly adventure Day 4

Today is Day 4. Yes it has been 2 chronological days since my last post, but 1 day of actual work on the printer. Remember I get to do this between work/life/family.

Today I worked on the base. I hoped to have it done tonight but I just couldn’t do it all. I spent about 5 hrs working on it (I will admit, I did cook dinner, and hang out with kids in there… so take that number with a grain of salt). I did get almost done though.

3 parts really made it take longer.

  1. Inserting the nylon nuts into all the side pieces. They say it is “easy”, but I couldn’t get them to go in for love or money. I found some of the really tough ones I used an Allen wrench and prying it open just a little bit. I was deathly afraid to damage it so I only applied the barest minimum of pressure to get the nut in.
  2. The other thing is the brackets that hold the heating base, the nylon nut in that did not go in very far and the screw that holds the blue tabs that hold it down was just a hair too short to get contact, I had to find a way to get the nuts further into the assembly. I ended up using needle nose pliers and putting the screw in a bit and pulling on the had of the screw with the side of the nose.
  3. Finding all those parts. I know they must have taken a TON of time organizing how all this was pulled and assembled etc. However finding the part called for some times took more time than assembling it. It isn’t that they aren’t labeled, there are just a lot of them, and many of them look similar, and some of them are mixed with other bags. So it just takes time to make sure you have the right thing.

Over all I think this part was very cleaver. They made this very easy for people with some experience to assemble. I have a few friends I would be very comfortable recommending this to.¬† But this would not be for everyone I know. This came out remarkably more stable than I expected, and much lighter than I expected as well. I think (so far) this seems very well designed. I haven’t had a chance to run it and test for other things but for straight layout and assembly so far, with a few side notes, I really like.

One other note, removing all the tape from the wooden (mdf?) parts was quite the chore. Not difficult or awful. Just time consuming, I was tempted to let my kids do it, but I was afraid they would break something… so I did it my self. I also didn’t know if any of the cut out parts were important. I am sure 99% of them are just dross, but there were 4 holes cut in one of the pieces that had holes cut in them… making me wonder if they were important. Since I didn’t know I saved everything. I will say that working with those little cut outs does get black stuff all over too, not a ton, but noticeably, so you don’t want to do this wearing anything important or over you wife’s wedding dress… unless you are hoping to die or get a divorce… or both I suppose.

That’s it for me. signing off…. nanoo… nanoo.

SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3 Assembly adventure Day 3

If you know me, I’ve been talking about 3D printing for about 3 or 4 months. I’ve been studying, and researching, and trying to decided if I wanted a 3D printer, and if I do, what I want and why. ¬†I did all my home work and decided to get one. The one I wanted MOST was the Prusa i3 Mk2, however they had to get imported from out of the country AND there was about a 3 or 4 month wait before they could ship when I was looking to order. ¬†So… with that in mind. I did a LOT more homework. Based on the title of the blog post you can see I ended up on the SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3. Found here. ¬†It was only $100 more than the assembled Prusa (but once you factored in import duty, and shipping it ended up about the same).

I finally ordered the Rostock Max v3, and it showed up in amazing time. Faster than all the tools I ordered from Amazon at the same time in fact. (Not prime shipping). I got the tools this weekend, and started assembly. I used to assemble electronics back in the day, but I have to admit it has been a long time. Me and a friend use to manufacture boards for Cellular routers, so I’m ok with electronics, and I know my way around machine shops and tooling so nothing here was completely new, other than the printer and the principles of 3D printing itself.

Day 1

I started getting all the parts out, and was quite amazed at the number of parts, involved. I expected quite a bit, but I’ve got a nice sized Rubermaid container at my feet full of zip lock bags loaded with nuts, wires, fixtures, electronics, motors and lots of other goodies. I tried to stage the parts, and tools, create a work environment to do this in. It has very intricate parts and much larger parts. So I had to clear off a work bench that was comfortable for detail work like soldering and such, but I needed a larger work space for the frame. So I started to get all that ready. When I was done with that I started to assemble the hot end. I didn’t get far. ¬†I was buried in parts, and had a question. ¬†I asked it on their forums and got a good reply by the time I was ready to go again. ¬†Here is how far I got on day 1: And in case you are wondering a “day” for me is the time left over from work/family/life before I go to bed, so don’t expect a full 8 hrs of labor here…

Hot End day 1
Rostock Max v3 – Hot End day 1

Day 2

I pushed a bit too hard. After getting the help I needed, it was a stupid question, but I needed the answer. I was able to get much further. Here is where I got for the second day (2:30AM). ¬†I had the hardest time getting the base plate, thermal fuse, and pcb lower edge to all be parallel. I found that losening or tightening one seemed to throw everything else off. I tightened it as much as I dare for small aluminum parts, but I must admit I am afraid it will come lose or out of alignment. (Not sure how important alignment is, but the instructions highlighted the importance…)

Day 2, PCB Controller, Leads, and guide

 

Day 3

And today, Day 3. I made a lot more VISIBLE progress. I actually finished the entire Hot End assembly, including the fans etc. I started off doing all the PCB soldering, then put the fan assemblies together (that went pretty quickly… other than trying to strip the small gauge wires, that was painful.) ¬†Then a little bit more soldering and the finishing covers. ¬†Today went much easier than the other days. Here is the finished product:

My initial impression of this after putting it together (just the hot end assembly). This is a nice tight package. I can tell a LOT of time went into the design and layout of this project. ¬†I am concerned about any of the internals needing repair/replacing. Doing so would be a full day task at least. Many of the components are soldered directly to the board, so hot swapping replacements is not an option. (Fans however are plugged in… BUT the fan cables are wrapped around everything.) Maybe my concern is unfounded. I won’t know until I’ve been using it for quite a while. But over all I like it, I’m just scared, this after all was a huge investment. ¬†However all the reviews I’ve read say it is good stuff. Time will tell.

This project would be a real doozie for someone working with mechanical/electrical things for the first time. If you have never used a soldering pen, or are not comfortable taking apart every day things and being able to put them back together (reliably) you may want to get it pre-assembled, or ask a friend to help you who knows this stuff. It is not impossible or very hard, but learning on this project would be daunting for the un-initiated.

At the end of today, I tested continuity through my heater/fuse, and it worked. I tested continuity between heater/fuse and the aluminum block, and that was not connected. I tested resistance of the thermistor at the PCB and it came to just under 100k (98.3k) I think. I checked all the fans, and they can spin freely. I did not run any current though to test them. I tested all the screws and they seemed tight, so far as I can tell I put it together right. I took a TON of pics a long the way too. I just posted the end of day shots.

Well this ends day 3 for me. Lets see what the next day has.

Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?

I finally have an answer to the age old question. For those of you who know me I’m not a slacker, I’m almost never idle long. I’m rarely well focused. But I’m almost always doing something.¬† Although some times that something is just playing video games… (I’ll be honest…)

I’ve had the question posed to me several times in life

Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?

After 20+ years of working, and 10+ years of having my own family, I can safely say, there will always be more to do today than can possibly be done. If you are always putting off the important things in life to “take care of things”… You are missing out on the things that seem the most trivial, but are probably by far the most valuable. When you finish that task at work, guess what… there will be another. When you finish that chore at home guess what… you can find another.¬† There will ALWAYS be something to do for those of you, who like me are looking for something to do.¬† You have to chose to put off till tomorrow what can be put off till tomorrow some times.

Now I know there are some people out there who LIVE by the slogan… why do anything today, when we can keep pushing it to another day… forever.¬† This is not what I’m encouraging at all. The things that NEED to get done should be.¬† But the the things that CAN be left out… probably should be. There are more important things in life than having a perfect lawn, or “most overtime worked” awards … You know I’ve never seen one of those… anyway this was just meant to be a quick post to a thought I had, and that was it.

Enjoy.

Putting my bank on notice

Earlier this week I finally bit the bullet and decided to buy myself a 3D Printer. I have wanted one as long as I’ve known they existed and I saved up for a long time, shopped around, did my homework and finally on Friday night went online and bought it. ¬†Then I went shopping for all the “extras” that you need to go with it, like the filament(s) and various tools that are needed to keep it working and functional. All was happy in my world.

Today I logged into my bank and saw some really weird activity… I decided to talk to ¬†the vendor and clarify. After a very long and convoluted conversation with a rep that was probably very knowledgeable in their systems but horrible at communication. I found out that my bank declined the transaction. WHAT?!! So I log into my bank, I have more than enough funds to cover it… and find out from the vendor that the transactions were declined and that I need to talk to fraud prevention. My bank has (yet again) decided that my own transactions are fraudulent against me. (This is not the first time… but I’m hoping to make it the last)

I have decided to send the following notice to my bank, I think ALL banks need to see it. I am a hater of phone loops and unchecked automation. (FYI) I LOVE automation… so long as we can maintain and keep it in check/balance. But when people have NO say in it it is foolish and stupid. As a side note I build automation tools for a living… quite successfully. BUT it is NOT a replacement for intelligence, wit, or courtesy. It however can be an amazing tool for those who have them.

Notice to my bank:

You are losing my business. You have an opportunity to fix this, but I doubt you have the ability or desire to do so.

Here is my problem. I work during most of the times you are open, and I have a family with kids. So the time when I spend money is usually the time when {bank} is not open. {bank} seems to have a hyper sensitive fraud prevention unit. When said fraud prevention unit blocks a transaction… there is no way for me as a normal human being to fix the problem. There is no one i can call. There is nothing I can do. I just have to sit there and pray that what I needed was not life critical, and that I can get a hold of a living breathing person during my working hours to fix the situation. The fact that I don’t even get notified is even worse. (The last time this happened I THOUGHT I turned this on..)

Points:

1. You live in a world where most people and businesses do business 24/7 now. People expect, I expect, the ability to do the same.

2. There is nothing wrong with a hyper-vigilant fraud prevention department… SO LONG AS there is a way to fix the situation quickly. By quickly I mean in under 15 minutes. No computer, no AI, no phone tree will be smart enough. I like the fact that you care… but I don’t like the fact that you stop my being able to do business until you decide to get into work… when ever that happens to be.

3. The fact that I can almost NEVER get a hold of a living breathing person is infuriating. I don’t need a brick and mortar office to “meet” someone, I do need the ability to speak to a person and solve a problems intelligently. I don’t usually need to do so, but when I do they almost always are complex and require understanding of what I’m saying and what I’m trying to do, and how banking works. IF I want to do impersonal banking I can easily switch to a purely online bank. If I just wanted to talk to an automated phone loop, I’d… just call you guys.

4. Why are you blocking transactions to established vendors that I regularly do business with? I do business with {vendor} at least on a weekly basis, sometimes almost daily. Why would it come as a surprise that I place an order with them? They split their order into separate “chunks” by vendor and bills them separately causing multiple transactions. I can’t be the ONLY person who has this happen?

So, in short. If you want to KEEP me as a client. Present me with a solution that works for people like me. I like {bank}, but this has happened enough times and at critical times. (Like when buying tires on a car at a garage… for one…) This last transaction has now been held up by more than a week because of the delay, and I was NEVER notified by {bank}, I had to be notified by the vendor that I was declined for the transaction.

You have your mission, if I don’t hear back. Or I don’t hear a good answer I will be posting this notice online and moving on to other business. I’m tired of fighting with my own bank, to get money I’ve already worked for.

The transactions in question (according to {vendor}) are:
Settlement Verification Code: xxx
Settlement Verification Code: xxx
They attempted to charge once and were declined, then tried again the next day. I was told they were declined again. I was also told that I need to ask you why funds were not released.

I await your message or call.
{my_name}

 

If you are a banker or work in the banking industry. Please take note. automation is NOT the key, a call center is NOT the key. People like me want the ability to do business safely, but we want the ability to talk to a SMART person to fix it when something goes wrong, or we need help with something. In general the only reason your average consumer looks for outside help is they can’t do something (like fix a problem), they don’t know how to do something (lack of experience or knowledge, sometimes to even explain the problem), or are investigating before doing something. ¬†These are things MOST banks make difficult if not impossible to get those 3 things easily. IF banks could they would find a new level of efficiency.¬†Those are things that can’t be answered by an online FAQ, automated phone loop, someone who barely speaks your language, or someone who does not really understand the industry.

Just my 2 cents.

Tangled Web of Thoughts

I am going to start this post with a disclaimer. I do NOT have all the answers. I am taking a philosophy class. I am a technology person. I will be speaking in VERY broad terms and using a VERY broad brush. I know there are exceptions to almost everything, I’ve met most of them.

My topic today comes from my philosophy class, a project I’ve been stewing on for the last 12 years, an internet video I watched yesterday, and several conversations I’ve had with people. This is not fully formed yet, and I still have a lot of research to do on it. I however did want to post this out there for thoughts. ¬†I want to talk about how people think about knowledge and how they gauge truth and how that impacts society in general.

Definitions

Foundational thinking: ¬†this could be summed up with Plato’s concept of JTB (justified true belief), In order to say that you “know” something you have to be able to make assertions that are correct and infer a correct conclusion from it. That you can define its parts. That in order to know something you have to “prove it” with some “logical” process is the concept.

The problem of infinite recursion: In order to say you know something you must define all of its components, but in order to define its components you must define the definitions of all the sub-components, but in order to define all of the sub-components you must define all the sub-sub-components… etc… it goes on for ever. There are several proposed solutions to this… one of them is network thinking

example of infinite recursion:

  • duck = type of bird
  • type = a category or classification
  • of =¬†expressing a relationship between a part and a whole
  • bird = a flying animal
  • category = a grouping of something
  • or = a word used to link alternatives
  • classification = …
  • …. you get the idea.

Network thinking: The concept that in order to “know” something you simply need to have enough pieces of data in your “network” that are congruent with that information. If you have information from 3 or 4 sources and they all seem to be congruent with each other, that information may be considered as “known”. That number may change depending on the person, circumstances, or type of information under question.

Network: A lose term meaning a source of information. It could be a literal computer network or social network. It could be a loosely related group of publications and professional contacts, it can be personal experience. ANY source of information, data or opinion can be in a network.

From the top

I know there are many forms of thinking and I did NOT cover them all. I did cover the two I want to talk about though. In my parents generation and some of my generation the predominate form of thinking (that I have seen) is the Foundational type of thinking.¬†¬†There are MANY flaws with this mode of thinking, it leads to infinite recursion, as well as the general philosophy that TRUTH can never be truly found or known, because even if we found it we could never really know it. My generation really bore out the fruit of the idea that truth can never be found. ¬†It lead to wide spread hopelessness and a general lack of purpose. As a response to this the concept of a “network” of truth or thought has come out of the mix. The idea was if we can never “know” for sure, if we know enough points that do not conflict with a concept that we can probably assume it is true.

This network model is applied by individuals in both the macro and the micro. Inside the individual and outside. ¬†In order for a network to remain stable its nodes must be congruent, and because people inherently tend to seek stability incongruity becomes a destabilizing factor. These networks are not just used in the formation scientific ideas, but in the formation of self worth, sexuality (I don’t mean gender preference I mean how they think about sex… the brain is the biggest sex organ in the human body), spirituality, appearance and much more. When in-congruent ideas are presented to an individual in this context the in-congruent idea is not just a challenge to the concept… it is a personal assault at the deepest levels. The network node (idea) in question is a part of the stability of this person, if this becomes in-congruent, it might devalue or change something else, causing a cascade, or even worse… systemic questioning. ¬† Because to question the network is to reject the network or at the very least cause an incongruity that cannot be reconciled. When faced with this type of threat it is simply easier to reject the threat (the person doing the questioning or the idea) and push them out of reach that to solve the conflict of thought.

People who function primarily in a network model require many points of contact to know things, including themselves. If a person functions in network model, the network tends to be fundamental to the identity of this person. It defines who they are, who they are not.  The more points of contact they have and the more congruent it is the more stable the information base is, the more stable the person feels about their world view, about them self.  I think this is very evident in the emergence of social media and its profound impact on first world culture.

Once someone is pushed out of a network, they either find a new more appropriate network OR they make one of their own.  Each social network in turn becomes a specialized condensed version of a social structure, philosophy, brand or concept.  Although it works the same with other networks social networks are easier to visualize, but news networks, computer networks, and religions work the same general way.  Something that the internet age has inadvertently provided is the ability to make truth virtually irrelevant.

These groups (or networks) do not bother to really argue with each other or debate facts any more. ¬†Instead, they manufacture what the OTHER GROUPS represent and argue against their version of the other group. (I believe this was known in the past as a straw man argument.) ¬†The local group’s version of the “other group” (or argument) is often the worst possible representation of the outside group. ¬†Because the arguments and representations are made so provocative… they get repeated and talked about… ¬†Even if no one can prove them. ¬†Our media, in order to get ratings, pushes this information out there because it is so provocative, making it MORE provocative each time. Our internet algorithms do this too… the most talked about things are PUSHED to the top of the rankings (even if they are NOT true). ¬†This pushing and splintering of the internet has caused extreme polarization. Groups that are fundamentally against each other not just in idea or principal but to the very core for reasons that they themselves don’t necessarily even know any more.

We have built a system that is literally designed to push popular information into the forefront. The information in the forefront is usually the worst. Each network (social group, religion, news outlet, political party, economic class, medical journal, scientific community…) becomes its own isolated network, which allows false ideas to run rampant. Because so little is fact checked and so little logic is used, it allows for micro (or macro) cults to be formed. Each group¬†targeting what the see as “the enemy” and vilifying them. ¬†Add to the mix, our current culture is designed (or functions, take your pick) in such a way that questioning the group can, and very well may, get you kicked out of the group to which you desperately need to belong to in order to maintain your identity.

You can add in people who intentionally spread misinformation and on top of that the people who report incorrect information just because they don’t know better. It makes finding real facts incredibly difficult for the average person. Making it even more difficult even IF someone actually wanted to look up the truth of a situation or the facts involved in something to distinguish between fact and fiction.

In the end… this leaves us with groups of people who are highly emotionally charged who are unwilling to be reasoned with. Who are don’t want to be criticized or questioned. Doing so automatically disqualifies you from being able to contribute to the group. ¬†This is NOT a good place to be. It allows room for people who are manipulative, persuasive or coercive to build networks of their own cults.

While you read this I am sure you had a network/group or two cross your mind that you believe may do this, please be willing to consider that someone somewhere in the world is probably looking at YOU thinking you are in a network doing the same thing.  You are not exempt from this. If you got offended at the statement you should probably consider it even more.