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.
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…
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…)
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.