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 🙁 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.