The nicest moment, when we get to assemble a kit!!
This time it’s the Printrbot simple, and as always, here are our impressions and walkthrough
The instructions are downloadable in pdf form or available in web version. It’s nice that there is a clear list of tools to have by hand before starting, but I have to say I would have loved a small tube of glue in the kit as it’s the only thing you never have lying around.
The first thing that strikes of this kit is the intensive use of zip ties instead of nuts and bolts.
It’s kind of wierd at the beginning, but it really is an interesting solution that makes it less expensive (and 300$ for a full kit is impressively low) and works fine.
On the second page the problems start already, because the M2 10MM screws are missing. Not a big deal, it’s a fairly common tipe of screw and they are probably lying on the bottom of your tool box, but it’s terribly annoying if you can’t find them and you have to stop at page 2 of the assembly guide!
The kit comes with a very nice general view of the wooden pieces that are all nicely labelled with numbers, but I can’t understand why the instructions never refer to these numbers. It’s not that difficult to find the right pieces while building the kit, but it would have been a nice touch to give this kind of further help.
Step 7: the sand paper.
Anothe really smart solution, the instructions state that they will provide in future the sand paper but luckily it was already in our kit. Gluing it was a delicate job but it works just fine and again it helps cut down the cost of the kit, and a zip tie keeps everything in place.
Step 9: the pictures are not that clear, we are now building a new piece to connect to the one we preiously assembled.
The assembled pieces look sturdy and it’s a good mixture of zip ties and nut+bolts that really works fine.
Step 13: Adding the 2 sides is always a bit complicated, and making all of it snap in place is annoying but with some patience we managed.
Step 14: the mother board! Here a bit of protection would have been nice, we will have maybe to print something because as it is dust collects on the mother board and it can easily be ruined.
Be extra careful while connecting the cabels of the end stops, they can be easily dislodged and we had to solder one of them.
Step 17: the rods. That was easy to assemble
Step 18: screwing the X axis endstop. That was a really, really hard screw! Luckily Jonathan managed (I wouldn’t have been able!)
Step 19: more zip ties!
step 20: the fishing line.
This is maybe the most difficult part of all, as the fishing line keeps slipping away and has to be very tight to move correctly the plate. Be extra careful when wrapping it around the vinil tube in step 22, if your coils overlap then it won’t be tight anymore.
Sep 25: the platform in place (with some limbo-dance to see if the springs are in place!)
Step 33: Y axis end stop, looking good. But this is roughtly where the instructions start going downhill. Up till now the various steps were explained and there was always some information on how to build it. From now on there is only a list of the pieces that are asked for and the rest is left to interpreting the pictures. Not that good.
Step 35: the threaded rod in place
Step 36: now the instructions are completely lacking, and we have no idea what we are building!
Step 41: thing are still a bit confused because we have no info on what we are doing and on where this piece will be placed, but we carry on
Step 46-48: the nice little fan
I really like the solution he has found to make the fan point at different angles, but we got something wrong with the cables and in the end it works the wrong way round!
step 53: the extruder! Very very nice solution, and easy to assemble.
Step 55: no need to use extensions for the extruder motor wiring because it already is long enought, as the hot end power lead is in step 57
And it’s finished!! Took a bit more than the 4 hours the instructions stated, but we took our time and lost an awful amount of time looking for the missing screws and for the glue.
And here the first test print, with quite a good precision by the way!
Final conclusions: the kit is very well made (except for 4 screws missing), well packed and well though. The solutions with zip ties and sand paper are really smart and help keep the price very very low.
As very frequently instructions start out fine but get all messed up, this happends very often in 3d printers kits and it’s annoying. Now that I think of it I should ask the 3d printer designers to send me a kit to have me improve their instructions, that would be a big gain for them and some free printers for us
So HEY, designers, if you want some experienced blogger with a “degree” in kit assembly just drop me an email