I built a 3D Printer!

I finally had time to sit down and build our printer! Unfortunately I didn’t take any good pictures of the process, I was too excited.

All in all it took about 12 hours to build and calibrate to get to my first print. The build was difficult, not too difficult but it took all of those 10 or so hours of build time. If it hadn’t have been for the online manual I really don’t know if I could have done it, the high resolution photos were a life saver.

The most difficult part was, in all honesty, dealing with the printed parts. Most of them were fine and worked first try, but there were a couple that made things nearly impossible. The worst parts were those involving placing M3 nuts in deep holes in which the tolerances didn’t allow for a friction fit, namely in the extruder assembly. In a few other areas there were some screw holes that were either slightly too small making threading difficult or the holes were a little out of place. The other major issue I had was in the height of the P.I.N.D.A. probe but I’ll touch on that in a sec. But for the most part it was smooth sailing.

Calibration was also a little troublesome. My main issues were as follows:

  1. My first issue came in during the self test when the Y-axis stop switch was not being triggered. It turns out that the placement of the Y belt pully/motor was more important than I thought from the instructions and that moving the Y-axis motor assembly would be very difficult later. In my opinion they should have supplied specific measurements for that like they did with the nuts for securing to the upright frame. Either way, it took about 15-20 minutes to get that right.
  2. I managed to seat the Y frame in the upright VERY unevenly, honestly I impressed myself with how bad it was and how much I missed it, which caused the right side calibration points to be unreachable but that was an easy fix, just loosening the double M4 nuts and seating the frame correctly.
  3. The P.I.N.D.A. probe. This thing is actually still giving me problems requiring me to test different Z-heights for almost every print because I don’t want to keep adjusting it physically cause I’m lazy, I expect this to come back to bite me. Like the Y belt pulleys I wish they would have provided specific measurements rather than having us eyeball it.

Since then it’s been mostly live Z-height adjusts and playing with Slic3r settings.

Despite these issues the printer has been absolutely fantastic. Now I have nothing to compare it to but from the research I’ve done into other printers mine is performing admirably. I’m excited to continue learning about the machine and finding more and more way to improve upon it and my methods.


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