Prusa i3 acrylic kit
Built from 3D Printer Czar kit.
This was an interesting winter project when I was feeling too lazy to brave the feet of snow to get the the shop. We have nicknamed it “Prints”.
I tried to remember on this build to take lots of pictures. I was wondering how long the kit assembly would take so I tried to stop at intervals and record the results. The instructions .pdf that came with the printer were relatively easy to follow. I printed them out so I could make notes if required. 1 hour in I had the y carriage assembled.
One hour later I had the z carriage assembled.
I did not install the x belt when the directions indicated as there is no way to determine the correct belt setting until the x carriage is mounted to the z smooth rods.
45 minutes after that the 2 were joined.
All of this was with the tools provided per the mfg directions. There is no indication in the directions what measurement to place the y carriage so that the bed travel would be centered. Mine ended up 215mm from the front of the z plate to the front of the printed block.
Then I ran into a little snag, the instructions state to use a set screw from the x gear to secure the extruder small gear to the stepper.
The set screw is 4mm and did not play well with the 3mm nut pocketed in the gear. I superglued the gear back together and cut down a longer 3mm socket head cap screw to go in this place. I couldn’t find any metric hardware smaller than 4mm at any local stores. Maybe a 4mm nut would have fit into the gear?
I had to make a minor adjustment to the extruder stepper mount. The design did not allow for the stepper to slide close enough for the gears to mesh 100%. I’m sure variation of stepper sizes account for this.
I lightly dremeled the area to allow the motor to slide a bit more.
I ran into another little snag during the extruder build. One of the nuts that is placed in a pocket was not threaded and when I tried to run the screw in, the nut spun. I tried running a tap through the nut, but with it spinning it did nothing. The nut was retained just enough that I could not extract it with any tools or magnet that I have, so I drilled a small hole from underneath and used a small allen wrench to push the nut out. Once I replaced the nut the extruder went together fine.
At this point I had reached the end of the included instructions. I had about 3 hours into the extruder due to the challenges I encountered. I used the instructions from RepRapWiki RAMPS 1.4 – RepRapWiki and searched the intergoogles for ramps 1.4 wiring instructions. I got so engrossed at this point that my plan to take lots of pictures and notes totally fell apart. I would say the wiring took at least 6 hours. Much of that was very arduous work like crimping molex pins to 30 some wires. None of my crimpers would crimp that small of wire so I chose to use a needle nose pliers and fold each of the 4 tabs over then crimp down and shape so it would fit the provided plugs.
The printer is functional, but I am “in process” of adjusting the settings to get optimal output. I am also going to use this as parts to make a more industrial printer. This design was thought out and implemented for a user with no access to traditional machining. While that makes for a good learning experience and accessibility to many, it creates frustration for an individual who has been around industrial machines for several decades.