Are you ready to buy and assemble your own 3D printer? Matt, WX1A describes his Prusa printer build in detail.
Matt, WX1A is retired engineer living in California. Last fall, we were talking about diversity reception, when suddenly our conversation slipped into 3D printing. Next thing I knew, Matt was doing a Prusa printer build.
Says Matt: “First of all, I would highly recommend building the kit vs. buying assembled. (One key factor is that the price of the kit is below the threshold for US Customs fees to kick in. Therefore, shipping is less complicated.)
The biggest reason to build the kit is that you’ll understand, in detail, how the machine works. Future maintenance and troubleshooting should be much easier. I can’t say that building the kit was always fun. At times it was tedious (especially the print head – lots of small parts whose assembly wasn’t intuitive to me). Some hints: First, buy a hex driver (e.g., Wiha 96325 2.5x60mm from Amazon) as you will be tightening on the order of 100 M3 screws. Second, keep a few small paper cups handy during assembly to hold/organize small parts.
Third, assume that you will drop dozens of small parts on the floor during assembly. Perhaps lay a bedsheet or drop cloth on the floor under your chair. I spend at least an hour in total on my hands and knees looking for small parts that I dropped on our highly textured rug.
Finally, use the online version of the kit instructions. They are up to date and have some VERY useful hints in the form of comments from others. You’ll probably only get stuck 2 or 3 times during your Prusa printer build, but you’ll find a wealth of help from others who got stuck at the same spot.”
Prusa Printer Build – Startup Experiences
According to WX1A: “I was crestfallen when I plugged the unit it and switched it on to find it totally dead. Then, I discovered that I didn’t have the power plug fully inserted. This confirms that I am an idiot at times! Early calibration is boring but essential. Take your time and get the PINDA calibration and first layer calibration correct. If you don’t, you’ll end up frustrated and will eventually have to go back and do it correctly. Might as well get it right the first time.
About early prints, the ones that come on the Prusa-supplied SD card are fine. I recommend that you build something like the frog (using PLA material) initially to satisfy your need for early success. Then I recommend getting a free Thingiverse account and download some very small flat items to use as a test print. I found a “ghost” bookmark that I use as my test print as I experiment with different materials and settings, It prints quickly (about 20 min) and gives good feedback as to your settings.”