Intro: Building a 3D Printer
Hello and welcome back to another instructable from Switch & Lever!
We recently acquired a 3d printer kit, the Velleman K8200, a fairly low cost 3d printer with a high DIY factor, in that you have to assemble the printer yourself, complete with wiring and soldering.
In the following steps we chronicle the unboxing of the printer, the assembly and the printing and calibrating.
Step 1: Unboxing
Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lxZuI5CJpI
When picking up the box I was amazed over just how heavy it was, I had assumed that just some aluminium profiles and plastic parts wouldn't be back breaking to get home. In the end, that may be a good thing however, as weight tend to add stability to a construction as well.
The box was filled with bags and bags and bags of well labeled, or rather, well numbered, parts. Due to the weight I had half and half expected a heavy printed manual inside, but there was none. Instead the pieces came out and were ordered, going through the list of parts making sure nothing was missing.
Since everything seemed to be there, let's continue to the assembly part.
Step 2: Assembly
Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zqaOEqUuVQ
Now that we have all the parts all that's left is just to put it together! How hard can it be, I built models as a kid, everything should just snap together, right?
The online assembly manual of the K8200 is very detailed, filled with photos showing every little step you need to take, every little bolt which needs to be tightened. You do however need to take pedantic care in assembling the printer, as failing to insert something in one step will lead to a world of trouble seven steps down the line.
In the end, the build was easier than I expected though, even though there were some hiccups along the line. You should have some experience in soldering before taking on this project however, and some general experience in building and mechanics definitely doesn't hurt either.
It was definitely a fun build, but it took a couple of days on and off to finish. Finish it did though, and we're on to maybe the most exciting part, actually making the printer produce stuff, not just standing as a shining monolith of technical prowess.
Step 3: Printing and Calibrating
Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f92FHc5E8qM
I made the mistake, perhaps, of thinking that ABS could be easily printed off the bat. I tried and I failed, and I failed, and I failed. Frustatingly I thought I had spent my money and time in vain, on something as useful as an ice cube in the Arctic. The printer did print, but nothing stuck where it should, and the quality was horrid.
Eventually, over time, changing settings with every print the hurdles were slowly overcome. Slow by slow the K8200 started turning out parts which were not only decent, but actually quite excellent in their quality, considering that it's a FDM printer after all.
Step 4: In Closing
I hope you enjoyed this series of videos, and that it gave you a bit of an insight in how you can get a 3d printer yourself, without spending an arm and a leg, just a lot of your own time. If you have the money to spend there are better alternatives out there, yet I have no regrets in buying this printer. The alternatives are 3-4 times as expensive, and yeild not much better prints. I also, maybe most importantly, enjoyed myself immensely in the assembly and overcoming the issues the printer has.
If you would like the 3d model of the royal crown go to the YouTube page of the third video, the link is in the description.
Do you also have this printer, or perhaps a similar one also based on RepRap technology, please leave a comment below and tell us about your experiences.
Thanks for watching, see you next time!