I posted on this community a few days ago asking what was the best 3d printer under 600 dollars and after considering all the suggestions I got. I decided I would settle with the print bot simple metal. Now, I must decide weather to get the assembled model or the kit. I dont really have that much experience in assembling stuff so I wanted to know from the people that have purchased the kit if the assembly is particularly hard to for a first time 3D printer builder. Thanks
That’s pretty relative. It takes a couple hours and you have to wire it. If you want to be sure you have a printer and are OK with the money assembled might be the way to go. If you want the experience you can always look at the directions on their site and see if you think you can handle it
I would always recommend building. You will learn more that way. 3D Printing is still a lot of fiddling and understanding the machine is half of it.
Go slowly. Don’t rush anything. Stop when you are tired. Measure twice, and then once again before cutting.
There are tons of build videos on YouTube and you can ask questions here.
Without wanting to throw a spanner in your decision. Have you looked at RepRapPro https://reprappro.com/product-category/reprap-kits/
They are in the same time zone as you and have great build support via chat. The instructions on the website are also really good.
I enjoy building and they have the assembly manual available for download. take a look at it and decide if you can deal with the process.
Have you watched any of these videos in this playlist?
Assembly videos of Metal Simple. And I, too, would suggest building over ‘out of the box’ kit. That way if you need to fix problems you will know how disassemble the bot to fix it.
Do you like to build stuff and take it apart and rebuild it
Do you just wanna print?
Built first computer and first printer.
Will always buy assembled now.
I just wanna print!
Plenty of settings and adjustments to play with on an assembled.
I think i’m going to build it. At the end of the day there’s a certain satisfaction to building the printer yourself and especially being able to say that you actually built a 3D printer.
I was worried about getting a kit with missing or DOA parts so I bought mine assembled. I have since taken it halfway apart many times so I don’t feel like I missed out on the assembly fun.
Go with your gut. If you are nervous, go with fully built. It shouldn’t be a money decision.
I bought the PrintrBot simple-metal self-assembly kit just 3 weeks ago - my first 3D printer.
I do recommend this printer, but if you want to assemble it yourself, then be prepared for some frustrations.
It took me 4 hours to to get it to the point where I could power it up and test it, but I am an engineer, so building a 3D printer was an interesting journey for me.
Just one thing that you will need that is NOT in the kit itself - thread-locking glue. This glue is not optional. You will soon see why if you try to print without gluing set screws properly…
Loctite is the thread-locking product mentioned by name in the Printrbot instructions, but here in Australia I found an equivalent product called Zap Z-42 Blue threadlocker in my local hobby shop.
@Paul_Gross Yes, on the printrbot assembly guide they give you a link to purchase the glue online
What kind of frustrations were there… Were any of the pieces broken or missing because at this point that is my biggest fear… @Paul_Gross
Missing pieces, you will visit the local hardware store every other day til printer is built. Loctite is important, I ruined gears.
Poorly written directions OMG! I had built it inside out!
Wires like to come off of boards. I had a USB port soldered back on. Something else broke, could not calibrate to save my life. Gave that printer to a maker house.
Bought 2nd crowd source printer assembled but board fried, have to send it back or replace it myself. Yuck
Happily printing away on my Replicator 2 right now. Totally worth it.
I hear from engineers that they had trouble and 12 year old kids do it without issue. It’s all over the map! Ymmv for sure. 4 hours to build a 3d printer… There is a first world problem! 3 years ago it took me weeks
Does anyone know what printerbots return policy is like if, lets say pieces are missing or broken. Or if you can’t just assemble the thing LOL
What frustration did I have? Well… remember that this is my first 3D printer, and I really wanted to learn about the machine.
I approached the kit assembly very slowly and methodically. It’s actually a good kit - I felt like a young kid again!
Everything is there (except thread-lock glue). They put in more screws, washers and things than you actually need - I completed it with a small bag of spare bits left over. But it’s not simple like an Ikea desk or similar. There are many more steps to follow, and the instructions I found on the web did not exactly match my kit. I just used a bit of logic and figured it out correctly anyway.
You will likely build it fairly quickly, but I reckon you will have more trouble getting it to print reliably.
The secret to reliable printing is in the leveling of the build plate. Once my build plate was perfectly level, I had great success. I think that this is true of 3D printers in general.
The built-in electronics tries to do the job of leveling for you by sampling the plate height and dynamically compensating. It’s a nice idea, but it didn’t quite work for me. After a week or frustration, I carefully measured my plate’s height at each corner, and found that one corner was down by a tiny bit - just 0.2mm, but that was enough to ruin most of my prints.
So I thought about it, and found a very simple, purely mechanical fix for my plate - I put 4 small spring-washers under the plate fixing screws so they then became leveling screws. Then I just manually adjusted the screws to level out the -0.2mm corner - and now it prints great!
Here is the link to the details of exactly how I leveled my plate:
@Paul_Gross dosent the simple metal have an auto leveling bed and thanks alot for the info. The directions now are much better then they were. Their is now a really nice assembly guide on youtube with step by step instructions
The Printrbot Simple-Metal does have an auto-leveling plate - but for me that feature didn’t quite work properly.
I found that by adding 4 spring washers under the plate and investing about 15 minutes of effort I manually leveled the plate much, much better than the auto-leveling feature.
My Printrbot still runs that auto-level program at the start of each print, but the program finds that the bed is already level, so no z-axis compensation is applied during actual printing.
I think that having a properly leveled bed also means that my z-axis motor and shaft assembly has less wear-and-tear, because my z-axis is no longer constantly moving up and down while the x and y-axis motors do their dance around each layer. My z-axis motor now does just its assigned job - occasionally stepping up to the next layer.
I am now routinely printing at 100 micron resolution without any issues on that crucial first layer, but before that, very few of my prints would stick properly to my plate.
Auto-leveling - which more correctly should be called z-axis compensation, is a feature that looks good on paper, but in practice is not quite the panacea that some people expect it to be. The Printrbot people probably won’t like me saying that, but it is my honest and considered opinion.
All that said - I really do like my Printrbot Metal-Simple very much, and I still would recommend it as a great entry-level 3D printer.