Saturday, June 9, 2012

kabamaprusa: Genesis

Ye shall be named kabamaprusa...

So, as foretold by the prophets, I've decided to document the "birth" of my 3D printer, kabamaprusa. There are a lot of good guides and tutorials out there, most of them outdated though, so there is no rationale for another one. This is not going to be an exhaustive how-to or step-by-step guide, but rather a photo album along with some instructions on how to circumvent building difficulties.  I am mainly motivated by two reasons. The first is that I'll need to reassemble the printer when I take it back to Greece. Here, in Spain, the Guru and Spiritual Lead3r Obi Juan is guiding me through the whole process, but given the goldfish memory I possess this is absolutely necessary. The second reason is that I'll try to give some tips & tricks on small problems that occur during the construction, which are unlikely to find in a guide. This troubleshooting, hopefully, could be useful to others too. So let's get going.

Introduction: Dad I want you to meet Printer.

The evolution of 3d printer models is so rapid that most of the guides you'll find on google are refering to the construction of then state-of-the-art but now obsolete printers. Even those one year old. But that doesn't mean that there is not good quality material that one can't refer to. Before commencing anything you should take a look at this site. It is a very good introduction to 3d printer construction. It refers to prusa mendel: iteration 1 (I'm building iter. 2 by the way). Here is a very thorough and downloadable visual guide for building an iter. 1 prusa. I actually use this guide but there are a few deviations from it for it. 2. The ultimate shrine for amateur 3d printers is You can find almost any information you need, no need to explain just go and see for yourself. If you know spanish you can have a look at  Juan's site which is full of usefull information.

Parts sourcing: Where to get the really good stuff.

Let me start buy telling that you can buy a kit (even preassembled) from any printer you like. From cheap and small printers like makible and printrbot (which was the first kickstarted 3d printer apparently) up to makerbot's replicator. You can also buy a prusa mendel it. 2 from many stores. You can check for one of them in the best price I've come across, while availabillity can often be an issue.
In flesh and bones
For buying the parts seperately there are a lot of good hardware stores. See this buyer's guide for a comprehensive list. If you live in Europe I would highly recommend It's a Dutch site with high quality products. Their nema stepper motors have the best torque I've seen, in specs at least. They also have very competive prices. Also I have to mention that their customer support is very friendly and helpful - muchas gracias Henriette! The only downside is that they don't sell the printed parts. Generally speaking, having a friend print you the plastic parts will save you a lot of money, and it's not so difficult as you think nowadays.
Well, there is one obvious advantage for buying a kit: no need to worry if you forget something, or if you got the right part etc. The downside is that they usually cost more and they are more often out of stock than not. But since this is a swiftly evovling market you can expect things to have changed when you'll be reading this.

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