Your first instinct is going to be to unpack everything and start assembling… but wait!
The first thing you will want to do is look at the assembly instructions included on the SD card included in your kit (Also available online here). You may not be familiar with the parts, but going through the instructions will make it easier to recognize the parts/steps when you get to them.
Second, I recommend skimming these videos before assembly, but at least following them during. They show the assembly more clearly than the PDF instructions.
Once you’ve skimmed the instructions and the videos, inventory your kit. Make sure all parts are present. You will have an excess of hardware because counting hardware is expensive so they seem to give you about 10% extra by weight (my observation)
Once you confirm all your parts are there and seem intact, start building!
A few tips, though…
- In the video, they don’t peel the protective paper off the acrylic. I highly recommend that you remove this paper before starting any assembly. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and fiddly. But, if you leave it on, the printer doesn’t look as nice, gets smudges all over, and is impossible to remove completely after assembly. Use a small acrylic piece (like the ones that retain the rods) to help start peeling the protective paper off of the bigger pieces. Since they’re the same hardness, they won’t scratch each other.
- Disassemble the H frame to peel the film off of it… Then reassemble the frame with the bar that joins the 2 sides on the bottom of the assembly, unlike the video. It provides better alignment of the Y-axis belt.
- The acrylic pieces that attach the Y belt will break if over tightened. Just past snug will hold them well.
- The video and instructions show installing the Z-axis supports on the machine then install the rods. You should assemble the Z gantry supports and rods first because sometimes it takes more effort (I’ve had a few kits that took a few taps from a small hammer) and this can distort the Z axis rods/lead screws leading to frustrating printing problems. Install the rods in the left support, make sure they’re completely seated, then install the right end. Once that’s together, then install each side of that assembly as shown in the video.
Non printed upgrades
- Add an external MOSFET to take the load off the mainboard, as the onboard MOSFET may fail if you run extended high temp prints, sometimes catastrophically.
- Install Marlin firmware
- Glass/mirror bed (See printed retainers below)
- Power switch mounting panel
- Bed levelling knob
- Improved Y belt mount
- Y belt tensioner
- Z axis fine-tuning screw
- Top-mount filament holder with spool holder
- X axis belt mount/tensioner
- Glass bed retainers
Detailed tutorials for these upgrades are coming soon!
Slicer software for generating G-code tool paths from STL files:
- Cura – Free and easy to use with lots of options and extra advanced features that can be “unhidden” once you’re comfortable
- Slic3r – Free and open source alternative to Cura. Not as many features, but still highly customizable.
- Simplify3D – Widely recognized as the most powerful slicing software, however, comes with a hefty $150 price tag. Made for professionals and serious enthusiasts.
Design software for creating your own designs
- Tinkercad – Good for beginners, learning to work with primitives and boolean operations. Also has the ability to build and simulate electronic circuitry and code. Built by the defacto CAD/CAM/CAE masters Autodesk. Fairly easy to use, but still takes some education to use well.
- Fusion 360 – Extremely powerful software for professionals by Autodesk. Normally ~$500 per year, they have opened it up for free to students and the Maker community. Has a steeper learning curve but an extremely helpful professional community and lots of tutorials and other resources.
If you have questions or issues with a kit purchased from us, please contact us below.