2009-10-30

Starting assembly of a 3D printer

A CupCake CNC Kit that I recently ordered from MakerBot Industries arrived today.

I spent about 6 or 7 hours working today working on assembling it.  This is what I've accomplished so far.

Assembled the optical end stops:


Painted the large pieces that make up the exterior case (white on the inside, blue on the outside):


 Assembled the X and Y stages:

 
 
It's really neat how this is designed.  It's all laser cut plywood, held together with slots and tabs, and bolts with captive nuts.  I never knew you could do so much with plywood.

The assembly has gone pretty smoothly so far.  The instructions are very comprehensive.  I've only had a few tiny snags:
  • I dented the side of a bearing trying to get it to fit into the printed pulley.  I was afraid that I'd have to order a replacement bearing and wait for it to arrive.  Luckily the bearing still turns smoothly despite the dented side.  I ended up pressing it into the pulley using a vice.
  • The Y stage looks a bit different than the one in the instructions.  Not enough to cause any problems, though.
  • I don't seem to have any of the M3 washers that are needed in a couple places.  I had some small washers on hand that work OK.
  • It wasn't very clear to me how to attach the pulley to the X stage.  To start with, the instructions call for a M6 22mm bolt.  If my calipers are to be trusted, the closest bolt included is more like M5 25mm.  It also wasn't clear to me which way the plastic pulley goes on (directions show a wooden one), or how many nuts and washers go under the pulley.  By experimenting, I managed to find a combination that seems to hold the pulley at the correct height for the belt.  I also had to move the drive pulley on the stepper motor out further on the shaft than the instructions said.
I'd say that so far, this is extremely easy to put together.   The little things above are just enough to keep it interesting without getting frustrating.  I'm probably less than a third of the way done with the assembly though, so I'll have to see how the rest of it goes.
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