Kit vs assembled

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imsmooth
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Kit vs assembled

Post by imsmooth » Thu May 08, 2014 1:57 am

I am trying to decide on the kit or assembled unit. I would like to get a feel for all the parts; on the other hand, I would like to know the unit has been tested and all the motors and board work.

What have people done here? Which did you get?

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Tim
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Re: Kit vs assembled

Post by Tim » Thu May 08, 2014 2:20 am

I built mine from a kit (early 2013). Like you, I wanted a feel for the parts and how they all work together. I think that's a perfectly good reason for getting a kit. As it happens, most of the Z-stage platform is already put together, including the Z motor and screw---these are supposedly the hardest part to install, and the Z screw is fairly easy to damage in the process. So all that's done for you. The chance of having a non-working motor or other part is pretty slim. There just aren't that many moving parts, and most of them are very sturdy. In a number of places, the instructions can be confusing, but usually it's not too difficult to figure out, and the forum is available if you get stuck. I took it slowly, and finished it in the better part of a day (split over two half-days, because the delivery came in the afternoon), and have been having fun with it ever since!

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jimc
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Re: Kit vs assembled

Post by jimc » Thu May 08, 2014 2:51 am

same for me. i did the kit. i am pretty decent mechanically speaking so it wasnt a big deal to put it together. other than some of the details and connections to the rambo board i could really just look at a picture of the m2 and put it together with no instructions. its not too difficult. overall i think i was printing in 5hrs. as tim said, its pretty slim that something would be wrong with a stepper or the rambo board. if you are not too handy though then i would recommend an assembled unit for sure.

Toby
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Re: Kit vs assembled

Post by Toby » Thu May 08, 2014 3:18 am

I got an assembled to avoid any pitfalls in putting it together myself. I didn't want frustration right at the start before I even knew what I was doing. If I got another one now, it would be the kit.

The only pitfall I ran into with the assembled version is that since I had no practical experience with this kind of hardware, I didn't know exactly what I had to pay attention to in order to print successfully. I understood theoretically how it worked, but actually staring at a z-stop end bolt left me a bit unsure what to do with it. Combining several uncertainties together made for some frustration, and the documentation wasn't much help to me. But this group was- and it didn't take long before I was over the hump and printing with confidence.

I may be wrong, but I think it's a common experience for new owners- kit or assembled- to need a bit of help at some point in the process. If only just to clear up a question or two. But no question that you will get the help, either from MG or this group.

imsmooth
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Re: Kit vs assembled

Post by imsmooth » Thu May 08, 2014 4:08 am

What is the M2 LCD interface on the ordering page? Is this something I should get? Does it allow me to remotely print off of an SD card?

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jimc
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Re: Kit vs assembled

Post by jimc » Thu May 08, 2014 4:15 am

it allows you to print without being connected to a pc via usb. i have not been following the threads but there are a few going between here and the google group that discuss the firmware changes that need to take place. seems some people have trouble and others do not. its not quite a plug and play piece......but dont quote me. maybe someone else can chime in on it more.

Toby
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Re: Kit vs assembled

Post by Toby » Thu May 08, 2014 5:15 am

Just to be clear, without the LCD you can still print off the SD card, but you need to be connected to a pc via usb to start the job. Once started you can use your pc for other things, disconnect the cable, etc. That's the usual way of printing I think, since printing over the USB ties up your pc and leaves you prone to failures due to things like the pc going to sleep.

So the work flow is: Connect to the M2 via your PC (or Mac or whatever). Do stuff like get the bed preheating, perform bed leveling and z-height adjustment, then slice and generate gcode, copy the gcode to your sd card and put it in the M2, and then start the print off the sd card from your pc.

markb
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Re: Kit vs assembled

Post by markb » Thu May 08, 2014 3:52 pm

I built mine. It got here 4/5/14 so it was a recent build. They do some assembly for you the hardest part. I liked putting it together. They packaged it very well everything was labeled nicely that really helps. I think you get to know more about it putting it together. I really took my time and was printing the next morning. I had a few jamming issues but support has been great to work with and we have it all sorted out. It is printing great now. The kit might not be right for everyone I am glad I got the kit.

sprior
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Re: Kit vs assembled

Post by sprior » Thu May 08, 2014 4:53 pm

I built mine from the kit early this April, it took me around 6 hours and is my first 3D printer. I think it is a good experience if you're so inclined. I did get a bad bed thermistor which prevented the bed from heating so for the first weekend I ended up printing on blue tape while they sent me a replacement - no big deal. When building a kit you often go by the rule that you're not done until you run out of parts - this won't be true for this kit. They include so many extra/spare screws that you need to carefully follow the instructions to know that you've got it all. I found a couple of things confusing with the RAMBO board because its design changed slightly from the one pictured and the SD card cable wasn't obviously color keyed as expected, but got that solved quickly. It worked out OK, but if I were doing it again I'd screw the idler bolts to the frame before assembling them so I didn't need a thin wrench to tighten it - just a minor optimization there.

If you're buying any 3D printer these days you're a "maker" - that means you should be willing to fiddle a bit with things. Building the printer as a kit gets you started in that direction. I find value in tweaking the M2 and making it your own and not be afraid to change it, even for cosmetic things at first. So to overcome that hurdle do things like replace the back filament arm with one you print, change the SD card slot cover, minor things at first, but quickly get past any idea that this thing should stay the same as it came from the factory. Now a month later having some success with ABS I printed a slightly upgraded filament drive part which I plan to install maybe this weekend.

imsmooth
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Re: Kit vs assembled

Post by imsmooth » Thu May 08, 2014 5:32 pm

So I don't need the LCD screen. If I got it right, I power up the m2, load the file by USB
And once started I can disconnect from the computer.


So, what does the LCD allow one to do? Do many people get the LCD?
Last edited by imsmooth on Thu May 08, 2014 6:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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