My total build time was less than four hours. Keep in mind that I was shooting photos and taking notes, so I might have been able to complete it in three hours or less. But I wasn’t in a hurry, and you shouldn’t be either.
There’s a reason this 3D printer is called the Printrbot Simple. It’s not hard to build. You have to take your time, examine the photos, read the assembly instructions, and look over all the parts in your kit to make sure you’ve got everything. It’s amazing that the only tools required were two Allen wrenches (2.5mm and 1.5mm), a Phillips-head screwdriver, pliers, scissors, wood glue, and my two hands. I’ve put together furniture that required more tools than this!
Still, I know that the first time building a 3D printer can be a bit stressful. I recommend frequent breaks. If you hit a snag or get frustrated, walk away for a few minutes.
Sometimes, skipping ahead in the instructions can also help. I don’t mean you should jump ahead and start building, but simply observe. Look at photos and read instructions, and you’ll find that sometimes a question you have is answered a few steps forward. I found myself doing this a few times when I was trying to understand how one or two small pieces were oriented with respect to other pieces. Another time, I jumped ahead to see a photo that showed me the proper orientation of the wiring on one motor. Take advantage of the dozens of full-color photos that often help you out.
Keep in mind that the assembly instructions for the Simple are a work in progress. If an error is found, it’s usually fixed quickly and an update is posted online. In fact, as I wrote this, I went over the assembly instructions and found two new steps for creating a flat surface on the extruder motor’s axle with a file. Those weren’t there yesterday, and I’m glad I found them because it’s an easy thing to remove the extruder motor and perform this step.
So, I’ll wrap up this chapter by summarizing some of the lessons I learned during my Simple build:
- Don’t overtighten your M3 bolts.
- Look at photos to determine where a zip-tie nub is placed (and on what side of the wood).
- An extra set of hands is always nice, especially when wrapping the fishing line around the vinyl tubing on the X and Y motors.
- Use a ruler to measure the length of bolts; don’t eyeball them.
- If a step doesn’t call for wood glue, don’t use it!
- Use a screwdriver and pliers to tighten a zip tie one or two more clicks.
- When hammering in the 10” metal rods for the Z axis, use a rubber mallet and go slowly. The metal rods do not need to go all the way through the holes on the very bottom of the Simple; 3/4 is fine.
- When in doubt, contact tech support at (http://www.jotformpro.com/Printrbot/support-ticket) or post a question on the forum (http://www.printrbottalk.com/forum/)
I wish you the best of luck as you build your Simple! It was fun to build, and I cannot wait to fire it up and start printing, which is the focus of Chapter 4, “Configuring the Software.” I also show you how to test your Simple to make sure everything works as designed, and then we print a test item. Let’s go!