Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Buliding a Prusa i3 MK2

I have built (or help others building) quite a few Prusa i3, from sets I sourced myself, including the self-printed parts to commercial kits from bq or Josef Prusa himself. But when I saw the latest i3 version I was surprised about the ingenuity of some its solutions.

Having used kits from Prusa3D before I knew they left no details unattended, so I could understand them charging more than others. We are very happy with the i3 we built from kit so next time we needed to get some printers I had to decide between what I reckon are two good choices: bq's Hephestos 2 or Prusa i3 MK2. H2 has larger bed but it does not have a heated bed. MK2 can do more materials and can print hotter than H2, so we stayed to that.

The kit comes is a box similar to the cardboard box of a mini-tower PC. There are different smaller boxes and plastic bags inside with the assorted components.

 And it comes with its own set of tools (not the red box but the other tools).
 Motors come well protected, as some of them now have a long threaded shaft, plus each motor is identified with the axis name.
 Plus a bag with all the printed parts, any color you want as far as it is orange (there are a few black parts too).
 The power supply comes pre-wired and protected by a plastic part that holds a power switch and a power socket.
 Now let's begin the build. Kit comes with a full-color manual with  pictures and explanations, but you might want to have a computer nearby so you can zoom-in whenever you need a better picture (my sight could be better). Steps are numbered and there is a bag of metal parts and a bag of plastic parts for each step. Just follow the manual and you will be ok.
 Little by little some differences start to appear. And you may even panic. Like when it seems there is something wrong with the new y-axis belt holder, whose screws apparently go through an untapped hole in the y-carriage x-shaped part. And it is then when Prusa3D plays what I think is one of their better assets, they have a chat applet in their website you can use you to get support in real-time. So in case of doubt you can contact them to help you realize there was nothing wrong and that you just missed some detail because MK2 does some things a bit different (there are no tapped holes anymore on y-carriage in case you are wondering).
 Another thing that is differnt is that now z-axis motors come with a built-in threaded shaft.
 X-axis does business as usual but now it includes room for an end-switch and later you will need to add the somehow tricky z-axis nuts.
 Just follow the suggested sequence and your machine will be taking shape.
 Did not I mention candy is part of the kit? What is unclear is what is the best step to use it, as the manual does not mention it nor the bag has a number attached. Anyway, it is a nice touch too, that might even please any little ones you might have around.
 So after three hours of work we were like this.
And one hour later our built was finished. Our biggest mistake was to mount y-carriage the wrong way, so later we could not fix the heated bed to it. One shameful chat later, we realize what we did wrong and fixed it and the build was done.

However, it took us one hour more for setting up the machine. Making sure all was square was easy. Do not forget what the kit does not include but you will need is a ruler, at least 100mm long. Another thing that can be useful to have around is a wire cutter for trimming the many zip-ties you will use. We used the pliers from the kit but those will leave a long-ish piece of material.

Our first print was a PLA batman that failed almost at the end as the model included no heating of the bed, I do not know why.

All in all, I am impressed with the kit.


  • At 12:48 pm, Anonymous jose civera said…

    Hola Miguel.

    ¿Cómo es que comentas que el kit no incluía la cama caliente? ¿Algún error en el empaquetado del kit?

  • At 12:50 pm, Blogger Miguel Sánchez said…

    Era el archivo de Batman el que no incluía la orden de calentar la cama :-)


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