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Kit for one day build workshop

Posted by tobben 
Kit for one day build workshop
January 20, 2016 06:44AM
Hello Everyone!

I'm working on designing a one day RepRap build workshop. The idea is similar to what thetazzbot presented here. We're especially interested in realizing what he mentions at the end of the request:
It would be neat to establish a framework for experienced builders to use as a guideline to conducting these kind of classes in their local markets.

Our project will collect data such as module build times, where did participants get stuck, kit quality, preparation work hours, economics etc. Our goal is to make it easier for RepRappers (and especially workshop participants themselves) to organize workshops in the future.

So we wonder which kit to use for the first workshop?

We would prefer a kit with few, but high quality parts, and we would like the coordinate system to be Cartesian, but any suggestion/input is welcome.

Suggestions from previous threads
thetazzbot's thread suggests Fisher and Folgertech 2020 i3.
AdamCBlank's thread ends up recommending the Prusa 8" i3v Kit (V-Slot Extrusion) kit (from a narrow list of alternatives).
printmate3d's thread presents exactly the kind of kit we're looking for, but sadly it carries a non-commercial licence.

Other observations in the market
We've noticed that favourite high-quality suppliers like nophead and reprappro.com are going out of the kit-business, while others (like Replikeo, Folgertech, 3dprintersbay, 3dprintersonlinestore) suddenly sell kits dirt cheap (< $300). This is tempting but also kind of confusing.

Re: Kit for one day build workshop
January 20, 2016 08:30AM
The market observations are interesting. Here are my thoughts.

The promise of on demand manufacturing that 3d printing represented and caught the eye of the media has not been fully realized because of the temperamental nature of these machines and the technology they employ. This is not an every-man hobby. You have to have a particular set of skills and patience to just not end up smashing the thing to bits. This philosophy of "tinker till it works" needs to be baked into the message of the workshop. Also worth really driving home is the message that printing bits of plastic is not the primary goal. Learning how computers drive machines to do work, and how that work is done is of highest value. If all you want to do is print plastic, buy a ready built machine from your local electronics store and spare yourself the endless hours of failure. If you're building a kit to save $500, trust me, you'll spend that in some way or fashion building a kit.

Now, if you still haven't scare them away...

You want to choose a kit that you don't have to support. Going with some company that has a good reputation and forum is key.
You want to choose a kit that will produce good results with fewest moving parts.
You want to choose a kit with fewest structural 3D printed plastic parts.
I would look at the makerbot clone on Folgertech for $349. You could get them to give you a discount further if you bought 10 (class size should be targeted at 10 people). You could use eventbrite.com to presell the tickets to the class, upcharging so you make some money for administrative and instructor overhead (lunch for the class?). So, $450 for a one day workshop take home your printer is an easy sell.

This is my new favorite


Although I have not built one yet it is on my list.
Re: Kit for one day build workshop
January 20, 2016 02:39PM
Thanks for the input! You're really right that participants needs to be prepared for and enthusiastic about tinkering, building and learning.

I understand you've had bad experiences with printed parts. My own experience is that printed parts work really well.

Other than frame stiffness, do you see any advantages of the Makerbot clone over for example a Prusa i3 kit?

The Cloner looks like a good printer, but I'm worried about part-sourcing and the extra time that participants will be fiddling with cables for the LCD screen and the A4988 potentiometers.

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