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Electron 3D - Sixth Generation Prusa i3 Anyone?

Posted by FirstAvenger 
Re: Electron 3D - Sixth Generation Prusa i3 Anyone?
August 25, 2016 12:35AM
So as the original Poster here, I thought I'd go into some details to look out for when buying this printer. It's been almost a year now since I bought this POS, and I've only just picked up on it again. Since my last post, I've managed to identify numerous issues with the printer that I didn't catch before, and with experience I've learned a lot about how truly bad this particular unit shipped was.

First off a word of advice, do NOT buy the large print area upgrade for 60.00. It's not worth it and you are getting ripped off. For 60.00, all you are getting is a piece of 280mm x 215mm x 3mm aluminum, mine had incredibly poorly drilled holes and you could tell they were not drilled "professionally" as in measured and done with a drill press. The holes were clearly drilled by hand.

They did not give you a larger Y Carriage plate, they did not include a larger heating element for the bed. This is kinda critical and I'll explain why later.

What you get is a 5.00 piece of aluminum that you can buy anywhere and drill yourself.

So coming back to this printer after almost a year, first step was to install an actual Large Print upgrade. After doing a bit of research, I purchased the following components from 3D CAM on Amazon:

3D Printer MK3 MK2A 300x200mm Aluminum Heated Bed, Hardware, Wiring, Thermistor Kit for Prusa i3 42.99

Large Size Aluminum Y Carriage Plate XL 300x200mm Prusa i3 RepRap 3D Printer Upgrade 29.99

So what did I get for 13.00 more than the thieves at 3dprintersonlinestore.com charged??

1. An actual FULL kit. 200mm x 300mm ALUMINUM Y carriage plate, as opposed to the cheaper and much smaller acrylic plate that came with the kit.
2. 300mm x 200mm heatbed with thermistor (heavy duty) and all necessary wiring. And a good amount to spare. (1 meter long pieces)
3. Aluminum Bed (which 3dprintersonlinestore.com charged me 60.00 for)
4. screws, nuts and silicon spacer material

This is something that would have been incredibly useful to know when I was starting out. The heat bed alone more than makes up for the 13 dollar cost difference. Previously I mentioned I would explain why the heat bed was a critical issue. One of the major complaints that I see on this printer is that the heat bed itself, and it's wiring are pretty sub standard. The heat bed doesn't get hot enough, and the wiring gets too hot because it's too light a gauge wire. IF it can't reach proper heat at 200mm x 200mm, how is it supposed to cover a large print area? the heat does need to be pushed through the area of the plate after all, and that means the stock heat bed is just going to dissipate even more before heating the entire bed.

So for 72.00, I have a full sized aluminum Y carriage base, meaning it's more stable, a full sized heating element with heavy duty wiring and a metal print base that actually fits.


A crappy, poorly drilled aluminum plate for 60.00

Seems to me this was a no brainer.
Re: Electron 3D - Sixth Generation Prusa i3 Anyone?
August 25, 2016 01:30AM
As with any product, not 100% of the products sold are going to be 100% perfect. I am pretty sure everyone has urchased something, and then had to take it back to the store because it was defective, it happens. What matters is how the dealer handles issues when they arise. Top notch customer support will always win a customers return business.

In my case, clearly I bought a unit that somehow failed quality inspection, was dropped or some other act of god before I got it.

Other issues I discovered, a couple just recently... the 3D Printed parts they included for the X-Axis carriage were slightly warped. Visibly not noticeable until you got into it.

Replacements parts for the X Axis assembly cost me 26.00 to have printed

Another surprise was I realized that one of the threaded Z Axis rods had an imperfection in the threads, but it looks like a manufacturing issue as they don't appear damaged in any way. Just one of them was bad. The other seemed fine, and the rod twisted itself all the way through the nut without being touched which was a bit amusing to play with for a moment or two.

Replacement rod, 16.00 with the nut. To play it safe though, I purchased a pair of them so I would be certain they were identical parts. and threaded the same. so another 32.00
Z axis now moves up and down as it was supposed to when I bought the kit. At this point, take note that so far I've spent just over 25% of the original cost of this printer to get what the ad promised I was buying in the first place.

Another of the add ons you can buy, the self leveling and height detection kit for 50.00, don't waste your money on this. Most of the functionality of this add on is in the software, and you can download the correct version online for free. The sensor for this can be bought online for less than 8.00. So it really doesn't make a lot of sense to waste your money on this. Had I know this before I bought the kit, I could have brought the price of the kit down to 365.00 instead of 415.00

Last option, the "All metal" Mk8 Extruder. On this one, I'll start by saying that I'm pretty sure not everyone got the poorly manufactured until like I did. Like the Aluminum bed that was poorly drilled and clearly not done with a proper drill press, my blocks mounting holes on this were poorly drilled. It looked like someone did it while they were drunk. it was so bad that I was only able to mount it with one of the provided screws as the second hole was completely destroyed by multiple attempts to drill a straight hole. Unfortunately this was another 50.00 out of pocket, and it wasn't salvageable. Also, later I found that I could have bought all metal parts in a kit...you guessed it...on Amazon. 15.00

As the MK8 hasn't exactly gotten the best reviews out there, this would probably be a good add on to avoid as well. And of course if you've been keeping track, all three of the add ons they offer are things best avoided if you want a quality printer when you are finished building it. IF you really want to build a great printer for a great price, buy the kit stock, then look for an E3D hot end. The real deal will cost you around 90.00, but there are cheap copy cat clones of this for 20.00. You will also get super nice prints from it.

After building this, I have to say I'm not really impressed with the acrylic frame. It flexes easily and twists. If you move it, you have to re level everything. I'd have loved if they had offered a 1080 or 2080 aluminum frame option like the Folger Tech FT-5. I'm looking at building my own frame for this, and maintaining the basic i3 design. I have seen kits now that have done away with the threaded rods for the z axis, and have a frame on rollers driven by a single stepper motor which I suspect are going to be WAYYYYY smoother than the current design. Unfortunately I don't really want to sit back and reddesign this entire thing to utilize a roller system. Maybe next time.

In all, I replace most of the components supplied with this kit except for the bearings, the motherboard, power supply and the acrylic frame.to get a working printer that is definitely not as good as the printer I bought after this one. And I'll probably Buy the Orballo frame kit for this since I am not a fan of the easily warped acrylic that it came with.

So if you MUST buy this kit.... do not buy any of the optional add on components. Go to Amazon, ask questions, do some research first. You will get a 500% better system if you source out the extras for this printer. And try to source the kit "locally", don't make the mistake of buying this from crooked Chinese dealers. Google Electron. IF you are in the USA, they are here in the states. Check eBay. Check Newegg. Check with someplace that will actually provide support, not take your money then refuse to respond when you do have an issue.
Re: Electron 3D - Sixth Generation Prusa i3 Anyone?
August 25, 2016 07:33AM
Great summary.

Can you share what you did for your extruder?
I bought the all metal parts off ebay and they don't fit the mounting. I've tried printing a few things off thingiverse with no luck.
Re: Electron 3D - Sixth Generation Prusa i3 Anyone?
August 25, 2016 02:11PM
Thingiverse has multiple options for this. Single and dual extruder options.
Re: Electron 3D - Sixth Generation Prusa i3 Anyone?
August 29, 2016 12:25PM
Just a quick follow up.......

If you want to do a large print area i3, but maybe you would prefer a nice borosilicate bed instead of aluminum, a vendor on Amazon called reprap champion has the 300 x 200 heat element with a borosilicate bed instead of aluminum for 44.99
Re: Electron 3D - Sixth Generation Prusa i3 Anyone?
September 02, 2016 04:42PM
while I thought it was a good printer for a beginner I decided to use the parts from mine to build a taz5 clone and I must say it far better and works a treat. screw upgrading this printer just use it as a donor and evolve it
Re: Electron 3D - Sixth Generation Prusa i3 Anyone?
September 02, 2016 07:35PM

I both agree and disagree. From things I have read, the quality control on this system might be more than a bit lacking, some people get a good unit, others are riddled with problems. For a beginner, it's a decent enough starting point under optimal conditions, but IF you get a bad unit like I did, an inexperienced beginner is going to be in over his head without a lot of help. When I bought this, I was a complete beginner to 3D printers, but I've been building projects and kits of other types far many many years. Fortunately this helped me get through the rough spots.

Initially I gave up on the thing, as I didn't have the time to waste on it, and ended up buying a Hatchbox Alpha which is far superior to any of the cartesian printers I've seen to date. And last week I ordered the ultimate cartestian printer, a Folgertech FT-5. I wasn't going to let this pile of parts get the better of me so I decided to finish it. I really wanted to see what you could do if these cheap kits were actually built properly. and...... just so I can say I did. smiling smiley

I feel like somewhat of a 3D printer veteran at this point.

Your TAZ clone project sounds intriguing. Do you have a blog on it anywhere?
Re: Electron 3D - Sixth Generation Prusa i3 Anyone?
September 04, 2016 10:19AM
Just as an FYI on this build, I did run across something during the redesign that I hadn't noticed before as I hadn't gotten very far with this system.

If you follow the build plans they provide, the mounting point for the mechanical end stop for the Z-Axis will stop the carriage as it is moving in the -Z direction, a full inch above the print bed.... WTF?!?!?!?! I looked at it and scratched my head.... checked again, yeah, no missing the proper mounting holes, carriage is assembled and mounted correctly, in the only direction it can be assembled and yep....... the X-Carriage moves down the -Z axis just as smooth as silk then stops with the hotend a full inch above the bed. LOL!!!

Not an issue as I have the self level sensor, which replaces the Z-Axis end stop, but it struck me as pretty funny.

For leveling, I'm doing something a bit different. This setup came with 4 screws with springs to adjust the level with. Pretty odd really. It's going to be the equivalent of solving a rubiks cube trying to level on those axis. What I am doing is only using 3 of the screws. 2 on the right side of the bed as I'm facing it, and one in the middle of the left hand side. The MK2A heat bed does have 3 holes on one side. Without going into all the geometry and explanations about intersecting planes etc. Bottom line is three points of contact is super simple to level. Level front to back on the side with two screws, then level from right to left towards the side with one screw. Instant level.

Only thing I'm not certain is, if the size of my heatbed, 300x200, will be an issue vs. a 200x200 bed (potential flexing of the heatbed) I'll figure that out after I do a level calibration.

For the moment, this is the extent of my modifications.

Once everything is working and printing to my satisfaction, the last modification is going to be an all aluminum X-axis carriage. I found online for 78.00. There is also one that has dual holes in the extruder carriage, which I will be mounting Dual E3D v6 Hotends to. One will carry regular filament, the second nozzle will be for the water soluable filament which will be used for bridges.


I get ambitious, and decide to build a box frame out of 1080 or 2080 extruded aluminum and bypass the X-carriage on rods in favor of a roller bearing rail system. This would eliminate pretty much all the wobble from these cheaper systems.
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