Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 08, 2015 07:39AM
Hi!

I've decided to buy a 3d printer (on a budget) and the Prusa I3 caught my eye.

Thing is, many of the kits are not available to me (shipping constraints, and/or price due to shipping cost and taxes), So my question is:
Can I buy a simple kit from eBay and buy parts to upgrade it to "Hephestos" (for example)?
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 08, 2015 01:19PM
Hi,

As you're talking about Hephestos, I guess you want a good printer,
but you probably did not save enough money to buy a good kit.
And you ask yourself if a cheap kit can be a good start.
The awnser is probably no.

First, there's no perfect kit. Even Hephestos is not.
The cheapest you buy, the worst it is.
So you will have to upgrade a lot to make it works properly.
Unless your claims are pretty low.

To me the Hephestos fails in some points :
- oldstyle Ramps board
- Z M5 threaded rods with standard nuts (wear, play) and flexible cheap couplers
- Enstops attachements
- M8 smooth rods
- Z motors and attachement printed parts (not stiff enough)
- Hotend/Extruder (even if it's not the worst ever)
- Threaded rod Y chassis

IMHO there's not a lot of benefits to get a kit (especialy a cheap one !).
It just can be faster, and easyer to get the parts. But that's all.
Building tutorials can be found everywhere on the web,
and builders comes here to get a good help anyways.
There will be some weak points in the kit : a perfectible extruder,
the wrong hotend, no ACME Z screws, no belt tensioning system...
And on a cheap kit, anything good is missing.

If you want a good printer at low cost,
the best you can do is to source the best possible parts by yourself.
Maybe if you've got some tools, you can build some parts.
Making a MDF frame is no bid deal.
Look around if you know a friend who owns a 3D printer,
or if there's a fablab in the neighbourhood.

You can ask here for building the best possible Bill Of Materials.
Depending of your local area you can find members that can make parts for you.
Plastic parts can be shipped at reasonable cost.

On thingiverse you can find designs with BOM attached.
The french IRC channel maintain a list of BOMs : [docs.google.com]

++JM
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 08, 2015 02:32PM
I disagree. you can get a decent starter kit. You might be able to get a better printer if you buy it peice by peice, but, for instance, I purchased a replikeo kit for $299, spend $200 on upgrades (120 of that on a chimera hot end, which, while nice, wasn't needed after I figured out how you are supposed to set up the hot end) and I am very happy with it.

The advantage of the kit over buying everything individually for a beginner is it lays out everything you need, it's all there. Then, you can decide where to upgrade. It will be more expensive, but I think the alternative of searching for every part is a kind of daunting,
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 09, 2015 09:02AM
Had a "Conversation" with my wife yesterday...

I need your recommendation for a cheap printer that wouldn't require as much work on as a kit ,she fears I'll be frustrated quickly if something doesn't work and the printer will just take up space and collect dust until the end of times spinning smiley sticking its tongue out
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 09, 2015 09:13AM
Hi guys,
Quote
Qdeathstar
I disagree.(...) but, for instance, I purchased a replikeo kit for $299, spend $200 on upgrades (...)
I don't know why you disagree : you're the perfect example illustrating what I'm saying.
Buy a cheap kit, then spend 66% more to get the printer you need.
This is a strong argument for the no perfect kit theory !
I can't imagine you're satified to have spent $200 on upgrades over a $300 kit. There's something surreal, uh ?
Finaly you sourced parts by yourself to upgrade. Wasn't it daunting ? winking smiley

Actualy, if you follow a BOM, there's nothing you should be afraid of.
Get the right part at the start and you could build the perfect printer for less than $300.

But don't get me wrong : feel free to spend more on an kit and more again for upgrades if you like, it's your money winking smiley

++JM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/09/2015 09:23AM by J-Max.
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 09, 2015 09:44AM
Hi again,

It looks like you posted while I was writing.
I know that woman's conversations... winking smiley
If you're not into DIY or if you own two left hands, or if you don't want to spend a lot of time building,
Go for a pre-mounted printer, like the WanHao Duclicator i3, the Printerbot Play, or something alike.
There's already mounted 3D printers too, some are very cheap; like the Mini Fabrikator..
A lot of kit manufacturers sell mounted or premounted printers.
Of course they're more expensive than kits.

++JM
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 09, 2015 10:29AM
I have a Folger acrylic kit(inexpensive) and am very happy with it. This for hobby purposes isn't it and not for production? Hobbies are supposed to challenge you and help pass the time. I had it printing a few calibration pieces and before I was finished with the calibration I modified it for auto levelling and now I've retired and have some time to complete that. For me the whole point of these things is to challenge me and keep the wheels turning and learn some new skills. If you want a show piece, you can buy them built and you'll probably print a few pieces and be bored afterwards. I have the skills to build the plastic one without cracking any tabs but if I were to do it again I would buy the metal one as I think it would be more stable over time. If you get frustrated this forum can help as can the internet community. Or maybe a local hacker club has a 3D printer group.
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 09, 2015 05:28PM
i started thinking about this one [www.3dprintersonlinestore.com] for size upgrade then discovered it was a little costy for the + (seems to be just an aluminium plate)
then this one [www.3dprintersonlinestore.com] as I toled myself, let s take the cheaper and upgrade it

then this one [www.3dprintersonlinestore.com] when I saw writings about the easy broken acrylics

then this one [www.3dprintersonlinestore.com] because it is "X" .. "4x faster" dual extruder ready.. hm
then I found an horrible topic about the geeetech missing parts, ppls insulted by them..
as I was still wanting more and more I was attracted by the dual extruders Qdeathstar mentionned

but in the same time i was having the BOM page J-Max mentionned opened and started to right lick open the links of some builds.. it was like, all the same parts as in the kits, but bought separately, assuming the packages will be smaller, items can arrive in better conditions..
and it was all free of shipping costs, and even stuffs selected in "eu shops".. maybe for security, were also foundable in aliexpress..

So now I m there : [reprap.org]
I m going to open a topic on how to upgrade/modify the Frame

I think it just depend on how much you are able to say "ok, go my little money, go.."
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 10, 2015 07:33AM
Quote
J-Max
Hi,

As you're talking about Hephestos, I guess you want a good printer,
but you probably did not save enough money to buy a good kit.
And you ask yourself if a cheap kit can be a good start.
The awnser is probably no.

If I wanted to spend a 1000$+ on the start I wouldn't be here smiling smiley

But I am looking for a good kit to start with.


I think this thread can be moved elsewhere since it now has less to do with the Prusa i3 variants.
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 10, 2015 07:38AM
Quote
J-Max
Hi guys,
Quote
Qdeathstar
I disagree.(...) but, for instance, I purchased a replikeo kit for $299, spend $200 on upgrades (...)
I don't know why you disagree : you're the perfect example illustrating what I'm saying.
Buy a cheap kit, then spend 66% more to get the printer you need.
This is a strong argument for the no perfect kit theory !
I can't imagine you're satified to have spent $200 on upgrades over a $300 kit. There's something surreal, uh ?
Finaly you sourced parts by yourself to upgrade. Wasn't it daunting ? winking smiley

Actualy, if you follow a BOM, there's nothing you should be afraid of.
Get the right part at the start and you could build the perfect printer for less than $300.

But don't get me wrong : feel free to spend more on an kit and more again for upgrades if you like, it's your money winking smiley

++JM

those upgrades were not absolutey necessary. you can get good prints from a $300 printer.
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 10, 2015 07:46AM
where re you going to get a steel frame from? what about all the plastic parts? how man screws and of what type, are you going to solder on all the wires, make connectors, where are you going to get the materials to make the connections, what abut the tools to make the connectors? calibration is harder now since the kit builder generally calibrate the steps per mm for you.


I'm not saying those are problems that can't be solved, but any kit will solve all those problems for you. then, once you familiarize yourself with how a 3d printers actually works, the. it becomes a lot easier to solve those problems.
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 10, 2015 07:50AM
Quote
noogie
Had a "Conversation" with my wife yesterday...

I need your recommendation for a cheap printer that wouldn't require as much work on as a kit ,she fears I'll be frustrated quickly if something doesn't work and the printer will just take up space and collect dust until the end of times spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

every 3d printer (300-1200) kit I've seen always requires some work. There are no printers you can just assemble and get perfect prints from the start unless you get an ultra-high end printer like a makerbot, but even those have some issues.
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 10, 2015 08:51AM
Hi guys,

Well QdeathStar & Ecky, you're both satisfied with your kits, I can understand.
As I said earlier, it depends of the quality you expect.
But if you compares to what a good printer can producte, they're far behind. Sorry.
I started with a kit, and because printing is cool I was totaly delighted with it
until I saw other printers and what they can achieve.

What are good prints ? Here is what a good printer can do :

Real size 24.7mm, the screw is M6. Real Gold PLA 1.75mm, E3D V6 0.3mm nozzle, no brim, no raft, no support, printing time 35mn.

Can you do this with a cheap kit out of the box ? No you can't.

I'm afraid Folger's one of the worst kit money can buy, the extruder/nozzle is particulary cheap, the 6mm acrylic frame twist,
the y carriage bends under the heatbed heat. There's cheap M5 threaded rods with some play, too small motors (Z, X, E)... It don't have any recently developed parts.
This kit is meant to make money for Folger's not to bring satisfaction to customers.

The Replikeo I3 just have a few more to offer (frame, 2ex). But today even cheap chinese kits offers 8mm ACME screws and a stiffer Y chassis.
There's not that much to take here.

Anyways, if you're satisfied with cheap kits, it's ok to me.
As you don't have much experience and much comparison points with other printers,
maybe it should be wise to don't recommend something, just because it's what you get, and you believe it's good.
If you did experiment different printers, obviously you won't recommend any cheap kit.

Actualy, it's a fact, in the cheap kits range, deltas are better than prusa I3.

Noogie, I gave you links of pre-assembled printers from $160 to $400. We're far away from a $1000 budget winking smiley

++JM
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 10, 2015 03:34PM
J-Max, So I've Looked into your recommendations and I think the Printrbor and Mini Fabrikator are rather small, which is nice on it's own

The WanHao is a fancy i3 basically, which is nice, but other then having a more rigid frame and coming assembled, mechanically speaking,
what makes it better then buying an i3 kit and a steel frame?

also, any thoughts on delta printers?
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 10, 2015 04:18PM
I think when I buy a new printer, I'm going to get a delta. someone said they are much harder to calibrate, but they look a lot sexier
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 10, 2015 04:49PM
Send me an .stl jmax, and I'll see what I can do.. I don't have any gold colored pla... So I'll print it in black...
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 11, 2015 12:03PM
I'm with J-Max on this one - why anyone would buy a cheap kit knowing they are going to have to "upgrade it" is beyond my logic.
Why wouldn't you just source quality parts and build from scratch yourself. Don't know what/where to find quality parts? Why not ask on the reprap forums?

If any of you were going to buy/assemble a new computer would you buy the lowest priced piece of junk you can find, set it up/build it then unassemble it just so you can build it again with quality parts? Why would you do this with a 3D printer?

I used to enjoy reading this forum but what it's become is "I have bought a cheap crappy kit from China/USA, I am trying to build it but the parts are junk, the instructions can't be found, it has parts missing, I can't calibrate it because I don't know what firmware it has, the extruder/hotend keeps blocking, the acrylic frame cracked, tech support won't get back to me, the electronics are junk etc etc

There is someone on my local craigslist trying to sell an assembled Folger Tech acrylic i3 for CDN $650 (about US$ 490). The reason - he hasn't got the time to get it to do quality prints. Apart from being way over priced I wouldn't give him $100 for it - to get quality prints like my scratch built i3 you would need to replace the frame, the extruder/hot-end, at some stage the heat bed and I'd also replace the motors with some low current higher torque ones.

Just my 2c


My updated Instructable on our Prusa i3 Build
[www.instructables.com]
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 11, 2015 06:21PM
I agree with one exception, I did not buy a printer solely to have a printer. I bought a printer to learn the mechanics, the electronics, and the problems with 3D printing. If your like me and just wanting to learn, buying a cheap printer, then learning how to upgrade it has some value. I have learned so much just trying to get my cheap kit to work, and investigating upgrades.

If your just wanting to get good prints quickly, then buying a cheap kit is not a great idea.
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 11, 2015 09:36PM
I agree, but do people really get into 3d printing not wanting to learn anything.

I also think that buying things piece by piece is a lot harder than the experts think it is for a beginner
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 12, 2015 10:56AM
Hi guys,

Qdeathstar, find "Marvin" in thingiverse. It looks like kind, but it can be a nightmare to be printed.
Black is not easy to be appreciated. We could wait for any light colour that hides nothing. winking smiley
Quote
noogie
J-Max, So I've Looked into your recommendations and I think the Printrbor and Mini Fabrikator are rather small, which is nice on it's own

The WanHao is a fancy i3 basically, which is nice, but other then having a more rigid frame and coming assembled, mechanically speaking,
what makes it better then buying an i3 kit and a steel frame?

also, any thoughts on delta printers?
Actualy I believe cheap delta printer kits are better than cheap I3 ones.
But you could experience some issues too :
- 16bits card that laggs too easily (it can be frequent on deltas as you want to print fast)
- vibrating arms
- aluminium assembly parts that are not at 60° (!) see Folger's delta issues

noogie, you (your wife) asked for a fast mount printer, so I gave you some solutions for that purpose.

If you want a steel frame, start to buy the i3 kit that matches the most your expectations.
You can buy a P3 steel kit instead of the WanHao, if you like,
just it will take you more time to be assembled, but as any kit, it won't be perfect...

Otherhand, I think the WanHao is a pretty good printer for the price.
Because it's mosty assembled and tested in the factory, you should avoid major issues.
Mecanicaly there's a lot of good points : no threaded rod Y chassis, heavy duty steel frame,
ACME screws, good bearings+bushings, aluminium plate+heatbed, wire management,
electronics in a heavy duty case.

Actualy I don't know any kit as complete. Even most expensive don't.
It's under $400, that's pretty cheap for all that features.
This is not the worst choice IMHO.

++JM
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 19, 2015 06:58AM
OK!

After some research, I think I'll get a delta printer, question is, which? Kossel (Mini? XL?) Folger Tech? Sintron?

I'm inclined to go with a Kossel mini with Duet electronics (rather then an XL with ramps), but am more then willing to hear other opinions!
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 19, 2015 08:18AM
Hi noogie,

Actualy I believe cheap delta kits are better than cheap i3 ones.
Avoid Folger Tech. Apparently aluminium extrusions (instead of printed parts) are not exaclty 60°.
There's a thread on the reprap forum about this issue.

Folger's kits are rubbish unless you're not a demanding person !

The Kossel mini print area is realy small.
The delta's tetrahedron build area reduces even more the abilities, except if you're going to print vases only.
To get a 200x200mm comparabe build area, you need to have at last a 300mm delta bed.
Anyways don't focus on this, any printer knows limits.

A kit will never represent the best you can get.
But even cheap delta kits can be interesting.
Look at this : Cheap chinese delta kit with injection molded parts !
For the price you've got a not so ridiculous printer working. With a screen, a E3D V5 alike hotend, a spare nozzle and even a SD card !
Of course, you have no heatbed (and no PSU able to run one), 16 bits board, cheap roller weel guided on aluminium extrusions. But, this should work properly with PLA only.
BUT, if you want a dual extruder, or to upgrade the heatbed or the guiding system, it will cost you some money !

This one have linear guides, which is better !
But still no heatbed, still no ready to upgrade PSU, still no 32 bits board...

Both of those kits are working and you can get them at reasonable price.
You can have a heatbed, or a 300W PSU, but the kit's price will grow obviously.

OR, you can source parts by yourself, get all the good components you want, and save money.
Some can be sourced near you. There's no secret about this. We can help you to raise your BOM.

What I would like in a Delta printer :
- 300mm heatbed with aluminium plate
- 32 bits control board
- linear guides
- a proper PSU at last 25A
- aliminium our injection molded plastic parts
- motors @ last 0.3Nm (idealy 17HS8401)
- a proper bowden hotend (E3D lite6)
- a proper extruder (you will be able upgrade and print yourself a brand new as soon as you can print properly)

++JM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2015 08:21AM by J-Max.
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 19, 2015 08:52AM
So...

this:
[builda3dprinter.eu]


or this:
[www.think3dprint3d.com]

Or is there a better kit?
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 19, 2015 12:29PM
Hi,

The XL is better. Feel free to pay twice the price of my seccond link for a worst kit. Your money, your printer. winking smiley

++JM
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 20, 2015 07:19AM
Quote
J-Max
Hi,

The XL is better. Feel free to pay twice the price of my seccond link for a worst kit. Your money, your printer. winking smiley

++JM

Funny thing,
The kit you recommended costs 650$ (with shipping, before tax)
and the kit from build23dprinter costs 600Euro (with shipping, before tax)

this has linear bearings, 2020 profies, but small print area and RAMPS...
[www.ebay.com]



BTW, regarding the folgertech kit with the bed corners, can they just be replaced with proper printed ones?
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 20, 2015 08:34AM
Hi,
Quote
noogie
The kit you recommended costs 650$ (with shipping, before tax)
and the kit from build23dprinter costs 600Euro (with shipping, before tax)
Hmm, probably the price is different for your country. Are you from UK ?
Here that kit with shipping is under 260€.
Quote
noogie
this has linear bearings, 2020 profies, but small print area and RAMPS...
[www.ebay.com]
Unfortunately, yet another "no perfect kit" example. sad smiley
Quote
noogie
BTW, regarding the folgertech kit with the bed corners, can they just be replaced with proper printed ones?
Folger's kossel is 416€ incl shipping, plus about 60€ taxes here.
Some people said they forced the aluminium corners to 60° and the frame seems ok. Of course you can upgrade with plastic parts at a cost.
The overall quality of the kit is still very low. You need to cut the carbon tubes acurately by yourself.
You've got weak motors, nylon sliding weels a cheap Ramps 16 bits copy, a rubbish extruder, no screen, no card reader, and so on...
To be honnest, there's A good point of Folger's : the 30A PSU.
To me there will be a lot to upgrade to get a good printer. It's not only about parts quality, but print quality too.
Be aware that with a 16 bits controler, you can't run a delta at full speed.
To me, the first link I gave you (which is €236 incl shipping here) is better.
It's less expensive and you get at last a screen/card reader bonus.

What about working together to see if we can get ideal components at reasonable price ?
Let's try to compose the perfect kit, would you ?

++JM
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 20, 2015 11:55AM
YES!
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 20, 2015 01:55PM
Ok,

First, we need to know the tools you own and how skilled you are.
Can you describe your toolbox ?
Define your skills, say what's the best DIY thing you've done by the past ?
Do you have a workshop, a garage, or a room to build ?

Then we need to define your budget.

Then, we will build a BOM, and try to put the best component at the best price to each line.
I wait for your awnsers to get a matching BOM.

I wish other members could help us too, bringing good deals and experience.

++JM

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2015 01:59PM by J-Max.
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 22, 2015 07:00AM
I have a lot of tools,
I have basic wood-working skills,
I can solder (although it always comes wrong and I melt everything :/
I don't have a workshop/garage, I can used the dinning room table to build and I have a small bench (25*60) I can use and have a vice mounted on it.

Not wanting to waste your time (J-Max) I gave this a thought over the weekend and I think it'll be best to buy a ready 3d printer first and learn some 3d printing first, If I'll like it I'll probably build a bigger one.

What do you think?
Re: Prusa I3 - Kit purchase and upgrade?
November 22, 2015 07:27AM
Hi noogie,

Basic wood-working skills is just what you need to build your printer's frame and have a good frame at low cost.
If you can connect two wires together with a soldering iron and heat shrink a tubing on it, your printer won't ask for more.
I guess you can screw bolts together, and your work area is just fine. So you're far to be the worst builder winking smiley

If you want to buy a ready 3D printer, it's ok. May I sugest you consider the Wanhao Dupicator I3 ?
When starting 3D printing, people always thing a 200x200mm area is pretty small.
After a time, the number of "wanna it big" people decrease drasticaly.
Mostly because most of the prints you need uses a 200x200mm printer at less than 50% of its build area.
Seccond, when you need big prints, you go faster when you print several small parts and glue'em together.
Big prints means slow prints. Obviously a farm of small printers are more versatile and fast than a big printer.
Believe me or not, you will want you next printers rather fast and accurate. winking smiley

If you have some questions, feel free to ask winking smiley

++JM
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