One 3D Printer Kit to Rule Them All!
I love to be challenged and I’m always eager to immerse myself in unknown “swamps” like 3D printing. Whilst I’m no expert on this matter, despite doing my fair share of researching I don’t tend to be someone who gets all worked up over the RepRap Prusa Mendel Iteration 2 Complete 3D Printer Kit.
I am excited by the idea of building my own 3D printer. It reminds me of my childhood days when I used to build castles out of Lego parts. I decided to cover this DIY printer because I understand there are “crafty” people out there who want to do more than just unpack a 3D printer and place it on a desk and the RepRap 3D printer might be right up their alley.
Let’s see what’s in the box!
I can’t call the RepRap Mendel Iteration 3D Printer a good-looking one for obvious reasons. I can however, mention its impressive print area of 7’’ x 7’’ x 5’’that reaches a print height of 0.1mm to 0.3mm with an accuracy between 0.01-0.02mm range. As for the weight, it will be 22 pounds when done.
The bad news is that you will get a package full of components you will need to put together. The good news is that everything you need is included. There are manufacturers who sell incomplete kits and this can be a major problem if you don’t know how to get the missing parts. Some of the included parts are 5 NEMA 17 stepper motors, a J-Head aluminum mounting plate, GT2 aluminum pulleys and tempered glass print bed, just to mention a few. The RepRap wins points for the ramps 1.4 electronics which are completely assembled, so you can cut that off your “to-assemble” list.
Customer Service and Support Materials
RepRap’s customer service is top-notch and this is one of their best selling-points. They understand the complications that might surface when building your own printer, so they’ve made sure you won’t get stumped along the way. You can contact their call center and – wow! An actual human being will take your call and guide you with the installation. This is something which is refreshing after having heard an answering machine so many times at the end of the other line.
The components are showcased with images so that you’re always aware of what is what. There is a written list included as well, but I noticed that most customers prefer to install the printer using their instructional video series consisting of 25 parts. Now this might sound frightening, but remember that it’s their duty not to sell an unsolvable puzzle.
If you don’t have patience or if you have zero mechanical skills, then you might want to stay away from this 3D printer. What you need to understand is that building it will take a lot of your time. It’s not something you can finish up in a day. And even after the 3D printer is done, you will still need to calibrate things and tweak the ABS filament to get it up and running. Another issue you could run into is glass warping, but this can easily be fixed by using a small piece of flat glass instead of the one provided.
Whilst you can experiment with food materials and create all kinds of desktop ornaments, one neat feature of this 3D printer is that because it’s open source, you can practically “regenerate” it by 3D-printing its components – it’s like a snake changing its skin over and over again. Printing 3D printer parts with a 3D printer – now this is what I call printception!
If you have what it takes to start a project like this and go through with it, there will be plenty of satisfaction at the end. Building your RepRap 3D printer one piece at a time and seeing it “grow” gives you a sense of pride. Also, nothing beats being part of such an educational movement and keeping up with the times. If all this sounds appealing to you, you can head over to Amazon, where you’ll find plenty of positive feedback.