In search for the right 3D printer for my needs and for schools I might work with has been an eye opening journey. At first all eyes pointed to the Makerbot Replicator 2, but as I have been meeting more 'makers' I'm finding lots of different possibilities including the Lulzbot, the 3D Cube and new models from Printrbot.
The package arrived the other day and I could not wait to dive in. It was a great feeling to open the box of parts and find that a degree of comfort with the parts included. I could envision the machine that had laser cut the wooden pieces; I immediately recognized the arduino board, and was not afraid of the colored wires and end stops, motors, and wire tires. The combined documentation (in the box and online supplement) was very thorough. I especially liked the way that the online documentation broke down the steps by steps with 3 visuals for each of the 67 steps. Also helpful was the way each step linked to user comments as they completed the steps. (I always read those, figuring I could benefit from other's questions and feedback). I used my Nexus 7 to document my own work. Here are the first 2 days of the build.
My amazing partner/coach/friend/husband was great support and lent me his tools and showed me all these little tricks (i.e. working with zip ties and hex nuts, cable management, etc) while demonstrating extreme self-discipline by letting me fumble through some awkward moments with tools I've never used before. (And yes, I did let him play with a few of the steps, but only after I experienced it myself first). The build did require a trip to Home Depot to pick up a few tools we were lacking including a micro cutter, more exacto blades, tinier Allen Wrench, and thread blue). As the assembly started to take shape, my motivation to make it to the end increased and we spent a LONG day at it on Saturday and finished the build! Yeah!
I had to laugh at the last step when I read the following
Simple build finished. Great job! You're not quite done though. There are a couple more steps on your journey to 3D printing glory. ...I know, it is sort of like beating a level in Mario Bros, when the bad guy runs off with the Princess again.
See the Getting Started Guide for info on software settings and other tips.
But boy am I EXCITED that we have a working 3D printer in our bus - and I assembled it - with a little help from my friend, coach, partner, travel companion, husband - Thanks, Craig.