Adventures in 3D Printing : Build Part 4

This is the fourth stage of our 3D printer kit build. For the background to the project and details of the kit we are using, take a look at the introductory page here, or click here to see all our posts about this project.

In this part of our printer assembly, we:

  • finished tidying up the cables
  • mounted the power supply
  • assembled the print head
  • Time for this step: 2 hours
  • Total build time: 9 hours 50 minutes

The first order of business was to finish up the cable tidying and routing that we began last time. Firstly we twisted all the separate cables together which will route to the print head. These will later be spiral wrapped to help keep them neat and tidy.

3d Printer Build Day 4

We then routed the various endstop and motor cables on the inside of the printer. Again there are plenty of attachment points for the provided cable ties to help achieve a neat and tidy finish. As there will be moving parts in this area it’s important to make sure everything is secure and there aren’t big loops of cable which could catch on the build platform.

3d Printer Build Day 4

With the cables now under control, it’s time to install the power supply. The first step is to check the internal voltage switch to make sure it has been set to operate on 240V.

3d Printer Build Day 4

Installing the power supply is a straightforward matter of screwing it to the printer base, cutting and stripping the power wire from the printer main board, then connecting the pre-stripped mains cable. We intend to improve our printer later by installing a proper fused power socket and switch, but for now we’re keeping it as per the original instructions for simplicity.

3d Printer Build Day 4

Once the power supply was installed and wired up, we moved on to assembling the print head. The standard kit comes with a single print head, but we opted to purchase the optional second extruder and print head upgrade so that we can experiment with two colour printing. The steps that follow will therefore show both print heads being put together. First we gathered the parts for each print head:

3d Printer Build Day 4

Mounting the isolator and nozzle:

3d Printer Build Day 4

Installing the heater cartridge and a thermistor to measure the temperature of the heating block:

3d Printer Build Day 4

Mounting both hot ends to the mounting plate:

3d Printer Build Day 4

Fitting the control board, including the connectors for the heat elements, thermistors and fans. The large white Molex connector is where the print head cable harness will attach to. Also in this picture we have fitted the linear bearings which will allow the print head to move across the X and Y carriage rods.

3d Printer Build Day 4

Mounting the cooling fans:

3d Printer Build Day 4

The fully assembled print head, with both fans installed and the cables tidied up:

3d Printer Build Day 4

In the  next stage of the build we will install the X and Y axis rods and start mounting the print head.

Keep an eye on the 3D Printing section for all the posts about our build, post questions in the comments or tweet us at @dannynic or @sarah_nic.

Author: Danny Nicholson

Danny is an author, Science teacher, ICT Consultant, PGCE lecturer and computing / interactive whiteboard trainer. He has delivered training courses across the UK, in Europe, and in Canada. Please get in touch with your training requests.

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