Few months ago I was interested to try how 3D printers work. I googled a bit and I found thousands of variations online.
Even there is site which compare them here: http://www.3ders.org/pricecompare/3dprinters/
As I just wanted to play a bit making frames for our LCDs and Box prototypes for OLinuXino and had no intention to do any production with this printer I wanted to get something as cheap as possible so even if I break it during the assembly to not regret much.
I check all these super duper $140-300 range printers trying to order online and found that all of them are either “out of stock” either “give me the money upfront” and wait XX months until I attempt to produce it either my printer is $300 but shipping to Bulgaria is $400 so none of these was acceptable.
I soon realized most of these sub $300 were just vapour-ware and if you really want to buy something in stock it goes close to $700-800.
Finally I found Jelwek in Poland, which was accepting Paypal, I selected the medium printer they have and cost EUR 475 + shipping to Bulgaria by courier (which I found is normal post later) EUR 25 and ordered one. After about a month the kit arrived by post.
There are lot of documents how to assembly Prusa i3 on the net. For Jelwek this is shown here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/105048182@N02/sets/72157642944311244/
When the kit arrived I was a bit disappointed, the quality of the used parts was a bit low, three of the steppers were second hand, disassembled from old machines which was seen from the scratches and the cable cuts just the one for the extruder was new one.
All rods and shafts were cut by hand with not clean cuts and with lot of whiskers on the edges. Anyway when assembled the printer ran without problems, I already blogged about it here.
Many friends asked me about this printer after I blogged – they wanted also something cheap to start with 3D printing, so I asked our Chinese agent to try to locate low cost Prusa i3 clone and he sent me sample.
The kit arrived and here how it looks:
It’s seen that these kits are done by professional manufacturer – all motors are new and the shafts are directly coupled, you even get tools necessary for the assembly of mechanics like cutters, heat-resistant Kapton tape etc. which I had to supply additionally for the Polish kit I got first. The PCB is also all-in-one with integrated Arduino and drivers on same PCB. There is fan to cool the material exiting the extruder.
So after we inspected everything we decided to stock it, here how it looks assembled:
Now these kits are in our stock.
Note these are not assembled and require knowledge both in mechanics and electronics to make them work. Sure the final result is worth the efforts, it’s a great pleasure to see something working which you built with your own hands :)