I bought a new 3d printer kit. I love putting these things together, it's like the grown up version of LEGO. my newest 3d printer upto this point is another kit built one. Also a Chinese kit, just re-branded and on-sold by Jaycar. Of course it had a retail price tag costing around $699 local currency units.
That it was unique in that it was a delta 3d printer, and once I got it all calibrated and a nice bed material on prints great! The new printer is not a necessity, I really just wanted a platform to try out cool projects like smoothie and octo-print. But didn't want to take my current delta out of action. The kit is available from aliexpress, for about $400AUD. This makes it a steal. I initially thought this cost only included the frame, but no!! This cost includes: The frame, X-Y gantry, Z axis, hot end, RAMPS control board, heated bed (a worthwhile +$10 extra)! everything to get you up and running.
The frame is designed around 2020 aluminum extrusions. If you're un-familiar these straight sections of aluminum feature a channel in each side. This channel can hold special T-nuts which enable additional pieces to be bolted securely to the channel. A+.
When the frame is bolted together, It's much more rigid than any of my other 3d printers. The frame bolts together with right angle cast aluminum blacks and internal steel L-brackets (at the top where the 3d printed parts obstruct the use or right angle blocks.)
There really isn't too many parts in this printer. When I opened the box and knolled out the parts, I thought "Is this it?!". All the parts by the way are grouped together in zip-lock bags, which is nice.
The heart of the X-Y gantry is an ultimaker style cross-vertically-offset-round-linear-rail setup. Each Axis X,Y has a GT2 belt along each edge, these are driven using a linear rod on one side and the other is used as an idler. Each axis also has a 3rd linear rod which rides along the other axes driven and idle rods. Each axis is offset in the Z-direction as to not interfere with teach other. A carriage sits at the location where these moving rods intersects. I've definitely not explained that well at all. Please seek other explanations of this gantry if you are confused. The main advantage of a gantry of this style is the VERY low moving mass associated. This enable higher accelerations and overall better prints faster. Assuming it can be calibrated. A major downside to this gantry is if some parts are-not aligned then binding will occur and ruin your day.
This kit did not include any instructions! Sure I wouldn't have read them, but it's a nice touch. Not even a download link. Some comments on the aliexpress page mention asking the seller and receiving them that way. But I manged to create the printer without them. abiet, I did build the Z gantry wrong (although still works fine the way I've done it) and I was left with a tonne of spare nuts/bolts.
The 3d printed parts have a bad print quality, ironic because this printer could probably make better looking parts. None of the parts broken on me while assembling them, which was nice, singe I don't believe they are available for download. With that said, there are only a hand-full of parts. My first prints will likely be user created replacement parts from thingiverse.
I've assembled the entire frame, added all the end-stops and motors. Wired and configured my control board of choice. The MKS SBASE. which is a smoothiware compatible controller. I lack a decent PSU. the one it came with was a power brick style rated at ~100W but weighing <100g. So I do not trust that at all. I have not even plugged it in. I've been evaluating the system with my bench power supply, but will require a decent 24v switchmode supply soon. After getting the X-Y gantry to work I re-discovered openPnP this has re-ignited my desired to complete my homemade PnP. Expect more news on that front soon.