Once I completed assembly of my printer, I followed the instructions to do a self-test and calibration. The self-test failed while performing the “Loose belt pulley test” on the X-axis. The manual said to be sure the motor pulleys are not loose, and to be sure the screws are tightened against the flat part of the pulley shaft.
First, I checked all the pulleys and they were not loose. This was puzzling to me, because I could not get rid of the error. I finally decided to re-tighten the X-Y belts. This fixed the problem. I was quite surprised how tight the belts had to be in order to pass the self-test. If you run in to this same situation, check your belt tension.
The next challenge I had was getting the print head depth calibrated correctly. I followed the instructions using the ‘sheet of paper’ method, but the hard part for me was getting the “first layer” calibration correct. This involves getting the perfect Z-axis height at the beginning of the print. The instructions really did not provide a lot of help – they simply describe, in general, what the thickness of the print layer should be.
After much trial and error, I was able to get this right. As with all things 3D, patience and trial-n-error are the keys. Once I was able to print the tree-frog flawlessly, I knew my printer was up and running.
As I review the entire build test, and calibrate experience, I have a few thoughts:
- This was a very fun kit to put together. Beware though – it is not for beginners. I have a lot of technical chops and have built a lot of things from kits. This one was a challenge, and it took a lot longer to assemble then I thought it would. There are a lot of parts and assembly procedures.
- The quality and capabilities of this printer are top-shelf. It is also very quiet. I would definitely buy another Prusa printer.
- I am not a big fan of the Prusa filament that came in the kit. Some people swear by it. I found the other popular brands to make better prints.
- 3D printing is a slow process and you will learn how to be patient if you are lacking this skill. Printing large objects take a very long time.
- You will constantly be fiddling with your printer. That is the nature of the business.
- Once you learn the basics, you will use your printer in ways you never thought possible. I was not sure I would use it a lot. Turns our I use it all the time.