I have been watching the RepRap community grow since I first saw it covered on HackADay several years ago. During this time I have dreamt endlessly about what I could build if only I could quickly fabricate my ideas.
Finally after getting a real job, and more importantly after the RepRap community had reached a good level of maturity, I decided it was finally time to take the plunge. I started researching the different RepRap models (Mendel, Prusa, Huxley, etc) and I finally decided on the Prusa. My decision was further cemented by discovering the MakerGear Company. They have a complete Prusa kit, and believe me it is incredibly thorough. Every single nut, bolt, washer, wire, crimp, and printed part was included. It was completely worth the price, because in the end it saved me countless hours of self sourcing all of the parts. If you can self source it, then more power to you; I’m a pretty impatient person when it comes to these kinda of projects!
When I ordered the kit, Karen from MakerGear gave me weekly updates on when my kit was going to ship. It arrived three weeks after I ordered it and that weekend my roommate and I sat down to start on it. We worked for about three to four days and got the machine assembled in quick order. Next the leveling, calibration, and skeinforge setting experimentation took about another three days before we finally got a real print. The biggest help during the build process and the beginning to print process was the #MakerGear and #MakerGearV2 IRC channels. Rick, from MakerGear, sits in there and offers live customer support at almost all hours of the day. The gracious people in the V2 channel helped me dial in my skienforge settings in a matter of no time.
After everything was over and the dust had settled, I am completely satisfied with my Prusa kit. I cannot believe how easily it went together and the amazing level of support from MakerGear. If you are contemplating a 3D Printer build, seriously consider MakerGear, they are completely worth it!
Anyway here is my (incomplete) build log complete with pictures and anecdotal annotations for anyone also assembling or thinking about assembling one of these kits.
Im soldering the RAMPS board and Tony has started to join the frame vertices.
The frame is together!
The MakerGear Y Carriage assembled and on the smooth rods. Note: we forgot to put in the Y Carriage hardware to secure the laser cut pieces, don’t forget this!
Fully assembled RAMPS 1.4 board. Much easier than I anticipated because all of the SMD soldering work was already completed.
Y motor and Z motors are mounted. Notice the beer, definitely a build necessity. The koozie is needed, sometimes you can’t get your hands free to drink fast.
MakerGear, how about some koozies?
After applying additional ceramic paste to cover the Nichrome wire, I’m heating up the heat core to cure the ceramic.
The heat core is finished, and now mounted on the extruder nozzle assembly.
Mounted the hybrid groove sleeve and the thermistor.
Insulation! Finished hot end!
All motors are mounted and ready to be wired up.
Tidying things up with the included wire wraps.
Holy cow, hot plastic!
The first homing of the machine!
The first print, 20mm by 20mm by 10mm almost cube!