Building the kit:
The step-by-step manual outlining the building of the Velleman K8200 3D printer is excellent. In fact it is so good, that there is little point in repeating any of the details here – just follow the manual – but with one LARGE exception. There is one mistake towards the end of the manual that has tripped me (and others) up leaving us stranded waiting for a replacement part. In the final step, assembling the hot end (the nozzle at the tip of the extruder), the manual indicates that if you don’t tighten the copper nozzle to the copper barrel well enough, it will leak during printing and permanently damage it. OK fine, so tighten the nozzle well using two wrenches. What they don’t say, however, is if you try to tighten the nozzle with the wrenches, you are very (by the looks of the support forum) likely to strip the threads of the copper barrel essentially killing it!! So that’s how far I’ve got right now, I’m left admiring this awesome almost-finished printer on my desk, just waitng to get a response back from Velleman as to when I can expect a replacement hot end from them….frustrating!
Update: Velleman has been great – a couple of days later I got an apology (!) and within a week I had a replacement nozzle in my hand – free of charge!
A Common Problem?
So I have finished the assembly – everything looks great – so on to the testing. Everything works like a charm except for one of the motors which shows no life. A quick check of the forum reveals that sometimes the stepper motor driver boards (of which there are 4, one for each motor) that sit atop the controller board are sometimes defective. There is an easy check. Swapping round a couple of them is a synch and shows that I too have a defective motor driver board, apparently they are called ‘Pololu’ boards, the normal boards that is, not the defective ones! :). A quick email to Velleman, and a very quick response indicating that the new board is on the way, free of charge – wow, I’m very impressed with Velleman!