I just discovered a very interesting Kickstarted project, the Lightning. The most interesting thing about it is its price point vs its features and build area. If you’ve been itching to get into the resin printing arena, there has never been a better time to do so.
The prices listed here are retail prices, but you kickstart it now, you could acquire the Lightning in December 2016 / Jan 2017 for USD 2,083.
1.) Yes you can use 3rd party resin
2.) It comes pre-built, no assembly required
3.) DLP printers produce details, that FDM consumer devices just aren’t capable of. That is why you want this printer =)
So on the 21st of August I decided to pull the trigger and buy a 3D printer. After a lot of research, I decided that the Prusa i3 MK2 “kit” was going to be a fun project. 8 days later, the kit was delivered to my house.
The box it was shipped in contained the kit, all the tools you need to assemble the printer, the Quality Control testing sheet, and a bag of German Haribo gummy bears. Unfortunately the gummy bears did not survive long.
Assembly time: 12:17:33 Calibration time: 3 days (Im new to 3d printing)
It took me about 12 hours to assemble this beast. And building it was a lot of fun. I had a real sense of joy from completing the build phase of this project. This also resulted in me ordering about 13 different filament rolls from Amazon right away.
While building the printer I did manage to break a critical component,
the Y Belt holder. Luckily I was able to use a cable tie to tighten the belt, and then printed a spare part.
The Y Belt Holder that ships in the Kit is certainly flawed, and may require more infil so that it can withstand the stress of the belt being tightened.
Once built, its time to calibrate this monster. Heres my disclaimer, I have never owned, or built, or used a 3d printer before. The i3 MK2 is my first, and this is probably why I had so much trouble calibrating it. Its going to be a very steep learning curve for some, and others not so much.
However after struggling with it for 3 days, and getting help from the community as well the Prusa support team, the calibration was completed successfully. As a matter of fact, the i3 MK2, is now printing a batman logo. Which should be done by the time I finish the 1st draft of this post. But must confess, about an hour ago, I got so frustrated with my inability to calibrate the printer, that I was starting to think, perhaps this was a mistake. But alas, in the end I managed to triumph.
Here are some tips, if your about to build/purchase this printer.
Be very gently with the Y-Belt holder, the one that ships in the Kit is very weak, and can break (see picture). If you do break it, like I did, dont worry, you can fix the belt using a cable tie. You’ll know what I mean once you start building.
To tighten the Y-Belt, id advise you to just put the cables into the y-belt carrier 1st, then loop the other end on the motor bearing. This makes it much easier to tighten the belt.
When reading the assembly manual, read the steps in this order.
The warnings first
then the comments from the community
then the actions for step
When you reach the XYZ Calibration phase, make sure you put a A4 paper on the heatbed, while the nozzle moves around and homes for the 1st phase (1st 4 points). If the nozzle hits the paper, and drags the paper across the surface, turn off the printer and lower the PIMDA probe by about 1 mm. Rinse and repeat until the nozzle doesn’t hit the paper anymore. Do not overcompensate, you will want to make these adjustments in tiny increments.
So in terms of noise, I believe the printer is about 52db loud when active. So its not really loud. Id say its about as loud as some common HP desktop printers, probably even less than that.
The printer comes with all the software required, for both Mac OSX & Windows 10. Soon as your done calibrating, your all set to go.
In case your wondering there are two ways to print.
Stand Alone from SD Card
Control printer via USB from PC
I have opted to use print standalone via SD card, because if the PC restarts or powers off this would interrupt the print job. Its easy to copy files to the SD card and then insert it into the printer. The job can be started using the printers LCD panel and menu.
Here is something to keep in mind with this printer, you can print all the parts yourself. So in essence, you can pre-print your spare parts, incase something breaks down the line. This makes you completely self-sufficient.
Prusa Live Chat support appears to be available 24/7, and they are more than happy to address all your questions, be they technical, or sales questions. And their friendly. To be honest I have never seen this level of support in any industry. I dont know how Joseph manages to maintain such a high quality of support. Its an incredible feat.
Once calibrated I was quite happy with the initial prints.
If you’ve always wanted to print stuff, you cant go wrong with this printer as your 1st buy, at USD 699. And there are many online that will attest to this.
If you don’t want to mess about building yourself, Prusa does sell them pre-built and ready to go, however that will raise the price to USD 899.