Sunday, 9 March 2014

K8200 3D Printer review

Years ago, back when 3D printing was pretty much limited to the RepRap, I had this grand idea of building a 3D printer.

Problem was, I was fairly new to electronics, and DIY in general, so my skillset was, well, non existent.

Despite the failure of that project, I was still keen on the technology, and have been keeping a close eye on the commercial offerings. The downside to those options being both the price, and buying an 'off-the-shelf' printer seemed like the lazy way out to me.

Thankfully, Maplin has started selling the Velleman K8200 printer as a kit. This keeps the price to a more modest level, and being self-assembly, reduced my laziness guilt of not building one from scratch.


In the post-Christmas sales, I noticed the kits were on offer, so I finally caved and bought one.


I was planning to do a series of build posts about it here, but the truth is there's nothing much to report that isn't already covered in detail - the manual is a comprehensive 619 pages!

First attempted print - a Mobius Strip from Thingiverse


A couple of pointers I will offer though:

  • The leads on the thermistor for the hot end are very fragile. The guide does warn about it, but it's worth reiterating...
  • You'll have some bits left over. At least I did. Not sure if you're meant to, but mine works OK.
  • It won't work perfectly first time. Expect to have to tinker with it from time to time. Also, be prepared to lose a fair bit of filament in failed prints to start with. 
  • When putting the X carriage inside the frame (page 96 on my version of the manual), there's a picture that shows the carriage fully in the frame. The picture appears too early - the subsequent pages mention about sliding additional nuts into the frame, and actually means slide the first supporting rod of the x carriage into the frame, add the nuts, then the second supporting rod.

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