Assembling a CoLiDo DIY 3D printer, part 1

Main parts

Main parts

As most of you know, I am not an engineer, despite my lofty ambitions of tinkering with all sorts of things.

So, the other day Jouko Lehtomäki from Suomen 3D-ratkaisut, the partner company of my university Haaga-Helia, brought us a brand new CoLiDo DIY printer in a crate. He said it’d be a piece of cake to assemble, and asked me to film a timelapse of the build. I fended off the task until one day I had no choice, I had to print something in PLA real quick, and the packed printer was the only one available.

Horizontal table part assembled

Horizontal table part assembled

To their credit, CoLiDo has indeed made the project rather easy. It comes in five main parts, a few bits and pieces in plastic bags, a bunch of electric wires that resembles a particularly well-developed octopus, and a user manual. There is also an IKEA like quick assembly guide, which has four images, and is surprisingly sufficient to help you assemble the thing.

In essence, and as seen on the video provided for your edification & enjoyment, all you do is assemble and then thread the horizontal bars through the part with the blue build table, then attach the two vertical parts to the ends of the horizontal bars, drop in the hot end horizontal bar, and top it off with the yellow frame top. About 12 screws is all that you need to screw in.

Vertical bars in place

Vertical bars in place

Tolerances are good, there is no need to force any parts into their respective places, although you need to pay close attention to the assembly of the horizontal bars. You will insert spacers, then a longer tube, another spacer, then push the bar through the build table assembly, and then again insert spacer, longer tube, spacer, etc. You’ll see on the video how I had to take them out again before understanding the correct order of things.

Lowering the hot end

Lowering the hot end

The vertical parts are clearly marked LEFT and RIGHT, and all you do is put them to the ends of the bar you just assembled. This gives you two towers onto which you place the hot end horizontal bar. When you do this, you need to place it carefully so that the ends of the numerous vertical bars all meet the holes in the hot end horizontal bar. With the hot end bar in the correct place, turn the long screws clockwise to get the bar to settle in its groove. Turn the screws equally at each end of the bar so that the bar is horizontal, else it will get stuck at either end. This has to be rechecked at calibration time.

Wirings into the control box

Wirings into the control box

When all of this is done, merely place the yellow frame bar across the top, fit all vertical bars into the slots in it, and then tighten two more screws. This finishes the mechanical assembly of the printer, it isn’t any more complex than this. What remains is to lead the octopus of wires from the hot end to the yellow box. For this you need the user guide. It has this part rather well covered, but the other parts, such as calibration, setting up Repetier Host, and the actual printing, are illustrated with illegible pictures. I am assured a new version is coming up online soon.

The wirings have all been clearly marked, and going in a clockwise direction, you just find the appropriate connector for each wire. It’s hard to do this wrong, but still, pay attention to what you do and make sure the connections are well made because otherwise you will be spending time later troubleshooting the wires. When you have fitted every wire to a connector, you can try to put the cover on the connection box, and that is somewhat troublesome.

There are some wires that go into the vertical parts of the frame; the Z motors have connectors that you have to find in the octopus and place in the frame, and the hot end connectors too need to be placed properly. Just see that you have no loose wired before you fire up the printer. The mains lead is one of the weaker points of the whole printer – it doesn’t have a switch, but a plug which you unplug when you want to stop using the printer.

In Part 2 of this assembly guide, I’ll walk you through the setting up of Repetier Host, and offer you a working bunch of setting to insert into its myriad adjustments. I’ll write it up as soon as I have a little time on my hands and no grading to do as currently I do.

The video below is no timelapse; I feel timelapses sometimes make things look too easy, and this may be as relaxing to watch as Bob the Painter on Youtube.

 

 

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