This morning the build made some great progress during Day 3 – Part 1 and I’m very pleased to say that progress continued to be smooth this afternoon!
Things kicked off with putting the inserts into the 3d printed parts. Something which I should probably have done in advance but was simply too eager to get started on the build! The LDO kit comes with a specific heated insert tip that should fit on most soldering irons – I had no problem attaching it to mine. This tip is designed to be perfect for m3 inserts as that is all that is used within the build but I will probably use it for m4 and m5 ones rather than running the risk of ruining another soldering iron tip by coating it in plastic gunk! The tip depth should be adjusted by moving the two knurled nuts up or down so that the tip doesn’t poke out through the bottom of the insert. Sadly I forgot to take any photos here!
Here came the part of the build I was dreading, assembly of idler stacks. Having recently completed a build of a custom RatRig VCore3 (self sourced – re-using my existing printer components) where building the bearing stacks was painful I was anticipating the worst. In hindsight it wasn’t so bad. The guide suggests building it upside down – I would agree but also use something to hold the bolt in place so it doesn’t drop and undo your hard work! The lid from the bearing pack is a perfect fit! Make sure you orientate your stepper wires towards the adjustment screws for the tensioning so that they point into your electronics bay. Repeat for the other side.
Bolting the motor assemblies onto the was a bit fiddly but once you had the pre-loaded nuts aligned they bolt down nice and firm. At this stage it starts to look like a printer!
Doing the front idlers was nice and straight forward. The hardest part was finding them in box of printed bits! Please do double check when you attach them to the frame that they are on the right side. I got it wrong the first time but thankfully noticed during the check step in the manual.
Ahh the Z axis… thus far everything about assembling it has featured in the most difficult parts of the build and also the most fiddly. Not to disappoint this stage of it was no different. Firstly the PIF kit actually came with 2 sizes of leadscrew nut brackets -I didn’t realise to start with and was part was through heating up the printer when I figured what is the chance they did actually include the right size? Luckily they did! For the LDO kit you need the larger size (24mm OD) bracket.
Attaching that bracket to the z axis was painful. The space is tight, the line of sight is poor and you are again dealing with hard to position pre-loaded nuts. Thankfully for this stage you aren’t having to rotate the part too much to do up the bolts and it is possible with some care to get the part attached. My advice is just get it loosely attached first and then tighten it down in a bit once you have the Z axis motor installed to help with alignment. I cracked out my trusty grease syringe and lightly lubed up the leadscrew with EP2 grease (same as used for the rails) to prevent any squeaking and rust. It is worth noting I have had to use M3x10mm bolts in a few locations where the m3x8mm called out by the BOM were NOT long enough. This is because the LDO channels are a bit deeper and the nuts sit out of reach of the bolts.
Lastly on went the little feet. I must say the addition of the rubber feet does give the printer a nice feel to it. My VCore3 might be seeing something similar added very soon! All in all today I was very impressed with the LDO kit still, any difficulties I’ve had have been more related to the general dexterity required for the build not poor hardware. Bring on day 4!