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Folger Tech 2020 Prusa i3 Build Log

markyoe

Senior Member
#1
Part 1

Hello everyone! After much research and thought, I went ahead and purchased a Folger Tech 2020 3D printer kit for $284. I bought it from this website: https://www.3dprintersonlinestore.com/folgertech-aluminum-prusa-i3 I bought it from the 3D Printers Online Store because it was a little cheaper than buying it directly from Folger Tech and I figured I could utilise the costumer service of both 3D Printers Online and Folger Tech. As you will see, I also bought the LCD add-on for $12 which brought the total to $296.

The instructions can be accessed here: https://drive.google.com/folderview...eFNWcENBdVUzWnhtWDZ2YWdHVXpoUXM&usp=drive_web

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It looks like the box got squished a little in shipping.

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It is hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like the board got slightly squished. It should not be a problem.

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Most of the frame assembled.

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As suggested in the build instructions, it was super helpful to sort all the hardware. It all comes mixed up in one bag.

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This is one of the only times I will need to solder during the whole build.

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Aluminum plate and heated bed installed. The Y axis motor installed.

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X axis carriage assembled.

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Power supply attached

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Extruder installed on the X axis carriage. It is a direct drive extruder.




Ok, that wraps up Part 1 of the Folger Tech 2020 build log. It will be a few days before I start work on it again because 3 pieces are missing from the kit. There are a ton of pieces in the kit and that was bound to probably happen. I have contacted Folger Tech and will hopefully get the pieces shortly.

Part 2

In part two I will be installing the X axis carriage, installing the wires, the endstops, a glass plate, and the LCD screen.

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I received the missing parts from Folger Tech in good time. It took 4-5 from the first email to receive my parts.

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The X axis carriage has been assembled. I had to loosen the belt on it to help it fit and run smoothly.

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The Ramps 1.4 and Arduino Mega come connected to each other. All I need to do was to add the heatsinks.

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The Ramps and Aruino Mega attach to an acrylic piece that attaches to the frame.

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Motors are connected to the ramps with the provided leads. The wiring was actually quite simple.

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The endstops were attached. Although this picture only shows two, there is one endstop for each axis. Each endstop screws onto a 3D printed clip, and the clip fastens to the rods with a screw and nyloc nut.

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All the motors, endstops, thermistors, hot end, heated bed are all wired up to either the ramps, the power supply, or both.

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Spool holder attached. The filament I bought separate from the printer was Atomic Filament from the clearance section of their store. Only $18!

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The heated bed elevated above the aluminum plate.

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The instructions said I need to buy an 8x8 piece of glass. I went to Home Depot and picked up an 8x10 piece for $2. The extra 2" should be okay. I covered the top of the glass in painter's tape as many people do, to help the print stick.

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I clipped the glass plate to the heated bed with office clips.

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In Part 3 of the build log, I will clean up the wiring.

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I hooked up the LCD screen to the Ramps 1.4 board. It was much easier than I thought.

I have hooked up the printer to the computer and uploaded the firmware without too much difficulty. Though Repetier Host I was able to move the axis and heat up the bed and extruder. I did receive an error that kept shutting off my control to the printer. It is probably related to the extruder thermistor. Once the error is resolved, Part 3 of the build log will be coming soon.

For those who didn't want to read everything above, this part is the most important.

So far....

Pros:
Price-(obviously) $300 is a great deal.
Rigidity- it is very solid and heavy, and the metal parts are high quality.
Assembly-not that hard. The instructions were definitely not like simple Lego instructions, but I was able to follow them.
Wiring-quite simple.


Cons:
3D printed parts- As you could see in the pictures of the X axis carriage, this kit uses 3D printed parts. That is the whole idea behind the RepRap community. The printed parts were not good. I had some trouble with getting the bearings to fit in the 3D printed parts and getting them to line up correctly. Folger Tech could definitely up the quality of the 3D printed parts.
Labeling of parts- Not bad, but could be better.

Thanks for reading! Questions and comments are welcome.

More updates to follow . . . cheers!
 

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Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#2
Looks good! I am really interested in the quality of this model. Shame about the 3D printed parts, but like you said it is RepRap, and you can always print your own spares once you get it running. I have read that a large amount of these RepRap kits are missing a piece or few. Hopefully the customer service of Folger Tech and 3DPrintersonlinestore will get you sorted. Speaking of the latter, how do you like 3Dprintersonlinesotre? I am inclined to buy from them with their attractive prices and free shipping.
 

markyoe

Senior Member
#3
Speaking of the latter, how do you like 3Dprintersonlinesotre? I am inclined to buy from them with their attractive prices and free shipping.
I only have good things to say about 3D Printers Online Store. They processed my order very fast. Folger Tech took about a week to send the kit out. That was a little longer than what I had hoped.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#4
What parts were missing? 3D printed parts or just random hardware or other "vitamins" to use the reprap terminology :D
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#8
Random hardware unfortunately.
I'd actually rather have missing hardware than 3D printed pieces. Can probably track down missing hardware locally fairly easily - custom 3D printed pieces aren't nearly as easy to find if they don't help you out.
 

markyoe

Senior Member
#9
@basscor and Snarls - Yes, it uses a threaded rod.

@jhitesma - I am missing two clamp-like pieces called SHF8UU and a M4x10 screw. I could probably find the screw but there is no way I can find the clamp pieces. I have been in contact with Folger Tech and 3D Printers Online Store and hope to have them ship me the new pieces soon.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#10
Yeah, that does look like a somewhat custom part. Me being me I'd probably carve one out of oak or something so I could keep building while waiting for the real one :D
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#13
Glad to hear they're being responsive and sending you the piece.

FWIW - I didn't mean actually "carve" more that I'd just cut a block of wood with the right holes - looks like it's just a piece that clamps into the rails and provides a clamping hole for the bottom of the Z rail. A small block of wood with a slot and a few holes would probably work just as well. But even if I did that I'd still be contacting them for the real piece. I'm just impatient when I have a new toy.

Trying to curtail my hobby spending for a few months to see if I can make one of these happen. I actually prefer a kit over a pre-built 3D printer and this looks like a killer deal. Heck I don't think I can beat the price doing it myself and tracing down every last bit of hardware would be a pain. Most of the reviews I've found sound great. The extruder isn't the best apparently but is quite capable and you can always upgrade to a better extruder. Same with the Z axis - it may just be threaded rods but you can always upgrade to lead screw. That's one of the things I like about building rather than buying - it's easier to upgrade and change things.

I'm still waiting on the peachy printer I backed on kickstarter over 2 years ago and which is now a year and a half behind...their last update anticipated shipping starting in October and I'm in the first group when they do start shipping....so it may happen soon but I'm not holding my breath. And I'm not expecting the level of accuracy attainable from their design that's attainable with FDM. In fact it's been my plan all along that if I can get even halfway decent prints from it that one of the first things I'd print would be pieces to build an i3 prusa :D But with kit prices dropping this low I'm really tempted.

A month or two of not eating out and I should be able to have the hobby fund built up enough to make it happen. Just can't put that plan into action until after next week - wife would be upset at not going out for our anniversary to help save money for a 3D printer :D
 
#16
You have heated bed; no need for the blue tape. PLA and ABS will stick to the glass, PLA from ~50-60C, ABS needs 90+C. If it doesnt stick at those temps, apply some hair spray, I kid not. Ive tried nearly every material, blue tape, kapton, glue sticks, dissolved ABS (the latter two stick REALLY good, but so good you cant get them off, it literally took out a piece of glass), plain white laser printer paper, wood and then some. But hair spray on glass or mirror is by far my favorite for all my filaments. A thin coat is enough and will last for many dozens of prints. Much less hassle than tape, and you get a cleaner bottom on your prints. Also when the plate cools, your prints will pop right off.
 

markyoe

Senior Member
#17
You have heated bed; no need for the blue tape. PLA and ABS will stick to the glass, PLA from ~50-60C, ABS needs 90+C. If it doesnt stick at those temps, apply some hair spray, I kid not. Ive tried nearly every material, blue tape, kapton, glue sticks, dissolved ABS (the latter two stick REALLY good, but so good you cant get them off, it literally took out a piece of glass), plain white laser printer paper, wood and then some. But hair spray on glass or mirror is by far my favorite for all my filaments. A thin coat is enough and will last for many dozens of prints. Much less hassle than tape, and you get a cleaner bottom on your prints. Also when the plate cools, your prints will pop right off.
Thanks for the tips! I will take the tape off and try the hairspray when I get it going.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#18
Looking good! I could barely see the Mega board behind the RAMPS shield the way your camera angles are :D At first I thought it might be an integrated RAMPS board - but then I noticed the USB-B port poking out from behind the RAMPS in a few shots. Sneaky little bugger that mega board ;)
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#19

markyoe

Senior Member
#20
Thanks for sharing those links. I am trying to figure out if the hot end thermistor works. Folger Tech costumer service said, "Test the resistance of the thermistor with a meter, it should be reading between 80-120k ohms. It probably either a bad thermistor, or it could be the ramps board."

I have a multimeter, so do I the resistance of one of the leads coming from the thermistor or both?