How worthwhile is building from the kit?
 
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How worthwhile is building from the kit?  

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SafetyThird
(@safetythird)
Eminent Member
How worthwhile is building from the kit?

I've had my Anycubic Kobra for a couple of years and decided to upgrade to a Prusa Mk4 because I now know just how useful a 3D printer is in life and I can't be arsed with the level of faff involved with tweaking and tuning each time I have a project that requires accuracy in the printing.

I can afford to buy the built printer and I'm generally time poor given I live on a farm and have multiple projects constantly on the go. I'm pretty mechanically adept, have a well equipped workshop and, given instructions, I can take apart and fix most things.

Everything I read suggests you learn about being able to fix the printer from building it but also most people say it takes 2-3 days work which, honestly, is hard to find in my schedule. I'm wondering if taking the time is worthwhile given that if something required repair I'm pretty sure that, with instructions, I already have the skills to do so.

How often do folks tend to find they need to repair their printers, I thought the whole point of going with Prusa was how reliable they are. I've spent a fair amount of time fine tuning my current printer, what new skills or knowledge would I gain from following instructions to build it that I probably wouldn't have if buying it ready built?

Thanks.

Posted : 22/10/2023 4:22 pm
Diem
 Diem
(@diem)
Illustrious Member

The great thing about building from a kit is the confidence that comes with it, you are no longer afraid to try any fix and you already have a mental picture of how it goes together.

We get far more queries pro-rata here from owners of pre-built machines than kit builds.  Presumably the under-the-hood knowledge also prevents some of the worst beginner errors.

The instructions are so good that almost anyone can build one - paradoxically the confident handyman is more likely to hit issues due to skipping paragraphs than the cautious noob.  Read the on-line comments as you go.  Time?  Allow at least half a day and if you can dedicate longer you should; if you have never built a printer before then a day is about right.

Repair is relatively uncommon if you keep up a good maintenance schedule; something else that kit builders are more likely to do.

Cheerio,

Posted : 22/10/2023 4:51 pm
Extra Fox
(@extra-fox)
Estimable Member
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

I would agree with @Diem entirely on all the points made.

I've found that knowing how the printer is made demystifies its operation. When I built my Mk3, it benefited me as it was the first 3D printer I'd ever been hands-on with. The best part was that even though that was my first experience, it's been a reliable work-horse ever since. I even dared to perform some upgrades afterward. So, even though you've already got prior experience, I highly recommend going the build-it-yourself route.

Aaron

Posted : 22/10/2023 5:16 pm
SafetyThird
(@safetythird)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

Thank you both for taking the time to reply. It does sound like building is the way to go then. 

Posted : 22/10/2023 5:54 pm
Netpackrat
(@netpackrat)
Reputable Member
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

Aside from the learning experience, there was a significant savings involved.  There was the price difference between the kit and the assembled, the shipping on the kit is less expensive, and the price of my Mk3S+ kit was below the threshold that triggers customs duty when shipped to the US (this was last year).  There's some amount of risk involved too that you need to be aware of...  It's easy to break some of the printed parts during assembly if you aren't careful, and without another printer on hand to make new ones, you are looking at trying to glue them back together to make them work, or ordering new ones and waiting.

Posted : 23/10/2023 8:01 am
SafetyThird
(@safetythird)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

Duly noted on the risk of breaking things, thanks for that, I’ll try not to be too ham-fisted with the parts 😁

I’m in the UK so there shouldn’t be duty to pay (I think), just VAT on import due to the catastrophe that is Brexit and then, of course, whatever the courier decides to charge for collecting that which will probably sting but will be the same whether it’s a kit or assembled printer. 

Posted : 23/10/2023 8:30 am
fuchsr
(@fuchsr)
Famed Member
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

Not disagreeing with any of the advantages of building a kit that were mentioned before. Just as a counterpoint, these printers are not really rocket science. And Prusa does a superb job offering technical assistance through their knowledge base. If you have to fix say a hotend issue, the Prusa knowledge base has excellent step-by-step instructions on how to do that, which will guide you through the process in great detail. Yes, having built a printer before gives you very useful background knowledge but you can certainly fix problems without it. My first Mk3S I bought as a kit, anything else I bought pre-built, as I value my time more than the extra money for an assembled printer. Exceptions are a recent Mini which I got as a kit because that's the only option trading in Prusameters offered me, and a Mk4 because I replaced all the PETG parts with PC-CF parts, and building from scratch was faster than disassembling a complete printer.

Posted : 23/10/2023 11:12 am
Zappes liked
SafetyThird
(@safetythird)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

It’s really interesting to hear everyone’s views, thanks for adding yours. Time is so valuable and was the reason I originally asked people’s views. I can’t imagine needing to do much more than change nozzles/hot ends in the future so hmmmmm.

what’s your reason for changing out the PETG parts on your printer?

Posted : 23/10/2023 1:56 pm
SafetyThird
(@safetythird)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

While I know my mechanical skills are up to the job, my only big concern was whether it would all calibrate as well as a factory built machine. 

Posted : 23/10/2023 2:22 pm
fuchsr
(@fuchsr)
Famed Member
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

what’s your reason for changing out the PETG parts on your printer

I do a fair bit of printing ASA and PCCF, and I didn't want to worry about sagging parts. 

Posted : 23/10/2023 3:35 pm
SafetyThird
(@safetythird)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

Thanks, I take it those take higher temps inside an enclosure that might soften the stock parts then?

Posted : 23/10/2023 3:37 pm
fuchsr
(@fuchsr)
Famed Member
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

I've had issues with sagging PINDA holders and heat bed wire covers on the Mk3s. Obviously the Mk4 doesn't have a Pinda so that's not a problem but I'd rather play it safe. 

Posted : 23/10/2023 3:44 pm
_KaszpiR_
(@_kaszpir_)
Reputable Member
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

I had similar issue between choosing pre build or from kit. I decided to go with the pre assembled and it saved me a lot of time and I was printing in about 1h.

Notice that if you have experience with remote controlled devices like cars or planes or you did some DYI automation with soldering then you really do not need to get kit, you just need to look at the docs and you will quickly understands how it works, so pre assembled will be just saving time.

As someone said - do you need a tool or a project? If you need a tool then get pre-assembled one.

See my GitHub and printables.com for some 3d stuff that you may like.

Posted : 23/10/2023 5:05 pm
SafetyThird
(@safetythird)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

I've built amplifiers from scratch, run a house on Home Assistant (though I don't do coding, I'm a hardware guy), have spent decades working on cars,  motorbikes and bicycles and have a farm that involves me making/fixing everything from a chicken feeder to tractor implements 🙂 Hmmmmm, decisions decisions

Posted : 24/10/2023 10:32 am
Zappes
(@zappes)
Estimable Member
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

Sounds like you have enough other things to keep you occupied. If you don't enjoy the tinkering enough to really _want_ to build the kit, I'd say it's not worth your spare time.

My models on Printables
Posted : 24/10/2023 10:55 am
Diem
 Diem
(@diem)
Illustrious Member
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

concern was whether it would all calibrate as well as a factory built machine.

It should be at least as good, possibly better.  Many of the new-user problems we see are settling down and running-in issues. The prebuilt machines are often shaken-up in transit and kit-builds always vary a fraction but kit-builders seem more likely to end up with a smoothly working machine long-term.  Again, that's probably due to maintenance; I sometimes suspect that certain users buy a ready made machine with unreal expectations and then never lubricate anything or run any checks until after complaining loudly on social media and when they finally come here they are so certain they know what's wrong (definitely not their fault) that they ignore any advice that doesn't fit the preconception.

Cheerio,

Posted : 24/10/2023 6:25 pm
SafetyThird
(@safetythird)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

That’s a really useful insight. Thank you. 

Posted : 24/10/2023 8:06 pm
Netpackrat
(@netpackrat)
Reputable Member
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

 

Posted by: @diem

I sometimes suspect that certain users buy a ready made machine with unreal expectations and then never lubricate anything or run any checks until after complaining loudly on social media and when they finally come here they are so certain they know what's wrong (definitely not their fault) that they ignore any advice that doesn't fit the preconception.

My favorite are the Creality users who show up here upset, after having finally spent a significant chunk of change to buy a Prusa, it doesn't print better straight out of the box than the Ender that they have spent months or maybe years upgrading and tuning.

Posted : 24/10/2023 11:32 pm
Diem
 Diem
(@diem)
Illustrious Member

Almost all recent FDM machines are capable of decent prints just as almost all recent cars are capable of conveying you to work ... that doesn't make them equal.

Cheerio,

Posted : 25/10/2023 2:36 am
SafetyThird
(@safetythird)
Eminent Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: How worthwhile is building from the kit?

Just want to say a big thank you to everyone for your help. I just ordered the Mk4 kit with a spare nozzle, satin sheet and a couple of rolls of PETG. I really appreciate all the advice and look forward to building it when it arrives next month. 

 

Posted : 25/10/2023 8:47 am
Netpackrat and Zappes liked
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