Now this was fun: Thoughts about building my enclosure
Now this was fun: Thoughts about building my enclosure
So, yesterday I finally conquered the executive dysfunction imposed upon me by the ADHD and assembled my Original Prusa Enclosure so that my Mk4 would get a nice dust cover. To sum it up in one sentence, this was an almost perfectly enjoyable experience. I want to thank the people at Prusa Research who made that possible!
What I liked
There is a lot of good things one can say about this kit. The first thing I noticed in that regard was the packaging. Lots of paper and cardboard, plastic only where it really makes sense. And the plastics are not those shitty styrofoam-things that break into millions of statically charged little plastic balls, it's all the nice foamy stuff that doesn't mess everything up. In fact, I kept most of it as I see future uses for building stuff with it. Apart from the material, it's also the organization I liked a lot: Separate boxes and all of the screws and stuff in separate bags so it's practically impossible to have a problem finding the parts you need at any given time.
Speaking about packaging: Kudos to the person who came up with the idea of using the packaging as a tool during construction. "Use that box to put your base on it" makes so much sense, and while it might be obvious to some, it's a really nice touch for hyperfocused ADHD people who might miss the obvious while being engaged in the building process.
It's also quite astonishing that EVERYTHING can be done using a single 2.5 Allen key. OK, there is one single screw that requires a Philips head, but during the rest of the build, one never has to search for that other tool that has just disappeared somewhere. I really love that. More than I would have thought I'd love it, actually.
Besides the tools, there's something else that tends to miraculously disappear during a build like this: Little bits and pieces such as screws, nuts and the like. I can only speak for myself, but I would guess that over time, at least 4-5 screws from this build will turn up as I somehow lost them in the heat of the fight. But that doesn't matter at all as Prusa decided to include spares for almost everything, and in some cases there are actually more spares than parts you actually need. One could say that the bags of small parts are not only what you need for building the enclosure, it's also a starter pack for the stuff one is going to make with the printer. I absolutely and unconditionally love that aspect of the kit - there's only a very minor thing to criticize, but more about that later.
As every IKEA customer knows, the second most important thing in a kit (right after the actual parts) are the instructions, and those were great. The detailed pictures with the colored arrows are extremely helpful, and if one has some sort of notebook or tablet, there isn't much that can go wrong during assembly. If something is unclear, just look at the user comments - there are amazing, helpful ones that can really save one's day. Really, the idea of having a separate comments section for every step of the build is pure genius - I have never seen something like that before and it should be a mandatory feature for every kind of instruction on the web.
What irks me
Don't get me wrong: I would give this kit 9.75 out of 10. Still, there are some minor things that could be improved:
- There are two steps (PSU stops and something else I forgot) where you have to force screws into untapped printed pieces. Doing so with the puny allen key in the kit is positively impossible, especially with the really hard to reach PSU stops. If the instructions did at least mention that the holes are untapped, this might have been less frustrating. The way it is now, it felt like a video game where you simply can't kill a super-hard boss, and all you find on the internet is "this one is easy, just drop him".
- While it is possible to assemble the entire enclosure using the included allen key, it's definitely not a good idea. While some situations require manual work because of rather fragile plastic parts being involved, tightening all the screws in the steel parts can and should be done with a cordless drill and an H2.5 bit. This is especially true for those untapped parts - when using the proper tool, those really aren't a problem. Sadly, those H2.5 bits are not something everybody has lying around, so it would be really nice if future versions of the kit included one.
- As I already highlighted, you get lots of spare nuts and bolts, which is absolutely lovely. I just think it's sad that these parts come in non-reusable plastic bags. If the nuts and bolts came in little ziploc bags, one could just keep them. It somehow felt like really avoidable plastic waste when I transferred these parts into ziplocs and trashed the original packaging. This is not a big issue, but well... It could be improved. Obviously, the killer solution would be to not use bags at all but package all the smart parts in some kind of container with compartments that could afterwards be used as long-time storage.
How it went
To sum it all up, the exprience was very enjoyable. You need to set aside some time, though: The entire process from having an assembled Mk4 and an enclosure kit in its box to having the printer ready to go took about 6 hours. One can probably do it faster, but one should take a few breaks and enjoy the gummy bears.
Here are some pictures of the process for those who are interested:
RE: Now this was fun: Thoughts about building my enclosure
Yeah, first time assembled take bit longer. But after that, it's much faster. I vaguely remember I built first enclosure in 2 hours and then 2nd, 3rd, and 4th enclosures were built in 30-45 minutes (maybe an hour).