The following are my thoughts and comments on the kit and the quality of the parts and pieces. These comments aren’t in any particular order as they were recorded as I built my machine.
I’m a fan of the OpenBuilds V-Slot Linear Rail as it is an easy to use component for building machines, frames and so much more. One reason I was attracted to this kit is because it makes use of the OpenBuilds V-Slot, meaning I could extend the height of the machine or easily create and attach add-ons. The rails in this kit are of fair quality. I found some manufacturing blemishes on them.
I didn’t realize this until I was closely inspecting the kit, many of the panels are actually a sandwich with a layer of aluminum on each side of a piece of foam or plastic. This material makes sense as a light weight, yet rigid material. I’ll have to look as using this stuff in some of my own designs. If you look at the backside of the front panel piece where the LCD mounts you can see the interior material.
The plates come with a protective plastic film on it. This film may be scuffed up, but once peeled away the underlying panel is fine. Also, the edges of the panels may look like they need to be deburred from when they were cut out. In my experience, most of those burrs come off with the removal of the protective plastic film and if not, a quick run of a knife or screw driver edge will free the burrs.
My only real complaint thus far is that one of the two Z-Axis flange bearing blocks is bent. That and the bearings weren’t seated fulling in the blocks, which could create trouble when assembling the unit. I was able to seat the bearings to my satisfaction, however I wasn’t able to rectify the bent flange. I tried a couple things, but didn’t want to exert too much force for fear of making it worse.
While working with the East 3D documentation, I found it to be inconsistent in the terms it uses, the picture orientation, and even between the PDF I have and the printed manual. I’ll give East 3D a little benefit, they did produce a manual in English, which is probably there second language. Technical language can be tough. Given that though, a lot can be said with just pictures and arrows and a small amount of text. Of course this site wouldn’t exist if East 3D docs were stellar, thus a chance for the community to step up because I do believe they have a great machine.
There are a couple places in the machine where I felt like the screw length was just a tad shorter than it should have been. One notable screw was the M3 x 8mm socket cap screws used to mount the X-axis and Y-axis stepper motor to the lifting panel. Only a couple threads are available to grab the large mass of the motor. Surely this screw could have been 10mm or even 12mm. If you choose, you can swap out the screws for longer screws, easy upgrade.
A couple parts of the machine are 3D printed. I wonder why they choose this, especially when they have some other parts that are very nicely made aluminum extrusions and machined pieces. None the less, the parts work well for what they are designed for.
There are several aluminum plates and parts in this kit. Each one looks to be nicely machined. The surface finish on most is nice, the only one where I wondered about the finish is on the X-axis carriage extruder bracket. I’m glad these parts are included in the kit, it makes for a nicer machine.
I took the carriage off the linear, a couple times intentionally, a couple times by accident. I thought I’d document here what the underside of the carriage looks likes. Note that the small ball bearings you see are ~3⁄32” by my measurements. I’ve not used small linear rails and carriages so I can’t offer any comments on the quality. The rails are hefty. The carriages are light. The rubber edges of the carriage looked a bit used, though maybe that is from the packing oil and handling.
The East 3D Gecko 3D printer has a clone of the E3D Titan Extruder and a clone of the E3D V6 All-Metal HotEnd. There was trouble while assembling this clone. From my research it appears to be the same trouble with many clones and not particular to the East 3D parts. The assembly should perform well, but it does require care to ensure a smooth filament bore through the assembly.
I like E3D and what they have done for the 3D printing community. I wish this could have been genuine E3D components, though I understand the clones lower the overall machine price. I would have paid more to get a genuine part. For the most part the quality is OK. I found trouble with some of the screws in that my hex keys didn’t fit well. I’m confident my hex keys are to spec, so it bothers me when there critical screws or bolts that are questionable tolerances. It makes me wonder about the quality.
Overall the belts seem to be acceptable. I have read online of users upgrading their belts, though I’ve not had a chance to experience why one would do that. Perhaps with time and usage the belts stretch too much? Two thoughts I have had around the belts and attachment are as follows. One, I wish the belts would clamp in via a better means than a single or double screw piercing the belt. Maybe some plate? Or maybe I could have doubled the belt over such that the teeth mesh with each other?
Finally, it seems that the belts on the X-axis carriage aren’t parallel to the axis. That is when you move it to the end of travel, the belts clearly dip down. I hope this doesn’t affect the kinematics too much. It seems like an easy enough fix to change the green aluminum plate that attaches to the X-axis to have the belts be mounted a little higher. Then again, that might then cause a change with the extruder. Hmmm…
The labels are nice. Designed. Themed to the machine. However, I wish there were applied straight.
Inspecting the Lerdge control board and display board, they look to be well laided out and designed. I can tell the detail in the labels and organization, though there is a lot in a small space on the control board. This encourages me and I hope the firmware and user interface is similarly well laid out and organized.
The power supply for the machine looks to be a generic 24V DC, 21 amp unit. Note that there is a power input switch on the supply, and you will want to set this to your particular AC wall power. Also, with my unit, it looks like it came with the voltage trimmed and someone clearly didn’t want me to mess with it.
The power outlet I received, the part that assembles in the back panel to receive the power cord and has an on/off switch, appeared to have a defect in it. The power cord that I also received fit too loose in the outlet on the machine. Finally, I think the power cord is undersized in that it should be a thicker gauge cord. When I ran the machine for a couple hour print on the provided power cord, I found it to be rather warm. I swapped out the power cord for a beefier, better fitting one that I had in my shop.