So I bought a Printrbot Simple Metal. Then I decided to buy a Printrbot Simple Makers Kit. I want to be able to play around with modifying the Printer. My Wife did not want me to be screwing around with the GOOD printer.
So far, Octoprint, Octopi, print server on a Raspberry Pi A+ for the Simple Metal Printer. Then it was moved up to a RPi2 B board and installed CuraEngine installed so Octoprint could handle simple slicing tasks on its own. You just drag and drop the .stl file onto the web page and it slices and saves a g-code file for printing. I set this up for the Makers kit also. It is not very flexible as yet. There is no way to change the slicer settings within the web interface. They can be changed several ways, By SSH, RDP or by a FTP program such as WinSCP. this is done by editing the text in the CuraConfig file.
So far I have replaced the 10″ 8mm Z axis round bars with 13.5″ (350mm) 8mm bars. Then the 10″ bars were moved to the X axis to replace the 6.5″ OEM bars. New parts were printed to upgrade the bed from 100mm (3.97″) to 150mm (5.9″) (stock print area is 100mm X 100mm). Also printed out a spool holder that slips down over the front Z axis bar. I printed out a “finger flobber” (makes it easier to insert and remove filament) a Fan shroud and a Z axis Stabilizer (stiffens the Z axis for better prints) .
Printbot claims 100mm X 100mm by 115mm. My tests showed it more like 97mm X 97mm X115mm. This is due to the bed depth and the Screws on the right side of the bed. I was able to loosen the Y Axis switch screws then push it farther back. This gained a couple of millimeters. Then I put a toothpick into the pivot of the switch and bent the lever towards the switch body. This gained a couple more MM. My Y axis is now set at 102mm. To get the full advantage of the X Axis extensions I had to countersink screws into the bed.
Future plans include doing away with the Plywood, making those parts out of Plastic (printed) or Diamond plate Aluminum. this will make for a stiffer more accurate print. Adding two 12V fans, one to cool the board and one to cool the extruder/motor. Embedding the Raspberry Pi into the frame. Powering the RasPi from the printer power supply, rather than a separate PSU. Then I will look at extending the Z Axis. I see possibly changing the position of the Z Axis Delrin nut, from above the stepper to below the stepper. This would extend the Z axis about 42mm (1.65″). This would bring it to about 150mm (around 6″) total.
PrintrBot just eliminated the Simple Makers Edition kit from their site.
There are still some of these kits available on Amazon. These are a good source for the electronics to build a more advanced printer.
A few tips for the kit.
1.After you have it together a few days re-tighten every screw you can get too. The plywood shrinks some due to a difference in humidity. If you live in a humid area you probably won’t have this problem. The bearings under the bed really need to be tightened. This means you need to remove just the print bed.
2. Do not over-tighten the GT2 belts. They tend to slide off the rollers if they are too tight. I believe this is also a problem caused by the plywood. This is especially true of the X Axis.
3. If you want to have the least troubles, print out a spool holder of some type real soon after completing the kit.
4. Make sure you Calibrate your printer. This increases the accuracy of your prints.
5. Think seriously about using Octoprint. Having your printer untethered from your Computer is great. I did not setup an outside port, but you can make the printer available over the internet.
6. Invest in a zip tie gun, you will get a much more consistent tightening of the zip ties that hold the kit together.