Monthly Archives: August 2015

Simple Maker to Play Upgrade Kit

I rate this Kit at about 3 out of 4 stars.

So I bought the “PLAY” upgrade kit from Printrbot. The kit is not quite straight forward to carry out. First you have to print out some of the upgrade. You have to disassemble your Maker. Then you have to hope all the parts printed out, close enough to the, right size for you to complete the upgrade. I thought I had my Maker and my Simple Metal both pretty well calibrated. I still had issues with part sizing.
Printrbot Play

Cons to this upgrade:

  1. PLA is just not that good for some of the parts, example the Z axis mounts. If you try to force fit any PLA parts they will break.
  2. If your printer is not very close to on you will need some drill bits close to metric sizes to make things fit. If they are oversized then you will have to come up with a different plan.
  3. You do not reuse any of the screws from the maker, so you end up with tons of extra screws and nuts.
  4. There are no direct “instructions” for assembling the upgrade. You have to use the Play assembly instructions. This has several areas that will confuse you as the PLAY parts are slightly different than the Maker parts.
  5. The Extruder shroud covers the print so it is hard to see if your print is starting correctly.
  6. About 20 hours of printing parts before you can even start assembling the upgrade.
  7. You cannot even think about extending the X axis of this printer. You can “tune” a little bit more out of it. More about this later.
  8. The leveling probe adjustment is not any easier than it was on the Maker. Just different.

Pro’s to the Upgrade:

  1. The whole assembly is rock steady compared to the Maker frame. There is just no comparison at all!
  2. You get the new V2 extruder as part of the upgrade. Do not try to use your V1 extruder, it will not fit under the extruder shroud.
  3. Plugging in the USB and SD cards is a lot easier in the Play chassis than it was in the Maker Chassis.
  4. You get a Filament Spool bracket as part of the upgrade!
  5. Easier to carry around. It is taller but not really “bigger” than the Maker. I find it is easier to store overall.
  6. Prints are a whole lot more accurate than the Maker ever was!

You need to test fit all of the printed pieces before assembly. This is especially important for the “Bridge”, X bearing clamp. Mine was loose and allowed the print head carriage to tip left and right. I had to sand down the pedestals so it would clamp the bearings tighter. One of the clamps on the bed (Y) bearings was rubbing against the belt Delrin pulley assembly. I had to file down the clamp so the pulley would spin freely. I also found that you need to install a washer under this pulley. If you do not it will bind. You need to steal one of the thin washers from your Maker parts, as it is not included in the Play upgrade.

I did have some problems in my upgrade kit. On the bridge, two of the clamp holes had been drilled, but they had not been threaded. On the base My Z rod holes were not large enough to allow the smooth rods through. This was not just an issue with the coating. I had to find a drill bit and open the holes up. The Wire wraps that come with the Maker are reused on the Play upgrade. They seems to be a bit on the stiff side for the Play. The newer kit my brother bought had a different wire relief that works a lot better than mine.

My brothers play upgrade kit did not have these issues. His Z rods were very tight, but they did go in. He did not have any problems with threaded holes as far as I know.

So most of the problems I encountered were caused by the printed parts themselves. Be ready to fool around with the parts to get everything to fit. Having some files and drill bits around will make it all easier to get done. But if you built a Maker kit then you should have no real problems with the upgrade at all.

The Y axis can be extended! My brothers kit now has a 7.28″ (185mm) extended bed on it. You can usually get a true 4″ (101.2mm) out of the X axis, mine is 104mm and my brothers came out at 102mm.

My Brother had ordered a Heated Bed upgrade for his Simple Metal. He had the OEM bed lying around. So he had it cut down to 5.5″ (139.7mm) by a machinist friend. We then cut a set of 8mm Smooth rods down to 9 11/16″ (246mm) to replace the 6.5″ (165mm) OEM rods. I also had GT2 belt lying around (besides the smooth rod). The printed Y axis ends were used. The bed and Y axis ends were drilled to match. A couple of holes were drilled in the “wing” at the end of the bed to allow belt tension adjustment. The Stock Y switch is usually bent nearly 90deg. We left ours flattened, even flattened them out more than stock to get maximum travel. The we adjusted the firmware until the bed hit the mechanical limit. Then subtracted 1mm. This was about a 3 hour job, but a bed area gain of 3.35″ of print area.

Play Y axis switch bent

Printrbot Y axis and belt detail

Printrbot Play Xaxis switch detail

After applying a few tweaks and tunes to my own Play I ended up with 104mm X 107mm X 130 (4.094″ X 4.212″ X 5.118″). I did not try to get any extra out of the Z axis. It looks like I could get 5+mm out of Z.

My project for today was to get power from the Play to power an inexpensive Windows 8.1 Tablet. I upgraded the tablet to Win10. It has Cura 15.04.2 installed and Repetier-host 1.5.5 and Repetier-Server 0.60.3. Cura works very well, Repetier-host opens and displays an object But I have not setup Slicing configurations as yet. Repetier-Server web page works on the Tablet But I cannot reach it on the network. I was able to design a mount for the Tablet and send the .STL over to the Tablet as a  Home System under Documents. So at least that way can be used to reduce Sneakernet work.

To get power for the Tablet I used a LM2596 board soldered into the power Connector under the Base. The board is double-sticked to the inside of the base. The LM2596 was set to 5v2. It supplied power to my Raspberry Pi and now supplies power to the Tablet. This Tablet has 1 Micro B USB port. It is both the USB port and the charging port. I used a Micro to Micro USB OTG Cable to connect the Tablet to the Printer. I had to cut into the OTG cable and create an injector to power the Tablet. It seems to work well.

I need to do some more setup and testing but so far it appears to be a true Standalone 3D Printer system. I was able to search and download an object from Thingiverse, extract the file and slice it in Cura. I did not print it, but I did print the mount I needed with the Tablet on the Play printer. I have no doubts as to whether it would have printed the file. I may see problems with very large files. The Intel Atom Z3735F Quadcore Processor can only handle 1GB of main memory. The Tablet has 1GB of video Memory as well. It has 32GB of Storage of which only about 17GB is now available after the Win10 upgrade.

Tablet ; Hipstreet 8-Inch Windows Tablet 32GB Wi-Fi White.

I will try to get some actual printer photos up soon!