So far on this build we have:
In part 1 – built the assemblies
In part 2 – built the frame
If you have missed either of these feel free to go back and review.
In part 3 we are going on to assemble the electronics onto the printer
They are stored in anti-static bags. Keep them in these until you need them.
The electronics consist of
The controller – this is the brains of the outfit, it takes the input from the computer or sd card and translates it into signals to move the motors or heat the bed, hot end or feed the filament. And there is a little capacity left to tell you what is happening on a display.
The ramps board – this takes the small signals from the controller and magnifies them so that they can, run the motors, extruder, heat the build platform, heat the hotend. Without the controller it doesn’t do much. This is assuming the motor drive boards are fitted.
The lcd – this is the user interface. The human machine interface where you twist a knob and the controller moves the cursor to where it thinks you want it. You then press the knob and the controller carries out that task, and gives you feedback that it is doing it in the form of words on the lcd.
Power supply – converting the mains input down to a voltage which is usable for the controller and the ramps board efficiently is what this type of power supply does best. While printing the power supply will get hot over time.
Controller to ramps fitment
These are the inner two from the big green connector, it is your choice whether you do something about them.
If you leave them then don’t press the two boards together completely to reduce the stress on that end of the board.
Trim the pins almost flush with the board, you still need to be able to solder to something.
And resolder making good joints.
The two boards will now fit together flat.
My ramps board came with the jumpers already fitted – if yours didn’t then now is the time to fit them. See the picture for the correct placement.
LCD quick connect board
To connect the lcd to the electronics, there are two ribbon cables. These fit into IDC connectors. As ther are none of these fitted as standard to either of the main boards, a quick connect boards is supplied. This plugs in as shown, plugging into the last dual row connector as well as along the bottom row.
Plugging in the lcd
There are cutout in the IDC connectors which mate with the ribbon cable connectors.
As you can see the red stripe is on the left – looking from the big yellow things down towards the connectors.
These cables stay flat and are plugged into the lcd screen board.
The lcd screen board is laid on its back for this operation.
Quick power up
To my surprise and pleasure, the board had already been programmed, so this will not be required for initial testing.
You can see the display you will be looking at when the printer is operating.
The first line shows the temperature of the hot end and the build platform respectively.
The second line shows the placement of te hot end with respect to the end stops.
The third line shows the speed of the printer, along with the percentage complete of the file from the SD card and the time it has taken to get this far.
The err: mintemp is shown on the fourth line due to the fact that the thermisters are not connected and it is confusing the board. Once every thing is connected properly this error will not be shown if every thing is working.
Motor drive boards heatsinks
The job of these is to remove some of the heat from the motor drive chips.
electronic components can normally operate at temperature up to 125C. If it get upto or close to this temperature it will either fail, reduce its life significantly or do strange things.
Using aluminium extrusion heatsinks increase the surface area of the chip and allows more of the heat to be radiated into the air. If you find these get very hot when operating your printer you can install a fan to blow air across them to increase the heat loss.
To fit them, turn them over and you will find that there has been applied a piece of double sided tape.
Get the motor drive board out of their anti static packaging, leave them in the foam.
Make sure you do not short out the circular piece towards one end of the board.
Once happy with the placement press firmly, but do not bend the legs under the board.
Repeat for all four.
Motor drive boards fitting
Placing them in the correct way round, fit them as shown in the picture.
Ensure that all of the pins go into the sockets provided on the board.
Fitting the lcd board to the printer
The lcd screen is fitted to the top frame between the x upright and the y upright.
You will need
2 off lcd brackets
2 off M4X10 screws
2 off M4 t-nuts
2 off M4 washers
Put the washers onto the M4 screws and pass them through the holes in the lcd brackets. The triangular pieces go underneath the frame, so are fitted towards the rear. Fit the t-nuts loosely.
Fit the lcd assembly to the top frame, aligning the t-nuts before fitting. Tighten the screws.
Mounting the controller
I found these too large so opted for M3 X 8
You will be using 2 off M4X10 screws
with 2 off 4mm t nuts
Align the nuts so they slip into the central cavity and tighten using the supplied allen key
Mains power supply
Remove the mains power supply from its box.
This may differ from the pictures below.
Flip the cover up and unscrew the two screws marked L and N.
You are supplied with a two core cable, long enough to go from top to bottom of the printer twice.
You will need to cut the cable in half, so that you can run it from the power supply to the ramps board twice. Once for the main supply, the other for the heated bed.
The reason for this is the current demand for the heated bed is 11A. Any voltage drop on the 12V supply will affect other parts of the printer, so another feed is added to prevent the voltage drop affecting the heater for the hotend and other parts.
Trim off the insulation of the inner cables 10mm (½ in), being careful not to cut the inner copper strands.
Twist the copper strands to keep them together.
Unscrew the -v screw.
Insert the blue cable trimmed end, making sure that the insulation will not be trapped under the screw.
Tighten the screw.
Repeat with the +v screw.
Repeat this for the other cable.
Ensure that you flip the cover down to protect you from any mains voltage.
Unscrew the connector terminals on the ramps board and carefully insert the cables – noting the orientation.
Connecting the cables the wrong way round may destroy your electronics – so be careful and check twice before switching on for the first time.
I have found there is nowhere to fit the power supply.
I was going to fit it under the heated build platform but found that it did not fit.
There are two options here, one is to have the power supply round the rear of the printer.
The other is to mount the power supply on the top of the printer.
I didn’t like either of these options.
Mounting the power supply around the back meant it was loose, mounting it on top of the printer added a lot of weight in a position not assisting in the stability of the printer. You want most of the weight low down not high up to assist stability.
What I ended up doing is to use some floor board material to make a plinth. This was the right height to encase the power supply.
I drilled a number of holes in the rear of this plinth and mounted a fan, which comes on with the power supply to keep the heat down.
I added a mains switch and three pin IEC mains connector with fuse to the outside of the plinth. I printed a box to mount the mains connector/switch.
I can now switch off the mains easily, and have an earthed connection back to the mains.
You can find details in my modifications post here, of the mods I have carried out to the printer.
Wiring it up
The supplied wiring diagram from the manufacturer does correspond with the wiring required.
I ran the wires for the motors into the outside cavities of the extrusions to keep it neat.
The end stop switch wires I ran across the top frames and onto the controller. Make sure you connect these properly.
From one end the order is Z, auto level, Y, no connection, X, no connection.
All of the motors are connected the same way round. with te black wire towards the lcd connector end – despite what the manufacturer says!
The Z axis has two connectors for the cartesian printers – it doesn’t matter which you use.
Having had a few issues with the power of the heated bed melting my connector on my prusa clone. For this model I used a little contact cleaner and made sure the connections were tight.
The two thermisters are a little tight to fit and can be eased with rotating the outer connector to one side to fit the inner.
The wiring to the hot end can be tidied up using the supplied cable wrap. make sure you have all the wires you need in the bundle as unwrapping it is a pain.
This completes the electronic build and leaves only a few outstanding parts to be fitted.
The spool holder
The supplied spool holder while it looks good and may fit the supplied loose filament does not fit any of my reels of filament.
you will need to remove the ‘ears’, these are aids for printing and
prevent it form warping during printing.
I have both 0.5kg and 1kg – in two shapes. And none of these fit over the end.
I fitted it for somewhere to hang the filament but will be changing this in the near future.
If you have made it to here you should be looking at a complete printer.
All that is left to do is to set it up.
If you have any comments leave them in the box below.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope that it has helped you build your own 3d printer kit.