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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Like I was going to wait

Sitting in it's soon to be home in the garage
As soon as the kids were in bed I queued up the Makerbot's unboxing tutorial videos and that Replicator was out of the box and assembled.
The process was amazingly smooth and simple and only took about 30 minutes, maybe less. Well done Makerbot on a user friendly experience. I was surprised at how many plastic parts were molded, not 3D printed. There's even a hidden message on one of the parts ("Keep it Awesome"), so they were definitely custom made for Makerbot. But they're not made on a Makerbot.
...and a big box of cardboard
Then it was on to the first run experience or... FRE. Leveling, feeding filament, all pretty simple. Then the test print... but what to print. I wasn't thrilled about any of the options really, but having to choose something I picked the spiral box. However, it was 10 o'clock at night and I wasn't going to leave it running all night so I canceled the print only a couple of layers in.
It's not much, but it seems to be working so far... or so I thought.

Since I'm me, I've got a little bit of critical feedback for Makerbot, in case any of them are listening:
  1. The screws to hold the extruder head in place weren't fool proof. Tapered holes or a tipped screw would have guided it in a bit. Then again demanding a little bit of engineering at this early stage does prepare users for what's to come I guess.
  2. The filament spools aren't the same forwards or backwards. One way they stick out a bit from the back of the Replicator, the other way they sit rather snug. But the guide said to make them roll in opposite directions so that's the way they are; one close, one spaced a bit further out. If that's okay a mention in the instructions would be good.
  3. The clips for holding the filament feeds are really tight. Not sure if there's anything can be done about it but, ouch, my fingers.
  4. Also, there's no indication of how high or low in the back those filament feeds need to be. I made mine a little lower so they'd be closer to the spool, but I wasn't sure. Still not.
  5. When feeding the filament the first time I was surprised to see green and blue coming out, not black and white. I figured that was left over from the factory test print, and that's cool, but a warning would have been cooler.
  6. At no point was I told to insert the SD card. I mean I figured it out, I'm smart like that, but for a truly fool proof first experience that's something that should be spelled out.

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