I received the parts so I could finish my Printrbot and it's nearing completion . . . woo hoo! :)
I got the original "plastic" Printrbot, LINK but I believe they no longer sell that version. The new version of that one is the "LC" which means "laser cut" --> LINK
For me, it wasn't really difficult because I've been building things for many years. For example, when building radio controlled airplanes and helicopters from completely unassembled kits, it's "normal" to have to custom fabricate parts in a variety of different ways. This version of the Printrbot required significant modifications during the construction process. Although I feel it's important to let you know I truly believe Brook Drumm is an incredibly nice and very smart man, I was not very happy with the quality of the parts provided due to the following:
Perhaps these are all resolved with the newer laser cut Printrbots - I'm not sure. When I broke parts of my plastic extruder assembly, I purchased a "laser cut" extruder and it went together very nicely but the instructions were . . . how can I say this . . . as if someone on crack wrote them (sorry). Yes, I'm probably more critical about things like this because I used to write documents like instruction manuals and other technical writing documents for a living. But, like figuring out over and over how to assemble this Printrbot using customization, figuring out the extruder was eventually resolved as well. None of this was "difficult" to figure out but it added lots of time because I like things "just right" and the added time factor was a bit frustrating because I felt the quality should have been better, avoiding most of these custom crafting tasks.
Even after all I've said, I'd still recommend purchasing one of the new Printrbots. They offer three basic varieties and again, I'm assuming many, if not all of the problems I had with my kit have been resolved (all the new models are LC, laser cut versions).
I should have this machine running Tuesday evening (20-Nov-2012 - I have family time until Tuesday afternoon - early Thanksgiving). I have every reason to believe my Printrbot will be just as good as anyone else's - and they have an impressive, proven record of "part quality per dollar" (ha).
This was just my first adventure into 3D printing. I already have most of the materials for making a Rostock --> LINK
FYI - even though Printrbot is now selling assembled units, I would not recommend this to someone who doesn't have baseline skills building and repairing mechanical and electronic components. I'm sure Brook Drumm sends them out built very well but when you put it together from scratch, you also learn how to operate, adjust and maintain it, and if necessary, repair it if something breaks or goes wrong. That "knowledge" about the machine is learned when building it and is invaluable, in my opinion. If you were already very familiar with these machines, proper setup, maintenance and repair, and you wanted to save time, then yes, I'd recommend a pre-built Printerbot in any of the three sizes they're available but most people at this skill level, myself included, would prefer to build because building is fun, usually a very satisfying experience!
I'm having "difficulty" getting the Z-axis motors to do their job.
I can jog the X & Y axes - not a problem, but the Z is . . . not cooperating. When I use the software to jog a distance of 0.1mm in the Z axis, one of the stepper motors twitches - good - but the other one usually doesn't move. When I jog a distance of 1mm, nothing much is different and when I jog 100 mm, same thing - buzzing but not any or very little movement/spinning.
The two vertical shafts feel "reasonable" - not too tight or constrained to freely turn.
Also, my X and Y motors get --HOT-- is that normal?
Thanks in advance for any assistance
Hot motors --Probably not. Yes, steppers do run warm and on big machines they can get very hot but on your little printer there, they should get luke warm at best. You should be able to rest your hand on one and keep it there forever. Turn your current down, dude. It only takes a few seconds to grab your volt meter and set the current on each driver.
Z axis. My assumption is that you are trying to step way too fast there. Turn down your max Z speed. If you are still having problems, you can slow down your steps (but not slow down your motor) by simply not using 16th steps. Personally, I use 1/4 steps on my Z and get full resolution doing so. Now I can physically turn the threaded rod at the same RPM, while the speed of my steps has been lowered by 75%. You cannot do this on your X and Y, mind you, only the Z. The reason being that the X and Y are "direct drive" via the belts, while the Z has a built-in resolution multiplier in the form of the threaded rod.
One more --If you have a tap and die set, run a die over the threaded rods. This will knock off any zinc goobers. Next, stick it in a drill, spin it and hit it with a wire brush --this will further knock off any goobers. Finally, grease the crap outta it, dude.