I have had a PBSM for quite some time and have enjoyed light modding of it and wished I could go just a little bit bigger on most of my prints.
My thinking was to locate the guts of a pb plus metal and bring it back to life. Where this led was for me to buy a pb plus wood to metal kit.
I was about halfway through the assembly of the plus metal kit and reaching the point where I would have to start scavenging pieces off of my simple metal to make the plus go. Sentiment got the better of me and so I zigged where I was supposed to zag and bought the loose parts that I would need to finish the plus metal without gutting my simple.
There are a few parts of the simple that I was less in love with than others so I carried that into my plus.
Printrbot's online store is a bit fluid as to what they list for purchase at any time. things come and go and I don't really like the idea that so many things existed and have just evaporated from availability (extrudrboard).
Printrbot has relatively high shipping costs. I realize this is part of their small business pull and overhead, but I like to be able to get things faster and with less shipping costs.
Arduino 2560 is a PITA to keep up to date for a tool in the garage. I need to break down my printer, take it to the desktop, upgrade code and then take it back to set up all over again. I've done it successfully several times but I certainly don't enjoy it.
I've not had a lot of love for the printrboard itself. While it works and will remain in my simple metal it's a bit static. when using a bone stock printrboard I wasn't a fan of the firmware updates required for thermistor changes, or the failure rate that I had with the printrboards while using the lcd display.
I am not a fan of the ubis ceramic hot end. I plan on replacing this ubis ceramic when it gives up the goods with a e3d lite or e3dv6. I know PBHQ has a much superior product in the 13s over the ceramic, I just happen to have the ceramics on hand in my spares drawer.
Extruders extruders extruders. I started with the alu extruder on my pbsm. when trying flexible I had a world of hurt so I went to the gear head extruder. the gear head certainly doesn't skip, but the serviceability of the alu extruder is easier day to day so I put the alu extruder back on my pbsm. the gear head extruder is on the plus since I had it on hand. the e3d titan/aero looks nice and I may go there eventually if the gear head should come short on me.
To overcome this experience I have purchased a smoothieboard 5x that I intend on using with the franknbot plus.
I use octoprint with my simple, and the idea of an ethernet connected board that gives many of the octo features native to the board seemed nice along with the ease of adding a second extruder/hotend.
Things I love about Printrbot's products and am really looking forward to:
Very stiff frames make for great print quality out of box. I've seen a friends folgertech output and he consistently has me print high precision parts that he is bolting onto his machine to overcome the initial quality gap.
the kysan steppers used by pb have never given me a blip of problems. I purchased exact part number matching steppers for the plus to continue that experience.
the pulleys and belts used by pb have been very reliable and so I purchased all the timing pulleys and idlers I would need from pbhq. I don't see these as consumables so the shipping delays are less of a nuisance.
m3 hex bolts EVERYWHERE! I have a small stockpile of various length m6 hardware for other purposes and love that pbhq stayed as consistent as possible with these fasteners. Phillips head screws are inevtiably going to get chewed up with my limited handling skills and matching of drivers to screw heads. a small set of allen keys gets me everything I need to do for building and tearing down my bots.
JST is for me! I play a lot with Arduino and other hobby electronics. using the JST-RE connector package on things makes for a very easy time of mating parts together. I do a fair bot of hobby electronics and whew, there are dozens of battery connector types. keeping things simple makes for a very good overall ease of service.
Inductive "bed level" probe. I really have a love-hate relationship here. having a Z probe makes for a pushbutton and go printing. I can go months without needing to recalibrate my Z offset and appreciate that if there is in fact a problem with my bed, the bot is overcoming a lot of that without needing attention from me. I've had a fair number of probe strikes on parts that started to curl. I've had a probe fail and take the printrboard with it which sucked. I know the inductive probe largely constrains my choice of print beds and I could get the same results with a bltouch or something along those lines. all those things said, I have an aluminum bed with a bracket for an inductive probe and I don't see changing that use case for the foreseeable future.
kapton tape is the devil. I have learned how to print with it very well now and don't think I will change to something else any time soon. for all the pain that getting set up with kapton was it has paid off. Don't get cheap kapton. The stuff pbhq sells is thick and resilient and I keep going back to them and buying several sheets at a time to avoid running out and waiting for delivery. my personal recipe for success with kapton has been to NOT clean it between jobs. the residue from previous prints and scuffing over time seems to be helping. I've been using my last sheet for about 8 months now with no problems.
Blue tape works super awesome for PLA.
right now my overall status is that the body of the printer is fully assembled. extruder, hot end and all steppers are in place. I need to do the wiring from the hot end, thermistor, fans, and any extra wire to be used (possible lights or servos). Smoothieboard has arrived and is on the desk. smoothieboard compatible Z probe is on desk. I plan on taking guidance from another user who has done a printrboard to smoothie conversion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utyv7G2UGCM
) to save some learning stumbles. I have printed an enclosure on the simple to use with the metal for the smoothieboard due to it being larger than the printrboard.
pics to follow when I get back home from easter weekend.