- 1 What you will need
- 2 Case
- 3 Mechanics
- 3.1 Printhead
- 3.2 Heatbed
- 3.3 Linear guides
- 3.4 Core xy line guidance
- 3.5 install top case Plate
- 3.6 Extruder
- 4 Elektronics
- 5 First startup
- 6 First 3D Print
- 7 Firmware update
- 8 Finetuning
- 9 Troubleshooting
- 10 Maintenance
- 11 last steps
What you will need
You don't own a 3Dator kit?Get one here.
For the full assembly you will need about 10 to 20 hours
The following tools are required or very useful:
- Screw driver
- Allen key M2,5 M2 and M3
- Cable stripper
- Small caliper
- Soldering iron
- Side cutter
- tape measure
- 5 mm and 8 mm metal drills
At first check if you got all parts that you'll need to build the printer.
A list of all components can be found here: BOM. If you are confused with a name of a part you can always look up how it looks like.
For preparation you should pull down the protective foil from all the plexiglass parts. Make sure to strip down the foil on both sides.
Now make sure to remove all the remains from the laser process. Sometimes pieces are still stuck in the screw holes. Just push them out with a screw driver.
To get a feeling for the pexiglass there are four test edges. Screw them together with squrere nuts and M3 screws until the plexiglass breaks.
It is very important to build the kit in the right order
For the case use the 12 mm screws. For reaching some tricky spots use a screw driver and a magnet to get the square nut to the right spot.
We'll begin with the mount of the z axis stepper.
- screw z_motor_mount together with z_motor_support.
- now screw together case_floor and case_left.
- then connect the z axis motor mount with case_floor.
- also add case_back and case right.
Assemble the LCD display mount
- first screw together the lcd display with the plexiglass spacers and 20mm screws.
- then connect the display unit with both case_display_tiler.
- push a plexiglass piece that is leftover into the knob and push it onto the lcd.
- screw in the finished display unit into the case.
Don't install the front and top case panels yet.
Now screw the nut of the z axis spindle onto the both z_nut_holder.
- use 2 12 mm screw from both sides. (fig. 7)
Z axis stepper assmebly
- move the stepper motor through the opening in z_motor_mount.
- if necessary open the 4 screws to the z_motor_support a bit
- screw the motor onto z_motor_mount with 4 8 mm M3 nuts.
- add the z spindle nut. The shaft of the nut should point down.
At first the LED stripes are mounted. Those are sticked onto the back of the front panel. Check for the correct direction and position of the stripes. Digial LED stripes do have a direction, one end is the input (DI) and the other one is the output (DO). Just take notice of the tiny arrows. Double check that all three LED stripes are mounted in the right direction. The signals input should look like pictured on the right side. The three pieces should have 2x 21 LEDs and 1x 12 LEDs long.
Analog LED stripes should be mounted that no cables need to cross on the corners.
- there are 5 grooves for nuts in the idlers (for better compatibility the groove for the nut that the front panel fixes is double). Add nuts in the 4 grooves that are needed. Make sure they reach far enough into the groove. Double check with a screw.
- Check if one of the 8 mm steel rods fits through the hole in the idler. If not use a 8 mm drill to make it fit.
- screw one of the hall endstops to the left (front view) idler with a 8 mm screw. The pins of the Endstops need to be straighten before that.
Stick down the LED stripes
- position the idler on the front panel for better orientation
- stick down all three stripes. Orient yourself on the figure on the right.
- the outer stripes should be sticked down in the middle.
Soldering of the LED stripes
- first solder some tin-solder onto the contacts of the stripes to make soldering much easier
- cut off the LED cable at the marked length. Keep in mind that the length should match the distance between the stripes through the idlers. The other part of the cable with the connector on one end will be used to connect the stripes to the extension board.
- start soldering the cables to the stripes, use black for GND, red for 5V and blue or green for DI.
- guide the cable through the idler
- now screw in the idler to keep it in place
- then trim the cables to the perfect length
- to remove the isolation from the cables it can be easier to remove the idler again
To finish up solder the 15 cm long cable piece with the 3 pin connector on the input of the LED stripe.
The printhead says 3Dator on the front. On both sides Hotends can be mounted. With different Fantubes the following hotends are compatible: Merlin, Dyze, E3D v6, E3D vulcano.
The default configuration for the 3Dator is the Merlin hotend. Those hotends will need a few changes before it can be used in the 3Dator. The Hotend consists of the following components:
- aluminum nut
- peek rod
- messing liner
- 0.2, 0.3, 0.5 mm airbrush nozzle
- aluminum heat block
- EPCOS B57560G104F NTC Thermistor
- 12 V 30 W heater catridge
- 12 V fan
- allen key
This step is already done if you bought our kit The aluminium nut needs to be drilled up to a 4 mm hole. Then you can cut a M5 thread. Also make sure the Thermistor can't fall out of the alu block. Either glue it in or drill a extra hole and secure it with a tiny screw.
- First put together the alu block and the messing part. Secure both with a M3 setscrew (1).
- then screw on the peek rod onto the messing thread (2).
- make sure everything looks like in picture 3.
- add the heating cartridge and secure it with an M3 setscrew.
- Don't screw in the airbrush nozzle yet because it is very fragile. Use the 0,5 mm nozzle first because it is the most easiest.
- insert the square nuts into the slightly sloped slots.
- screw in 25 from the top into the square nuts.
- insert 4x LM8UU into the printhead. Secure them with zip ties.
- Push the heater cartridge and the thermistor cables through the hotend_clamp. (Maybe you need to disassemble the thermsitors connector to get it through the hole.)
- Push the heater cartridge into the right side of the hotend and secure it with a set screw.
- Push the hotend into the left side of the printhead, check that it is oriented properly.
- Use 2x 20 mm screws to secure the hotend with the hotend_clamp on the printhead. (add 4x square nuts in the provided slots in the printhead to screw into)
- Add the inductive sensor on the right side with sensor_clamp, sensor_space and also 20 mm screws. The inductive sensor should end about 1 mm behind the hotend nozzle tip.
Hall endstop x
- put the endstop_holder together with the hall endstop with one 6 mm screw and a square nut.
- add the endstop_holder to the printhead assembly with 2x 8 mm screws.
The Fan provides an airflow from behind the printhead onto the cooling rips of the hotend.
- Screw the Fan on with two 16mm screws in such a way, that the wire is up. (don't overthighten them).
- now you can screw cooling_tube under the printhead with 4 8mm screws.
- screw the SC10UU bearings in the Z backplate with the M5 screws (Attantion: The hole for the wires should be on the right side. Have a look on the picture on the right for reference. ).Push the 10mm Rod through the bearings, so that they are aligned. Try turning the bearings around. They should run nice and smooth, after all screws are tightened.
- connect the z_sled_support pieces with the z_sled_back with 12mm screws.
- now assemble the z_sled_main to it.
- push the female magnet connectors in the slotted holes. bend the pins together on the other side.
- install the wires to measure the needed length.
- The wires are connected diagonally. This is to give the bed reverse polarity protection. The Heatbed is connected to the front left and back right connector. the thin thermistor wires are connected front right and back left.
- zip tie everything in place.
- wrap the wires in spiral tube and lock them in place with another ziptie.
We deliver the Heatbed already assembled in our Kit
The heated bed should be positioned with the single middle hole beeing in the back of the printer. Additionally the heated bed works even if rotated 180°.
- if not already done, solder big cables to the heated beds terminals like describt on the heatbed itself. (optional: add a LED and resistor)
- add the thermistor and stick it down with capton tape on the black side of the bed
- put in the male purse magnets in bed_carrier and fold the ends of them.
- solder together the magnets with the cables.
- optional you can add an isolating layer like cardboard or cork between plexiglass and heated bed.
- on one side you'll find 3 holes. Push a 16mm screw through the middle hole and through both, left and right holes on the other side and secure them with a self locking nut. Tighten them, until they have a tight fit, while still be able to get turned.
- Now screw the Heatbed on Bed_carrier.
Pulleys and Steppers
- if necessary use a 5 mm drill to drill the perfect diameter. take care drill straight down
- Cut the string in half to get two 1,5 m pieces. (when needed meld the ends)
- Threar the string through one pulley each.
- The easiest way is to start at the thick side of the pulley. Pull out the end of the string out of the squere nut slot. Then push the string down into the hole in the bottom of the squere nut slot. If there are tiny strings in the hole get rid of them using a pin. On the other side thread the string through the last hole back onto the spool.
- Insert self locking nuts into the pulley
- Push the pulleys onto the stepper motors axle and tighten it up with 10 mm screws. Make sure one of the screws sits on the flange.
- The pulley should have about 1-3 mm space between itself and the motor.
- Screw in the motors with the cable plug pointing downwards with four 8 mm screws onto xy_motor_carrier_right or xy_motor_carrier_left.
- hammer both 280 mm rods in one of the y_carrier. You should bore the holes out to 8mm with a drill.
ATTENTION: The drill can crack the printparts! Drill very carefully and slowly. When drilling to fast, die printparts may melt.
- Install the printhead on the 8mm rods.
- now press the rods in the other y_carrier.
- Lock 2 LM8UUs each in place with an zip tie.
- press nuts in the slots
- screw 2 flanged bearings (f693zz) in y_carrier with 12 mm screws.
- push the 280 mm rods in xy_motor_carrier_left / right. It may be easier to insert them useing a electric drill. Attention: Push them in as straight as possible!
- install the Motor carriers with the rods in the case. Often the nuts will stay in their slots, if you push them in. Otherwise you can hold them in place with one of the magnets.
- now the X-axis can be slid on the rods. The 3Dator Logo should be facing towards the front.
screw the flanged bearings in the idlers with 10mm screws.
Now you can assemble the front panel to the case.
- first control, if the wires are still positioned correctly.
- then slide the Y rods in the idlers.
- turn your 3dator on its back.
- push the Z rods in Z_rod_holder_left bzw. z_rod_holder_right.
- lay the Printbed on the back panel. Slide the Z rods through the SC10UU Bearings behind the Printbed and in the Motor carriers.
- screw Z_rod_holder_left bzw. z_rod_holder_right with 3 12mm screws in place each.
- attach the Z axis to the nut, already slid on the Z Motor thread, with 12mm M3 Screws.
Core xy line guidance
This is how it should look like when you finish this step:
It's best to begin with the right Pulley:
- The inwards facing line ending now should hang out the pulley about 30-40cm. Now you should have a long and a short side.
- Now knot a M2 nut to the inner side (showing to the Motor).
- push the printhead in the middle of your machine
- thread the line with the nut below the y_carriage to the front idler. Thread it behind the bearing to the upper left bearing. Then thread it to the y_carriage and into the front left hole of the Printhead.
- Secure it with a screw. Don't screw it in to deep, the screw should just prevent the nut from falling out again.
Now push back the printhead to the far right back corner. The string should be on the left side of the pulley with 1 or 2 first coils. This is important to insure there is enough string in every corner later on.
- For this purpose rotate the pulley down while keeping the outer string from pulley looping onto the pulley. It should slip along your thumb, so it won't coild up on the pulley. After 2-3 turns there will be a bit extra string on the pulley. The string will be self fixed to the pulley at this state, to pull the printhead to the far front left.
- Continue turning the pulley until the printhead arrives at the front left corner. In this process always take care that the outer side of the string does not coil up onto the pulley.
Now half of the work is done.
- We will need a bit of backup string on the pulley. Therefor we add at least one loop (better 2 or 3) of string over the pulley.
Have in mind that the string now needs to be coiled in the other direction. The end of the string need to be decoiled from the upper side of the pulley. Also make sure that the string runs arround the pulley between the both holes for the string.
- the outer end of the string gets threaded through y_carrier to the printhead. The second M2 nut is now added to the end of the string. It should be knoted in a fixed postition 1 cm before the printhead. This way the string gets its first tension.
- Insert the nut into the printhead and prevent it falling out by screwing in the tightening screw. For this use pliers. You can tighten the string very hard, thats totally fine. The tension will loosen when it can spread through the entire string.
- At the end cut of the excess string.
Now the string that runs on the pulley needs a bit of a tidy up.
- Therefore guide the string while coiling up (by moving the printhead) that it coiles clean and in parallel to the printer case.
Repeat these steps mirrored. After that you can tension the lines. Move the Printhead around to spread the tension, tension again and check if the Axis are still rectangular. After you finished the first print you should retension the lines.
install top case Plate
the mechanical part is finished. Proceed to install case_top on your printer.
Assembly sequence: Preparative the 3D printed parts should be cleaned from filament remains.
- Put the axle through the 608ZZ and push both in the tightener.
- Screw in the PTFE Fitting into the extruder base (be careful not too tight)
- check the position of the extruder base and stepper motor to find out there the Mk7 gears needs to go. To get the right distance use one of the test edges. Take care that the set screw will sit on the steppers flangue.
- Screw in the set screw as tight as you can otherwise it can loosen itself over the time.
- Insert M3 25 mm screws through the 3 holes in extruder base.
- Push the lever, tightener and hook onto the screws.
- Insert the two M3 40 mm screws and also add the two M3 nuts. Don't tighten those screws, this will adjust the tension on the filament onto the Mk7 gear later on.
- Hold on the stepper motor and the assembled extruder on the printers case and screw in the 3 screws. Tighten the screws only a bit. The lever in the extruder should be able to move. It is alright if the complete assembly seems a bit wobbly.
- Push in the MR105ZZ into the stepper motor axis.
- screw the mechanical endstop in the right Z_rod_holder with 2 12mm screws.
- connect it with the Ramps Board.
- Put in the jumpers on the Ramps board (3 jumper between all pinheaders for the stepper driver)
- Lay down the printer on its back.
- Attach the Arduino under the bottom case plate with two 25 mm screws and one 12 mm screw.
- Carefully push the ramps board onto the Arduino.
- use two plastic nuts to hold it in place.
- attach Heatsink with 4 mm screw.
- Push in all stepper drivers onto the ramps board. (take care for the correct orientation, see figure).
- Mount the extension board with 3x spacers and 3x nylon nuts.
- Lax printer on the side
- Screw in the power supply. User two 12 mm screws from the top.
- At the back use three 8 mm inch screws.
- Stick down the type label.
- elongate both Fan wires by about 1m. You have to elongate 2 Wires each, the red (+12V) and the black (GND) one. Some fans have an additional yellow wire, wich by now isn't used. Therefore you don't have to elongate it. ATTENTION: be careful, to not touch the Line with your Solder Iron, or they will melt.
- attach the fan to the printhead with 3x 12mm screws.
- connect the heater and thermistor wires
- Now you have to change the pin order for the endstop. (we have already done this for you in the kit)
- attach the Endstop wires to + - and DO.
- mark every Molex wire at the plug(for example R for right motor, E for extruder usw..).
- attach one long twisted motor wire to each motor
- twist the spiral tube around all the wires from the printhead up. It can be easier if you hold the wire ending together with zipties.
- add the motorwires to the bundle and keep twisting the spiral tube around all the wires.
- push the wire harness through the hole in the bottom_plate
- solder the ON/OFF switch to one black ground wire and the green wire of the Mainboard Connector. Use shrink tube for isolation.
- screw the USB connector in place and connect it with the Arduino Mega.
- attach the Ramps board to the power supply by cutting the plug with the two yellow and two black wires off and screwing the wires in the power connector.
- connect all the wires like seen on the wiring sheet.
- use zipties to lock everything in place.
The Extension Board is a small PCB designed to drive the LEDs, the 2 fans and the Bed sensor. We prepared 3 versions, one of which is designed to be professionally manufactured and uses SMD components. The two other versions can be soldered by hand on a perfboard and drive either digital 5V or analog 12V RGB Led Stripes. More Info here. The Extension Board is screwed in case_bottom from below with 3 16 mm scews, 3 distance rings und 3 Nylon nuts.
3Dator without Extension Board
Without the extensionboard the Ramps is short of pins needed for dual extrusion setups. But you can use your printer without. Connect the backwards facing fan to 5V and the radial fan to D09 on the Rampsboard.
To use the proximity sensor without the extensionboard you have to manually solder in a voltage divider from 12V to 5V. R1 is 10kOhm and R2 15k Ohm.
Hall Endstop y-Axis
Hall Endstops are used on the X and the Y axis. Connect them with 4pin plugs.
ATTENTION! For the printer the digital out pin D0 is used. The pin assignment on the endstop side is different. Thats why you have to change the wires manually.
Attantion! Be careful to not short any components or pins while tuning your stepper driver.
The stepper drivers drive the motors and provide them with the right amount of electricity. You can set the motor current with the small potentiometer for each Driver.
Measure the voltage between the potentiometer and ground. You can measure the voltage from the scewdriver, which is used to turn the potentiometer. The motor current is set by multiplying the measured voltage with 2. The more current the motors are driven with, the more torque they develop, but the hotter they get.
Max Current = VRef * 2
|X&Y Axis||0,7 V||1,4 A|
|Extruder||0,8 V||1,6 A|
|Z Axis||0,6 V||1,2 A|
The stepper motors for the X and Y axis as well as the extruder motor are for 1,7 A. To avoid overheating don't use their full power. The potensiometer should be adjusted to 0,7 V. If you have trouble with your Extruder motor keeping up you can adjust it a bit. Don't use it over 0,9 V. If you keep having trouble have a look in our Troubleshooting Guide.
Now stick down the heat sinks onto the driver boards.
Magnets for hall endstops
You are now ready to turn on your 3Dator for the first time.
- At first add the 6 mm screw into the best fitting hole for the hall sensor to reach.
- Check wich way the magnet needs to face to trigger the endstop (sometimes you need to adjust the potensiometer on the hall sensor).
- Clip the magnet with the right orientation onto the screw.
- Repeat the last steps for the second endstop.
- To test this setup move the printhead by hand to the endstops. Both LEDs on both endstops should light up.
When turning on your 3Dator you gonna see the Main screen on the display. Using the Knop you can navigate through the menu. To open the menu press the knop. By turning the know you can scroll through the menu items.
First you need to test if the motors will drive in the right directions.
- more the printhead in the middle of the printer.
- Open up the prepare menu.
- Go down to Move axis and select it.
- Select 1 mm.
- Select x axis.
- Carefully turn the knob clockwise. The printhead should move right.
- if you turn back to 0 the printhead should move left back to its old position.
If the printhead moved in the wrong direction. Check the cables.
Pressing the knob again brings you back into the previous menu. Repeat the same test for the y axis. The printhead should now more back at first and to the front if you turn back to 0.
Now that we know the stepper motors are working we can test the endstops. Open up the prepare menu and select Auto Home. The printhead should move to the front left corner and the bed down. If the homing is done the printer can make a stange squeezing noice.
Test z axis
- Select Auto Home, the platform should move down (in the direction of Z-max).
- Find yourself some metal piece. Select "Set Z Offset" from the menu, z axis should move up (in the directiont of z-min). Test the Z-min endstop before it reaches the top by triggering it two times with the metal part (red light on the sensor will light up when triggered).
- By clicking the knob again you get back to the previous menu.
Now it is time to set the bed leveling system up.
- If the airbrush nozzle is not jet installed, you should do it now.
- Open the prepare menu.
- click on "set Z Offset".
- The printer now should auto home and drive the Heatbed up afterwards.
- After the display reads "Z Offset:", you can set the distance between the nozzle tip and the heatbed by turning the knob.
- Turn it, until the nozzle barely touches the heatbed. You can test it by lightly pushing the bed up. If it doesn't move up it is held back by the nozzle and the distance is perfekt.
- One click to finish the procedure and the Printer is now ready for the first print attempt.
You should set the Z Offset after each Nozzle change, because they are never exactly the same length.
Problems? Doesn't the Set z Offset funktion work properly, it can have different causes.
|Printhead gets pushed in the heatbed||move the proximity sensor further down|
|test, if the proximity sensor works properly|
|the proximity sensor's Led is always on||Polung an der Erweiterungsplatine / an dem Spannungsteiler überprüfen|
|Heatbed doesn't drive up||check the motor wiring|
|error in the wiring between extension board and Ramps|
Hotend and Heatbed
In this step we will test the hotend and the heatbed.
- First you should test, if the thermistors work properly.
- You can see the hotend's temperature in the upper left and the heatbed's temperature in the upper right segment of the home menu.
- Carefully touch the hotend/ heatbed and see, if the measured temperature changes.
- Open the prepare -> temperature menu and set the Nozzle to 100°C.
- Go back to the main menu and see, if the hotend is heating up. Don't touch the hotend! Risk of burns!
- When reaching 50°C the backfan should turn on. If it doesn't you should turn the you should turn the Nozzle off again, because without cooling the Printhead can be damaged!
- If your hotend works fine, you now can test the heatbed's funktionality with 50°C.
First 3D Print
To get your first print startet, you should take a look at thispage. Here you will find all necessary steps. Your first printed objekt should be something easy. consider this part for example: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2192066
Every now and then we publish new Firmware updates, which will bring new features and bug fixes. To update your Printers firmware we recommend to use Arduino IDE.
You'll find the latest firmware at our Github page.
A very detailed instruction on how to upgrade your printers firmware can be found here
to recalibrate your printer, it's best to send it move commands and measure the traveled distance. If the measured distance is differs the expected, you can tune the steps/mm. You can tune them with the display or by editing and flashing the Firmware.
You can edit the steps/mm via the control menu for the X, Y , Z and the Extruder each.
- You should note the old values for the Axis you wanna edit, so you can refer to it later.
- Now you drive the axis 10cm back and forth, by using the move axis command in the prepare menu. Measure the distance with for example a ruler, if the traveled distance matches the expected one.
- Now you can calculate the new steps with this formula:
new steps/mm = (expected length/ measured length)*old steps /mm
- repeat these steps, until the expected movement equals the measured movement. You will get most accurate calibration, by measuring the longest distance possible.
Something seems not doing like it should?
Here you can find our Troubleshooting guide.
In order to prevent wearing out your bearings you should always keep all rods and bearings a bit oily. The Z axis is most vulnerable to wear and should be kept well lubricated. Best choice is machine-oil. We use sewing machine oil. Don't ever use WD40!
After transportation you should check, if the fishing line is still correctly running on its bearings. Sometimes they get pushed of and rub against the screws.
Yay! You did it! You now got yourself an 3Dator. Still have questions? Contact us per Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or join our Community group on (currently only German but feel free to join anyway) Telegram.