complaint: quality of the manual and parts

Help eachother out with assembly problems.
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neep
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:45 pm

complaint: quality of the manual and parts

Post by neep »

I am doing the wiring now, so at the last stage of assembly. It took me longer than anticipated partially because of the many errors and things not being clear to me from the manual. I made annotations and I will post that here (also found an older version of the assembly manual on the forum with a lot of annotations as well). I am not impressed with the quality of the manual to be honest. The pictures are often not clear and way too small. Sometimes parts are missing from the list, or different screws are to be used (like for one the Z-axis optical sensor, the screws are too short!), parts are not where they should be in the nut/bolt box, etc.

For a complex piece of machinery like this, and for this price, this worries me.

Following the guide had me turn the frame upside down causing the build platform support to fall down, together with the rails "cart" that it was screwed on. The only thing that was supposed to hold up the support was the big hexagon nut, into the plastic. However this is not a safe method at all, as the weight of the support was bigger than the force holding the nut in place in the plastic. So it fell on my desk and this caused some bearing balls to fall out! There should really be a warning about this, or another method suggested that does not involve turning it upside down. I spent 3 hours getting the bearings back together, and there's probably still some balls on the floor somewhere :(

It would help a lot if actual photos were used in the manual instead of 3D schematics. Sometimes the schematics are just impossible to copy into reality. Seeing it on a photo (as well) would be much better, IMHO. Or even better: a video.

Also the quality of the parts isn't very high. Some nuts that were supposed to stay put in the plastic whilst fastening, have been turning "through" the plastic, or the nuts which are supposed to be kept in place like in the bottom of the print head, kept falling out before I had a chance to put a bolt in (after mounting the print head). So the tolerances are too high.

Right now I am connecting all the wires and noticing that even in the main power cables everything is made of what appears to be cheap aluminium wire. This has a higher resistance and breaks easily when handling (like when 2 wires have to be combined into one wire slot). This should really be copper! Also, some wires are shown to be connected differently in the diagram than on the final photos, such as the main extruder fan (connected to "opt" instead of "main" in the photo, but reversed in the diagram).

Some parts are inconsistent, too, like the gold-colored extruder helper wheels. One has a different surface than the other, so the two extruders are not the same. I don't know if this influences anything, but it just seems sloppy to me. I can definitely not recommend the DIY kit to anyone, at this time.

satoer
Posts: 436
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:00 pm
Location: Netherlands

Post by satoer »

So it fell on my desk and this caused some bearing balls to fall out! There should really be a warning about this,
There is a really big warning about this in the manual:
Warning
Warning

Three years ago I build the Felix 1.5, and at that time the manual was way worse than now. I've had my fair share of problems:
Felixprinter 1.5: Pictures, Problems, Solutions and upgrades
Most of them are fixed in later revisions of the Felix.

A 3D printer isn't as easy as an laser printer printing a document (yet). And the Felix printer is under constant revision, so the manual might be a bit out of date on some parts. Building a 3D printer yourself is a good way of understanding the inner workings. You really have to see it as a learn process. If a couple of wrong screws sets you back, a 3D printer probably isn't for you. Be prepared for more frustration, but if learn how to control the machine it really is a versatile tool.
My Felix 1.5 printed designs on Thingiverse
E3D V6 Hot end upgrade for your Felix
Tweezer bracket for your Felix
Led bar upgrade for your Felix

neep
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:45 pm

Post by neep »

Yes, I saw the warning. However I wasn't complaining that there isn't a warning about not letting the cart run off the rail. My suggestion was that they need to warn that turning the frame upside down with the bed carrier connected may very well cause the whole carrier to fall down, taking the cart with it. This is what happened in my case, which you may not have understood properly from my posting. With only the hexagon nut being held by the plastic (which has some tolerance of course), this is a very unsafe thing to suggest one to do!

As for the difficulty of making a precise manual, I understand that. But it's good that people like me make note of the errors. I noticed someone else put up an annotated version of an older version of the manual as well. However it seems that this has not been picked up yet by the Felix staff, as many of the same errors were still present in the most recent manual.

I'm not saying that people don't make mistakes and that everything should be perfect. I am saying: please listen to your users :)

jjlink
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:45 pm
Location: California, USA

Post by jjlink »

I agree the manual needs some work. Its not just calling out a few wrong parts. It needs some reference pictures so you know what position the printer is in when they are showing in the assembly instruction. One step its its vertical, the next step it may be upside down or sideways. I had constantly look at pictures of the completed unit and the old manual annotations to figure out some of the steps. I had to take some assembly's back apart because later I realized they weren't done quite right due to vagueness in the manual.

In step 5 they specify the rail should be 160 mm from the edge. On steps 4 through 7 they tell you to make sure everything is perpendicular and aligned. What they should also say is make sure the slot on the inside of the frame must line up perfectly all the way around the inside of the frame. I was slightly off by maybe by 2 mm and it was not aligned right; causing the Z-axis not to line up.

Also I just love step 89. Do they want you to screw around with the pots? This step is clear as mud!
Image

From past experience with Arduino and related projects I knew when the LCD display was blank that I would have to adjust its pot for contrast. What they want on the other pots I have no idea. I guessed the rest were set correctly since everything works on the printer.

Other steps I seem to have had issues with (from the ??? I wrote in my manual):

Step 36, 54, & 55. - Possible wrong parts call-out.

Steps 69-70 - The 3 M4x30 need some lock-tight because one of them un-screwed its self fell out after the printer was up and running.

Some of the wires coming from the fans were to short to reach the spot on the circuit board for some reason.

Maybe we should start annotating the new manual and save the next guy some grief.
Felix 3.0 with E3D Dual direct drive extruder conversion. (http://forum.felixprinters.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1630)
Software: simplify3d

neep
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:45 pm

Post by neep »

Hear hear. The pots instruction also had me head-scratching. If the settings are important, at least include degrees or something that you can kind of calibrate to. And at the very least explain what each pot is for!

Someone actually did an annotated version of the manual, but it's an older version:

http://forum.felixprinters.com/viewtopi ... =annotated

The fact that many of the same mistakes are still in the lastest manual version tells me that the person who is putting together the manual has not been paying much attention to what is said and told on this forum, sadly.

Dreide
Posts: 176
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:32 am
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Post by Dreide »

neep wrote:If the settings are important, at least include degrees or something that you can kind of calibrate to. And at the very least explain what each pot is for!
I don't know whether it would be such a great idea to let grumblers set the standards of how far to go in explaining things in an assembly manual. Instead, everybody who wants to go for the DIY kit should have to pass a qualifying test first which would cover basics like 2+2=?. Those who do not pass the test would be kindly invited to go for the assembled printer, possibly after being advised that 3D printing per se is not necessarily enjoyable if not pursued with a little patience and common sense. No offense!
Felix 2.0->3.0dual * Repetier (host+firmware) * KISSlicer Pro, Simplify3D * Cubify Design

satoer
Posts: 436
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:00 pm
Location: Netherlands

Post by satoer »

Yes, I saw the warning. However I wasn't complaining that there isn't a warning about not letting the cart run off the rail. My suggestion was that they need to warn that turning the frame upside down with the bed carrier connected may very well cause the whole carrier to fall down, taking the cart with it. This is what happened in my case, which you may not have understood properly from my posting. With only the hexagon nut being held by the plastic (which has some tolerance of course), this is a very unsafe thing to suggest one to do!
Well, there’s a big warning that you should not let the cart ride of the rails… Even with an image what happens if it does happen (believe me, I was tempted to deliberately pull the cart off the rail just to look at the inner workings, glad I didn’t do it ;) ). Personally I think one warning is enough. And it would make me feel like a moron if the manual constantly warns me with every step that the cart might be falling off the rails. But I get the idea, maybe the manual should have an extra step by putting ductape on the rails preventing the cart coming off before assembly.

Anyhow, the whole post looked like a big rant and some complaints aren’t entirely fair. I do understand the frustration after 3 hours of ball searching but like I said, 3D printing is still a piece of tool you need to get experienced with. Be prepared for more frustration…

You should compare it with a Lathe or cnc milling machine. Without the knowledge of materials, metals or mill’s you can’t get a perfect part.
My Felix 1.5 printed designs on Thingiverse
E3D V6 Hot end upgrade for your Felix
Tweezer bracket for your Felix
Led bar upgrade for your Felix

kerog
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:54 am

Post by kerog »

I agree with Satoer and Dreide. If you buy the kit, you are basically saying that you have a certain level of competence. I myself had very little experience with electronics or kits of this sort, so I got a friend to help. Between us we were able to manage pretty well. There were a few places where the instructions weren't clear, and we encountered some roadblocks, but managed to get through it all. The forum was a great resource, and Felix support was very responsive. I posted annotations to the manual to help clarify some of the finer points, and took a hand in editing the next version. Rather than ranting, post new annotations with helpful comments pointing out where you ran into difficulties and what your solutions were.

agentmulder
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 2:54 am

Post by agentmulder »

The 'problem' stems from two human traits - stupidity and arrogance.

One worse than the other, which one in your opinion is worse is different for each human.

I personally had many problems with the manual - but had the experience to either figure out the intention eventually, or to at least make it work my own way. The problem in most instances wasn't a case of 'lost in translation' but more of ambiguous language (and contradictory diagrams).

Ambiguous being the key word, it makes sense to people who think of the intended instruction first quite ok, and wondering what the issue is - these people probably have the same personality type as the writer. Take for instance this elevator interface, some people have no issue where, it makes sense (!)

Image

Keeping the math even for simplicity:
~%33 will get where they want to and perceive no issue - even going so far as to think that people who can't figure it out are 'dumb'
~%33 will go in the complete wrong direction and give up thinking they are the one at fault
~%33 will stand there pointing and saying 'well, what the fu%k is this sh!t??'

When it comes to the felix manual, those in groups 2 and 3 are left with a lottery of cutting cables and belt too short, using slightly longer bolts that they 'should' until they run out further down the line, bending parts installed backwards, driving their beds into the print head, watching the PLA printer parts from their earlier models melt during normal operation or maybe at the very least wasting time re-reading instructions over and over wondering what they're doing wrong.

I started writing down notes on the manual, but gave up - unfortunately too many, and the forums were there ... ;)

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