Assembly Experiences

Well, I have completed my 1000x1000 X-carve unit have have to say I am pretty happy with it. As an engineer, I have seen my share of awful manuals, but the online instructions provided, with the photos, was excellent. I found that all of the difficulties I had were pretty much self imposed by not reading an instruction thoroughly or not thinking something through. I was only missing one part and the Support people had it to me the next day. A couple areas for improvement:

  • It would have useful, when fixing the drag chain in place, a direction of “fix the bracket X mm from the right rail”. The drag chain is somewhat difficult to move when the wires get in place.

  • A photo of about how much slack we should have in the wires at the end of the drag chain would be good. I had too much slack in my wires in the Z axis part, such that I did not have enough slack when I got to attach them to the X-Controller. This necessitated opening everything up and gently taking the slack out. While the instructions say the drag chain openings are pretty tough, they don’t like being opened up 4-5 times.

  • Like many have indicated, the YouTube videos from Paw Paw’s workshop are excellent to review prior to your first project.

  • I ordered the dust shoe with my system. Rather than hook it into my shop vac, I hooked it into my 4" dust collector, using a 4 inch to 2.5 inch reducer. Excellent at capturing the chips and quieter as well.

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I thought the instructions were excellent as well. The only improvement I could see was having photos with better contrast between black parts in a couple of places. In a couple photos it was hard to make out what what actually going on. Maybe they changed them since last year…I don’t really know.

Coming to the end of my assembly. All I have left if calibration. If helpful, before I forget them, here are some comments. Although I agree, some of the mishaps were self inflicted, most of the time I had to review, reread several times because they explanations were not complete. Issues I ran into:

  • The instructions assume the reader knows the name of parts. Well in this case, the reader is a newbie and not familiar with those parts. A description or a diagram of the part would be wonderful. There were a few diagrams but not enough.
  • Your instructions are designed to be viewed on a computer. When viewed on a cell phone, they do not show completely in portrait mode. Suggestion: websites can be designed to adapt to either mobile, computer or pad.
  • Most items have labels with a part number. When those labels were missing it took extra time to figure out the items. Suggestion: add a drawing or a small picture next to the part number list in the instructions next to the catalog of parts at the beginning of each section. Make it a click through picture so it can be enlarged.
  • It was obvious that some of the sections of the instructions were written by different people. The best section (X-Controller) had to do with all the wiring. Wiring diagrams helped as well as very detailed instructions as well as moving GIF pictures that showed exact placement. Also more pictures at different angles were also helpful. And special note in blue to highlight potential issues. Most difficult section: ‘Side board’. poor angles on the pictures (at least they were high res), incomplete instructions made the assembly take much longer. There was no picture of the correct assembly of the frame, leaving it to guess work. If mentions the 250mm extrusions but does not say that they are supposed to stick out and by how much to allow for assembly to the main board. Mentioning the position of certain items would be helpful (like the long bracket for the drag chain. It simply says to install on the side. Does not clearly specify which side and where. I got it on the correct side through deduction but in the wrong location. Since the screw is not easy to get to, moving it when the side board went on was a hassle.
  • Putting a label like “left” or “right” or “inside” and “outside” would have the advantage of not having to spend a lot of time figuring out the correct position.
  • Some of the part numbers received were different from the part numbers in the instructions. I laid out all the parts, put the in numerical order and had almost thirty with either missing labels or wrong part number (not including larger parts which even without labels were easy to understand and identify from the pictures). The stepper cables had the wrong number and the wrong description of the cable itself.
  • Color coding would also be a great help. Since Most parts are used in sections, it would be easy to pick a color for each section. Bags that have parts for multiple sections could have several color codes. Larger parts could also have the same color codes.