3D Printers with Kids – Part 3 (Printrbot Prints!)

Printrbot printing.
Printrbot printing its first successful job.

After last week’s frustration with the Printrbot Simple, we were on the verge of returning it and looking for a different model.  Research revealed, however, that there was no other 3D printer for a comparable price that is ready for delivery now.  The 20% restocking fee for Printrbot returns was an additional deterrent.  So, I took a deep breath and submitted yet another support ticket.

We had isolated the problem as a  faulty power supply, whose fluctuations resulted in the printer frequently and unpredictably disconnecting from the computer.  Two days after the submitted ticket, I received another e-mail from Dave from the support team.  He apologized for the issues and shipped another power supply, which he assured us had been tested.  It arrived two days later.

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3D Printers with Kids – Part 2 (Printrbot Problems)

The travails of our Printrbot assembly continue (see previous post for background).  On about August 20, I’d contacted Printrbot via the support page on their website about the faulty cable to connect the thermistor (heater for the extruder) to the circuit board, and the AC/DC adapter that had a loose piece wiggling around inside it.  We were unable to complete the assembly without replacement parts for both.

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3D Printers with Kids – Part 1

PrintrBot Simple Assembly
Printrbot Simple Assembly
Assembling the PrintrBot Simple base.
Assembling the Printrbot Simple base.

My middle son shares my passion for all things technical.  He begged for a LEGO Mindstorms robot when he was 7, and though we held out until he was 8, it’s been one of his favorite and most-used possessions ever since.  Buying him birthday presents is always fun, particularly when I get to play with his new “toys”.  Two years ago he became the only kid on the block with his own Van de Graaf generator.  This year, we’d been discussing 3D printers and how cool the technology is.  I figured that in a few years they would be commonplace enough to buy one.  Well, it turns out that the prices have dropped precipitously as a number of 3D printer manufacturers have entered the market.  My son turned twelve a week ago, and a 3D printer seemed like the perfect present.

Read more3D Printers with Kids – Part 1