in that case, they should supply longer wiring. the cable chain prevents the y and x axis from moving in its entirety if I remove any more links. The cable chain mounts are even attached with the nyloc nuts facing upward into the chain tunnel, which is certainly unsafe with the amount of wiring running through there. It's only a matter of time until they rub themselves to pieces and short out on the nyloc nuts. I turned them upside down and the wiring no longer touches the nyloc nuts, but the wiring is still too short.
I currently have about 6 or 7 links i've set aside. if this is a common problem, then it shouldn't be something that is down to one or two links being the root cause of the issue. Each link is about 1 inch in usable length. Lets say I did add two extra? How does that equate to 6 inches of wire missing???... There is simply no excuse for that, it's a problem with Folgertech's inability to size wires correctly in accordance with the length the axis must move. It should not be cut so close that a pair of links causes an issue like this.
JUST SUPPLY 6 INCH LONGER WIRES. It's really that simple.
and about those cable chains... would it have killed them to supply slightly wider chains to accommodate future wiring? 10x10mm chain? really? 10x15mm would have been a welcome improvement during prototyping.
I've currently got 28awg ribbon cable for the BL Touch that I will wire up if I ever get this thing going, and then I have the supplied fan and thermistor wiring, as well as the heater cartridge wire (which was too short). The 28AWG wire is barely taking up any space, and I've already ran out of room to fit more. I can fit maybe 4 more 28AWG wires, but I'd rather use something like Cat6E cable since it's pretty much the standard for accessory wiring on 3D printer kits.
I can't, for the life of me, fit another two pairs of wires for a part cooling fan and an LED ring to go around the heater block. that is, at the very most, 4 extra wires, which I cannot see being effectively routed through a cable chain without adding strain or causing the cable chain edges to dig into the bundle of wires that are in there once its all strung together- which at this point is impossible.
this is a big oversight. cramming the cables in a cable chain makes the chains barely do their job. When they're all wired up, they should have enough EMPTY SPACE to accommodate a Cat6 cable simply to allow the wires inside to shift around. There is absolutely no space left in there.
and regarding the instructions... i fail to see how "they're better than they used to be" is a suitable excuse considering all the issues i have seem to contradict the "we're constantly making improvements to the kit based on customer feedback" shpiel i got. I literally have 2 pages, front and back, of written notes i've taken regarding the instructions where they are unsafe, flat-out wrong as far as part numbers or assembly goes, pictures not being oriented correctly in the early build phase, or far too zoomed out to make it clear, and parts needed handi-work to get them to go together. Countersinks just being a mere etching, and not even an actual counter sink... etc.
just plain stupid stuff that should be either mentioned, or taken care of on their end so they don't pose problems. This is not something that is improved with time. If Folgertech actually assembled their printers regularily to do any sort of quality control, they would have found the same issues I have. Quite simply, I do not understand how after 7 versions of a manual for the same product, there are STILL part numbering issues present. Either change the manual or change the laser engraving on your parts. Why hasn't this been fixed after 7 iterations of the same friggen thing?
If you have people constantly telling you how shit the instructions are, hire someone off craigslist or from a local high-school or college to come in, and assemble a fuckin' printer in house with a packaged kit selected at random, and pay them by letting them take the printer home. It's WELL WORTH IT for them to do so. If they can't assemble it, then you're doing something wrong. Plenty of small and large companies do this to ensure they're not delusional. It's a win-win for both parties involved.
If the parts are already produced in bulk and you can't change the etching on them, then make a cautionary note in the manual that says "these were mislabelled in some kits to FT-XX, make sure you're looking at a part with this shape [picture]". Is that so hard? Come on. These are simple things to fix. It shouldn't take 7+ tries to get it right.
I've also been told that they've switched to a package weight system that ensures that the proper hardware is supplied. I call bullshit on that. sure, they have a weighing system, but I have enough 40mm screws and nylon standoffs to build 3 more printers, and I fell short on 8, 10, 12, and 16mm M3 screws, and had to purchase more locally, which added to the cost yet again. a 40mm M3 screw weighs the same as one 8, 10, 12, and 16mm set of screws combined. That's a good way for one of Folgertechs lazy employees to slap a handful of shit in a big and say "the weights checked out, it's good to go".
not to mention the failures people are having with the under-spec'd bearings that I had to shell out 35 bucks for to fix, as well as 3 or 4 hours to do it carefully. And there's no telling whether or not the MDF cores of the melamine parts will soften over time and cause those bearings to be loose. It's now something that I have to routinely check before printing a large print so that it doesn't rear its ugly head at the nth hour after half a spool of filament is fed through the extruder.
The worst part about all this is that I'm over the 30 day warranty period, and I've not even been able to power this thing on and test all the equipment for any more issues.
The LCD screen had cracked connector housings and bent pins which I had to bend back, but I have no hope for that working, nor do I know if the stepper drivers, MKS board, or power supply are functional at this point, and if they aren't- well I guess I'm on my own.
At this point, with the time and extra money I've spent, I could have just put in extra hours at work and purchased what I would require to put together a D-Bot or something similar, and there would not be much difference. But most importantly, any issues I would have ran into with that route would be my mistake... not something that is on it's 7th revision of instructions which they still haven't gotten right.
I just want to point out that I've been tinkering with electronics and shit like this for most of my life, and I've a number of Arduino projects under my belt. a number of mechanical projects that require the utmost attention to detail, machine work, fabrication work, and motorsports wiring- so it's not a testament to my ability to follow instructions or assemble a kit. Like I said, I usually don't complain about this type of stuff... but this is the one time were I try to remain positive into the 40th hour of building this thing, and something new happens to kill the mood.
I am willing to bet that if I took this kit that I got back to Folgertech and had them assemble it, they would not have been able to. And I say that in regard to their reference design- not the additions I've been attempting to make or the poorly equipped parts I've had to fix.
They literally would not be able to put this printer together with what came in the box that I received.
quite fitting, if anything.
what bothers me the most about this kit is that i had to come here and vent my frustration about it because it irks me that much, and as a result- folgertech may lose a couple of sales if someone reads this... but at this point- people should know. And it's unfair to consumers like me with a budget in mind to promote and sell a product that needs to have its quality control issues sorted out.
I read reviews on various sites about their previous products, and there were more bad than good- but they were older reviews, so I figured they've had ample time to iron out workflow inconsistencies, and the price was decent... ("was").
it's not about trying to prevent people from buying their product. i'm just trying to understand why it is, and inform others how it is at the same time.
Folgertech, get it right- and you won't see posts like this. And if John wants to make it right, he can contact me. I don't think the random people I've had from tech support contacting me are going to be able to do anything other than offer me stale advice like "put some oil on it".