Thanks to John Borofka for great feedback on his recent purchase. We take your feedback and suggestions seriously. If you're thinking about buying an E3 you need to read John's letter.
John here - order #1059. Received the CNC yesterday and just completed getting it set up.
Wow! What a fantastic product. The thought, resourcefulness and care that went into the design is striking. That is far and away the important message here.
I did also want to pass along a few additional points on my experience. Providing in the hopes that this is helpful for your company's future success. Feel free to use or disregard as you'd like.
Packaging - very nicely packaged. The double boxing did the trick, with some very minor crushing on the exterior box, but internal box was in perfect condition. Also appreciated the USPS Priority 2 Day service. I know as your volumes grow and you get advantaged rates with UPS and FedEx this option will be less competitive, but certainly a nice touch now. May even be an additional marketing point to add to the website.
Printed instructions - generally I prefer e-docs over printed documents. Almost all my bills, banking, etc is done "e-", but in this case, having printed instructions would have been helpful. The number of times I had to wake and sign in to my machine while assembling to check the directions (sometimes with greasy hands) was a bit of a pain. Also, printed instructions can make it easier to glance between sections to check on upcoming or past operations. I realize that for you, having a pure e-doc makes it easier to update and control version, but I'd certainly appreciate a printed version when assembling.
Kitting - wow! Perfectly done with the labeling and grouping of all the items and hardware. I can only imagine the chore it is to make the kits like that, but certainly appreciated on the customer side.
Now some feedback on the actual assembly:
Tightness on Z axis rod (nuts with rubber spacer) - it seemed too open ended on what amount of snugness is appropriate here. I know there's a lot of play with the rubber spacers, but some benchmarks would have done wonders for my confidence (e.g. "tighten until they contact, then tighten the nut 3 more revolutions"). Also, since it's such an early step, knowing that you are on the right path and have clear guidance upfront is helpful in gaining momentum. Even now, I'm not sure if I have mine too loose or tight.
Orientation on bearings - For each of the SG20U bearings, it wasn't at first clear to me which direction the bearings should be on the bolt. After thinking about it for a bit, it became obvious that the spacer side should ride against the wood, but having this be illustrated would be helpful to ensure smooth sailing.
Orientation on aluminum Z axis coupler - Similarly, the Z axis coupler has two different ID for mating to the different rods. In the end, this becomes clear, but I could have hastily not noticed this. Pointing this out and the correct orientation may be helpful.
Squareness of end of supports - I found that a portion of the smaller laser cut pieces weren't square on the ends, as if the laser wasn't firing directly downward, or the stock was lifting off the table when cut. I have a few photos of this if you'd like to see. The result was that when tightening these pieces (mostly supports), they'd have a tendency to fit a few degrees off of square.
Tool for holding nuts - I didn't realize this wooden wrench was included until about halfway through. Very kind of you to make and include - maybe make a point of it the first time it would be used?
X1 vs X2 - when it became time to connect the steppers, it wasn't clear to me which motor corresponded to X1 vs X2. I tried to search the manual a couple of times to find this, but in the end picked one way. When I ran the home function and the gantry raced away from the X home switch, it was clear I had them reversed. Easy to fix, but a little note , e.g. "X1 is the motor nearest the controller" (which may be wrong, not in front of the machine at the moment) would be helpful.
Power supply - Appreciate all the work you guys did, striping the end and soldering. It does look like when stripping both the wires were nicked with a few copper strands hanging out. Easy enough to fix with electrical tape, but I guess there could be a small chance of shorting if not fixed. I have a picture of this if you'd like. Also, the soldering was helpful, but made the positive lead too large to fit into the socket/clamp on the shield.
Two quick questions for you:
- I do notice that the two ends of the gantry riding on the X rods aren't quite square. One wants to stay about 1/8" ahead of the other. I can advance one side to make them equal by pushing when off, but it naturally wants to return to being slightly off. Any tips here? I suppose one workaround is to figure out what angle the 1/8" corresponds to and mount my stock rotated by the same angle.
- I'm getting some wobble when running the Z stepper. I'm guessing it stems from the two rods not being fully concentric. Any tips here on centering, or beefing up the rigidity of the top motor mount? As a workaround, I may fabricate a single piece motor mount for the Z.
I think that's it! I can't say again how impressed I am with the kit, components and design. Great work!