Been thinking about The TronXY X1 for a while now. It’s a $130 printer! That’s pretty damn cheap. But the reason I’m interested in it is simple. My prints are never more thank 60mm tall, or 100mm wide. But they could be 1000mm long. And I don’t see many printers you can easily modify for this except a cantilever printer. And the only two I’ve seen that are viable is either the TronXY X1 or the Creality Ender 2.
One concern I have for the TronXY X1 is that there is a ton of work to do for install. Nothing is really put together for you but the hotend. And the parts are mainly acrylic, which for me always breaks easily when tightening screws.
I actually have the Creality Ender 2. It’s a little more, about $180. In terms of easy to put together, I’d say that extra $50 counts for something. Most parts are metal and it’s partially put together for you. But maybe with good video documentation it would not matter.
Quick note, the most costly part of an upgrade for the printing is getting the 2040 Vslot 1500mm long (damn I wish they sold 2000mm) and a couple extra wheels (you’ll need 3). That will run you about $50.
So I’ll be ordering another of one of these soon so I can document the entire process to show someone how to build terrarium conversion kits, but viable for even 29 gallon and possibly 40 gallon breeders.
All that said, the Creality Ender 3 is only $180 seems like a better system to hold the weight for width. I can still increase the Y-axis to 750mm using a 1500mm vslot. For my regular work, I really think think the TronXY X5S is pretty sweet.
The nice thing about public technology when properly implemented is it just works. I don’t mean implemented in the same way a place like Detroit implements it. Where human error runs ramped and the fire department is a disconnected line. But used properly you can data mine public information all you want. A reason some build full automation tools for analytics. Anyway, continuing my due diligence for my current land purchase I started wondering when a better deal would come along.
St. Mary’s Glacier has a finite number of undeveloped lots. Of those lots I want to be as close as possible to the two lakes, and St. Mary’s Drive leading up to the glacier. That said, I also need to be close to water and sanitation, not to mention electric and internet. You can build without these, so know where they are available is key. With that and a good map of the subdivision showing the public record of all ownership and transfer of ownership for this century, I could get an idea of what really were my options. So let’s look around what will soon be my land.
Except for the orange showing where I am in contract, the rest shows multi-property ownership, or where someone built a house. Based on my interested, I’d say there are only 6-7 properties I’d consider, and some have larger building issues than Lot 75.
The papers have been signed, and by the end of the month, I’ll have the warranty deed to LOT 96, Books Drive in Saint Mary’s Glacier. This will be my first investment in land. And perhaps my first opportunity to build that contain home I have been talking about for over a decade. Why not?
Location is everything, and just a few hundred yards away is a slightly better deal. This LOT of .2 acres will run me almost $13,000. But it’s only slight raised from the road, has mountain views to the east, close to the glacier trail on the west, close to the lakes in the north, and water, sewer, electrical, and internet right at the road. I really don’t want to pay the $20K tapping charge. Now this other LOT I have seen is .6 acres, have a good flat area to build, and they have already paid the $18.5K tapping fee. For $22K, I’m basically only paying $4K plus the tap. Sounds like an amazing deal, except it’s in a ravine with no views and stagnant water, so a ton of mosquitoes. I suppose it’s better to just pay an extra $9K for the right land.
Now what am I going to build? And I need a parking space now!
I’ve always wanted a cabin up north to be able to go and get away from things. Coming from Michigan having a cabin up north near the shore was something many families had. A generational cabin that was passed down from father to son. It sounded nice. And easy to talk about, but hard to accomplish. Especially if you wanted to build it yourself.
First, I don’t live in Michigan anymore. I live in Colorado. So a cabin up north now means a cabin in the mountains. A place in a high elevation where the family can enjoy nature, fish, ski, and hike. Okay, most of those my family doesn’t want to do … yet.
Second, my wife isn’t the outdoor type. I don’t think she’d want to drive anyway to spend time that’s more than an hour from home (unless they had her favorite food). So getting some land in the middle of nowhere five hours away wasn’t going to work.
Third, money could be an issue. So this needs to be an investment. I need cheap land I could build on that other’s might want to rent on AirBnB or something like that. That means it’s not secluded somewhere in the woods. It’s near things people want to do and accessible by car.
All that said, I looked west on Zillow to see what land is no more than an hour down the I-70 from our house. You’d be surprised what you’d find for land. Crazy mining claims off places like Deadman’d Gulch with no road access or maybe only AWD accessible (They all say 4×4, but I assume they’re not talking about quads). Prices go up and down depending if you’re looking for a lot, or some acreage.
There’s also cool things to go do. Ski Resorts. Casinos. Fishing lakes. Water tubing or rafting. Mountain train rides. Hiking, climbing, and camping. And even a pretty big main street for the first mining town to strike it rich back in the day.
I might have focused farther down the I-70, but something lead me 10,000 feet above sea leave to St. Mary’s Glacier. And that was temperature. In the summer when it’s 95 degrees at my house, it’s 68 degrees in St. Marys. Which means it must be pretty cold and snowy there during the winter, but I’ll take it while it’s hot! It also has beautiful views, an all-year-around snowfield, stocked lakes, and hiking trails. But I’m not here to tell you on it.
So I did my research. Reviewed location in the planned subdivision verses the mining claims. Consider my options between more suburban areas, higher in the mountains, or closer to the lakes and trails. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough picking your piece of the pie. I drove up almost a dozen times looking at different areas, finding out what roads my car would not survive on, what land my family would not survive on, where it would be impossible to build on, and where would have easy access for outdoorsy things to do.
I finally settled on questionable pie shaped lot referred to as Lot 75 on Brooks Drive. Mis-priced on Zillow for $129,000 it was selling off the website for $12,900. Looking like a family trust bought it, or it was willed to, back in 2006, where it sat unused for the last 12 years. So I’ve put in an offer. We’ll see what happens next.
OctoPrint looks pretty sweet as an easy and open source way to run my 3D printers remotely. To make this happen I went down to my local Microcenter and picked up a Raspberry Pi Zero W for $5. That’s the in-store price for only one. Okay, you’ll also need a 4GB micro SD card and a bunch of little things to get it up and running. But I’m not going to get into all that quite yet.
If you read the download page you’ll note that the Pi Zero W isn’t great if you’re running a camera. So don’t use it with a camera. Get a Pi 3 or something if you want to do that. I also downloaded Etcher to make the process easier to flash the micro SD card with the OctoPi image.
I’m supposed to edit the octopi-network.txt file with my wifi info at the start. And I’m not supposed to use the standard text editors on my mac, so I’m using Brackets for that.
I’ll let you know what happens when I plug it in at home.
Before I get started I’d like to point out I’ve build printers before. I sourced parts and made my own based on the open source files from gCreate.com (which they seem to be hiding these days) to build a couple gMax 1.5. Sourcing parts and building on your own is a long process, but good for learning. That said, sometimes kits are better. You get started faster, and they also tend to have a community of builders you can go to and ask questions.
Following that logic I recently to upgraded those open source systems. I went with folgertech.com and their FT-5 R2s which require a little maintenance and a long build time, but produce rock solid prints with those linear rails. The R2 kits all have ACM parts and 24v power supplies. Plus the code FOLGERTECHFBGROUP gets you 11% off! Thank the Facebook Group for that.
Now it’s time to move forward. I want a new 3D printer. I wanted one with a bed that doesn’t move like my FT-5, and uses the most recent developments with the XY axis. I wanted it upgradable, I wanted to build it quick, and I wanted it cheap!
To make my decision I searched the web for a while. Core XY designs seems to be all the rage. And buying cheap crappy Chinese kits that REQUIRE mods to get them working right. That’s what people do now. So hey, let’s do it!
From another Facebook Group I discovered a good gearbest.com deal for the Tronxy s5x at $279.99 with free shipping from Los Angeles. I’m not a huge fan of gearbest. But hey, why not at this price. So I have ordered today. I hear I’m going to require a bunch of mods to get this printer up and running properly. But at $279.99 and past knowledge of the process, why not?
The V-King design looks pretty good. But I admit I love rails. Either way, let’s start with the box and it’s connectors plus extras.
20 Corner Brackets 2020 https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100pcs-2020-Corner-Bracket-Fittings-2017-Slot-6-Corner-Angle-L-Breakets-Connector-Aluminum-Profile-Accessories/32776913274.html (bought 100 for $22.39
8 Three- Way Corner Brackets https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Durable-4pcs-Aluminum-Profile-3-way-Corner-Bracket-2020-T-Slot-16pcs-Screw-for-3D-Printer/32850632709.html (bought 16 for $30.32)
17 V-Slot 20×20 500mm http://openbuildspartstore.com/v-slot-20×20-linear-rail/
21 Derlin V Wheels Kits http://openbuildspartstore.com/delrin-v-wheel-kit/
(ordered with a few extras)