IntroductionWhile making my projects like the Darth Vader chest box 2.0 I use the local fablab a lot, especially the laser cutter and the 3D printer. It was a bit boring to wait for the 3D print to finish (laser cutting is typically much faster) with not much else to do at the fablab. I therefore decided to buy my own 3D printer. I choose for the BQ Hephestos 2, a sturdy Prusa i3 all metal printer that comes in a kit.
After a few days the BQ printer arrived in a huge box. The filament (PLA and Filaflex) that I ordered also arrived together with BuildTak, a thin plastic sheet that adheres to the printbed and should provide a better adherence of the 3D object to the bed. According to sources online it should take 2-3 hours to build the Hephestos 2. I have no experience with building 3D printers so I figured it would take me longer.
AssemblyThe assembly guide that comes with the Hephestos 2 is very good and all parts in the box are clearly tagged. Therefore building it is not very hard. I found it comparable to building a PC. The difficult part was the cable management. Like a PC there are lots of cables and they all need to have the proper length and you need to connect them properly. Again the assembly guide is a great help here. Eventually it took me six hours to build the kit. Not too bad for my first 3D printer.
PrintingMy first prints with the 3D printer were disastrous. I tried the PLA first because this is the easiest material to print. The object came loose from the glass print bed while being printed. Next I tried BuildTak on my glass print bed. Alas, same result. Somewhat frustrated I bought some Pritt and applied it on the BuildTak surface. After that all objects adhered perfectly to the printbed in fact it took me some effort to release the object. In fact when I printed a large symmetrical object one end was on the pritt covered surface and the other was not. The part that was not on the pritt had severe warping issues while the other part was great.
ConclusionThe Hephestos 2 doesn't disappoint. For someone with little experience with 3D printers assembling it is relatively easy. The instructions in the manual are excellent and all the components are first class. BQ developed their own extruder and electronics (Zum Mega 3D board). Operating the Hephestos 2 is also easy. Removing filament from the extruder, inserting new filament, calibrating and printing is all made easy with good software and navigation. Is their nothing bad to say about the Hephestos 2? Well, the kit costs 850 euro (including 21% VAT) and for this price it doesn't even have a heated bed. That's a steep price compared to the $300 Chinese Prusa i3's. On the other hand, reviews on the internet suggest that these Chinese clones come with cheap (or even broken) parts and lacking manuals.
|The first stages of the assembly with the X,Y, Z axis finished.|
|Printbed, display and Zum Mega 3D board installed.|
|Better view of the Zum Mega 3D board which looks very nice.|
|After finishing the assembly switching on the Hephestos 2 for the first time|
|First print with the Hephestos 2 was a disaster due to lack of adherence of the PLA to the glass printbed.|
|BuildTak sheet on the printbed and a view of the extruder.|
|Pritt on the printbed solved the adherence problems.|