Step 3: Assembly, atmospheric river edition

Earth Star Voyager, a Disney tv-series-plot-recycled-into-a-movie-of-the-week from 1988 spent about three hours hinting about “Assembly” that would finally get explained at the two and a half hour mark.

I won’t spoil it for you.

Even if, you know, it looks greviously silly when compared to certain other shows that hadn’t grown the beard yet that also were showing new episodes around then.

Linear Rail prep

Since it needs to sit in a bath, I figured I’d do all four of the non-preloaded rails before I got started on the actual assembly

I decided to follow the written docs on the LDO website because I hate videos. Basically, 10 minutes in 90% Isopropyl Alcohol in the cute little individualized birdbath to get the grease off. And then SuperLube 21030 is one of the suggested greases.

I printed a pointy tip that goes on the tube, except that turned out to not work very well because in order to get enough pressure to force it as per the LDO instructions, I ended up squeezing it hard enough to make the SuperLube tube burst. So I switched to a disposable dispensing syringe and then that worked better.

(I have a bit of skepticism about the whole “shipping oil” thing, but I’ll do it anyway. For my bike, a lot of people went on and on about how the oil that comes on your chain is “shipping oil” as if the bike chains are sitting on a boat deck getting salt spray on them and a bunch of Actual Bike People With Mechanical Engineering Degrees explained that actually the chains are dipped into hot oil and it’s probably going to last longer if you leave it on. You are invited to try this on your time.)

This has actually been the most annoying part of assembly so far.

Extrusion Prep

  • There is no un-tapped A extrusion, there’s 10 A/B extrusions
  • There is no un-tapped C extrusion, there’s 4 C/H extrusions
  • I checked manually all of the tapped holes and they seem to be reasonably solid.
  • There is no G or F extrusions (because the Kirigama bed)
  • I am glad that I printed some of the Parametric OpenSCAD tape cutters because they were quite helpful for getting reasonable pieces of blue tape to label the extrusions.


  • “Functional parts and decorating parts” doesn’t include the tools directory. Oops. Since I’ve got to print that, I decided to print the neat compliant remix of the idea that I spotted along with the tools folder.
  • There’s a section on “Populating Nut Carriers” that says that I need 50 M2 nuts and M2x6 screws to fully populate the nut bars. The Formbot kit does not use a metal bar, just the printed nut carrier, and seems to have enough nuts. I read forwards in the manual and I think this is the only application for M2 nuts, even if there are more places where M2 screws are required.
  • The assembly jigs came in real handy because I could leave all of the screws finger-tight, get the 38mm piece on one end and the rail centering guides over the linear rail, and then tighten things down. The rail centering guides in the kit seemed to work fine but the compliant version clips in place more easily.
  • I had printed out some No Drop Nuts for LDO-styled extrusions from the VoronUsers repo in PET-GF ahead of time and I thought they fit because if I shoved one into the extrusion, sans nut, it was fine. But once I got started with installing, it turns out that they are printing a bit oversize and tight. I printed some that were better by scaling down the print but then I started printing the No Drop Nuts from the f-zero repo that never made it up into the users repo and those seem to be fitting much better. One of the “charming” properties of PET over PETG is that if you think PETG sticks to the bed hard, PET sticks even harder, which is convenient given how small the contact area with the build plate is, LOL.

Summary: Atmospheric river edition

I had aspirations of getting farther along on than just the Y rails but the power was out for a few hours and that meant I couldn’t print the No Drop Nuts and kinda disrupted other things as well.

  • Lubing the linear rails is surprisingly annoying.
  • The tools are missing. This sucks. I feel like one of the aspiration of community supported 3D printers is that you can order a set of parts kits and get a fully working printer without having an existing working printer. The tools can be printed with PETG or PLA, which means that you probably know somebody who has a 3D printer that can do it, but it’s still sucky.