p3steelpoland

P3Steel from Poland – A tale of dispair, dismay and woe

Preamble

Don’t get me wrong, I think that the P3Steel 3D printer is a very good design/derivative of the Prusa i3. However, the version of the frame that I purchased is somewhat lacking in finesse, and the supplier, from whom I obtained it, leaves something to be desired, when it comes to pre-sales and after-sales care.
The frame that I purchased was the Frame Prusa I3 P3Steel v4.0 +RODS, from a supplier based in Poland.

Alternative Suppliers/Printers

There are other suppliers, with slightly different designs of the P3Steel, and I would recommend those over the frame that I purchased. In particular, there is a supplier based in Lithuania, pilvytis / m.rut3d, who is very helpful and the design is superior, although (around 50%) more expensive. For pilvytis, see P3Steel Lasercut All metal kit for v2 v2.5 v4 Frame Prusa i3 3D Printer RepRap. For m.rut3d, see P3Steel V4 200×300 Lasercut Frame Prusa i3 3D Printer RepRap Mendel Metal.
A Spanish supplier, gonzalo8455, sells XL 300 x 300 mm printers, which are very good indeed, and competitively priced (especially, if you can get one for a reduced price of 300 euros). See KIT IMPRESORA 3D P3STEEL XXL GRAN FORMATO 300 x 300mm x 300mm.

P3Steel issues

Assembly gotchas

  • Long thin rod orientation  (see Stack Exchange, Orientation of long thin rod on P3Steel v4)
  • X idler smooth rod missing/ difficult to source  (see Stack Exchange, Is the 8mm x 20mm bearing axel for the X-axis idler (of a P3Steel) a custom part?)
  • RAMPS Controller 2004 LCD display holder is a poor fit, additional 15mm spacers are required, the hole for the rotary knob is too small
  • Hard to tighten one of the X-axis assembly GT2 bolts, when the LM8UU bearings are in place
  • Y-axis stepper motor mount plate is flimsy – it is missing the additional triangular  brace/support (see Design Flaws below).
  • Why are there two Y-axis stepper motor mount plates?

Idler issues

  • X and Y axis idler design is poor – there is no mount for springs, nor holes for an adjuster screw;
  • Y idler sides are the wrong width for just washers and bearing;
  • Y idler big wheel hole is 4 mm, as are the two grooves in the Y idler sides, but the top two holes of pivot are 3.5 mm;
  • Y idler sides bottom holes are 3 mm but the pivot bottom hole is 4 mm (the PDF guide, manual_p3steel_xl, suggests using M3 bolts, but these are clearly too small/narrow, for the pivot bottom hole).
  • NOTE: If the pivot is used upside down, then the 4 mm holes (in the pivot, wheel and Y idler side grooves) and the 3 mm holes (in the bottom of the Y idler sides, and the pivot) line up – but that leaves the middle hole in the pivot out of line with the lower of the Y idler side grooves).

This image shows one of the Y idler sides, the pivot, bearing and the big wheel (in that order):

Y idler
Y idler

Lesser niggles

Customer service:

  • Pre-sales communication poor
  • After sales care poor.
Design flaws:
  • Threaded rod z axis tops are not secured, unlike v.2 (see Stack Exchange, Z axis top brackets, of P3Steel, differ between v1.x/2.x and v4)
  • No circlip grooves for ends of x, y and z axes smooth bars
  • Steel bed heavy
  • Y axis flexes
  • No extruder mounting holes, unlike the video
  • No PSU mounting holes
  • No RAMPS 1.4 controller mounting holes
  • No reel holder is supplied, nor are there grooves to fit one
Parts Supplied:
  • Not enough 12 mm screws (10)
    • 2 hot end
    • 2 X axis GT2 belt
    • 4+2 Y axis GT2 belt
  • Z-axis smooth rod imperfections – the LM8UU bearings stick at a certain point, resistance can be felt and additional force is required to push the X-axis assembly up.

Thoughts about the frame

Frame seems to be a mix of various designs. Parts of the frame are similar to the frame in this video, I3 Steel CORDOBESA con extrusor/with extruder:
  • The X-axis certainly comes from there);
  • The rear plate is different though and has a flimsy motor mount, as it is missing the right angled triangular horizontal lower brace);
  • Also, it lacks the extruder cut out, and mounting holes on the right hand Z-axis.

Guides and videos

 

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