Assembling a 3D printer can be a complex and time-consuming process, and if not done correctly, it can result in errors and malfunction. While 3D printers have different assemblies, they generally follow the same steps.
To assemble a 3D printer, you should first read the manual to figure out the steps for your particular 3D printer. Some machines are pre-assembled, but generally, you should attach the frame together, then the extruder on the X axis, along with belts and wiring.
This is just a basic answer, so keep reading to find out more about each step you need to take when assembling a 3D printer.
How to Assemble a 3D Printer – Ender 3 V2
Here are the steps to assemble the popular Ender 3 V2 3D printer:
- Separate the printer components after opening the package
- Read through the manual
- Install Z-axis profiles and limit switch
- Mount Z-axis motor and lead screw
- Install XE-axis assembly, pneumatic joint, and drive belt
- Set up the nozzle and Z-axis roller bracket
- Connect the drive belt and install the X-axis tensioner
- Install the Z-axis gantry
- Adjust the belt tension
- Mount display assembly and gantry profile
- Install the extruder knob, filament holder, and gantry cover
- Attach the extruder to the Bowden tube
- Connect electrical wires
1. Separate the Printer Components After Opening the Package
Unbox your 3D printer and check what’s in the kit. Separate and organize the packaging components carefully to prevent damaging the parts and tools that came with your printer.
In addition to a set of tools, you should have everything you need to assemble the printer from the power supply and mainboard to the chassis module and profiles.
Here is basic list of the parts the Ender 3 V2 will come with:
- Machine base
- Aluminum frames
- Printing platform with bed and clips
- LCD screen
- Motors for extruder, X axis, Y axis & Z axis
- Limit switches for X, Y & Z axis
- Belt tensioners for X & Y axis
- Extruder & extruder knob
- Hotend and nozzle assembly
- Filament spool holder
Check if everything is included according to your manual.
2. Read Through the Manual
The next step is to read through the manual. Don’t overlook this step. The manual will guide you through the process of assembling your 3D printer step by step.
It typically provides detailed instructions on how to assemble each component along with diagrams and illustrations. It may also include important information about the printer’s capabilities, limitations, and safety precautions.
By reading the manual before starting the assembly, you can avoid common mistakes. This can save you time and frustration while increasing the chances of a successful build.
Here’s a manual for the Ender 3 V2.
Check this video to find some useful tips on how to assemble an Ender 3 V2.
3. Install Z-Axis Profiles and Limit Switch
Take the Z-axis limit switch and slide it until it reaches the Z-axis profile. It should be loosely tightened at first. Then fix the profiles of the Z-axis to the base of your printer with M5X45 screws. You’ll need 4 screws for this task.
Once fixed, the Z-axis limit switch should be slid down until it reaches the base profile. Now you need to tighten the bolts and go to the next step.
4. Mount Z-Axis Motor and Lead Screw
Use 2 M4x18 screws to attach the Z-axis motor to the profile. Make sure it is not over-tightened. It should be secure though.
Take the lead screw and slide it into the upper part of the coupler. Set it firmly in position by tightening the set screw.
5. Install XE-Axis Assembly, Pneumatic Joint, and Drive Belt
The next thing you need to install is the Bowden tube connector. Tighten it firmly with an open-end wrench to ensure a secure connection with the extruder.
Check the XE-Axis assembly, which is the X-axis along with the extruder.
You will see the bolt head. It should be aligned into the hole in the X-axis profile. Use 2 M4X16 screws to connect the X-Axis profile to the XE-axis assembly securely.
Now the drive belt can be installed. Make sure the toothed side goes over the pulley.
6. Set Up the Nozzle and Z-Axis Roller Bracket
The drive belt should be placed into the profile slot. Then take the nozzle assembly and slide it onto the profile.
Once you’ve attached the roller bracket of the Z-axis to the profile, you need to align the bolt head in the threaded hole. Use the M4x16 screw to connect it firmly.
7. Connect the Drive Belt and Install the X-Axis Tensioner
To take the tensioner block away, the tensioning knob should be undone first. Then take the drive belt and thread it around the pulley. Ensure that it isn’t twisted before returning the pulley to the tensioner base.
Then the tensioning knob should be screwed back into place. It will take several turns.
Next, connect the roller bracket of the Z-axis profile with the tensioner base. Use the countersunk and M4X16 screw to attach them securely. In the profile, they both have the identical threaded hole.
Slide the drive belt into the nozzle slots to secure each end.
8. Install the Z-Axis Gantry
On the outer surface of the Z profiles, you will locate grooves. Take the lower V rollers and place them into them.
In the brass nut, there will be the lead screw. It is located in the XE assembly.
To screw the Z-axis gantry down, turn it by hand and guide the V rollers into grooves simultaneously.
9. Adjust the Belt Tension
Once you’ve installed the gantry, tune up the tension of the Y-axis and X-axis drive belts. When adjusting the belt tension, turn the tensioner knobs of both the X-axis and Y-axis.
Make sure the belts are neither over-tightened nor loose. They should be taught, though. You need to feel some spring when pressing down the drive belt.
Belts that are too tight can over stress or even break the motors and pulleys. On the other hand, belts too loose can be prone to slip during the printing process.
10. Mount Display Assembly and Gantry Profile
Use hexagon socket head cap screws to attach the profile to the top of the gantry. Once tightened securely, the display should be unclipped from the bracket.
After installing the screws on the bracket, slacken them a bit and put the T nuts in the base profile. Make sure the T nuts can turn when tightening the bolts.
Now you can install the display of your 3D printer. Move it backward and forward to find the proper location based on your preferences. Then you need to tighten the bolts.
There will be a ribbon cable in the box, which should be connected to the LCD screen. After clipping, it back onto the bracket, the display screen assembly will be connected successfully.
11. Install the Extruder Knob, Filament Holder, and Gantry Cover
Take the M5X8 bolts and insert them through the filament holder holes. Then the T nuts should be attached loosely.
After aligning the T nuts in the upper profile groove, you need to tighten the nuts. As the grove is tightening, the T nuts are going to turn.
Once you have attached the filament holder, use the plastic nut to secure it. Then install the extruder knob by placing it on the upper shaft of the motor. Take the profile covers and push them in on each side of the top profile.
12. Attach the Extruder to the Bowden Tube
Locate the collar and insert it on the pneumatic connector of the extruder into the fitting. While it’s held there, take the Bowden tube and place it into the connector securely until it can’t go further.
After releasing the collar, the spacer should be clipped between the connector body and the collar. Make sure it’s locked in place to achieve a firm connection.
If everything is assembled and connected properly, you can move to the final step, which involves electrical connections.
13. Connect Electrical Wires
Set the correct input voltage for your 3D printer before plugging in the power source. Remember that damage to your printer may arise from using the improper voltage.
It will depend on your local supply. For most European countries, the voltage is 220 Volts. Those who live in the United States should be set to 115V.
Once you’ve connected the wires and power cord, make sure the power switch is set to 1 before turning it on. Now you can plug in your power source.
After turning on the switch, your screen will turn on. Avoid unplugging or connecting any cables while your printer is turned on.
Lastly, test your printer with a simple print to check if things are assembled properly.