Nview:3D Printer/Workshop::Accessibility Improvements

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Technical Review


  • Time spent: 2hrs, 1 instructor
  • Extra time spent: 45mins, 1 instructor working
  • Improvement: Epoxy frames need prepped 48 hours in advance
  • Consider: printing thingyverse epoxy-application-tool and using for more even application
  • Order: 0 -- was done before the build, not during.
  • Order: 4 -- to drill holes
  • Because it fell apart, spent 30-45mins deciding what to do about it and drilling holes into Alex's welded frame


  • Time Spent: 1.5 hours, 1 novice & 1 instructor working, 2 axes completed
  • Time Spent: 45 min, 4 people working, 2intermediate & 2 instructors, 3 axes completed
  • Commentary: it was slow when a novice really wanted to intake information and learn how it was done and give space for them to process, make mistakes, and try again.
  • Commentary: it went really fast with intermediate folks because the focus was on completion rather than learning, copying rather than understanding & self-direction.
  • Order: 1 for the novice build
  • Order: 3 for the intermediate build
  • Improvement: change out the "do together" part and make it into its own build phase. This took a while to do in practice, more than 3 mins, more like 8 mins.

Heated Bed

  • Time spent: 1 hour, 1 intermediate & 1 instructor working
  • Order: 2
  • Improvement: we should better explain in the manual how long the wires should be before tinning (was cut too long, maybe include a step where it's measured with the tape measurerer, and then cut to size with scissors, because it's hard for folks to use wire cutters with precision intuitively)
  • Improvement: better instruction on using wire cutters (it was awk for matthew)
  • Improvement: we should include better instruction how to tin (i showcased this, doing the "we tin bc its conducts and bc it prevents shorts," "1 minute heatup," "the sandwich," "let it harden for 2 secs," and "melt it into the right position")
  • Improvement: we should include better instruction how much solder to put onto the heated bed (this was unclear)
  • Improvement: we should be more explicit about how high soldering temperature should be (folks ran into issues when temp was too low)
  • Improvement: first gather all the wires, and then rapidly wire cut them (in reading the manual, it took a lot of time to think about it in terms of get this wire, then solder it, it should be more more upfront what all the wires that are being soldered are, as it's own section)


  • Order: 4
  • Estimated time: 1.5-1.75 hours, 1 intermediate and 1 instructor | had a lot of re-work bc no documentation


  • Use bolt cutter for cutting rods
  • Add instruction on how to put the drill bit into the drill (with its tip, so its more powerful)
  • Add these steps in the x-axis manual:
  • Measure and specify the exact length the 3mm rods need to be (they were too short, leading to a workaround that required drilling into carriage)
    • explain how unlike the other axes, a motor will be mounted onto the carriage, in addition to the motor holder piece.
    • drill the 2 motor holes with a "?-width" drill bit: with plug facing up and screws facing you, remove the top right and bottom right screws and then drill through them
    • figure out which way to orient the carriage, and put nuts in the center, and on the corners where the 3mm rods will not go through the motor. (can you do this w/o knowing whether extruder is mirror image or not?)

Note: in practice, we've always finished building the extruder after the x-axis is already mounted onto the frame. I'd like the extruder to be a separate module, meaning it doesn't require the x-axis to complete, but currently it's held together by screws from the x-axis. This makes it complicated... I recommend providing both options and just having the extra step of unscrewing the original bolts and replace them with the longer bolts during the assembly step. OR if the x-axis is already built, then just skipping that step and fastening it right on.

  • Add these steps in the extruder manual:
    • explain how 3mm rods will go through extruder, mounting plate, carriage
    • Put nut on bolt. Pick the jagged side if there is one because it's easier to put a regular nut on vs. a self-tightening nut on.
    • Use nuts on the extruder side... so put rods through the top left and bottom left side of the extruder. Nuts should stop rods passing through.
    • Use self-tightening nuts on the carriage side with a washer in between.
    • Use two pairs of pliers or vice grips to stop nut side from twisting around rod while you twist the self-tightening nut down.
    • Ensure that extruder and carriage are fastened so that they're straight and not crooked

Control Panel

  • Estimated time: 45 mins, 2 intermediate, 2 instructors
  • Note: was working a little too fast. Felt rushed. Late in day. Participant not absorbing a lot of the info.
  • Note: had to re-pin the motor cables. On the plus side, they were long enough. Not sure if some wires needed to be extended or not.
  • It worked fine.
  • Note: Sara had pre-loaded Marlin onto the Arudino, cutting time down probably by 5-15 minutes.
  • Needs build phases and quality control points.

Assembly & First Print

  • Time spent:
  • Note: x & y axis movement looked good.
  • Needs build phases and quality control points.
  • Needs "Baby Steps" procedure.

Cable Chain + Final Touches

  • Not done. Should set expectations here that their homework is to take it apart and put it back together again and use their judgment to tape things to places.


  • Improvement: There needs to be a better inventory system for putting things away, so that a recount isn't necessary. Not sure what this looks like yet.

Accessbility Improvement Recommendations

Sat Oct 27, 2018 Oakland 1-day Build

  1. Keep the build phase concept. It works.
  2. Keep quality control checks. It works.
  3. Need an identification survey: what type of xp are they coming with?
  4. Need an exit survey.
  5. Reduce the number of questions on a per-build phase. Have this be a verbal check-in. And input it on their behalf. OR have a dedicated ipad where they can click and be done with it. 2 questions tops. supported & confidence.
  6. Switch to having a more in-depth module-based survey.
  7. Add an "Newbie Intervention" motivation convo. Folks paralyzed by "I don't know what I don't know" -- need to explicitly dispel this myth. If you can explain it, then you know it. There's not "more to it" ... those are different skills.
  8. Attempt to go WITHOUT doing an in-person demo? to speed up the process. Let there be videos instead, and just a quick overview. People kinda hate reading. Try this just for the axis build and see how it goes.
  9. Enforce opening up the manual at your workstation. Better setup workstations. folks had tendency to "just go for it" and not read at all or use reference material at all.
  10. add Build Phases for the Extruder, especially QC to prevent issues like in this build.
  11. add a "time it" component to the workflow
  12. Have "pre-work" when folks register (explaining the modules at a high-level, showing how to drill, solder, participate in our workshop). Then, start the build right away. For walk-ins, let them watch on their own time and join build afterwards.


Sat Oct 27, 2018 Oakland 1-day Build


  • Deidre left fter 4 hours
    • they were tired in the mornign to start
    • tried to stay longer, waiting for a 2nd wind
    • was super motivated, but couldn't go on.
    • came from sacramento, pretty far away
  • had shifting interests... may buy other makery things first
  • came to investigate the 3d printer
  • still a little unclear about what people would want to do with a 3d printer


  • ran out of steam in about 4 hours
  • arrived at 1pm
  • works in dentist profession, wants 3d printing before they bring it into office
  • this could be a growing market, ask for referrals here
  • as opposed to deidre, main goal seemed to be just getting a 3d printer, vs. understanding all aspects of the build
  • was confident that if something went wrong later, they could refer to the manual
  • was experienced w/ building things, like building guitars as their hobby
  • was under the impression taht workshop would end at 5pm, so had a "let's rush this" approach to doing all the builds
  • was less interested in learning the intricacies of how all parts worked bc they already understood it well enough


Sat Oct 27, 2018 Oakland 1-day Build

  • I have mixed feelings about Deirdre's xp. They could have had a better xp I believe.
  • I have good feelings about Matthew's xp. Probably close to as good as it gets given circumstances.


Sat Oct 27, 2018 Oakland 1-day Build