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3D Printer Build Week: Day One (photos)

We're building our very own 3D printer, to teach ourselves and hopefully teach, or at least entertain, you. Here are the results of Day One.

Rich Brown
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
Rich Brown
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Mosaic 3D printer birch plywood frame pieces

Step one: assembling the frame.
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Carefully labeled

Each piece has a corresponding letter burned into it, making it easy to follow the instructions.
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Steady...

The pieces fit together easily enough. We never had to force anything, and escaped with no broken pins, at least on this step.
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Drama amid the television boxes

Our lab storage room actually hasn't been this organized in over five years.
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Piece by piece

Coming together.
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Step one complete

The end result, sans hardware.
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57 screws

The next part called for sliding tiny nuts into the slots on each piece, and then screwing them into place with tiny bolts, 57 times.
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Hardware detail

Close-up of the nut-and-bolt layout. This step was a little tedious and challenging. It's also where any casual consumer might first find frustration. Some of those nuts were hard to put in place.
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Sturdy, but also fragile

The wooden assembly feels strong enough once it's all together, but you do need to be careful. This cracked pin is our one major casualty so far.
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Custom fit

Some of the slots for the nuts were such a tight fit that we had to scrap out a bit more clearance. This is the one time during the day where we had to alter the provided pieces.
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Y-axis assembly

Next step, putting together the Y-axis assembly. The wooden piece here came preassembled. This is the piece that holds the plate onto which we will eventually (hopefully) print our 3D objects.
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Linear rail assembly installed

We'll mount a motor and belt system on this rail, which will drive the build platform back and forth inside the main housing.
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Y-axis complete

The Y-axis is assembled, and eventually we'll attach the build platform to that metal plate.

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