31 May 2024

I've had my Voron 0 up and running for about two months now, and I wanted to write a bit about my build experience.

The built Voron

I had loved the look of the Voron 0 for a while, bought an LDO kit on Black Friday last year, and finally got around to building it. There's a lot of options for kits on the market, and LDO's is one of the priciest, if not the singular priciest. I was drawn to it over the other kit options for a few reasons:

  • LDO has an excellent reputation in the 3D printer community, with their kits having quality parts and nothing that is effectively mandatory to replace.
  • They provide a 100W bed heater, over the "stock" 60W option. The comparison videos that I saw between LDO's bed heater and the other bed heater options made this a likely upgrade that I'd want to do if I built a different kit.
  • LDO's kit comes with all the wire terminations already crimped. That's a huge time saver. Not only does it mean I don't have to do the crimping myself, but I think their crimping was more likely to be good than my attempts (I've only done a small amount of crimping and have had several of them fail), so it also probably saved me time on debugging bad wire connections.

Before moving on, I should also mention that buying a kit is a no-brainer choice for almost everyone. It will generally be cheaper to buy a kit and separately buy any part upgrades that you want than to self-source everything, even though it'll mean that you end up with extra parts that you aren't using. A lot of hardware parts are sold in packs that aren't conveniently close to the number required, and also may have cheaper bulk pricing. You also save a lot of shipping costs by getting everything in a single shipment.

Rather than a full self-source, there's another interesting option of buying sub-kits. For example, you can get a kit of frame components, a kit of motion components, and so on. I think that for this route to be worthwhile, you need to have a decent number of parts in mind that you're going to replace, and even then I would probably not recommend it for a first build, since it makes it much more likely that you overlook some key part when ordering and have to wait for a new delivery mid-build.

I've heard several people say that the Voron 0 is the most difficult Voron to build because of its small size, but overall I still wouldn't say it was that difficult. However, it does take a decent amount of time. I think I spent roughly 50 hours on the build process, though if I were to build a second one I'm confident I would be able to go much faster.

For someone looking to do their own build, I'd give two pieces of advice. First, take each step slow and understand what you're doing. Second, don't be afraid to go backwards in the process to change something. Even with reading the manual as closely as I could, I had to go back and fix mistakes multiple times. At least one was caused by misreading the manual, but there were other cases that were much harder to avoid. For example, I was using No Drop Nuts and would use them again, but there were a couple times that I found that the nut holders that I used were preventing the nuts from getting to the right positions, so I had to take apart part of the frame to swap them out. Even though it feels a bit demotivating to undo your precious work, it was never a particularly arduous task. Each step backwards just involved loosening a few screws, sliding out some extrusions, and then putting everything back into place.

After the mechanical parts of the build, there's also several steps involved in configuring the software, both the firmware running on the printer (Klipper), and the slicer. Steps like fine-tuning the Z offset and configuring the extrusion multiplier definitely require patience, but once I got through the full process, I felt like the parts I was getting out of the Voron were higher quality than the ones I've gotten out of the Bambu X1C.

It's likely that I could do a similar tuning process to improve the quality of my X1C prints, but I'd be relying on the Bambu firmware to have equivalent options to the ones in Klipper. This reminds me a lot of one of the advantages of running Linux: if there's something you don't like, it's extremely likely that you are able to change it, and also a reasonably high chance that someone else did it before you and you can reuse their work. With the Voron, this advantage also extends to the physical parts, and there's a huge set of mods in the community to pick from.

As for mods that I'm looking at incorporating into my build, the biggest one is ZeroPanels, which makes it much easier to un-enclose the printer for things like access to various parts. I'm also intrigued by the Pandora gantry, although I don't yet have plans that would require the extra travel room.

Finally, I already have components for a Galileo 2 standalone extruder, which I would install along with the Dragon Burner toolhead. I don't have any complaints about the print quality from the Mini Stealthburner, which is the "stock" Voron 0 toolhead, but during assembly I had a bit of trouble with the extruder parts where the shaft of the drive gear seemed to be a bit undersized so I could barely get it onto the extruder stepper, and couldn't get the set screw in at all. So far, the extruder seems to be working with no problem without the set screw (the gear is just holding itself in place as a result of it being a tight fit), but I wanted to have a backup extruder option on hand in case it ever started failing. The printed parts for both of these were some of the first prints I did after finishing the calibration.

I've been using my Voron 0 to print out the pieces of my new Face Turning Octahedron design. As I've been assembling it, I've already noticed even more places for possible improvements, but that will have to be the topic of a different post.

In-progress FTO

Of course, there's one last question: Will I be building another printer? Right now, I don't think I have the need. The Voron 0 and Bambu X1C cover the amount of printing that I do for myself, and also mean that I have redundancy if an issue arises with one of them. I had been eyeing the potential of building a Dueling Zero to give me access to faster and less wasteful two-material prints allowing the use of a different material for supports, but I've gotten the surface finish of supported surfaces beyond what I expected and good enough for my purposes right now, despite using only a single material.

It would be a fun build, though...