So far, I’ve placed 18 orders on AliExpress.com. 11% of them are ‘in dispute’. This is my first experience with this level of importing, and I feel I can confidently say that the reduced costs carry an extra level of risk. When you order from a place like Amazon, you pay a higher price to insulate yourself from… complications. One order was sent from the supplier to AliExpress for shipping. The shipment records were created, then canceled, twice. I asked the supplier about it, they got in contact with AliExpress, and apparently it had something to do with the ‘security’ of the package. The seller said they’d give me a refund, so I opened a dispute for a refund. I have no idea if I should have done that. The other order in dispute, contained my stainless steel rods. Two of them (the shortest) were still in the packaged when I got it. Four of them had created a hole in the corner of the package, and fallen out in transit. Somewhere. I never got the goods I paid for, and the shippers are giving a collective shrug. There’s an open dispute on that one.
The missing merchandise so far only totals ~$25. So even if the disputes don’t end in full refunds, it won’t completely break the bank. However, if the refunds don’t clear, it would have been easier, cheaper, and faster to order these parts from Amazon to begin with. I think the key here is that you have to be judicious about what you order, and hope for the best when it comes to packaging.
In the mean time, I’m reprinting router templates. It turns out that 3mm is just too thin for a good template, and I’m not sure PLA will work for router templates. To test these hypotheses, Sam is printing a template in ABS, and I’m printing a template in PLA. The vertical walls have been doubled in thickness, and the height has been increased to 6mm for both. We’ll see if they both work, or if the PLA has issues and the ABS doesn’t.
Below is a photo of the first thin template (and where it failed) and a second template that’s twice as thick vertically and in the walls. I had some issues on the reprint with the z-layer, and the PLA not wanting to stick to itself very well, but the walls look solid enough that I think I’ll be OK.
The template on the bottom is twice as thick.
I suspect that the PLA was having issues due to the guide bearing being frozen stiff. It was well below 0 celcius when I attempted to rout a template Monday night.
On a more positive note: Parts continue to trickle in daily. The electronics stack arrived yesterday, along with the heat bed, PEI sheet, and wiring harnesses. The induction probe has also arrived, prompting me to start looking at the extruder body to see if the PINDA cable guide needed to be moved. It did. I’ve updated the SCAD and STL in the git repo, along with making the “Varnerized” font a bit bigger on the LCD cover.
Test fitting the induction probe into the extruder-body. The cable guide needs relocated.
I also picked up some inline 5 and 15 AMP glass tube fuses and some in-line fuse holders to replace the polyfuses on the RAMPS board, as well as some #12 stranded THHN wire for wiring up the power supply and what-not.