Friday, March 12, 2010

First Post

Like many others at the moment I am beginning to build a Mendel 3d printer. I have decided to document my journey in the hopes that the information will be useful to other builders. I have built a few mechanical items in my life and I have a couple of older British cars that I manage to keep running so I am not too worried on that front. It is the electronics that I expect to be a challenge if anything goes wrong. I am trying to avoid that by buying them as completed items rather than kits of parts. I work in the software industry and, even though my technical days are somewhat behind me (about 20 yrs behind me), I'm sure that I can either manage the programming myself or talk one of my staff into helping me.

I have ordered all of the necessary parts except for the printed ones. Most of them have arrived and I expect to have the rest within the next week or so. I will post a cost breakdown of what I have purchased so far, where I obtained it and how much I paid. I have already found that I grossly overpaid for a few things that I could have found on Ebay or through the Reprap forums. Perhaps I can help someone else from making the same mistakes.

Of course, it is the replicated parts that are hardest to come by. I expect that the scarcity will resolve itself within the next 6 months or so since it creates a significant business opportunity for entrepreneur types. Anyone who is able to produce full sets of parts can essentially name their price at the moment. The set that Adrian Bowyer put up on Ebay about a week ago is currently listed at $427 (CAN) and hasn't yet arrived at the frantic bidding that always pushes things up a bit more in the last hour or so.

I have reached out to several of the user groups (without success so far) and I am also watching several sites that advertise the RP parts but are currently out of stock. I am still hopeful that I can find a set within the next few weeks.

If not I have plan B. Alvaro Fogassa documented the build of his 3d powder printer on his blog and it looks like an excellent complement to the extrusion technology of the Repraps. I managed to find a printer identical to the one that he used on Ebay for $15 plus another $15 for shipping. I would prefer to build the Mendel first since it is better documented and I will have to do some design work on the powder printer but, if I become impatient, perhaps I will proceed with this project first.

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