Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I attempted to order the drive gears and the x-carriage-lower_1off but their google widget told me that they didn't ship to Canada. An email to their contact address resulted in a very quick response from Nick Pace telling me that he would have it fixed in a day or so. I love good customer service!
This will probably drive the price of my Mendel up into "WTF territory" but I am past caring. I am having too much fun.
Friday, March 26, 2010
All my metric fasteners. Not too exciting in the boxes but you can't build a Mendel without em.
The X belt and 8 ft of additional belt for the Y and X axis.
4 NEMA17 stepper motors. I will have to remove the gears currently on the shafts since they do not fit my belts.
50 624 bearings and 2 608 bearings.
Various Printhead parts from Makergear, including their heater kit for the extruder. It allows me to make a heater that I can remove from the extruder if necessary to place on another one. Handy if the extruder fails, which seems to be quite common with us beginners.
The lasercut chassis, build plate and circuit board mounts. all ready to go.
Mendel vertices from James Villenieuve. I won't need these now since I will get another set along with my RP parts but I will keep them as spares and perhaps to kickstart the build of a second Mendel.
The power supply that came with my boards is a small 12v adapter. Probably fine for running the Reprap itself but I also want to run a heated build platform, cooling fans for pos-print cooldown and maybe some lighting. I found a 500W ATX power supply on Ebay for only $20 (plus another 20 for shipping of course) so I ordered it as well. Once I have it here I can decide how big a project box I need to contain everything.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Also, my electronics arrived today from TechZone Communications. Unfortunately I have to take care of some real priorities before I can get back to my hobbies. We have been waiting for almost a year to get my daughter in to see an orthopedic specialist about a knee injury and we finally have an appointment tomorrow morning. That means that we have to hit the highway to Saskatoon this afternoon. No time to look over the boards.
Last night I took pictures of all the parts that have arrived so far. When I get back I will post them and hopefully start setting up the electronics and motors on the workbench to try everything out. It will probably take 4 to 6 weeks for the printed parts to get here from the UK so I should have time to get bugs worked out of the electronics.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Jake Von Slatt's steampunk computer
This combination of mass produced industrial hardware and individual craftsmanship only lasted for a short time. Rising labour costs and the creation of the assembly line brought us to our modern world, where everything is affordable but nothing is unique.
So how does this relate to Rapid Prototyping? Well, we are now entering another era when individuals will be able to manufacture, in their own workshops, whatever they desire. These items will be as individual as their creators and, even if we all pass around the .STL files to make multiple copies, there is always an impulse to personalize “your” version of someone else’s design. A quick look at repstraps out there shows an amazing variety of designs, all reflecting their creator’s individual goals and design choices. They even have unique names, as was common for Victorian devices.
I have been wondering what a steampunk Mendel would look like. The rod used throughout would have to be brass, of course, as would all the connectors. The various plastic parts could probably be made out of wood but that really goes against the whole reprap philosophy. Perhaps black ABS with scrollwork grooves that could be later picked out with gold paint. Add a build surface of polished wood with a brass plate for the heater and you have a RepRap for Captain Nemo. Handy when you are on the bottom of the ocean without your full shipyard available and you need a replacement trigger for your electric rifle.
Nemo: "Drat, my electro-rifle is damaged. To the Mendel M. Aronnax!"
Perhaps the actual steampunk fad has just about run its’ course. Now that it seems to be everywhere on the internet, maybe folks will become bored with it. I hope not, I love the whole brass and wood look with the elegence that they imply. I am not enough of a sociologist to know for sure how long steampunk will last but I believe that the underlying philosophy that drives the design and creation of such unique hardware will continue to be apparent in the RepRap community for years to come
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Here's a closeup. the quality looks pretty good. Of course looks can be deceiving but I thought it was worth the risk so I threw in a bid just shy of $400.
They finally sold for $465 which is still a bit too rich for me. I am hoping the fact that they were cast rather than printed or machined means that the seller will be making more sets. This could finally start bringing the price down.
Hopefully whoever bought these will post something to let all of us potential buyers know what the quality is like.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
It is fairly obvious that I will need to add a heated platform fairly soon after I complete the Mendel if I want it to actually be usable. I have investigated any number of designs on various blogs. Most of them look fairly simple but, being mechanicaly challenged, I want to take the absolute easiest path possible. I think that I have found that in Tim's design over at Bothacker.com. It is a bit more expensive than others I have seen but tons easier to implement. This guy is my hero, his repstrap design, using aluminum channel, is also extremely clean and elegant.
The following links and pictures have been shamelessy stolen from Tim's website.
The setup consists of the following:
- 4×4 flexible silicone rubber heater, 115VAC, with pressure sensitive adhesive on one side, ~$30
- Commercial PID temperature controller, $42
- Type-K thermocouple, ~$6
I find this approach attractive because it is basically a buy it and install it solution. The pads even come with their own adhesive already applied. He has also posted a couple of pics of his control box which is exactly what I was planning on setting up. It seems logical to have everything neatly enclosed in a project box and, in addition to the heater, there will probably be a number of additional systems to build and control as things progress. The workbench could become a mess of loose switches, wiring, etc. without some advance planning and organizing. Below are a couple of pics of Bothacker's control box which includes the bed heater controls, power supply, fans, control board, stepper drivers and an emergency cutoff switch. Very slick, and he still has lots of room on the front panel to add things.
These project boxes are not expensive. I have been looking as a couple on this site but I will wait until I have gathered all my electronics before ordering one to ensure that I get the right size.
As a final note - A new set of Mendel RP parts has shown up on Ebay so I threw a bid in on it. Given that the set sold by Adrian Bowyer went for $647 Canadian, I don't hold out much hope but you never know.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
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 http://homemade3dprinter.blogspot.com/ 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.