I have been making progress but not as fast as I would like. It seems that I can only squeeze a half hour at a time to work on the Mendel so everything just creeps along. At least it is still moving forward and no new problems have arisen.
I have managed to fabricate an electronics mount out of fibreboard and mounted it to the machine. Sorry for the fuzzy picture. All of the boards are installed and I have made up all three cables for the stepper driver boards. One advantage of this side mount design is that the cables are much shorter. I hope to get the rest of the wiring done tonight so I can see at least one of the axis move under it's own power. Very exiting.
I made a small mount for the 12v power socket out of a small bit of U shaped aluminum extrusion. It works fine and is very solid. I plan on mounting the USB board on top of it with a piece of double sided foam tape so that problem is also solved.
I have fabricated new opto flags out of heavier aluminum from my scrap box and my new Z-axis belt arrived. It fit perfectly and is now installed so I have all three axis moving OK by hand. I also installed the bed so the mechanical build is complete. As a side note, my friend Mike from Method to his Madness suggested simply doubling up the layers of pop can aluminum to get the needed stiffness for the flags. I never seem to think of these simple solutions to my problems so it is always good to have another set of eyes looking at things.
Mike and I have been discussing getting a set of Mendel parts printed for him when I get this thing operational. I have a roll of PLA so I could even print the bushings for a Prussa. We'll have to see how long it takes to get the calibration right but it would definitely be in my interest to have another working printer in the neighborhood in case of problems.
I am already compiling a list of things that I want to try once I get it running. I will write up a post on various projects I am considering so I can get some feedback.