Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Little Progress on a Couple of Fronts

Well, I am still not printing.  That is more due to my crazy life than any real issues with the Mendel.  I have managed to change jobs, attend a funeral/family reunion, get my daughter off to New York on her class trip, make a couple of road trips for my work, arrange for repairs on the house, fix both cars and see my wife through a bad stretch with her (former) employers.  I'm pooped!  What I have not managed to do is finish assembling my extruder.

However, a couple of weeks ago I anticipated this situation and ordered a fully assembled extruder from Botmill.  After I placed the order I happened on a lengthy exchange on the Reprap forum where a number of folks complained of poor customer service from Botmill so I was not sure what to expect.  It all turned out well though.  I received an acknowledgement of the purchase within 10 minutes and the unit was shipped within 48 hrs.  They sent me another notice when it shipped along with a tracking number.  It arrived within a week of the order and it is exactly as advertised.  A very nice little unit based on Wade's extruder.  It even came attached to an upper x-carriage so now I have 2.

I realized when I started to install it that I had neglected to install the captive nuts for the extruder bolts in my upper x-carriage part so I will have to dismantle the x-carriage.  Bummer!  However, it was going to be necessary anyway.  As it turns out, one of the angled bolts holding the 45 degree bearings on the lower carriage is too long and interferes with the extruder so I will have to cut it down.  I could cut it in place but I don't want to be spraying metal filings all over the Mendel and into my steppers.

I also have my new (used) computer installed now.  I bought a cheap monitor for $100 and an even cheaper wireless card for $30.00 and installed a dual boot OS with WinXP and Ubuntu 11.04.  Unfortunately I can only get the wireless drivers to work in Windows.  I will run the Mendel using the Reprap Host Software on WinXP until I get that situation resolved because I hate running disks back and forth from my office upstairs to the Lab (that's what my wife calls it, complete with the capital L)

On another front I seem to have finally found someone to cut the parts I need for the chassis of the DIYLILCNC router.  A guy in Alberta is offering to laser cut them from 1/4" MDF for a very reasonable price.  I will post his contact information on the builders forum once I have received the parts and can evaluate their quality.  I have a number of additional parts to source before I can start the build but the cut sheet parts are the hardest to get hold of.  Very similar to the Reprap situation last year except that it isn't the scarcity but the cost of laser cutting that is the difficulty.  The parts comprise most of a 4*8 sheet of mdf so there is a lot of cutting and all my local laser cutters wanted over $1000 to do it.

Hopefully I will actually get some work done this week and will have something to take pictures of shortly.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Still Waiting!

Just a quick update.  I am still waiting for my last stepper motor to arrive so I can complete the extruder.  I have been puttering on the control box while I wait.  It will contain the bed heater, power supply and emergency cuttoff switch.