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Creality Ender 3 V2

Hey, this is not my printer! I’m still mainly rocking my Monoprice Maker Select Plus with a number of upgrades over the years. It’s printing well enough, though I tune-up is probably in order one of these days… And yes, my RepRap 6000 is still in progress.

But this Creality Ender 3 V2 is what we’ve got at work now. As we’ve been making more 3D files (and parts) the old Monoprice MP Select Mini was showing its age and… it’s loud. The Ender is much quieter, which is nice.

We’ve already done a few upgrades, including adding OctoPrint and a Pi with a touchscreen, new PEI flexible sheet, and metal pars for the extruder. We had a bunch of issues extruding filament at first but I swapped the nozzle and all was good. It’s only been a few days but so far I’m impressed with quality the way I was when I replaced my 2011 printer with a new one in 2017. I’m still not a huge fan of Bowden extruders, but I can see the appeal and reasons for them.

Oh, I will note that I assembled this using the printed instruction book that came with it, then later realized the included SD card had a video that was ten time better at showing how to assemble it. This isn’t the first time I’ve found printed directions lacking in comparison to video. This doesn’t mean video is always better, it means people are bad at making printed directions.

Oh, I forgot to mention my other other printer. A Creality3D CR-20, which I picked up from MatterHackers at a discount after a giveaway win last year. I gave it to my daughter and her boyfriend to babysit for me until I get room in my shop. Yeah, I expect to have room for it by 2024 or so. Happy Printing!

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RepRap Y Carriage

acrylic-bed

Contrary to what the photo above may suggest, I am not using a laser cut acrylic piece for the Y carriage of my RepRap… What I am using it for is a template to make sure things work properly, and once I’m sure I’ll use it as a drilling template to mount things on the Aluminum Y carriage I have. (Which Frankie gave to me, oh, maybe six years ago!?)

y-plate-metal

Here’s the Aluminum Y carriage. The photo looks weird because it’s from my flatbed scanner. I often scan objects so I can bring them into Inkscape and trace them to get a vector drawing I can work with. (And I had to scan it in two passes and stitch it into one image.)

y-plate-drawing

Here’s the SVG file created in Inkscape by tracing things. Notice I added more holes, which will be used to hold the bearing blocks.

acrylic-fake-bed

It seems to slide pretty smoothly. I mentioned in a previous post, the igus drylin slide bearings want to be under some pressure to work properly, so I adjusted them just right with the blocks I printed and did some slide tests. So far I’m pleased!

Next up will be the holes in the Aluminum. I’m not sure if I should drill and tap for 3mm bolts, or drill for pass-through of 3mm bolts and hold in place with nuts. My thought on the first method is that my alignment via drilling has to be perfect, while with the second method I can adjust just a bit with some slop. Thoughts?

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Rapid RepRap Disassembly

reprap-disassembly-01

Part of the process of [re]building my new RepRap 3D Printer involved disassembly of my old RepRap 3D Printer. It felt strange at first taking it apart, probably because of all the hours I spent putting it together, but it also felt sort of exhilarating.

reprap-disassembly-02

Wow! I forgot how many nuts and bolts went into building a Prusa Mendel. The BOM calls for nearly 90 M8 nuts. The good news is, I can reuse all of these components. I don’t think I’ll have to buy any M8 nuts or washers for quite some time, and the threaded rod should come in useful in the future.

reprap-disassembly-03

Here are all the components I reclaimed. I disposed of all the printed plastic parts, though I will admit that inspecting them before disposal gave me a few ideas for how parts should be designed.

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RepRap (More) Printed Pieces…

x-carriage-00

I’ve put a lot of time into the x-axis left side recently. It’s one of the more complex pieces and I really don’t know if I’m doing it right but I can’t want to find out if it works. Since I’m starting with some existing parts, I need to design it to fit those parts. (I originally thought about using other existing designs that are available, but it would have meant purchasing the exact parts to fit, so here we are.)

x-carriage-model

Here’s my model. I’ve hidden the motor, rods, star nut thing, bearings, etc. This is just the part I printed. It seems to do all the things I need/want it to do, but it’s not on the machine yet, so who knows?

x-carriage-02

Here’s the print, with the pieces attached. Seems to look okay, that’s a good sign, right?

x-carriage-01

One of the interesting things about this project is that when I started designing my own pieces I also started to pay more attention to other designs out there, and that’s caused me to think about the decisions people made. Often decisions are made based on print orientation of FDM printers, or amount of material, etc.

support-blockers

I also learned that Cura has a feature called “Support Blocker”, which allows you to set areas where support will not apply. (Here’s an explanation, since I can’t find official docs on it.)

bearing-holder

I also got some 12mm igus drylin slide bearings for the y axis, and printed a holder for them that allows them to be put under pressure for a solid fit. Things are moving along now!

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RepRap Extrusion Preparation

extrusion

I’m following the Mark Method of building a RepRap frame, which involves using large Aluminum extrusion for the frame. The process involves cutting it, milling the faces flat, and then bolting it together. No wimpy 3D printed corner brackets here!

Adrian met me at Milwaukee Makerspace yesterday and helped me get my Aluminum extrusion cut down to size. I now have seven pieces ready for the next step. There are three pieces at 460mm, two at 480mm, and two at 500mm.

bandsaw-extrusion

I started by cutting the extrusion to length (plus 6mm) on the band saw in the metal shop. We added 6mm so we’d have about 3mm on each side to mill down to get the final length. Cutting through the 45mm extrusion took some time but it wasn’t too bad.

mill-extrusion

I haven’t used the Bridgeport before, so Adrian got me all set up and walked though the process. I’ve used a few lathes in the past so the actual milling process wasn’t hard to do, it was mainly learning a new machine. I can see why people love the Bridgeport! It’s a nice machine that has some great capabilities. (I’ve got the old Enco mill at work, so I may need to play around with it a bit more.)

Milling took some time, but there was nothing too difficult about it. One thing I learned about milling is that it’s a messy, dirty process. I mean, the oil and the chips and the metal and all that. Being such a digital fabrication nerd probably doesn’t help.

marker-mill

Neat trick I learned from Adrian. Use a black marker to draw all over the face of your piece so you can easily see if you’ve milled off enough material. (I guess that’s why there’s a container full of Sharpies in the Metal Shop.)

frame-extrusion

Next in the process will be tapping the ends to accept bolts, drilling holes through the extrusion to get a hex wrench to reach the bolts, and then screwing it all together. The whole process of cutting and milling the pieces took a little under two hours. I still need to clean up the extrusion a bit, take care of sharp edges and remove little bits of metal. Adrian suggested using a Scotch-Brite pad for that.

(I’d like to thank Adrian for all the help, and Mark for the good price on the Aluminum extrusion!)