posts tagged with the keyword ‘reprap’


3D Print

Back in 2012 I completed the build of a 3D printer, and then I printed a lot of things… The printer wasn’t amazing or great, but it worked, and I printed and printed. Around 2015 the hot end failed, and I got a cheap hot end to replace it, which never worked right, and then other things failed, and I fixed some of them, but the old RepRap still wasn’t quite working right. I ended up getting an E3D hot end and even with that, there were some weird issues with the printer getting up to temperature properly.

I didn’t care too much about getting the old RepRap working again because I had access to printers at work or school (I even worked on building some printers) so I could still print things, but…

Maker Select Plus

I finally got to the point that I wanted a modern, working 3D printer. I solved that problem recently by picking up a Maker Select Plus from Monoprice. What? Monoprice? Yeah, the company I’ve been buying cables from for the past 5+ years sells 3D printers. And they don’t suck. The “Maker Select Plus” is (pretty much) a rebranded Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus, which is based on the Prusa i3 MK2. Confused yet?

If you get emails from Monoprice (which come more frequently than Harbor Freight emails) you’ll get some discount code or coupon or sale alert. Take advantage of those and you can save a bit on a 3D printer. And if you want cheap, look at the MP Select Mini 3D Printer, or wait until April 2017 when (supposedly) they’ll release a Mini Delta printer for $150!

The printer is nice, but not amazing. There’s a number of upgrades suggested, and besides a wiki there’s a Facebook group, Google group, and Thingiverse group filled with users making improvements and troubleshooting when needed. (Just remember that the Wanhao Duplicator i3 and Maker Select are basically the same, with a few small differences.)

Maker Select Plus

I’m excited to have more desk space! I no longer need a computer or monitor, since I can just pop an SD card in and hit “print”, so yeah, that’s a nice improvement. I’ve only printed with PLA so far, but I’ll get around to testing with ABS and see what happens. (It should be fine, but, you know…)

RepRap Prusa i2

Meanwhile the old RepRap lost its place on the desk, and currently sits on the floor awaiting its fate. I’ll do… something with it, I’m sure. 3D printers have come a long way in just five years. (At least in my shop!)


Idler Block

When you need a part for your 3D Printer, you just print a new one, unless the part you need breaks, preventing you from printing the part you need… or something like that.

I ended up making a replacement part from a piece of wood. Yeah, wood. I used a saw and a drill to make it. Ridiculous, but true!

Idler Block

It actually took me two attempts to make one from wood, but damn, it worked! I got the printer up and running again, did some prints that turned out fine, and then printed a replacement part.

The funny thing is, I’m pretty sure I printed a replacement part months ago, but I think it failed, or I lost it, or something else.

Idler Block

I took the opportunity to slightly improve and strengthen the replacement part in the hopes it will last a bit longer. I uploaded it to Thingiverse and YouMagine so I can easily find it when needed.


Wheel 1-Up

We’re planning a Nerdy Derby event at Maker Faire Milwaukee, and like last year, I wanted to 3D print a bunch of wheels, and yes, it is fun designing strange wheels. Most of my designs this year are refinements from last year, and I wish 3D printing were as simple as hitting “print” and walking away, but that’s not always the case.

Wheels 4-Up

I found that if I printed one object, it worked fine. If I tried multiple objects, things were failing, either with one or more objects, or everything. I’d try to print two wheels at once, and one would work, the other would fail. Slic3r allows you to generate the G-Code needed to print files, and has an option to print multiple objects, either by printing them all at once, or one at a time. Both of those options just weren’t working for me, for whatever reason. (My 3D printer is a RepRap I built myself, and yes, it has issues now and then.)

But you know the old saying… if you can’t fix it in hardware, fix it in software! So I did… You’ll notice that the image above shows four wheels with a small square connecting them. I ended up pulling an STL file into OpenSCAD (my favorite 3D modeling application) and then duplicating it four times and adding a small 1mm tall square between them to connect it all into what the printer would see as one single object.

Wheels Printed 4-Up

It worked! I’m now seeing much more success with printing, and getting sets of 4 wheels connected with a thin piece of plastic that’s easy to remove. Oh, I should also mention that our friends at Inventables were kind enough to donate some filament to this cause, so if you have fun building a car with 3D printed wheels at Maker Faire, be sure to stop by the Inventables booth and thank them for making it happen.

(BTW, MegaMag is printing way more wheels than I am, and going 40-Up!)


MG Plus HotEnd

It’s been quite some time since the last RepRap Report. I guess 2013 was pretty smooth as far as 3D printing goes. But don’t worry, things went wrong eventually, so here’s another update.

I hit a problem with extruding, as in, filament would not extrude, which was a new thing for me. I know a lot of other people with printers, either at Milwaukee Makerspace, or through the Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup, and I hear stories of extruder jams that require taking everything apart, torching the nozzle, soaking things in acetone, etc. I managed to go over 18 months with no issue. And then I had an issue.

Filament would not extrude. I raised the temperature, and still no luck. I moved the RepRap to a warmer room, and still no luck. It looked like the thermistor on the nozzle was a bit loose, so I reattached it. Still no luck. Finally I decided a teardown was in order. I pulled things apart, and eventually cleared out the barrel and the nozzle with some help from a torch and some acetone. I made sure I could see light through the nozzle. All good, right? I put things back together and was about to push some filament through when… the high temperature wire that was embedded in the ceramic broke off. That was the end of that!

There was pretty much no way to reattach it. I asked around online and people were like “You’re still using a MakerGear hot-end!?” And yeah, I was, because it just worked. For 18 months it worked fine. People kept telling me to get an all-metal hot-end from E3D, I didn’t feel like plunking down $75 nearly $100 USD for one, especially since I assumed it was really just a new heating element I needed.

I ended up finding the MG Plus HotEnd on Thingiverse, and just ordered the Heater Block Assembly from the ebay shop of RP One Labs for about $20. I managed to do a minimal amount of damage getting it installed but… it worked! I was extruding again! (After I had to solder together the thermistor wires I accidentally sniped. Oops!)


Once everything was back together in it’s proper place, I was ready to print, except that the z-axis then decided to have a mind of its own. Telling z to home made it go up. Then down. Then up. Then up and down. Hmmm. I ended up swapping the x and z axis Pololu drivers. The z axis was back to normal then. Test print. Hmmm. The x axis was missing steps, and I got the old problem of your entire print shifting to the left (or right) mid-print. A bit of Pololu pot adjusting and eventually all was good. (Come to think of it, it took a bit of adjust on the z axis driver as well. Things seem dialed in now, and I can print.)

I secured the RAMPs board down, and… wait, nope. Crazy stuff again. I thought perhaps a noise issue? Hmmm, it seems perhaps the connector that plugs the z motors into the RAMPs board is a little wiggly, so for now the RAMPs board is just hanging there. Sigh… I’ll fix that connector. Eventually.

The important thing is, I can print again. One of the reasons I leaned towards building my own printer was that I figured I would be familiar enough with the machine that I could easily repair it when the time came. That’s seemed to prove true so far.

I’ve spent the weekend calibrating things again. I’m still using Slic3r and Pronterface. I know there are lots of other (and newer) options out there, and I should explore them a bit, but for now, there are things to print!


Coat Hook

I recently (temporarily) changed offices at work, and with the new office came a new door, and this door has no coat hook! Because I couldn’t drill a hole in the door or mar the surface in any way, I needed an “over the door” style coat hook. Ah yes, the classic coat hook. Adrian Bowyer made one back in 2008, so I decided it was time to make my own.

OpenSCAD Coat Hook

I took a quick measurement of the door to determine how wide it was. I then fired up OpenSCAD and made a bunch of “cubes” of various shapes and sizes, some rotated 90 degrees, but all in all, a pretty simple OpenSCAD model. One thing I did do was add in the “door” based on the measurement I took, so I could see how the coat hook would fit around it.

Plate Coat Hook

After compiling it in OpenSCAD, I exported the STL file, and at this point I usually use Gary Hodgson’s STL Viewer to take a quick look at the file and make sure it’s oriented correctly.

G-code Coat Hook

After viewing the STL file, I use Slic3r to generate the G-code, but hey, let’s check out the G-code while we’re at it! Joe Walnes wrote a great web-based G-code viewer you can use online, or download and run locally. If you want a somewhat improved version, Jeremy Herrman’s got a viewer and some code for you.

Working Coat Hook

Well, after all that generating files, and viewing files, I printed the file. It worked out well! Here’s a terrible photo of it preventing my shirt from falling on the floor. Success! The magic of a home 3D printer pays off again.

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