posts tagged with the keyword ‘reprap’

2014.02.09

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!)

RAMPs

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!

2013.05.11

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.

2013.03.25

Safety First!

I decided to try my hand at this acetone vapor finishing method of making 3D printed parts smoother.

If you’ve seen 3D printed parts from a “fused filament modeling” printer, you know that there are tiny ridges in the prints. You can print at different layer heights for finer layers (and smaller ridges) but that increases your print time.

As you might be able to see in the image above, I placed a large glass jar on the print bed of my RepRap and cranked the heat up to 110° F. I had maybe 2mm of acetone in the jar. (2mm may not have been enough.) I waited until I could see the vapor cloud on the sides of the jar and then (with gloves on) placed the prints inside.

Here’s the results:

Skulls

Skulls

Skulls

You can see an untreated print on the left, and a treated print on the right. The treated print didn’t get quite enough melting to smooth everything out. (And yes, these were a challenge to photography!)

TARDIS

TARDIS

Another one… the TARDIS on the left shows the ridges while the right one is smoother. Note that the smoothing worked much better on the outer edges, and not as much on the inset parts of the print. It sure does make your parts shiny, though!

I’m sure I’ll keep experimenting with this technique, and hopefully start to improve it.

If you feel like seeing the original full-size photos, check the Skulls and TARDIS on Flickr.

2013.03.10

Camera Mount

PIY stands for “Print It Yourself” which is a little like “DIY” but involves things you can easily print on a home 3D printer instead of buying.

Remember last year when I made this hot shoe audio mount? Well, a few months back we picked up a Zoom H4n to use for some DSLR shooting, and for the quick & dirty stuff it makes sense to just mount the Zoom on the camera. I just printed another one of my mounts, added two nuts and a bolt, and had one we could use. They’re cheap enough that I could probably print 10 of them so we have spares on hand if needed and still come in under $20.

HS-1

The story doesn’t end there though… at some point I was looking up specs on the Zoom and wanted to check out the accessories and came across the HS-1 Hot Shoe Mount Adapter. It’s basically the same as the mount I made, except it’s probably metal, and it’s about $20 for one of them.

So this time around it was the opposite of my GoPro Frame. For that one, I saw the frame on the GoPro web site and sat down to design my own. For the Zoom mount I ended up making my own before I even knew they had one.

This is the amazing world we live in now… where open source 3D modeling software allows you to quickly and easily design something, and open source 3D printers allow you to quickly and easily print them out.

PIY is the new DIY.

2013.01.11

CHC Hip-Hop

I don’t know if the Maker Movement has any hip-hop artists in its ranks, but at some point someone is going to want to write a rap mentioning CNC machines, so I’ve compiled a list of suitable rhymes for “CNC” and I present them here.

Note that some of these words/phrases are serious, and some of them are just for fun. It takes all kinds.

  • Jamboree (fun word)
  • Wait and see (should be in reference to the time it takes to finish a job)
  • Filigree (should be in reference to detailed artwork.)
  • My man Adrian B (should be in reference to Adrian Bowyer of the RepRap movement.)
  • Look good to me! (should be in reference to how a job turned out.)
  • Jubilee (fun word)
  • My main man Bre (should be in reference to Bre Pettis of MakerBot)
  • Bumblebee (fun word)
  • Bruce Lee (fun, but could also be in reference to strength/power.)
  • Guarantee (fun word, but could also be used in reference to how a job turns out.)
  • Tree (should be in reference to the consumable used for a job is wood, which comes from trees.)
  • Billy D[ee] (should be in reference to Billy Dee Williams or the other Billy D)
  • Whiskey (fun word, but you should think twice before combining alcohol with any power tools.)
  • Debris (should be in reference to the scraps/waste left after a cutting job is finished.)
  • Banshee (fun word)
  • Emcee [MC] (this one is obvious, I should hope.)
  • Waikiki (fun word, possibly only suitable for Jerry Isdale.)
  • Potpourri (fun word)

Alright! That should be enough to get started… can you think of any more?

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