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Printing my Utopian Playland
A few of you might know I lost my job last month because of a contract ending early.
So, instead of doing the usual thing of signing on to the dole (jobseekers allowance), I’m preparing to take the plunge and go my own way.
I’ve been deeply interested in opensource 3D printers for years now, and have watched it blossom from the RepRap to the Makerbot. I’m also surprised at the chaotic distribution of decent resources for it.
So. I’m going to start up my own online shop. Printing plastic parts for others to make 3D printers from. I will of course offer deep discount to registered & active Toy Soldiers. Just a note, I’m only doing the plastic parts, not the entire kit (yet), so you’ll have to source the rest yourself. But I do intend on writing a decent DIY manual which seems to be sorely lacking on the internet.
Yeah, this may seem like one of Dutch’s usual pipe-dreams, but at the moment, I haven’t got anything to lose.
On another note, (I’m not using the phrase ‘If things go according to plan’, always ends badly), if you’re any decent with CAD or GoogleSketchup, and want to make something for me to print, I gladly will oblige. Especially if anyone comes up with something TSU related, like a robot, or medals, or an opensource NERF gun made in several parts to be assembled to become THE TOY SOLDIER STANDARD SIDEARM.
Peter Moley ColemanParticipant
Hey there man, I’ve just gone through the bollock ache of setting up my own company in the manufacturing and distrobution sector. Want a hand at all?
The same goes for any Toy Soldiers in the UK who want a hand doing this sort of shizz. Just hit me up over this forum.
I reckon you could, but to be honest, you’re better off still with a record maker itself. The accuracy of a reprap can be down to 0.01 mm, but I think records are much more precise.
In other news, the first part for my RepRap prusa arrived today.
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It’s the sanguinololu V1.3a. This is the brains of the machine, controlling 5 stepper motors (2 are in parallel), heating the print bed and extruder, 3 end stop sensors and 2 thermistors (thingies that measure temperature). It set me back
The Disgraced DarkParticipant
My coworker has both a maker bot and a prusa. I’ve been thinking of a way to make printable toy robots, or something of the like. I had not thought of badges or awards though, I’ll have to see what I can dig up. They are a lot of fun. Happy printing!
5 NEMA17 stepper motors and the PCB Heated printbed MKII arrived yesterday.
And literally as I was typing up this post, the printed parts arrived, and they look frigging awesome. Pics to come later.
Something else turned up in the post, you’ll all want to see them alter XD
All that’s left to acquire:
Rods and nuts
Power supply unit
This is quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I was thinking about making/getting one a few years ago until I saw the cost. O.O
I hope it goes well for you!
I want to make lego sets with the TSU logo stamped on them to hand out to people during propaganda runs.
Well, the smooth rods have turned up, as has a kilo of Yellow PLA filament which arrived at 7am. What a way to wake up.
I had to order some new timing belts as I’d selected T2.5 when I should’ve gone with T5. None the less, they turned up as well.
I’m still waiting for the hot end to turn up, which is kinda vital. Once I’ve done a test run of it all, I’ll put up a new video.
Most importantly, once it’s working, I’ll start work on the Recyclerbot, which’ll hopefully provide me with an endless supply of plastic filament, provided I can hunt down enough scrap plastic.
Update on the RepRap status.
It’s completely assembled now. Electronics, hot end, motors, all the axis, and power supply. However, I’ve run into a slight snag now.
While attempting a dry run, the motors are vibrating rather than actually turning. Apparently this is done to one or two things. Either A) I wired it up wrong, B) not enough current is going to the motors, or C) I turniped the stepper drivers.
Discussing it with the RepRappers on their IRC now.
Awesome, Love the rep rap community. Been looking at one of these for myself for “that time in the future where I magically have time and money” I’d also like to get into Arduino robots too especially as they can run C# now (the language I have most experience in) If you could print components for them that’d be awesome. (though of course that project is pretty far down my to do list) Still best of luck getting it set up and your company going! Always here for moral support at least!
Well, this week ought to be the time I get my darn Cupcake running. I’ll be hacking together the cable to use my stepper-driven extruder up and running with the Gen3 electronics. That’s the worst part: these are not consumer-level devices yet, and those without the kno-whow are going to be really stimied by the lack of docs… and hope someone else has had the same problem, and determined a solution.
Thought I’d best give an update as people keep asking ‘how’s the printer going?’.
The frame and structure is built.
The motors and electronics are working fine.
I’ve forgone using Pronterface & Skeinforge at the moment as they’re not playing nice, so I’m using ReplicatorG for the time being.
I ‘think’ that I can skip calibrating the firmware for the steppers at the moment, as they seems to be correct already.
Todo: Mount the hot end on the extruder. The hot end is what actually melts the plastic and pushes it through a tiny hole onto the print surface. At the moment I’m missing some bolts that I need, plus, there’s no ‘right’ way of mounting it to the extruder, which is a bit of a pain.
The print bed. At the moment, I don’t have the neccesary LED’s, resistor and thermistor to create a heated print bed, but that’s alright for now as I can worry about that later. The heated printbed is to prevent warping when using ABS plastic, however I’ve got a reel of PLA (mellow yellow) so it shouldn’t be an issue.
I’m flatbroke at the moment till some money comes in on wednesday, by which time the bolts will have turned up (weren’t any of the size I wanted at the hardware store).
Did manage to pick up a glass photo frame from Wilkinsons for
Ok, updates from Dutch’s laboratory.
I’ve been having a very frustrating month so far. The hot end I was using wasn’t fixing properly to the extruder and X-axis. Managed to get my hands on a MUCH better hot end.
Calibrated all the axis and the print bed level.
The greatest problem I’ve had so far, is the software. There are three types of different softwares to actually control the reprap, and another 3 types of different softwares if not more, for converting a 3d image to send to the host software. Problem is, with the reprap community, documentation, how-to’s and explanations leave a lot to be desired of.
I’ve managed a few prints, but all of them are way below the standard you’d expect. And I’m getting extremely frustrated trying to get the settings for the printer just right, only to find something else has gone wrong and screw up the print all together.
It’s with that in mind, I’m considering something rather drastic. See, the whole point of this exercise was to supply items to other toy soldiers, but I’m not gonna send people plastic that’s rubbish. I might be sacrificing build area, but I’m considering selling the 3D printer I’ve created so far, with the additional plastic etc. and some extras, and then using said money towards getting a makerbot thing-o-matic. Why a thing-o-matic instead of the new Makerbot replicator? One, it’s cheaper, two, it can be left to do the same thing over and over again, spitting out prints and restarting with a new one.
So, anyone willing to buy a reprap and finish the calibration?
Don’t jump the gun just yet Sgt Dutch; you’ve got someone who’s got a Makerbot ToM who can tell you a bit of information first.
On the software side, I believe it’s going to be the same thing: Makerbot uses the ReplicatorG to print with, and you still have to do all the conversion of flies to print a model as you do now.
On the Automated Build Platform (ABP): Its a joke- it’s utter crap. Don’t you wonder why they didn’t put it on the Replicator if it’s so great?
The issue is that the plastic belt it uses causes the item you’re building to wobble and doesn’t stick well to the item being built, even if you add the tape as people recommend. This was the issue I was having with the toy soldier figure.
Search the forums and most, if not all, who get it replace it with the aluminum platform. I’ve already replaced mine.
As for the hot end, I don’t know if both machines use the same one or not. Does yours look like this too? http://store.makerbot.com/makerbotr-mk7-4mm-nozzle.html
You’ll also run into the same issue with undercuts, etc. The Makerbot is just a better looking Reprap.
I’ve got a better idea in mind, but it’s not on the market yet (or at least, not at a reasonable price.)
The hot end is different, mine is a Mark 5 J Hot End, which seems to be doing fine.
As for the software side of things, I’m using Kliments Pronterface and Slic3r. I would use Skeinforge if I could understand what the hell all the settings were for. I had aimed to be printing by now, but with the reprap community being rather dissarrayed, it’s becoming a bit nightmare. You’re expected to understand how to program arduino’s, C++ and the minute details of CNC’ing. Pretty much sucks for a beginner who was told by nearly everyone and everything they read that it was piss easy.
The other reason for the ToM was stability and transportability, to be able to build the robots right there and then at expo’s and con’s. The RepRap is a pain in the arse to transport, and prone to misalignment and lose bolts from very few bumps.
Scratch those previous comments.
I’ve spent the day pretty much with my head in the printer. It’s taken me a while, but I figured out that it wasn’t my crappy putting together of the extruder or pronterface, but slicer. Who’d have thunk .25mm could make such a difference?
The PLA filament I’m using is that much below 3mm, which I hadn’t accounted for.
Also, turns out that sometimes my hobbed bolt doesn’t like gripping the filament properly.
So, in conclusion, I just need to tinker, attempt building a Gregs Accessible Extruder to replace this Wades Extruder (which is rather chunky I’ve noticed) and finally print the LM8UU upgrades.
Guess at some point I should finished the heated print bed as well.
PLA Inside (As in Polylactic Acid which is might fine stuff to print with)
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hehehe, I just need to tweak the settings a tiny bit, and I’ll be ready to print the upgrades for the printer and then….. AND THEN….. well, we’ll see.
Ok. It’s been a while since I gave a proper update on where we stand with the 3D printer.
Heatbed MKII is working brilliantly now I have a thermistor (actually, I have 2, but the first one went AWOL, so I had to go and get another). I printed on glass and it was beautiful. I know I probably shouldn’t have, but I’m using just a piece of glass from a photo frame, with some cork patches underneath.
J-Hot End doing well, however, it’s seems to pick up some plastic as it’s printing, some getting caught. Any advice on this would be handy.
I’ll be tidying MaRU up a bit, cable ties and the like.
And here’s something I printed today. As you can tell, it still needs calibrating more. Getting print settings right can be a pain in the bum.
Also, I’m having trouble printing off some LM8uu upgrades. Any volunteers? Compensation available.
Actually, by what threads I found a while ago mentioned many reprap users print on a layer of glass.
You might want to thin your layers a little bit; they should be slightly pressing together when printing the top layer onto the bottom which should both help the layers hold together and reduce the amount getting caught on the new layers.
Have you tried ReplicatorG? Perhaps depending on the version you select and your machine (which should be in its list) it’s got a “Thing-O-Matic” setting options that changes multiple options with just four user selected options.
I tried replicatorG. Ironically, i find it rather cumbersome compared to Pronterface (which has Slicer built in now. Screw you skeinforge!).
I lowered the layer height down to .27mm, and it didn’t help. But I’ve just dropped it down to just .2mm (yeah) and it’s actually barely picking up any plastic.
Ironically enough though, the heat bed isn’t really preventing warping now. Printing off a lm8uu holder for the y axis, and I can see it flexing upwards. probably didn’t clean then glass properly. Using nail polish remover (sorry Rozi. Yoinked!).
Now the soldier head came out brilliantly, the layers were great. BUT, the teeth still remain rather dodgy, so either I speed up the small perimeter and fill, or slow it down. (as it is, I’m only running at 30mm across the board save for bridges).
Also, when I meant I shouldn’t be using glass, I meant I shouldn’t be using glass that’s only 2.5mm thick according to the reprap forums. 5mm safety glass is recommended, but I’m cheap. So I went to the shop and picked up an A4 photoframe and took the glass cutter too it. No cracks as yet!
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