Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Best option for a hybrid

I've seen many attempts at a hybrid 3D printer and CnC. This one is the best I've seen. It can cut, plasma cut, extrude and much much more. I've been watching this build since the beginning and it looks promising. I must admit I have not seen the cold and hot end but with a master designer like this I'm thinking I will be surprised. This is the best of the best. Estimated build costs reach about $4,000 which really wouldn't be a bad cost for just a quality CnC. This is definitely for the big boys. The estimated build cost does not include heated bed, extruded or mount. He is also selling some kits at cost to get the ball rolling on future development of the Platform. For further information check out the Platform CnC page. He also offers a basic MDF CnC plans for an earlier design. I also have further information that you can not find on his site. If you have further questions or build photo needs feel free to get a hold of me. Here's a link to the Platform page

Basic Stepper Wiring Guide

This is just a basic wiring guide for some stepper motors. Here is a link to a log for all those random stepper motors that have been found in random scraped electronics, printers and scanners. Click here

Stand Alone Printing Ideas

I am currently working on a stand alone or computer assisted control. I have a few options that I am currently looking into. One of them is to drastically slim down the computer size and the other option is similar to the rasberry PI with a pronterface like UI. I kinda like the stand alone option with everything tucked into a larger portable controller with mounted screen. Something that is easily transported and easily setup with any printer that is using Ramps. Some of the other options that I am pursuing are more workstation oriented. I'm sure that either way I go I will be satisfied. If not then I will continue with further redesign. I posted some pictures showing the options of the routes I may take. I currently have a 7" screen mounted to my Printrbot Nintendo ed. That is controlled through an old skool Nintendo controller. I will more than likely take down the 7" screen and mount it into a portable controller that is simply plugged into my current setup. Check back soon, I will update as I continue with the design.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The RepRap Timeline

Here is a timeline of the RepRap machines. Its kinda cool to see the evolution of the industry.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

SLA Printing May Be The Future

Early desktop printers were horrible. For the price of thousands of dollars one got lo-res dot matrix printouts on paper that had tractor-feed holes punched into the margins. It wasn’t pretty, but those early models paved the way for high-resolution, low-cost laser printing.

Today’s hobby grade 3-D printers are similarly crude. They all use Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) technology and are essentially robotic hot glue guns. Fortunately, a new generation of higher-resolution, faster, and more reliable machines are starting to come to market.

This new type of hobbyist printer use Stereolithography (SLA) technology, utilizing light instead of heat to make models. How? A high powered light source hardens a cross section of light-sensitive liquid plastic. The machine then raises the build platform a smidge and the process is repeated. It’s very dramatic — models look like they are being pulled from a puddle of goo.

This pioneering technology brings three much needed improvements to home based 3-D printers:

1. Higher Resolution Models, Built Quicker
Parts made on SLA systems are much higher resolution than prints from FFF machines which have bumpy, ridged surfaces. They aren’t quite as polished as injection molded parts, but are almost as good as professional grade mills.
Also, since the light hardens the plastic simultaneously, the only factor impacting print speed is the height of the object. With FFF printers, speed is determined by the amount of plastic needed to fill in a cross section, which can slow the process considerably.

2. More Complex Geometry is Possible. Trying to print complex shapes with severe undercuts or delicate features on a FFF machine would lead to nothing but pulled hair and wasted plastic. SLA opens up new, richer design possibilities.

3. Translucent Materials
Because of its capacity for high-resolution and the nature of the chemicals used in the process, SLA models can be translucent. They won’t be optically clear, so you won’t be printing yourself new specs any time soon, but the see-through look brings a new palette of options for designers.

Yes, There Are Downsides
SLA-based 3-D printers do have drawbacks. The biggest red flag is that no established companies are selling these kits yet. They’re being developed by enthusiasts (read: no dedicated customer service when you’re in desperate need of help).

Also, they’re expensive, retailing for $1,999 to $3,375. While that’s not too far a stretch from the top-of-the-line MakerBot, it’s vastly more than a $500 BuildrBot.
The ‘consumable’ resin is also more expensive. A few pounds of plastic for an FFF machine costs $50-80, but a similar amount of light-sensitive resin will cost $120+ dollars.

Early-adopter limitations aside, SLA based 3-D printers are much closer to the state-of-the-art in the professional market and will produce parts that have the polished look of mass manufacturing.
Ready to learn more? Than look up SLA 3D printers and see what's on the cutting edge.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

RepRap Squad's Next Project

RepRap Squad's 5 axis build

The next project We will be undertaking is a 5 axis 3D printer.  5 Axis you say? Yup 3 of the axis will be mounted to the z axis. This will give us the ability to print just about anything. Several years of research has gone into this project. A man only known as Rap has dedicated hundreds if not thousands of hours on this project alone.  We are only limited by our imaginations. At RepRap Squad we are always trying to push the limits of what is possible.  Innovation is the key to building the ultimate machine. I cant wait to get started.  If you have any ideas or input feel free to share. Once We have gotten together a workable model it will be all open source.  I will update this post with new research as well as a build log when We get started. My trip to Arizona is going great. Its good to see Rap and work on the new 5 Axis RepRap project. The work he is doing down here is amazing and I'm glad he's a part of RepRap Squad. He has the start of several working bots. A lot of his work history is on the design and implementation of 5 axis CNC's as well as extruded design. He is on the cutting edge of the new commercial machining. He also gave me some sketched up models he is basing his working models from. I will post all new information I have as soon as I am back in town.

Cnc power supply

This is a custom built power supply. The transformer that I put in my CnC. It offers 24 v and 12 v @ 31 amps on the 2ndary.  It's a custom built transformer that was originally used for high end stage intelligent lighting. On the primary side it offers U.S. and foreign input voltage. It offers, input and output fuse protection for both lines. It also has a mini fused power strip for a USB power splitter as well as any other wall plugable power needed . It has an internal fan and dual exhaust fans. In the front it has XLR  inputs for mechanical end stop switches. Of course it also offers led's as well as a spring loaded acrylic top that has solenoids to raise and lower the top. These are used for cooling.  The fans also adjust speed and rotation direction according to cooling needs. The solenoids and fans are ran through an Arduino sketch that I wrote.  All in all It's a great power supply for cnc but it might be too bulky for RepRap usages.

Friday, February 22, 2013

There is a new RepRap in town!

Feb.20, 2013

There is a new RepRap in town! Kiel-based Kühling&Kühling from Germany published first details on their new RepRap design after a full year of development.Founded by mechatronics engineering students Jonas Kühling and Simon Kühling in 2012, Kühling&Kühling has a goal: to build high productivity open-source 3D printer that requires minimal maintenance.

Named "Kühling&Kühling RepRap Industrial", the 3D printer has a fully enclosed frame with powerful recirculating chamber heaters that raise the ambient air temperature up to 70°C. It features two extruders that allows 3D printer to print with different nozzle diameters. One is for printing the visible outer shell of an object in fine details and another, for saving production time, can be used for printing infill structure by using a bigger extrusion nozzle. You can also just use it for two-color printing.


* Filament diameter: 3mm Build volume: 200mm x 200mm x 200mm
* Number of extruders: 2
* Overall dimensions: 800mm x 600mm x 600mm


* Printing ABS with zero warping
* Rigid frame made of t-slot aluminium extrusion
* Fully enclosed by acrylic and wood, doors on the front
* A heated chamber capable of 65-70°C recirculating air temperature
* Heated PCB print bed
* Water cooled hot-ends and extruder steppers to ensure reliable extrusion in high ambient air temperature
* Activated-carbon air filter to remove unpleasant smell of molten plastic
* Semi-automatic print bed levelling makes calibrating the machine a matter of seconds
* Z-leadscrew bearing supported on both ends, sugru spider coupling for absolutely wobble-free operation
* Tool-free belt tensioning with built-in thumbwheels
* Direct-drive extruders with high torque geared stepper motors
* Permanent printbed material (FR4) – no Kapton or PET tape needed
* Adjustable nozzle height to align both extruders on the same level
* Custom designed, precision extruder drive gears to provide enough grip on the filament in a heated enviroment
* Integrated LED lighting

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Xbox power supply for RepRap

Here is a build from Team RepRap:

Many people use the Xbox 360 power supply to run their heated bed but few ever mention it or offer information on it. So I decided to add it here. Here is some basic information on the power supply and how to use it with Ramps setup.

With Ramps electronics it's really easy to use a separate power supply for only the heated bed. For me, a 203W X-Box 360 Power Supply has proven to be a functional, cheap solution for powering the heated bed or the electronics (~17 amps is not enough for both). This guide might help whoever is brave enough to try it:

Materials: 203W X-Box 360 Power Supply ($15 from Craigslist, remember to make sure it's 203W!) 2 Short Lengths of 12AWG Stranded Wire ($0.37 a foot from Home Depot) 2 12-10AWG Butt Splices (~$2 for a package of 15 from Home Depot - Link)


1. Ensure the X-Box 360 Power Supply is unplugged and fully discharged.

2. Cut off the connector which goes into the back of the X-Box 360 (as close to the connector as possible, or just before the magnet).

3. Peel back the cable's shielding to expose the 4 yellow wires (12V), 4 black wires (Ground), 1 red wire (5V), and 1 blue wire (Standby I assume).

4. Strip a small amount of the red and blue wires and connect them to each other (optionally solder). This will prevent the power supply from staying in stand-by mode after you give it power.

5. Strip and twist the ends of the yellow wires together, then strip and twist the ends of the black wires together (possibly solder these and the yellow wires as well).

6. Place the yellow (remember these are 12V) and black (ground) wires into their own butt splices, crimp, then crimp the 12AWG wire into the other side of each of the butt spices. It will help you to remember which one of these is ground by splicing black wire to black.

7. Put some electrical tape around the connections.

8. Power up (you should see a green light on the power brick) and test with a voltmeter. If everything seems to be working, you're ready to attach the leads to your electronics. (below is a picture of the leads attached to RAMPs 1.4 electronics)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Start to finish 3D printing

Here's a chart put together to give a basic start to finish of printing things. This chart was used from a creator on the RepRap Forum

Nintendo controlled RepRap

Project Goal:
The overall goal of this project named, " Printrbot Nintendo Ed." Is to create a Nintendo themed printrbot that fixes or solves any issues with the original Printrbot design. I am also doing this build with the majority of the parts re-used or donated. Once this printrbot is done I will print the parts for 3 more. One will be donated to a local school, one will be passed on to an avid reader and participators of this site. The third one will be donated to who ever gives the most contributions to this build or they will have the option of having other parts printed for their use. Donations are also currently being taken for all other parts needed for the one being donated to a local school. I think that it is very important that kids get to learn how to build and operate repraps at a young age. They will learn so much from building, printing and maintaining their Printrbot. It turn the school will be printing parts for at least 3 more Printrbots. Feel free to get a hold of me for questions and possible donations. I am also available to help out builders or  "newbees."
I love old skool stuff like atari, Nintendo and hammer pants. So I figured I would implement my old skool Nintendo controller for manually jogging the print head. This doesn't necessarily have a real use, but I thought why not it looks cool and I know how to do it from my Cnc builds. The only difference with 3D printing is that for this use I will need to add another port for communicating with the Nintendo controller. In order to do this I will have to make sure I have a "flag" that will activate the controller only in GUI-mode and deactivate it during print cycles. I will update this post soon as I am almost done. Another reason I'm doing this is for calibration. I can measure the distance jogged and calibrate it to steps. Pictures and updates coming soon.
***Also check out my Nintendo reprap power supply. A match made in heaven****
UPDATE: Feb 15th 2013:--->
Some people on the Printrbot page have suggested some ideas about the build. Some of them include, 8 bit old skool music playing during print head movement as well as being able to play Tetris while printing. I am definitely taking these as well as many others into consideration. I have updated the pictures as well as finished my new motor idler. The new one works much better. The picture of the idler close up you will notice a weird belt and gear. These are for mock up only and are not being used.
UPDATE Feb 15th 2013--->
Going with the Nintendo theme I added a Nintendo power and reset button as well as a pilot lite. I'm going to use the reset button as an emergency stop button. I don't know many people that have implemented an "E-stop," or emergency stop on repraps. I mostly adopted it from my Cnc experiences. I think its an important feature to have for every reprap machine. While printing things can go real bad real quick and with this option you can shut everything down to prevent any damage. Plus it just looks plain cool. Printrbot Nintendo edition is well on its way. New updates to come, check back soon.
UPDATE Feb 16th 2013--->
I decided to add a little Nintendo flare to make it a little more official looking. Its got a Nintendo original warranty card on the back as well as the official Nintendo maker build stamp on the front est 1980's gotta love it. Its all coming together. I also placed the Nintendo build number on the Printrbot . Its the little things that bring it all together. I'm also working on the screen.
UPDATE: Feb 20th 2013---> After much research I have decided to change my belt setup for the print table. Due to the added size I think I need to rethink belt, motor and motor idler bearings position. I've noticed that this can be an issue for standard size printrbots and is definitely an issue as you extend the axis on the bed. Wobble is what it is commenly referred to as. I've decided to make it an option on mine whether I choose to run the belt from one side or run it from the middle. I have started to design and build the new setup. The nice part about the way I designed it is the fact that I can switch between either option in about 5 to ten minutes due to the the layout of my machine as well as the fact that I designed it to easily be able to switch between the two. As you may know by know I love options as well as being able to solve multiple issues with one solution. On another note I will be out of town soon for about a week so I will not be able to physically work on my build but I will take that time to further update this site and work on further designs. The reason for my trip is to work on further development of the 5 Axis RepRap. This I am very excited about. I will update with information as soon as I can
Check out the build log for updates.
To see the Printrbot Nintendo Edition. Build log click here.

Friday, February 8, 2013

3d Printer news from Reprap Squad

Imagine if you could take living cells, load them into a printer, and squirt out a 3D tissue that could develop into a kidney or a heart. Scientists are one step closer to that reality, now that they have developed the first printer for embryonic human stem cells.

In a new study, researchers from the University of Edinburgh have created a cell printer that spits out living embryonic stem cells. The printer was capable of printing uniform-size droplets of cells gently enough to keep the cells alive and maintain their ability to develop into different cell types. The new printing method could be used to make 3D human tissues for testing new drugs, grow organs , or ultimately print cells directly inside the body.

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are obtained from human embryos and can develop into any cell type in an adult person, from brain tissue to muscle to bone. This attribute makes them ideal for use in regenerative medicine — repairing, replacing and regenerating damaged cells, tissues or organs. [Stem Cells: 5 Fascinating Findings ]

In a lab dish, hESCs can be placed in a solution that contains the biological cues that tell the cells to develop into specific tissue types, a process called differentiation. The process starts with the cells forming what are called "embryoid bodies." Cell printers offer a means of producing embryoid bodies of a defined size and shape.

In the new study, the cell printer was made from a modified CNC machine (a computer-controlled machining tool) outfitted with two "bio-ink" dispensers: one containing stem cells in a nutrient-rich soup called cell medium and another containing just the medium. These embryonic stem cells were dispensed through computer-operated valves, while a microscope mounted to the printer provided a close-up view of what was being printed.

The two inks were dispensed in layers, one on top of the other to create cell droplets of varying concentration. The smallest droplets were only two nanoliters, containing roughly five cells.

The cells were printed onto a dish containing many small wells. The dish was then flipped over so the droplets now hung from them, allowing the stem cells to form clumps inside each well. (The printer lays down the cells in precisely sized droplets and in a certain pattern that is optimal for differentiation.)

Tests revealed that more than 95 percent of the cells were still alive 24 hours after being printed, suggesting they had not been killed by the printing process. More than 89 percent of the cells were still alive three days later, and also tested positive for a marker of their pluripotency — their potential to develop into different cell types.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Update on the repstrap Printrbot

I made a new structure that will secure the entire base of My PrintrBot.  I used dampners to take out any movement when the machine is in operation.  Another reason I added this base free feature is to organize my wiring. In the picture you can see that there is a space or void between the base layers under the acrylic. This works perfectly as a cable pass through. I can organize and put My logic power supply under the 1St layer of the base structure. Another purpose of this setup is it allows for more adjustments. I can adjust the angle of the entire machine to make sure it is level no matter what the conditions. Like all My other mods I like everything to be convenient when configuring for transportation or just dial in My machine.

UPDATE: I used threaded rod to hold the z and y axis in place for mock up. It works great. I'm still working on how I want to mount My dual z axis motors.  I want to try and do something similar to the x axis. They definatly will need extra support and I want to have the option of cooling both these motors.  I'm not sure if I want to do active or passive cooling. Ill come back to this later. I started running and wrapping motor and end stop wiring and it working out well. I can already tell that the void I left between the base and the main support structure on the bottom was a good idea. It will help keep everything organized and give it a clean look. Check out the updated pictures. 

UPDATE: Feb 8th 2013
I got My cooling fan setup. Just a few more adjustments. I need to rotate it 180 degrees to keep the wiring out of the way. You guessed it, It's fully adjustable just like everything else. I am a big fan of versatility, if you haven't noticed by now. Check it out.

To see where the printrbot build started click here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

30 Days of DIY

I came up with idea of doing 30 days of DIY. This will include dedicating part of each day or a good portion of the day to doing DIY projects. These projects will be posted by me, here. Some projects might take a few days of work before I will post. I haven't decided if I will be creating new DIY's or other people's projects. More than likely it will be a combination of the two. The majority of the projects will be Reprap, CNC or related electronics due to the fact that this is my current primary focus. If you want to join the 30 Days of DIY feel free to post at the lower portion of the page. I will update soon to let everyone know when the 30 Days of DIY will start. So breakout your soldering iron, find your multi-meter and grab your box of scrap electronics cause the 30 Days of DIY is starting soon.

Delta maker hits kickstarter

The Deltamaker hits kickstarter. They offer a simple yet elegant build platform that let's the user print larger than ever before. I like the design even though it has been done before. I noticed that they do have an interesting vertical axis that looks like an adapted, " maker slide."  Overall it looks like a solid machine to me. The only problem I have for my own personal use is portability. The Delta Maker just looks like it would have to be completely re-calibrated when moved around in transit.  Even if some of my 3d printers are not super portable they are something that can easily be overcome. Check it out: Delta Maker

Monday, February 4, 2013

Extruder basic layout and diagrams

Here are a few pics I found explaining how an extruder works. These pictures help to de-mistify the extruder and its functions.


Post a comment on this post and let me know a little bit about your project. No matter what kind of build it is. Tell me a little bit about it. If its a good project I'll post it on this site with pictures and information telling people about your project. So post a comment about your cool project that you want to share with the world.

(Up-cycling) The printer tear down

Printers can yield a bunch of great parts, especially for the budget minded builder. They contain polished hardened steel rods which are used in almost every Reprap, strap or even CnC build. If you had to buy them you will find out real quick how spend they can be. Another treasure found in discarded printers are stepper, servo and DC motors. The older the machine the better gods it has a usable stepper motor. Scanners and photo copiers also have a bunch of great parts. Another part you can snag for your 3d printer is optical end stops, they are very common in printers. A list of other useful parts are: Wiring, solenoids, a power supply, power capacitors, wall plugs, rollers, springs, gears and a treasure trove of other parts. It comes in handy to organize your parts as you dismantle your printer or scanner. Also another tip is to put down plastic or an old sheet under your printer or work space. Ink and tonar can be a nightmare so wear gloves also. So enjoy your parts, you earned it. Just sit back and let them inspire you into a new project.

Basic dimensions of Printrbot

I finally got the  basic dimensions of the Printrbot. It seems a lot of people on the net and wiki have looked for these to no avail. So I figured I would share the, with you all.

Connections for the uln chip for X Y and Z axis

I got this from Instructables the main setup is in my links. I built it for my CnC. Im sure you might be able to adapt to build a reprap or repstrap . It is a great way to test your setup due to the fact that the chips needed are available and very cheep. They also can be found in a lot of printers. I'm all about re-using materials. A lot of times also if you look real close on the db25 cable you can see tiny numbers that specify the order.