Monday, March 4, 2013

Printrbot Nintendo Edition. The Full Build Log

PrintrBot is becoming somewhat repstrap: — < The full build log > — 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." The main goal of the actual build is to, “ give my Printrbot an upgrade and wash away its downfalls. I want to build the best possible Printrbot that I can build while keeping the Nintendo theme in mind.” <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> The Printrbot Nintendo Edition Begins ---» This is the very start of the printrbot Nintendo Edition build. I'm sure there will be many changes and upgrades to follow. I recently received parts to build a printrbot but after doing research I found that it had a lot going for it. Such as the axis's can be extended with a few rods for the most part. I also found a lot of downfalls. Such as the problems with sagging motors under the print bed from heat radiation and the lack of overall rigidity. So I decided that I was going to build a Printrbot the way it should of been built in the first place. I will be going step by step to try and address and fix all the downfalls to make the ultimate Printrbot. The first problem I undertook was the eventually sagging motor X axis, as well as the main base structure. My design so far has created quite a few good outcomes. It's a lot more ridged than I thought it would be at this stage. I more than likely will use acrylic to build a stronger base. I wanted to strengthen it and get away from using 4 threaded rods. Partially due to cost and also because I feel there is a better way of doing it. I figured out a mount for the motor that creates equal pressure and eliminates any lateral play. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 1st 2013---» 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: Feb 2nd 2013---» Meddling around with the mount for the Y-axis I came up with a better idea. I am a big fan of using one part to solve two or more problems. I decided to make my motor mount stronger and also help dissipate any residual heat from the motor at the same time. I took a thinner heat sink, thermal paste and mounted it to the bottom of the motor as well as the motor mount. Which are both tied into the main base structure. I have also heard that cardboard works well as an insulator. I will update with more scientific results. This was later changed. The belts, motor and tensioner bearing were moved to the middle of the printing platform to reduce or eliminate wobble. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE:  February 3rd 2013 ---» I have made it this far. My build is coming along nicely but unlike most I am not racing to finish my build because I want to make it the best possible build. So far I have solved a few problems. Moving forward with my goal of giving my Printrbot an upgrade and washing away its downfalls. I took a concept from my previous CnC build. During my CnC build I have to solve a problem with backlash and I came up with a great idea that can be implemented into the Printrbot setup. It consists of two nuts. One of them a standard and the other a longer nut, with a spring mounted in between. This will put pressure in apposing forces helping to eliminate any slop or play. It works real well for my CnC and it will fit well in the standard Printrbot printed parts. The next few issues I can see are going to be stability in the vertical rods on the z axis. The main issue I will have during this build is designing and creating a "hot-end" with what I have laying around. I have started to gather parts. Another issue that I may or may not need to address is horizontal x axis. I haven't yet determined if any problems will arise. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 6th---» I used threaded rod to hold the z and x 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 definitely 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. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 6th 2013---» I finally figured out the best placement for the x axis end stops. They are located on either side of the x axis and they both have little toggle switches that will be activated by an adjustable arm when the reach the predetermined location. This will serve me very well when it comes to configuration . It will also help to keep everything out of the way during operation. It just looks real good as well. It is now more of a small engineering feature instead of something you want to try and hide that is always a pain to adjust. I will carry over the aspects of these end stops onto the Y and Z axis as well. I will update when I figure out the best way to do those two axis. <-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> 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. I finally got it mostly dialed in. Its fully adjustable with 190 or so degrees of movement. I used a simple hinge that is bi-mounted to the extruder mount. I used a fairly small fan and it runs at 12v. I have the fan ran through a 4-way fan controller so it has a wide range of CFM it can put out. I have another mount, hinge, fan and bi-mount so I'm debating mounting another fan on the other fan on the other side. That way I can cool the print layers as they are extruded as well as cool the break between the hot end and the cold end. It is yet to be known whether it will be complete overkill. But with 2 fans that can be individually controlled it might not be a bad option. Only time will tell. I still have yet to figure out how I am going to reinforce the vertical rods. I am a big fan of versatility, if you haven't noticed by now. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 9th 2013---» I looked through everything everywhere to find a good Z axis joiner for vertical and horizontal stability. I needed something I could remove easily for transport or adjustments and I really couldn't find anything that was light and strong. So I went back to the drawing board. After sketching up a couple of ideas that where way more complicated than they needed to be. It hit me, the saying: " Keep it stupid, simple." So that's what I decided to do. I needed strength but light, so I grabbed some aluminum tube stock and started bending. I ended up giving it a hammered metal look with paint. Its as bout as simple as it gets. Strong, light, adjustable and removable. It holds tolerances very well and it gives it a nice look. Multipurpose and that's the way I like it. I posted new pics if your interested in taking your printrbot to the next level. <-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 11th 2013---» I've read time and time again from Printrbot owners and users about mounting issues for the dual Z-axis motors. On the Printrbot it only uses two out of the four available holes for mounting on the stepper motors. This can lead eventually sagging motors which will mis-align Z axis threaded rods. This will also put pressure on the rods and lead to premature wear. All of which will lead to poor prints and early replacement of parts. This will be my next problem that I have to solve. As you may know by reading up on my mods or changes in manufacturer build techniques that I employ have a dual purpose. I not only want to support and make the Z-axis stronger but I want to improve the cooling capabilities of the stepper motors. The cooler they run, the happier they are and the better they run. Not to mention they will last longer. Once I come up with a solution that I will surely improve upon later. I will post with updates and pictures. <------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 11th 2013---» I started the rough layout for the print bed. I can already tell I need to reinforce it. Which shouldn't be a problem, I just need to come up with a design that works for me. So I'm going back to the sketch pad. I will have to look through My log book for ideas. I thought I would post an updated picture for you all to see my progress. The acrylic bed will also be lighted via LED's, even though its just the base layer. It will look cool around the edges of the acrylic. I'm still working on my leveling bed platform as well as finding or making a suitable heated bed that will fit my printable space. Also I have recently had some people interested in what usable print volume I can expect to see with this build. I will post print volume as soon as I get a chance. Check out the new updated pics. If you want to change check out the newest updates on the build. <------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 12th 2013---» I finally got around to getting pictures with the LED's mounted so I thought I would post a picture. I employed a rather odd way of mounting them but they actually turned out pretty good. I think I might eventually add one more LED and change the color to red. That way it will go with my color pallet I'm using. Red, black and silver. I prolly wouldn't of chose these colors myself even though it turned out looking great, but that's the color of the printed parts I got for cheep. So I can't really complain. The LED's are completely dim-able and are controlled through my fan controller setup. Eventually they will dim when my hot end is cold and get brighter when it is hotter. I've already perfected this technique for my LED that will be mounted on my hot end. That way I will have a visual reference for hot end temps. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 12th 2013---» I took an old skool Nintendo and gutted all the parts some of which are being re-used for this build. I took my power supply and mated it with the Nintendo case. Then I added a 140mm top mounted fan and a 60+mm side mounted fan for cooling. One fan pulls the air in why the other pushes it out. The fan speed and direction can be adjusted via a 4- way fan controller. This fan controller is also used to control my hot end fan as well as the cooling fan for the electronics. It was a very basic project to do. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 12th 2013---» Just a quick updated, I finally got around to figuring out usable printing space on my build. Up and down ( Z-axis) is 10 1/2" that's with the stability mount on. If I change the mount I can get up to 16 or more inches. Side to side (X-axis) is 12 3/4". The depth ( Y axis) is 10 1/2" this axis is also setup so I can extend if necessary. All I would have to do to extend it is build a bigger bed and platform. I didn't do these two extensions due to stability issues and the fact that anything I need to print larger will be printed in stages and fused together. I've seen some large prints done on smaller machines like a puzzle and then fused. One print a member of RepRap Squad just recently did, he printed 30 pieces and then put them together. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 13th 2013---» Today I'm working on the Y- axis belt and tensioners. My printed one broke under the stress so I decided to make a stronger one. I'm using custom bearings for this one but I still need to get flanges for them. I have one flange left so I'll have to go get another one. After I test this one out with actual printing I will see if it works as designed. I'm using a fine toothed belt to try and eliminate belt grooves coming out in the print which will help to up my resolution. I posted some early design pictures. Depending on the results I might change out the gear and belt. Good thing I have 6 different sets. I will update with results as soon as its tested further. I'm sure many changes to the design will eventually be made. <---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------> UPDATE: Feb 14th 2013---» 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 neccisarily 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. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> 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. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> 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 G.U.I. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 16th 2013---» So I've decided to build a custom 7" flat screen display for my printrbot. This display will show real time info stream while printing as well as loading from SD card and eventually I will be able to adjust settings using it. I will be able to navigate the screen options and menus using my Nintendo controller? This controller also doubles as a manual jog controller. This build as of now will be officially referred to as the Printrbot Nintendo Edition. The screen will be mounted between the horizontal stabalizer bars on the Z axis. I will have to change my setup over to RAMPS due to the extra available I/O pins. And yes due to overwhelming request you will also be able to play old skool games on the screen while you are printing. I haven't decided what games yet. It will more than likely be Tetris due to the demand for it. Another possible function will be 8-bit sound effects when the print head is moving. This function will also be able to be muted. I will update when I get the screen built and mounted as I need to order my RAMPS setup. Options the screen will offer: * Extruder feed rates and adjustments * Bed and hot end temps * Manual jog of print head * Selection of prints through SD card * E-stop * Possible 8 bit game play * G.U.I interface with real time updates *** And many more as well as a use full Pronterface like user interface.*** <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> UPDATE: Feb 16th 2013---» I finally started on the mount for my display. The only parts left I have is to run the wiring, hook it up and finish user display and mounting. I took some pictures of the beginning of the mount. I still need to clean everything up and make it look real nice. I also ran all the wiring for the Nintendo power/reset button + LED. The mount is fully tilt able, which was a lot harder to do than I thought it would be initially. It turned out to work well. I also need to figure out how to mount the 3 circuit boards that control the screen. I later decided to change the screen mount into a controller which will house a lot of the electronics. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> 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 Y-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 10 minutes This is 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. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> Update March 3rd 2013---» I just got back in town yesterday from my trip to Arizona to work with one of the RepRap designers. His nickname is, “ Rep. ” He is currently working on a functional model for RepRap Squads 5-Axis Reprap or Repstrap combo. I will post info on this build under RepRap's New Project. I have decided to move the screen into a mount within a controller that can be used on many different printers. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> Update March 4th 2013---» I am currently working on a stand alone or computer assisted control for my Printrbot. This design will be able to be implemented on many different setups. 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 and some other controller boards. 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 will more than likely take down the 7" screen and mount it into a portable controller that is simply plugged into my current setup. I also want to be able to put as many electronics I can in the controller case without making it to heavy. My plan is to run all the necessary wiring through a flexible conduit. <--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> Update March 4th 2013---» I made a support for the bed when I was out of town and painted it to match the Nintendo ed. color scheme. I built it mostly out of boredom when I wasn't working in the 5-Axis shop. I made it from wood because I also wanted to try out Rep's new wood shop that has every machine imaginable. The tools and equipment that he has in his shop amazes me. I am very glad to have such a talented person working with RepRap Squad. Another design that I am working on is a modified J-Head hotend for the Printrbot. I will be making a few modifications, some of them being an detachable nozzle. I am going to mill down solid brass acorn nuts at an angle as well as build various size nozzle holes. They will more than likely range from .25mm to .50mm. I will also add some threads to the brass heating block which will make for quick nozzle changes as well as easy cleaning and future modifications. I will initially build 2 hot ends that will be run on a Wades hinged cold end with an adapter plate. One adapter plate will be made from milled aluminium and the other from acrylic. Both of these will be ran through extensive tests and will be made using the best materials. After all testing is done I might offer a few for sale at a reasonable price. I am also thinking about making one 1.75mm and the other 3mm. I will be using the majority of the new J-Head designs and I will also post test results on this site. Eventually these hot ends will be tested with several different cold end and machine setups. One of the pictures below will show the basic design I have chosen for this build. They will be build, tested and re-manufactured at a full machine shop. Make sure to check back for updates. They will also be using both the original as well as the new temp sensors and wire round resisters. <-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> Update March 7th 2013---» I recently added a small but useful addition to my Printrbot. I decided to mount an adjustable filament guide. I used an oversize bearing as well as plastic gear that I had salvaged a few months back from an old an haggard printer. I used a small round file that worked perfectly to partially file down the gear. This acted as a guide for the filament. The file just so happened to perfect size for the filaments I'm using. The larger bearing I'm using is quite heavy which works perfect as a self tightening bearing. I also used a smaller bolt to hold on the bearing even though the inner diameter is something like 3/4" - 1". This allows the weight to push the bearing down against the filament which in turns pushes on the gear and rotates them. It works well for consistent filament flow with no snags or over running of filaments. Update March 10th 2013---» I decided I needed to make my X-axis more stable. After looking around to find something I realized that there wasn't much out there. Most of what I did find was CAD files showing it in theory. So I decided to come up with something my self. I took a price of acrylic and measured out the size that I needed. I build it to tie into the X-axis motor as well with dampners to help illuminate vibrations. It is completely removable but as of right now I'm doing mock ups so I have it lightly adhered with abs acrylic bond. I will post with new information once it is tested on another completed not. I am building another one for those tests. I posted new pictures with this new mod. UPDATE March 14th 2013---» I have tested a new addition to my x axis stabilizer. I tested it on a motion and force test cad program I have. I am still building the addition which will be a vertical price that mates up with the piece I have already built. It will be a half rectangular box shape which will ad significant amount of stability. The original piece goes under the x axis belt and the new piece will be vertical going up the back of the x axis belt. On either end I have added triangular pieces that will help to mate the two pieces and add strength and rigidity. I will update as soon as I'm finished. Test results look good so far. I have added the original design to a fully built printrbot and it seems to be making quite a difference. I've officially finished the new pieces. So far so good, I have also mounted motor mounts made out of acrylic for the z axis. Its currently in the testing faze. I do know that it will help get rid of eventual sagging of the plastic because it does a great job of supporting it from the top where it is mounted as well as the bottom of the motor. It also makes for easy fan mounting to help cool the z axis motors. I will post pictures as soon as I can. The top price that connects to the motor mount for the z axis also goes around the z axis smooth rods to help with stability. From testing I assume that this will make the setup along with the other modifications rock solid. UPDATE March 15th 2013---» I am currently making side mounts that will support the Z-Axis motors. It will have a top brace made out of acrylic that will use the nema 17's 4 mounting point instead of the 2 that the standard Printrbot uses. I have also built a bottom mount that is mated to the frame. It will help carry the load of the motor as well, it is yet to be determined if I will use the bottom 4 mounts as well. This also leaves me the option of a 40mm fan mounted to cool the motors if needed. As you know I am a big fan of multipurpose problem solving. This helps with rigidity, better motor mounts, less stress on the structure, optional fan cooling mounts and of course Z-Axis support. That's one thing I almost forgot to mention, the top pieces are double thick acrylic which will help keep the Z-Axis rods where they need to be. I am also working on a sliding mount that will go above the extruder and will help keep the Z-axis threaded and smooth rods parallel. It will ride along the X axis and make sure the rods are where there supposed to be as the x axis moves up and down during printing. I will update as I get closer to having a working design.

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