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The Search for a 3D Printer

After talking for a long time, and slow attenuation of the people who are interested, we've decided to start simpler. We're going to buy a Printrbot Simple Maker's Kit, and set it up in a weekend. Later, once we have experience building that, we'll resume work on the Prusa i3 build we started in January.

Any and all notes about 3D Printer preferences should go here.

  • What is the feeling of the group on whether to build your own or buy a turn-key printer? I believe that repraps are a heckuva lot of fun to build, and completely worth the time and effort because of all the learning opportunities. However, there is a delay between building and printing, and some are not as interested in the learning opportunites gained by building and would rather just print.
    • I wouldn't mind learning how to build one, though I'd prefer building from a kit or laid out BOM for our first 3D printer, as I imagine most people (including me!) have little idea how to design one from scratch. I may have expressed dread at building my own at the 4/8 meeting, but that's because I've been so burned out with work these last couple of months that more work to do cool things produced a bad reaction in me. (Andrew Mike)

Note: As of January 2015, we'll be building an Prusa i3 derivative from scratch. (Andrew Mike)

We have the electronics! We sourced it from this eBay item.

  • Stepper requirements from: http://www.corecompute.com/reprap/reprap_20131001.html ideal stepper is NEMA17 size, rated 1.5A to 1.8A or less, 1-4 volts, 3 to 8 mH, 62oz.in (0.44Nm, 4.5kg.cm) or more of torque, 1.8 or 0.9 degrees per step (200/400 steps/rev respectively), for example the kysan 1124090/42BYGH4803 or the rattm 17HS8401
  • At last Tuesday's (Jan. 6) meeting we ooohed and awed and “how does this connect to that?”ed over the brand new shiny electronics. (Includes RAMPS, driver electronics for the motors, heated bed, LCD display, SD card reader etc.)
  • We decided to try the new electronics out, on the old “Fleming donation” Mendel to make sure everything works and get insight to how they work. (However we are not going to spend too much time on this, we hope). We need to make the appropriate connectors and to power things. We will try some older PC power supplies that people have and/or the bench power supplies we have available in the electronics area next week. We are actively trying to decide on which Prusa I3 variant to build (see below), one person is going to price out the cost of the aluminum extrusions used in the Wilson varient for next week. We have pretty much decided on a heated bed (which came as part of the electronics), and that we don't want an acyrlic bed support because of the heat from a heated bed, otherwise we haven't yet committed on the variant and/or frame style. If you are interested in helping/learning to build a 3d printer, come join us next Tuesday Jan. 13 at 8:00 PM, (see the location map on our home page), just show up no appointment necessary. (Lyle Evans)
  • Jan 13 Tuesdays meeting Andrew suceeded in installing the Marlin firmware on the new Ramps Electronics.

We hooked up a PC power supply to the Ramps board and a couple of stepper motors that Todd had already connectorized. The power supply checked out on a PS tester, and the voltages seemed right, leds lit etc. However the steppers didn't step when commanded to manually from the attached PC.

  • Jan 26. The problem with the Ramps board and Stepper motors was resolved (firmware config problem). The steppers now step.
  • At our Tuesday Feb. 2, meeting we will endevaour to choose a Prusa I3 variant to build see below for information on some variants.
  • At the Feb. 2 meeting we discussed variants particularly the Graber i3 variant and the wilson i3 variants. The Graber i3 variant has in its favor cost and speed of sourcing parts for the frame.
  • The question arose as to the amount of Amps needed from the PS to drive the Ramps board with or with out the heated bed. This link is relevant. It also seems that the 203W X-Box 360 Power Supply is useful. See here, and this link on power supplies.

Printer Models

At a December meeting I believe we decided that we would build a Cartesian 3d printer based on the Prusa i3 reprap or a variant thereof. (Lyle Evans)

Prusa I3 and variants

Non-Prusa i3 RepRap

Archived this in case we want to make one someday.

    • Apparent Prusa i3 variant?, designed for easy and fast replication. (If it is an Prusa i3 variant it is a radical variant) sold/promoted developed by reprappro.com (Lyle Evans)
    • Pros nice clean design single Z-axes
    • Cons Apparently has teething issues; many user mods to fix problems few(er) sources for parts
    • Second revision of the MendelMax, incorporating the box frame of the Prusa i3 design.
    • Pros
      • Stronger than original MendelMax
      • More build area than original MendelMax
      • Seems to hybridize the MendelMax's rigidity with the Prusa's open build area
    • Cons
      • Many laser-cut parts will add to cost
    • Variant of the MendelMax 2, with more printed parts.
    • Pros
      • All of the MendelMax 2's advantages
      • More printed parts mean cheaper build
    • Cons
      • High-area ABS prints may be problematic
      • Assumes specialized under-unit PSU
    • MendelMax 1 variant with triangular frame, more aluminum rods, and thicker parts.
    • Pros
      • Familiar design
      • Thicker parts mean more rigidity
    • Cons
      • Less open build area than later-generation models

Purchaseable Kits

Archived this in case we want to buy one someday.

    • Pros
      • Can print without an attached PC
      • Can print with a large diversity of materials; page lists ABS, PLA, PVA, high-impact polystyrene, and wood filament
      • Has FSF Respects Your Freedom certification
      • Has slightly larger print area than the i3
    • Cons
      • Absurdly expensive – at $1995 for a kit, it approaches stereolithography territory
    • Pros
      • Relatively cheap
      • Standard design
      • Plug and play
      • Claims 50 micron resolution
    • Cons
      • Small print area; largest dimension is 116 mm
      • Kickstarter, so not until September at the earliest, and the first 10,000 models are spoken for
        • We'd be lucky to see this printer in 2014 if we got one; KS dates love to slip, and the early birds would get one before we do
      • Possible design issues (this is a Kickstarter after all); we might be paying to beta-test their product
the_search_for_a_3d_printer.txt · Last modified: 2015/03/22 14:57 by amike