Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Good and The Bad

If you click on the tab located on the header above called, “The Good and The Bad.” You can post your good and bad experiences with Ebay sellers, online stores etc.

***—» Please post your story in the comments page and I will add it to the page. I created this dedicated page because I have heard so many stories about people getting ripped of buying RepRap parts, bots etc. So please click on the link above and share your good or bad experiences. That way someone else can avoid the bad and steer towards the good. If someone else has posted a story about the same company please still post. Multiple views are important.

—»This is important that you participate so we all can find reliable RepRap Resources.«—

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Extruder basic design

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

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This is the wildseyed you can see the heat and cooling zones

(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.

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Basic parts you will see

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Your reward

CnC Power Supply

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.

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The inside of the heavy duty power supply.

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Xbox power supply for RepRap

Here is a build from Team RepRap:

Other Uses
When working on the junk bot build I came up with a neat idea for another use for the Xbox 360 PSU. I have an empty shell that covers the Xbox PSU, which is used for mock-ups. Then it hit me, this shell would make a perfect case for either the ramps controller or the Printrboard. I checked and it fits with a little extra room. It also leaves enough height clearance for wiring. You could easily top or end mount a fan. This would give you protection as well as easy access to your controller. You can find the shells for a little of nothing and there are downloadable mounts for the Xbox PSU via thingiverse. I might build a case once if done with the junk bot and post a tutorial.

Soon we will be updating with instructions to hook up an Xbox PSU with the Printrboard controller

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.

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This is a great quick reference to tell the difference between the Xbox power supplies

If also included a pinout guide to help:
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With Ramps electronics it’s really easy to use a separate power supply for only the heated bed. For me, a 203W 16.5 amp 12v and 5v X-Box 360 Power Supply has proven to be a functional, cheap solution for powering the heated bed or the electronics as well as both in a lot of situations. I’m currently power my whole printrbot that is heavily modded and has a 8 x 8 heated bed. This power supply works great and heats up my extruded and bed quicker then my old 25amp ATX power supply. The xbox 360 PSU offers several important features such as active cooling, overload protection, surge protection, over-heat and standby mode which can be set to always on or setup through a switch to toggle between standby and on. You can also find more information at the reprap forums. Just search for Xbox PSU or something similiar as i have helped several builders setup their Xbox PSU’s.

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)

Instructions:

1. Ensure the X-Box 360 Power Supply is unplugged and fully discharged. ( I and RepRap Squad members are not responsible for you hurting yourself so use your head. PSU’s can hold a charge even after being un-plugged. If you have no ckue what your doing dont do it or ask for help from us or someone that has experience with electronics.)

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).

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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 or power safe).

4. Strip a small amount of the red and blue wires and connect them to each other (optionally solder). At this point I later decided to add a switch between the red (5v) wire and the blue (power standby) wires so i can switch on and off power standby. This will prevent the power supply from staying in stand-by mode after you give it power.

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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. (Also use shrink wrap or electrical tape to completly cover any exposed wire to eliminate the chance of a short.)

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7. Put some electrical tape or heat shrink around the connections.

8. Power up (you should see a green light on the power brick) and test with a voltmeter. The green light on the power supply = Power OK, The amber colored light = On standby and the red light = fault. To clear a fault signal, unplug the power cord from the back of the power supply. Then wait a few seconds and plug it back in. This will clear the red light fault. 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)

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***Note: Never wire or open power supply unless the internal power has been discharged. I cannot stress this enouph. Inside the power supply there are power capacitors that will store extra power long after you unplugged your power supply. If you have no clue what you are doing ask for help. I am not responsible for any injury inflicted while performing this task. Use your head and enjoy***

Here’s some updated pics of my xbox psu I converted to 4 pin molex connectors like you would find on an atx psu:
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This shows an optional way of doing it and is used more often as a bench power supply.

The above picture is ment to give you some ideas of ways to do it different ways. Below I have added a picture of my xbox PSU in my new Printrbot Plus V2. I decided to mount my Xbox PSU in a stand that I built for my electronics and cooling system.

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The PSU is mounted in the back and I used 3 80mm fans, 1 200mm fan and 1 120mm fan.

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Here you can see the main power switch which will take the Xbox PSU out of standby. Also I decided to add an AUX + and - for future add ons or for quick power use.

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This is the main power plug which is routed to the Xbox PSU. It is also fused at the plug for added protection.

Update: September 18th 2013
There are all kinds of different ways to mod your Xbox PSU, depending on what your needs are. You can even buy an xbox 360 motherboard off ebay and use the female plug to make a receptical for the standard xbox plug. Another option is outfitting it with a 4 pin molex connector as we did with one of our builds. The molex plug works great because, the Xbox psu has multiple grounds, 12v and 5v lines which are the standard setup for typical computer style 4 pin molex plugs. Just make sure to connect the wiring in the correct order or you coukd short out your board. With multiple different end plugs you can pretty much adapt the xbox PSu to fit any requirements for a controller no matter which one you have.

At RepRap Squad we have several different bots that use Xbox PSUs and weve had real good luck. I must warn that there are knock off Xbox PSUs and they are hard to tell that they are knock offs. These versions can be temperamental and have been known to fail or not work correctly. We have used an xbox PSU on our Printrbot Plus Dual Extruder, Printrbot Simple, Printrbot Original Nintendo ED, Simple XL all using a Printrboard controller as well as several RepRaps with RAMPS 1.4 controllers. Overall we like the XBOX PSUs as they offer a lot of bang for the buck.

If you have any other questions that have not been answered here then you can contact us here or on Twitter @REPRAPSQUAD. All caps and all together. Happy building.
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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.

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Update: I’ve gotten back from a great trip to Arizona where we are working on a 5-axis printer. Many of you might say, “what’s the point? 3- axis is plenty and 5-axis is just overkill.” I thought the same thing until a team at RepRap Squad started getting some results from testing, building and modeling 5-axis machines. Contour forces placed on an printed item are up and by up I mean a lot. Also overhangs and printing in, “air” so to speak is a problem that I feel will be an issue of the past after this technology is perfected and implemented in the RepRap industry. I’m seeing very positive results and I wouldn’t of believed it without seeing it as that was part of the reason for the trip to Arizona where the project is being based. Once we get a few more kinks worked out I will update you with pictures and information. This is exciting stuff and I hope others are working on this as well. It would be unjust if it wasn’t explored by others. Till next time, keep thinking outside the box and happy building.

Update May 18th 2013—>
I have recently recieved some updated information on the 5-axis Reprap project. The main issue we are trying to overcome as of now is feeding the filiment into a head that moves in 3 different axis. One step we have taken to overcome this problem is a dual bowden setup. Yes thats right I said duel bowden. This setup that we have built originally in oregon and perfected in Arizona used two smaller motors. One by the spool and another next to the print head. They are wired somewhat in unison. This helps with consistent feed, keeps weight on the head down as well as helps enormously with retraction. Using the small motors keeps weight and cost down. The bowden setup is also mounted so it swivles in 190 degrees in each direction.

We have some major issues to overcome but as far as I’m aware of we have taken more steps in the 5 axis direction then anyone else. This is exciting stuff and I hope others are working on this as well. The problems we have to solve for the 5 axis will help build a better 3 axis machine. Like our bowden setup, these improvements will help the current reprap community. I will be updating as new information is made aware to me .

Update May 21st 2013—>
So I finally have some Info to update you on the 5-axis reprap project. The project has split into two seperate builds with thesame commen goal. I am very excited about the new direction the 2nd build has taken. Its quite interesting, definatly one of those thinking outside the box thoughts. This 2nd build solves one of the largest problems with 5-axis, (feeding filiment) The following information is pertaining to the 2nd build and it will eventually have a working name assigned to it for easier referencing. There are a couple different ways to implement this design, one of them uses quite a few motors but offers a lot of benefits. It is loosly based on the delta platform. The style is similar but thats about where the similarities end.

The 1st and original design has more of a 5 axis styling of some cnc’s. It takes some of those basic design ques and throws away a good portion of them. This design has been researched longer but, more of that time has been spent attempting to overcome issues. Where the new design and its variations solve a lot of issues that left us scratching our heads. The main issue with this design is the complexity involved as well as the amount of motors. The nice part is that we are working with a stepper controller driver designer. There is also RAMPS 10 which is currently being designed and will suit our needs quite nicely. I will update ASAP.

Update: May 23rd 2013—>
Hear you can see some of the workable space advantages.
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This gives you an idea of basic head motions of the new design.
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The working name has been determined. It will now be referenced as: Project Viisi which translates simply to 5. It has been named this for easier referencing.

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.

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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.

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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.

Printrbot Nintendo Edition

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.”

***If you would like to see the entire build log click on the link posted at the top of the page***

New pictures of The Printrbot Nintendo Edition—»
These are the newest pictures of the Printrbot build. I’ve been working so hard on all our projects that I hadn’t had time to update the build log so I’m posting the new pics here before they go on the build log.

The space for my power supply and the electronics will go on the left side bay: ( Pictured Below )
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New print bed cut from acrylic as well as a new larger price of glass with blue tape for PLA printing. ( Pictured Below )
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My old bed on the right and my new bed is on the left, much better. ( Pictured Below )

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The new full sized print bed. (Pictured above)

My new smaller and lighter muffin fan. Don’t let this little guy fool you, he’s very powerful. ( Pictured below )
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Check it out this is my modded X-Axis. I used acrylic to keep the X-axis from warping as well as the mount for the idler bearing for the belt. I’ve tested this on another built Printrbot and it works great. It has a lot of benefits. ( Pictured below )
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This is my new fan controller setup. My extruder fan is controlled via pronterface but I use this 4-way controller for electronics cooling. It controls my power supply cooling as well as LED lighting and bed mounted fan that cools the first few layers. The bed fan is not yet mounted. ( Pictured Below )
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I’ve Setup My RepRap, Now What?

Once you get your RepRap finished and all dialed in. What is the first thing you should do? Besides yell out in victory, you should start by making a journal or diary of your prints. Include such important things as: Printer:

* # of parts printer has printed in its lifetime:
* Part Name:
* Plastic Color:
* Plastic type:
* Bed Temp:
* Extruder Temp:
* Print time:
* Layer Height:
* Quality of result:
* Notes for this print:
* Parts of printer that required tightening before/after print:
* And any other info you might find important.

I have a separate log for each printer and it comes in very handy. It also let’s me track wear and tear on parts and estimate very closely on when certain things are about to ho out on my printer. I also use this log to estimate my reprap maintenance. If you keep track of the above info for every print; It makes running your bot effortless.

The next step after you’ve finished your RepRap is to grab a shoebox or Rubbermaid container and print out an extra set of parts for your RepRap. Focusing mostly on the smaller gears and then the larger gears. After that print any other parts you think you might need. That way your always set just in case something breaks and trust me it will eventually. I personally print an entire full set of parts for each RepRap. If I ever use a part or give it to someone in need I always print a new one right away and put it into the box. Doing this every time has saved me more times then not. So two words of advise, keep a print log and always print a replacement part set with your 1st print after your machine is dialed in.

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Thanks for your time!

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