Monthly Archives: April 2013

L.E.D.s, a Side Project

I wanted to add some LED’s to my RepRap but I couldn’t decide a color or how to build them. So I figured why not have my cake and eat it too. I created a multicolored arrey of LED’s. Colors included are yellow, red, blue and green. I still can’t decide how I am going to set them up to turn on. I could use a switch but that’s kind of boring. I’m debating on setting up patterns to run. One option is to have the LED’s change color to coincide with bed or hot in temp. Blue for cold and red for hot. I could also use green as power on and yellow as a pilot light for active printing. I have it setup so I can runs multiple colors at the same time so I can mix colors as well. I kinda like making the LED’s useful as well as aesthetics. I’m a multipurpose and multitasking kinda builder. I will update as the build comes along. I will be using an Arduino to run the patterns and temp settings for the lights.

UPDATE: March 6th 2013—» I’ve been looking into all kinds of different LED setups online and I’m now debating if I should setup lighting patterns and other cool setup with my LED’s. More then likely I will use my Arduino and charlieplexing so I can control as well as program individual LEDs. It will be fun to build my own programs. I’m not sure if I will dive into the setup I previously stated. The best part is the fact that I am learning a lot more than I had previously known about LEDs and programming them with my Arduino. I also decided to re-wire the LEDs so I can color code all the wiring according to placement and color. This will help a lot when it comes to hooking everything up as well as programming. I will make sure to add to this as decisions are made.

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RepRap Squad’s Project Elsa i9

So we have decided to take on the Mendel 90 hybrid build as a side project as if we don’t have enough projects going on. We are not going to build a standard Mendel 90 however. We originally couldn’t decide between the Prusa I3 and the mendel 90. So we figured why not have our cake and eat it to. So after looking at plans for both designs we realized how similar they really are. We liked the I3 for some parts and the M90 for others. So we are going to take the best from each design and integrate them together while adding in a little of our own tricks as well. I will be updating as we go. So far the parts that are decided are the frame, z-motor mounts and top rod mounts. We are going to use the Mendal 90 frame with a few small adjustments. The I3 Z-axis motor mounts will be used as well as a variation the I3’s  Z-axis top rod mounts. That’s all that’s been decided so far.
This is the Y-axis setup we will use from the I3

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This is the frame basic design we will use:

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Here’s the motor mounts that will be used:

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And here is the z-axis rod top holders that will be used as well:

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I’ve started sketching up rough plans so I can figure out what parts from each machine I’m going to use. I also have to figure out how to integrate them seamlessly so they work together and not against one another. I’m also figuring out parts that I will be custom building from other ideas and designs we have in the RepRap Archives. Luckily I have the better part of all the designs RepRap Squad has put together over the last few years. So it will be a matter of finding and adapting ones that are made for this design. I’ve been working non stop for the last week on design changes and my desk has been overtaken by models etc. So I have moved to the only feasible place with more space, the floor. Below you can see a small portion of my soon to be rats nest of ideas and sketches. I’ve made a quick mock up of the bearing mount for the Y-Axis taking design ques from the Prusa i3. After asking a few members for a working name for this project instead of calling it a mendel 90 Prusa i3 hybrid. We came up with the name Elsa i9. The name derives from the last two letters from the Prusa and the Mendel. The ‘i’ comes from Prusa and the 9 comes from the mendel 90. So it makes since and is a lot easier to reference. So from now on this project will officially be referred to as project: Elsa i9. As designs are confirmed I will post updates.

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Update April 5th 2013–»
I’ve started smacking mock up motor mounts so I can figure out the best way to build them. I will be posting pictures soon. So far I like the motor mount design. The basic design was adopted from the Prusa i3’s motor mounts. I’m still trying to figure out if I want to use the tab system found in laser cut birch. After the Elsa i9 build is completed I will be making the majority of it out of acrylic or Dibond. Dibond is great because its strong like aluminium but weighs less and is easier to work with. The 1st version will be made up of birch. Motor mounts, Y-axis box frame, rear supports and top Z-axis supports will more than likely be made from a 6mm birch or similar wood. The reason I am going to use this kind of wood is because the 1st version will be a prototype that will have a lot of overall changes to it. That way we can get the design down and make it exact before we make the Dibond or acrylic final version. I was going to use the See Me CnC style Prusa boxed Y-axis frame but after looking at the design thoroughly we decided it would be better to make our own design that would fit the platform perfectly. So far that’s where we are at so check back soon for more updates as they come.
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Update: April 7th 2013—»
After cutting out the mock-up frame I noticed that it seemed a little small. Even after having drawings I made to scale the Z-axis seemed too short. I was happy with what I had to work with for the X and Y-axis’s but the Z-axis seemed like it had more to offer me. So I am working on some Z-axis extensions that I will design specifically for this application. As of now my first thought is to make something different, something adjustable that will offer great support. Right before cutting I decided to go with a thicker base and a thicker front U frame. The supports in the rear will be 6mm birch as well as the motor mounts and framed y-axis bed. This will make it a little heavier but it will add strength where its needed. The motor mount mock ups version 2.0 look like they will work well. I am still experimenting with different ways to join the edges of the different pieces of birch. I might go with a variation between dovetailing and the laser cut style of joining.

Update April 7th 2013—»
We have been hard at work today working on the mock up design. Most people ask me why I don’t do everything in solid works or another design program first. The reason I don’t design it first is because a lot of the design has already been done for me thanks to Nopehead and Prusa as well as many other derivatives. With a lot of my builds I like to make a mock up version out of wood. Problem solving when building this way has always worked out well and I was taught old school as well. The mock up is going great and we have the majority of the frame together minus the Z-axis frame extensions. I will update soon but right now I have a lot more work to do. I finally got around to getting a few pictures of how the mock up looks so far. Remember this is just a mock up. The final design will have a lot of eventual changes. I like the way everything is coming together.

Here are some of the mock up photos I’ve promised you:—»
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Above photo: The basic mock up frame
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Above is the side mounted 60mm fan
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Above photo: I still have to make another one of the brackets like you see here to mount the Xbox power supply away from the wood which will help with cooling.
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Above photo: Here you can see that I moved in the rear supports as well as adapted the prusa’s bed foundation.

Update: April 8th 2013—»
Today we started building the frame the Elsa will sit on. Instead of just cutting out a sheet of mdf we decided to build an actual, “frame” with supports. Underneath Elsa’s platform there is ribbing every 3 inches to make sure it is completely uniform. We also started building the mounts for our Xbox power supply. We have played around with a couple different mounting positions as you can see in the pictures below. Luckily we remembered to take the power cable into consideration. The power supply we have chosen is one we have used before with great success. The 203watt 16.5 amp Xbox power supply. There is also a post on this site describing how to mod it for reprap use. We all decided that we wanted to figure out a better way of routing cables and organizing them within this build. I asked that we try and take a fresh look at building Elsa while still taking into consideration the great designs that so many before has done. Including Nopehead, Prusa and so many more. This project will consist of a lot of design, building and redesigning and building. We now have a few more members of the RepRap Squad’s team joining the battle. So this should make for a great evolution of multiple designs as well as designers and input given from around the world. Well I promised you updated pictures so here is the rough mock up and the stage in which we are at.

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Above pictured: Here we are trying to determine the final position of the PSU.

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Above pictured: Another possible PSU location.
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Above pictured: Another possible PSU location as well as the basic mocked up Y-axis and bed platform.

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Above pictured: The basic skeleton of Elsa’s platform

Update April 9th 2013—»
Today we mostly worked on placement of electronics and wiring. I decided to print a female coupler for the Xbox psu plug, that way wiring would be more clean. I also made the mock up mounts for the Xbox power supply. My friend thought that it needed a little pazazz so he added LED lighting that you can see in the picture below. I also started to build the fan and filtering system. The fan located on the side of the print bed will pull in air and run it through an exhaust duct that will filter the air and expel the clean air. This is primarily for printing ABS and it may eventually be hooked up to longer duct work that will be piped into the exhaust system. All in all its starting to come together fairly easily. We are still trying to figure out the Y-Axis platform and how it will function.

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Above picture: The duct attached to the fan
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Above picture: Here you can see the inside of the exhaust tube.
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Above picture: Here is the LED lighting accents. Not sure if they will stay.
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Above picture: Here is the PSU mock up location that will more then likely be the resting position of the power supply.
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Above picture: Here is an above picture of the Elsa i9 ( Nothings bolted down to the base yet.)

Picture below: This is for Jace. He says that he likes the LED lighting on the side of the platform. I haven’t decided if I want to integrate it though.
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Update: April 11th 2013—»
We didn’t work on the project as much as we wanted to today due to outside interferences. However we did get the mock up for the z-axis extension done and they really add a good look to the platform. We are also starting to ween away from the framed Y-axis bed. So far we’ve decided to take out the front 3 pieces and it seems to look better. We are in the midst of making our mock up smooth rod holders as soon as we get exact dimensions. The mock ups for the z – axis, ( top & bottom) are almost done and they just need some design changes for aesthetics. After that they will be done. The LED’s have been temporarily been moved to the lower left and right sides of the base frame. I posted a few quick pics to show what we’ve changed as of today. I can’t wait to get the mock up stage completed so we can order the dibond and have it milled to specs. We are quite away out from that point but I know it will look amazing. We are making the z-axis extensions as an add-on able upgrade as of now. They are being engineered so that this will be possible even to existing mendel 90’s. Check it out and let me know what you think.
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Above picture: z-axis extensions and y-axis change.

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Above picture: This is a top down view of the above picture.

Update April 20th 2013—»
Today we got a little bit of time to work on Elsa. We mainly focused on mounting the main parts needed for the Z-axis. Both 10mm z-axis smooth rods are now mounted. Top and bottom as well as the motor mounts. The motor mounts share their substructures with the smooth rod mounts. Now all that needs to be done is to finish alignment and cut to length the 5/16ths threaded rod and finish the threaded rod top bearing support mounts. After that it will just be a matter of buttoning everything up, mount the motors and the majority of the Z-axis will be finished. I am still however trying to decide what size rods I want to use for X and Y axis. I can’t decide between 8mm and 10mm. I also got the round bezels for the z motor wire pass through that I will be cutting out as soon as I buy a new bigger drill bit. We are still throwing around ideas and drawing designs for the y-axis. As of now that’s where we are at with project Elsa i9.

Update April 28th 2013—»
The past week I have done most of the work due to outside commitments. I have found and mounted the final resting place for the Xbox power supply, as well as ran most of the related wiring. I have also started to build the custom spool mount and bowden setup. I have also buttoned down the Z-axis extensions and started the placement of the motor mounts. The motor mounts still need a little work before they are fastened down to their final positions. That way I can make sure everything is exactly level in all positions. I have been playing around with the idea of making the top of the z-rods adjustable for fine tuning later on. I just received my order of Abec 5 bearings from Italy. They were expensive but they work like a dream. I have never seen or used bearings of this caliber before and I am so impressed that I decided to replace all the bearings on every reprap I have with these. I also just started to design the power supply rail box that will be used to organize and split all needed power connections. This isn’t a requirement but I wanted it to be organized as well as looking in tip top shape for this build. Every aspect of this design will be thought out, built, used and then re-adjusted as needed. So nothing you see as of yet is set in stone. I have yet to update with new pictures but I will soon.

Updated pictures: Here’s the mock up for the spool mount as well as the start of the bowden setup.
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Here is some front views of the mock up to date:
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Update: May 2nd 2013—»
I know its been a while since I last updated but I’ve been stretched pretty thin with all these other reprap related projects going on. I am currently designing the 3 different axis on Elsa. I’ve decided against lm8uu bearings in favor for a new custom Abec 5 608 bearing setup. I recently got some of these Abec 5 bearings from Italy. They are pretty expensive but they are definitely worth it. I have never seen any that can compare with the quality, this is the reason for the change from lm8uu bearings. I have started designing from the ground up for all 3 axis as well as custom bowden setup that uses LC variation of Wades design. I am really excited to start building the carriage and axis mounts. This will be an original design that I have never seen done before. A lot of these parts will be created using carbon fiber, aluminium and dibond in the final version. Each side of the lifts used on the z-axis will have 3 bearings each to move the x-axis and carriage up and down. As of yet the carriage will use 3-4 bearings and the y-axis will use 3-4 bearings as well. I have yet to decide whether the carriage and y-axis will require an adapted setup do to the fact that it is primarily regulated by weight. Early tests look good using adapted mounts that are restrictive in in wanted movements. Early mock up designs prove that this design has little or no known backlash. I will be updating as soon as designs are finalized and mock-ups are finished.

LC Extruder Builds

Originally I was just going to build a printrbot LC extruder but, later on I decided to also make a wades lc extruder as well. The printrbot version is almost done, I’ve finished sanding super smooth as well as making sure all the bolts and bearings fit how they are supposed to. The printrbot extruder has come together real well especially taking into consideration that I’ve never built an extruder out of wood. My plans for both of these builds is to post plans for those people who want to cut these out without a laser cutter as well as make the V2.0 made out of acrylic. I will be posting the plans asap. That way you can just print these plans out to scale and past them to whatever medium you want to use. This will make it really easy to cut out using basic tools that most people have laying around. I want to make sure that these designs are the best that they can be before I post them. I will also post the cut outs for the gears even though more than likely I will be using plastic ones. I will update the printrbot version as well as the wades version as soon as possible.

Today I decided that I wanted to take a chance and build the laser cut wooden extruder by Printrbot. The trick was that I wanted to build it with limited tools and limited cost. I also wanted to find and easy way to scale the files so they could be downloaded and properly sized without using a CAD like program. So I limited myself to Microsoft paint as a program. I also couldn’t find any files with measurements on them. So I will be making my own set of plans with measurements so you too can easily make your own extruder without using CAD. I have cut out all the pieces from the file but I’m not completely happy with how it turned out so I am going to spend the next few days making the designs more accurate and user friendly. Check back as I will be updating as I go.

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Here are some of the early pics of the build. It still needs some kinks worked out. I also want to make some designs changes before I finalize.
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Update: April 22nd 2013—»
So I started working on the wades extruder some more. I have all the pieces cut out and put together but I still am trying to figure out the internal workings of the extruder. After spending some time with it I came up with a system that I believe will work using a very small bearing. This bearing will put pressure against the client which will in turn put pressure against the hobbled bolt. I have attached some pictures for further explanation.

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Here are the newest pics. I just need to mount the motor, hobbed bolt, gears and put the correct bolts and nuts in. After that I’ll be ready to test, fix any problems and re-configure the design and it will be all done.


Almost finished: Check them out.
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Update: April 27th 2013—»
I found some pictures of the finished product that were taken a while ago. The gears have since been smashed along with my extruder due to a buddy accidentally dropping it and instead of catching it he stepped on it. Well accidents happen and I have a new set of extruder parts hurling through the universe probably at about an average of 20 MPH to my door step thanks to ei8htohms. Definitely check out his site he has an interesting Printrbot GO project that is turning out to be a very promising build. I thought I would share the final pictures of the almost finished project. The Wades LC extruder is pretty much finished and only needs a few adjustments. While the printrbot LC extruder needs the nema 17 mounting holes aligned as well as longer bolts for the tension latch. Check them out and let me know what you think. The next step is to finalize the designs and build the new ones out of acrylic or dibond.

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Update: May 9th 2013—»
Well I finally got around to starting one of the final versions of the printrbot lc acrylic extruder. I’m not quite done yet. I still have a lot of fitting and sanding to do as this was cut out using a scroll saw and not an actual laser cutter. Its turning out good so far, the color is blue in the picture because I haven’t taken off the protective film yet. I decided to use clear acrylic as I found it to be more fitting than colored acrylic. It will be a little while until I will get to test it out due to my printrbot original is getting an upgrade to the new Printrbot + V2. I will also be posting info on the upgrade for people who are interested in doing it themselves. I will eventually test this extruder when I get some gears and the new bot upgraded.
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