Monthly Archives: July 2013
My thoughts so far of the Printrbot Dual Extruder Beta
The design is well thought out and assembly is at intermediate level once step by step instructions are created. I was able to assemble the Dual Extruder platform without any Instructions. The cable that runs from the printrboard to the extruder add on board was the main part I had issues with. That was due to lack of documentation that will be fixed before the release of the final product. So far im impressed with the ease of asymboly and the thoughtfulness of the over all design. Once I get up and printing, hopefully soon. I will be able to give a detailed description of my experiences with Printrbots Dual Extruder Beta.
For those who are working on the Printrbot dual extruder beta please get ahold of me so we can work together and troubleshoot some issues. Also for those of you looking for information on the dual extruder beta, Brook posted 3 video’s on Printrbot’s Twitter account a few days ago. ( sometime around the end of August) within the 3 part series he talks about how to setup the dual extruder even though he references the more production version there is some usable info for those of us building the beta. After seeing the video’s I noticed that a lot of the issue’s that I’ve run across have been addressed in the production version shown. These changes are very important because the beta design makes it very hard to setup and run.
Update: August 26th 2013
My thoughts of the dual extruder beta after assembly are this: It is a great product but the beta version has a few things that need to be changed before release of the production version. Adjustments for the extruders must be added in order to move them up or down to get the height to be an exact match with one another. As of now the mounting plate is one piece making assembly somewhat difficult. They need to be two seperate entities that can be combined on a single plate which will solve assembly issues. Instructions are important to any well functioning bot or mod. The dual extruder needs to be de-mystified with well thought out instructions. Lack of these for the beta has stalled some progress but, im sure this will be fixed for the production release. One bit of confusion is the power supply issue.
Most people think that you must have two power supplies in order to run the extrdrboard which is and isn’t true. If you have a power supply with a decent amount of wattage and it also has a seperate 4 pin as well as a 6 pin molex plug you wont need two power supplies. Another issue I’ve run across is that the extrdrboard gives errors to the UI if you dont have the 3rd extruders thermisister plugged in. This can easiky be solved by throwing in a spare one in case someone is wanting to run 2 instead of 3 extruders.
The last issue I have with the beta is the width that is consumed by the dual and even more so by a triple setup. Printrbot is already working on a fic for this and you can find more information on another post referencing Printrbot V 2.2 & V 2.3. Printrbot decided to make an add on for the plus that will widen the x axis to an undetermined amount of width. No confirmation if this will be a part of the final dual kit or if it will be a seperate purchase. The V 2.2 signifies the dual extruder and the V 2.3 signifies the triple extruder setup that we hope to be running soon. We will be updating this post soon with more pictures of prints from the dual extruder beta.
So far the amount of issues I’ve run across are very minimal and can easily be fixed for the production version.
As of August 3rd 2013 we will officially start the dual extruder beta. We have setup correspondence with the other 10 members of the beta team and we will start with asymboly on August 3rd. After the dual extruder beta is finished and all tests have been reported we will start the process of adding another bowden driven extruder. This will give us 3 – 1.75mm Ubis hotends with 2 of them being direct drive side by side and the third being bowden which will be located in front. It will resemble a triangle shape for mounting.
The reason for this eventual setup is simple: We have the parts to do it, its a dream we’ve always had and we would also like to be able to print tri-colr as well as experiment with 3 different materials in the same print. Getting 3 different types of material to work together wont be easy but, what you will be able to print will be worth the effort. Now with the addition of conductive filiment, our first few prototypes with the triple extruder will be printable circuits.
I will be part of the dual extruder beta test group. I decided I needed to get my Printrbot plus V2 in order before starting this journey. I want my Printrbot to have the same or similar parts that any other printrbotter would have for the test phase portion. I will be ordering new pullys, belts for the X and Y axis. I decided to treat myself with a new LCD from Printrbot. This will allow me to print stand alone without my computer other then using it to load files before printing. Check back for all the Printrbot dual extruder beta build info-coming soon.
Getting The Printrbot Plus V2 Ready:
In preparation for the dual extruder beta I have saved up my kysan motors to upgrade my Plus V2. I will be running the large Kysans that Printrbot sells for my X and Y axis’ s as well as both direct drive dual extruders. For the Z axis that requires less motor torque, I will run two of the smaller custom Kysan’s. I prefer Kysan over almost any other brand as they run cooler and offer a healthy dose of torque. I have also done a few other modifications that you can read about on another post on this site. Another upgrade I decided to do was upgrade to better 12mm z axis rods. The ones I originally had are worn out and not the best for linear movements.
July 23rd 2013
Today I started getting all the electronics together as well as all the stepper motors I will be using. I will be testing the dual extruder with the large Kysan’s that the kit supplied. Later on I will try out the smaller Kysan motors to see how they compair. They are about half the depth of the larger ones and lighter as well. I started mocking up the kit today and I noticed that Printrbot was really thinking when it came to the design. The mount and motors sit a little bit forward so that they give maximum X axis clearances. This takes advantage of the full size of the Printrbot Plus’s larger bed size. I plan on testing not just multicolored printing but, support material and different filiment types. I recieved recently laywood, laybrick, glow in the dark, nylon, PET, PVA and several other types of filiment to experiment with. I will be running just about every type and colr that the ubis hotends can handle.
Update: July 24th 2013
I have started to work on installing the motors, endstops and running the wiring. I completely removed my old setup to make way for all the new stuff. I took some quick pictures and I will update with more information soon.
Update: July 26th 2013
I’ve recently been told that the asymboly instructions will be available this next week. This time should allow me to get everything together. I still need to order belts, pullys, lcd and rods which I will be doing in the next few days. I looked all over online but I finally decided to order directly from Printrbot’s online store. The reason for this is simple, no pun intended. I trust Printrbot with my money and I know that no matter what I will recieve top notch service as well as quality products. I will have to flash the firmware on my printrboard because I am using the printrboard that came with my Simple builders kit. I will be using one of my RAMPS 1.4 setups on my Simple which to my knowledge has never been done. Another reason for changing my firmware is LCD and Dual Extruder support. I am not the most tech savvy guy when it comes to programming as hardware and design is my expertise. I’m sure with the help pf a few guys @ the Printrbottalk forum as well as a few from Printrbot, this process should go fairly smoothly.
With my new setup I decided to finish my bed and sub mount stiffiners. These consist of half boxed stamped metal that is mounted to the wood bed itself running along the sides as well as the sub mount that the bed is mounted to. I decided at this point to mount longer, thicker bolts as well as wider, longer springs. I did this to give me more room for adjustments and a lot stiffer suspension. This will help to assure that the springs are always under a lot of tension. This will keep everything at the point in which its set to prior to printing and calibration. I now have up to 1-2 inches of adjustment to level my bed correctly. With this setup I will not lose any z-axis. Since I am switching from bowden mount to dual direct drive I will be gaining back about 3 or so inches that I had lost due to the mounting position of the bowden.
I still plan on using my bowden PTFE tubes to run from the spool to the extruders. This will help eliminate any tangling as well as keep the filiment running smoothly on its way to the extruder. I plan on employing a little trick a lot of direct drive operator’s use. It consists of taking a small piece of PTFE tubing to put between the top of the extruder and the gear. Doing this little trick will eliminate the filiment from binding in the extruder. Cooling of the direct drive extruders is another concern I have. I have yet to decide wether to do passive or active cooling. I’m currently leaning towards mounting a 20-30mm fan on each stepper motor that will run non-stop to keep the steppers running cooler and a lot happier which will intern make them last longer. Eventually I will also be adding an aluminum plate to the print bed. As of now I have two different hi temp pieces of glass that I alternate. One piece is larger then the other. The reason I have 2 is simple, clean one and run the other. Also for some projects the longer piece works better.
Update July 29th 2013
I started thinking of modifications that I could do between the spool and the extruder in order to keep the feeding of filiment as smooth as possible. Of course I will be using PTFE tubing as it holds very little resistance against filiment as its feeding or retracting. Thoughts started swirling in my head and I thought, ” Why not try a few ideas I’ve had in the past but never employed?” One of those ideas was to mount a spool on a swivel. This way the spool would turn with the extruder as it moved right to left with the spool mounted on a rod horizontally. Another idea I had was to make a little thing I call a, “bowden trolly.” Three lm8uu bearings will ride on two rods with a mount for both bowden tubes.
This trolly will move back and fourth (right & left) with the extruders. Its kind of hard to imagine but I’ve started mockups as well as a quick an dirty prototype. So far its looking very promising, the trolly works much like the extruder on the x axis. The only difference is that instead of bring moved by a belt, it’s moved via the extruder pulling the bowden tubes. This helps to eliminate any unwanted bending or awkward positions causing the filiment to hang up. The trolly in combination with dual swivel mounted spools makes for a great setup. I will be doing tests with and without. Then posting results, it may not make a huge difference but man does it look cool moving back and fourth in unison.
Here’s some pics of the quick and dirty prototype for tge bowden trolly. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of time making it super accurate and give it great styling if it wasnt going to work. So in order to get it out of my head and into 3 dimensions I quickly threw together a prototype. I figured that if it worked how I expected, I could always redo it to my somewhat perfectionist standards.
Update: July 30th 2013
I started working with my new power supplies today. I will be using a 350 watt ATX PSU from Printrbot as well as another laptop style PSU. The reason I chose these two to start out with for the dual extruder beta is simple. It’s convenient, portable, already setup and will work great to start out with PLA as I plan on doing in the beginning. I wanted to figure out a way to combine them into one unit that will be more portable for my classes. So I went about organizing all the wiring and mounting the laptop PSU to the larger ATX PSU. I fashioned a couple of brackets that will wotk perfectly for this use and then added black cable wrap as well as a few other pieces to kerp everything where it should be. It ended up turning out exactly as I imagined it. Now all I need to do is figure out where I will be putting it semi-permanently during operation in my prototyping lab.
Update: July 31st 2013
Im moving towards mounting my printrboard cooler andmounts to the side of my Printrstand and my power supplies to the otherside. This would allow’for optimal cooling as well as accessibility for configuration and troubleshooting. For now I plan on using my xbox 360 PSU to run the 6+ fans in my always on cooling system. I have 3 to cool the printrboard, 1 large fan to cool the z and y axis motors and 2 inlet/outlet fans for the Printrstand. This may seem like overkill but, I want everything to run cool, efficient snd to last as long as possible.
I mounted the printrboard and extrudaboard on standoffs to allow ait to flow over and under the board. I also made sure to leave space almost all the way around the boards for easy access to configure and troubleshoot if needed. Having this setup also allows for easier and more efficient cable management. The stock location for the Printrbots electronics is retained within the base of the printer. The main issues I have with that setup is the heat issues with having three motors and the controller in a mostly enclosed tight space. Also the stock electronics bay was not created with the extrudaboard add on in mind.
Update: August 1st 2013
I know im captain overkill but I recently got some heatsinks for my printrboard and extrudaboard. That way it will keep my transistors nice and cool as if my plethora of fans wouldn’t do the trick. I made sure to mount them high side up which wont cool as effectively but, it will make shorting out the boards impossible. I also made sure to be extra careful when mounting the bolts on my standoffs using a small nylon washer in between the bolt head and the board even though it should be fine without. I like to take extra precautions early on, that way if anything ever happens I know I did everything possible to prevent it. I am overtly bring carful when handling as to make sure I grounded with an anti static wrist band. I also store my boards in anti-static bags when not in use in a protective case. It’s just me and my overkill so you should be fine taking normal reasonable precautions. If I didn’t do my overkill then I wouldn’t build so many cool things.
Update: August 3rd 2013
Today is the 1st day I will be working on the actual dual extruder part of this build. Confusion over a third hole held up asymboly. The dual extruder beta’s go together just like the direct drive extruder that Printrbot recently released, with the 2nd extruder being mirrored of the 1st.
You start to notice the changes when you get to the mounting plate. Caleb C. the designer at Printrbot put a lot of thought into this setup and it is designed to offer maximum print space availability. I now have to main guts of the extruder mocked up as well as the mounting plate and sides. I will be spending extra time as I often do labeling and organizing wiring before final asymboly. I cant stress enouph how much time proper labeling will save you in the long run – especially with two extruders.
Test fitting everything is as far as I made it today. Tomorrow I will focus on bolting everything together and starting to run all the wiring. I won’t however be plugging anything into the controller until the firmware is updated on my printrboard and the dual extruder hex file is added as per recommendation by Caleb Cotter, (the creator.) I’ll need to extend some wiring but not much due to the long length of wire that comes on the large Kysan. Things will start to come together tomorrow and a lot of progress shoukd be made.
Update: August 4th 2013
Today started out with mounting the gnarled gears on the flat spots pre sanded on the Kysan motors. If you don’t have a flat spot on your steppers shaft and need one, there are a few ways of going about it. The most important thing when filing a flat on your shaft is to make sure you don’t get any, “metal flake” inside the motor shaft. You can prevent this fairly easily by using a peice of paper or a post-it note to surround the shaft. I use an index card as it has a little more rigidity. Then take some tape and wrap it around the bottom of the shaft and the piece of paper which will seal out any metal shavings. After that, take a file and file away from the tip to as far down the dhaft as you can without damaging your stepper motor.
Since ours was pre-sanded we went about bolting everything together. This part of the asymboly went fairly smoothly. There are a few nuts that are awkward to position but, this can be fixed by using a needle nose pliers to position the nuts more accurately. Next we will start on getting the hotends mounting and running required wiring. We will also start mounting our fans and running associated wiring.
I finally got the time to finish up assembly and run wiring. This task was simple to do because everything just needed to be done twice. I’ve added some pictures so you can see what the final product looks like As I am I getting close to be done with assembly. Next we will move on to mounting the extruder and running the wiring for the temp sensor and heating element. Tomorrow we will start with finishing up the rest of the hardware install as well as organize the rest of the wiring throughout my Printrbot Plus. We will also take some time out to update the firmware on my printrboard and add the hex files for the dual extrduer setup.
Update: August 5th 2013
Everything is mounted up and wiring is ran for the most part. I have both extruders wired and set in place. I haven’t got around to tightening down the extruder mounts though. I plan on doing this soon. The wiring mounts and cable organizers do not come in the kit but, I wanted to keep everything organized and clean looking. You can buy these cable guides and mounts for super cheep at hardware/electronics stores. They also come in different sizes and thicknesses. My next plan of attack is to finish labeling all wiring that I added today as well as extending the extruder wiring. I will also more then likely use a power block terminal before the printrboard. This will serve dual purpose. One as an extension for wiring and the other being a good way to keep everything available for organized troubleshooting.
I started working on the PTFE feed tubes. These are used between the spool and the direct drive extruder. These are not part of the kit and are of my own creation. I will start all testing of the dual extruder beta without this setup so that it can be as close to the original kit as possible. After extensive testing I will put these back on to see if there is any noted improvement. After I run stock I want to test out as many different configurations as possible so that I can squeeze out every ounce of performance out of Printrbot dual extruder.
I printed off little couplers that hold the bowden or PTFE tubing in place. One is mounted on the spool end and the other is mounted right before the intake on top of the extruders. I’m currently experimenting with a slide mount that will be held on the Z-axis cross bar. The purpose of this mount is to keep the bowden tubes in place while allowing them to move forward and backwards through the mounts holes. This task is a lot harder to accomplish then you would think due to the extreme ranges that the extruder undergoes during operation.
Update: August 6th 2013
As you can see from the updated pictures I spend some time labeling wiring as I spoke of earlier as well as running wire extensions. You can buy extra wiring with the smaller molex plugs online for a reasonable price. I just so happen to get mine with a RAMPS 1.4 controller kit I ordered off eBay some time ago. I used solid core wiring to plug 2 female plugs together. To amke sure that they dont come unplugged during operation, I used shrink tubing around both ends of the molex connectors. The wiring was long enouph that I only needed to add short extensions towards the end of the wiring. Ordinarily you wouldn’t have a need for extensions but, I mounted my controller on the side of my Printrstand.
Update: August 8th 2013
I will more then likely take a little time today to find a SD card that I can use for my printer. Most controllers prefer that you use 2 gig or less for reasons unknown to me. I have some larger ones so i will have to search around for a 2 or 4 gig SD card. I also need to take some time to update firmware and test out the controller. I have spent part of the day working on a new LCD project im working on for my Printrbot plus. I managed to get a good portion of it together but I still need to lookup some pinouts and figure out the wiring. It looks great but, that means nothing if I cant get it functioning to my standards. It is handheld and has enouph room to hold an arduino uno, which I will probably use to run the LCD. Heres some pictures so you can see how its coming along.
Update: August 9th 2013
Today I started out with working on the mount for the PTFE tubing that feeds the filament. I took the top piece of the direct drive extruder and filed it out a little bit to accommodate the tubing. I needed the tubing to stop right above the gear on the top side of the extruder. Some people refer to this as the drinking straw trick, even though you don’t use an actual drinking straw. This helps direct drive extruders to feed correctly and to not bind the filament causing a jam. It turned out exactly as I expected and I made sure to only file out as little as possible using a round file. The reason I want it really tight is to hold the tubing in place and to limit its verticle movements.
Update: August 11th 2013
As I just got back in town today from working on an h bot project, I have not updated firmware yet. Instead I took some time to organize my prototyping spqce as well aw mount commonly used tools to my Printrstand. I mounted a set of allen wrenches, dikes, needle nose pliers and a small fire extinguisher. My buddy made th3 mountw for me off of a design I threw together in my spare time while traveling. It turned out pretty nice but, it still needs a few modifications before I will be q 100% happy. I plan on tearing into the firmware either today or tomorrow.
Update: August 12th 2013
I’ve hit a snag as my printrboard was DOA. I have put in a request to Printrbot for a new one and im sure they will take care of me. It wont power up, no lights and no usb responses. I will update with information as soon as I hear back from Printrbot.
I recently heard back from Printrbot and they said a new board will be sent right out. Since I have some spare time I will be helping a friend of mine update his firmware. I am by no means a firmware master but after some help from Michael Oz on the Printrbot forums we got him all updated. It can be kinda tricky and I’m glad I was able to figure his out as im sure I will have to do the same when I get my new boards soon.
Update: August 14th 2013
Since im waiting for my new printrboard from Printrbot I decided that I would add a task light so I can see my bed better as its printing. Plus it just looks plain cool with the clear 40mm fans and I already had the parts. I used three 3mm LEDs, I positioned the middle one to be straight down and the side 2 pointing outwards. This gives me the best possible coverage and I’ve always been a sucker for A-symmetrical things. The lights I used are easy to gind and run off of 12v. I hooked them up to a spare 4 pin molex connector on my 350w PSU. You can find these lights at just about any electronics store. They were originally ment to be custom computer case lighting and cost about $5. These definitely worked the way I hoped and the wiring was straight forward. This mod can easily be done by a beginner.
Update: August 15th 2013
I was at the store the other day and found an timer for a riding lawnmower. It works by telling you how many hours the riding lawnmower has been operated so that you can figure out maintenance schedules. It is turned on and off via the electrical system on the lawn mower. So I bought it and figured I could use it to log the amount of totsl operation time of my printer. It has a little LCD display and mounts perfectly on the base or electronics bay of my Printrbot. I faked out the signal that its used to getting by hooking it up to my power supply. I also put on a bypass switch for if I ever need it to not log time. This will make my maintenance scheduling a lot more convenient as it has adjustable warnings for maintenance built in.
Since I’m waiting for parts to come in I thought I would try out a few upgrades to test when I finish building my Printrbot. The 1st issue I decided to take a stab at was the extruders direct drive motors. The steppers being the larger nema 17 Kysans run cooler and more efficient than most motors on the market. Still being that they are being used for the extruders, they will be getting the most use out of all the motors involved. Extended use creates heat which as you may know is the enemy when it comes to running motors. So I decided to order some heatsinks that I could mount to the back of each of the Kysans. This won’t eliminate all the heat created during printing but, it will help to keep them cooler which will help them to last longer and run more efficiently. These heatsinks are very light so weight issues are negligible. I’m at the point of debating whether or not to run 40mm fans on the outside of the heatsinks to help to further eradicate heat. I had 1 spare 40mm fan laying around so I test fitted it to see if I could mount it correctly. All in all it mounted pretty easily using adhesive heatsink tape. I will more then likely mount stand-offs to mount the fan to the back and give it ample breathing room to effectively circulate air.
Update: September 1st 2013
Hopefully today is the day that I get to test everything out. Once everything is tested and running I should be in good shape to put on my belts and pullys so I can start printed. Today I plan on flashing the firmware, making a 3rd thermisister cable from one that I bought, running repitier to check that everything tests out ok, heat up the extruders and get the motors turning. I plan on ordering my belts within the next few days and once I get those on ill be in good shape. The 3rd extruder, even though im not using it currently requires a thermisister to be plugged in, otherwise it will toss all kinds of warnings and errors. Luckily I bought one a while back just in case I needed it and what do you know? I did. It will be easy to make knce I find the proper cable that has a female connection with the correct spacing in order to plug it into the board. Luckily thermisisters dont have any specific polarity, which means it can be plugged in anyway you would like and it will operate as intended.
Update: October 14th 2013
It has been a little while since I last updated. This is due to all the recent modifications, add ons and other projects we’ve been working on. I recently did a bunch of modifications to the dual extruder setup including couplers, new fans, GT2 belts and aluminum pulleys. Under the posting title, “Same printrbot plus v2 new mods.” you can see know more detail the mods I’ve done. Now that I’ve done these modifications it is time to hook everything up and get it running again. I will update when I have more information and notes on calibrating your dual extruder setup.
Update: October 16th 2013
I recently decided to go ahead and change my mount for the Printrboard and the dual extruder add-on board. I also purchased as well as made some rather interesting wire management parts for this new setup. I had a few requirements that needed to be incorporated into this setup. Those main requirements are: It must have easy access to all the wiring, some sort of cooling system, keep all the wiring organized and be able to be built with what I already have on hand.
Originally I planned on using plexi or Lexan for the base but later on I decided to switch to this new black plastic that I had. I had already setup my wiring so that all of it is organized from the printer to the controller so that didn’t need to be done. I made 4 main mounts for the devided wiring. These mounts are raised about 1″ above the surface. This was done to acomidate for the height of the main boards that had been mounted on stand-offs. I mounted the main boards on stand-offs to increase the airflow around the boards which will help keep them cooler. I also was able to re-use my fan from my old setup. I used the same mount as well and it was easy to adapt.
So far it looks like it will be the best setup and eventually I plan to make it look more asthetically appealing. After a while I plan to add a top to it so I can add some top down cooling. The top will also help prevent any of the wiring from getting bumped. The main requirement for the top structure is that it must be easily removable for troubleshooting and be able to have a larger fan mounted to it for cooling.
Update: October 20th 2013
After a lot of work recently as well as a little bit of help from some of the other beta members, I am almost ready to fire up the dual extruder beta. I had to do a little re-working of the mounts and wiring. I am also about 99% finished with all software settings as well as getting everything going on my new dedicated CAD/Print laptop. I have tested wiring for all the fans etc that are connected to the power supply directly which is a lot more work than you would think given the massive cooling setup I have throughout my printer. All wiring has been double checked and is awaiting my triple check before powering up the system. I would rather spend the extra time now to make sure everything is wired correctly, rather than have something blow out. Within the next few days I should be up and printing. I could be up and running now but, like I said “I want to be 100% sure everything is just right before powering up the mostly new system. ” That way if something goes wrong, I know for sure that it wasn’t due to my connections and wiring.
Update: October 22nd 2013
I still need a little bit more information before actually firing up the plus v2 so I started working on bracing the x axis. The v1 had a solid piece of birch that accompanied the x axis rods which helped to stabilize the bridge. When the V2’s came out the re-design didn’t include this piece so I decided to go ahead and make my own. I grabbed 4 L shaped steel brackets. Two of them are larger than the others. After that I grabbed some half inch aluminum tubing as well as some custom machines bolts that for inside the aluminum tubing which allows them to be easily mounted. This is the first version and didn’t take to much time as I had all the required parts laying around the prototyping lab. After installing everything I am actually amazed at how much stronger the bridge is. My next few steps include beefing up the x rod mounts and the y axis bearing mounts.
Recently I decided to beef up the brackets to all steel ones. Even though the old setup worked perfectly fine, I’m all about overkill. I kept the longer L shaped steel brackets and added an extra one were needed instead of the smaller 90 degree ones. Changing these two brackets made an aesthetic difference as well as made everything super sturdy. This modification took a lot of wiggle out of the X Bridge. Next I plan on changing out the x axis rod mouth to something a little more sturdy. You can also find a similar but printable version of the x axis stabilizer on Thingiverse.com I recommend this mod to anyone who has a printrbot plus or LC as its made a difference in the strength of the entire x bridge.
Here’s some pics of the first version.
Update: October 23rd 2013
Today we will plan on finishing all the settings in Repitier for the dual extruder portion. Once that is complete we will be finished with all the settings until we start calibration. Another task we plan on finishing today is dialing in all of our end stops or homing. I also added a grill to cover the dual fans to keep kids from putting their fingers in them. I use this setup a lot for demonstrations so “safety proofing” it as much as possible helps and yes I really do lug around this beast. I am actually in the midst of attempting to get donations so we can build a decent size printer that is more portable, like a Jr. V2. I’ve added a few new pictures below of the Dual Extruder Beta as it sits today and I will add better ones when I have some extra time.
Another modification that I’ve been debating is changing the z axis top joiner into aluminum round bar. This would have a few advantages: The bowden tubes would slide back and forth across it much more smoothly than the current setup. The way that the joiner mounts to the smooth rod would be sturdier. It would also allow me the ability to stabilize the threaded rod as well. Last but not least, I would be able to add some extra width to the joiner which would come in handy for future modifications.
Since I already have the half inch aluminum round bar, I think I might give it a shot while I am waiting on a bit more information on calibration. The only difficult part to doing this is drilling with exact accuracy on the side of a round object which is never easy even with the correct tools. I will update after I get it all finished.
Update: October 24th 2013
Today I’m attempting to finish up the PTFE tube mounts. I opted for a quick detach setup as its a lot more convenient when any issues arise during filament changes or extruder issues. I took a metal piece that has a nipple on it which is fed into the quick release mechanism. The other end is fed like the ” drinking straw trick. ” Leaving the opposite end to go into a hollow threaded nut. It’s fairly complicated for how simple of a function it retains. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a couple thousand.
Update: October 31st 2013
Today I got in a few more parts I needed to get my printrbot plus just right. Since my first print is being delayed due to a last minute trip to Seattle to work on the 5 axis RepRap, I decided to install the new goodies. One of the new add-ons is a task light that will light up the print platform as I often work in low light settings. I also got a 4 component terminal block, some cable management items and a new extra deep 40mm fan.
I decided to replace the stock fans that came with the dual extruder beta because they did not use a high enough Cfm for what I need. There are some issues with mounting deeper fans because they are attached to the tension system for the DDE. I solved this issue by mounting the fans on the top of the mount instead of under it. This solved all related issues and was relatively easy to do.
Update: November 2nd 2013
During my trip to Seattle to check up on the 5 axis RepRap I decided to get a few much needed tools and parts for the printers in the shop. I was in definitely in need of some quality lubricant for the rods, bearings etc. I have heard nothing but good things about, “Super Lube w/PTFE” unfortunately it isn’t the easiest to source locally but, out in Seattle area they have a supply store that stocks it. I purchased about 3 or more ounces which will last quite a while for under $8 at Tacoma Screw. I also bought a set of brass nuts to match up with my threaded rod as well as some graphite to put on the threaded rods. Since it comes out in dry powder form, I plan on using an artist brush to apply it to the threaded rods. Ive heard and read that these two combinations of additives for the linear rods, linear bearings, nuts and threaded rods is the best way to go.
I also needed a new digital caliper, dial indicator for depth measurements and 12mm rods. I was able to find a smoking deal on all three of them. The first two I was able to get from harbor freight for half off on both. This saved a lot of money which let me afford to get 3ft of linear rods at Tacoma. Another small purchase was a full set of mini rasps and files. These are some of my favorite tools as they come in very handy when you need to do filing in small tight spots or you need to remove small amounts of material. They come in varying sizes and shapes. You can also get one’s that are diamond coated but, I find that the standard harbor freight specials seem to work great and can be had for between $4-12.
I will post my experience with all of these recent purchases on the site as soon as I get a chance to test them out.
I must say the new rods are of a lot better quality than I was originally anticipating and I ended up getting them a little longer than my original plan. My z-axis rods come to almost 19″ on each side. I also took the time to bevel the edges. I still have to install them which I plan on doing in the next few days. I’m taking my time as I have to pull a good part of my printrbot apart to correctly fit them in the aluminum blocks. I figured it would wait until I am almost done with my control electronics enclosure. That way I can swap all the wiring at the same time.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
Brook – the creator of printrbot, seems to be working on some interesting designs. This was tweeted yesterday and it looks great. It seems to me that it might be an H-bot design. I’ve always found H-bots interesting, I would think that there would be some advantages with this design.
Printrbot (@printrbot) tweeted at 11:35 PM on Tue, Jul 16, 2013:
A little Printrbot project… I can make this any size. Totally scalable. I want to print life-sized action figures 😉 http://t.co/oGY6IGKh0L
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
Update: October 25th 2013
Since there has been updates to info and diagrams, I figured it would update this guide as well.
Sometimes it can be confusing to deturmine X, Y and Z axis on your Printrbot. So I found these neat little diagrams that will help to take away any previous confusion. Each chart is labeled with what Printrbot machine it is referring to. Also the E axis is usually for the extruder.
Here’s the chart for the two Kysan motors that Printrbot uses. The one with the higher amperage is the (Large kysan) they sell on their online store and the other one is the Kysan Printrbot is having custom made (Smaller Kysan) for the Printrbot Simple.
Asymboly diagrams for the Printrbot Plus and LC
You can also find full build instructions and these diagrams in pdf files here as well as other instructions for Printrbot products.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
I have seen Printrbot grow from a man who just wanted to sell a few printers, to a company that is creating new industry trends to be followed by others. They have grown exponentially since their late start in 2011. Even with all their success they have remembered the little guy – the maker who has big dreams and not much to make those dreams happen. Printrbot has given those makers the ability to make those ideas, dreams and creations come true. They make affordable printers that challenge the abilities of other much more expensive 3D printers.
They are always thinking of ways to build new upgrades, bots and tools. Printrbot has never stopped the creativity from flowing into new ways to get their manufacturing and shipping into the big leagues. At the beginning like any other start up company, they struggled to streamline the process. While they still have a ways to go, there are several important improvements made in the way of customer service and support. Printrbot has added new Twitter accounts in order to strengthen the line of communication between the different departments and the customers.
@printrbotships – on Twitter gives the customer a direct line to the shipping department in order to adjust, fix or change orders.
@BuildPrintrbot – you can contact the assembly department for all kinds of different questions and help.
@Printrbot you can talk to Brook the colorful creator of the Printrbot line-up. Brook is very quick to solve any issues and answer questions. Another way to contact Printrbot is on their forums via posting questions that can be answered by other users/customers or David at Printrbot. David helps oversee the behind the scene communications with the Printrbot team and he is the primary correspondent for the Printrbottalk forums. Adding these accounts has helped a lot to get customers the help they need to speed up the process from ordering to receiving your Printrbot products.
They now have several laser cutters in order to lower turn around time on parts, kits and assembled printers. Recently they also started injection molding gears to insure quality and uniformity with those products. They also started sending out their aluminum z-blocks as well as their x-axis rods with the 8mm bearings pre installed for quicker build time and a better user experience.
The laser cutter is used to cut out all the wood structure parts of the Printrbot line up. Below you can see what it looks like once the laser cutter has done its job. The Printrbot shop is always expanding – they currently inhabit a huge warehouse but only currently rent 1/5th of the available space. Who knows, maybe one day they may inhabit the whole warehouse. You can see that a good portion of the money you give to them via buying products is put back into the company in order to bring you better products quicker then ever. The current lead time for assembled units and kits is currently down to two weeks, Printrbot soon will have it down to one week or less. They do their best to turn around accessory and filiment orders within two business days.
It is refreshing to see a company that realizes the importance of hackerspaces and the tie they have within the industry. Printrbot hasn’t forgot about what started the company in the first place: the love of making/creating new things and exploring the crazy ideas that keep us builders up at night.
Check out the Printrbot hackerspace article.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
For the next week I will be up in the Seattle area to work at a full machine shop. Another member of RepRap Squad is putting me up for the week as well as letting me have full access to his extensive machine shop. The best part is that he also has another shop with lathe at his house. One of the projects I will be working on is my all metal hotend. I designed the majority of it to be built using a lathe. I plan on testing 3 variations of the design. The first one being about the size of a J – head hotend and the 2nd is just a shorter version essentially. The last of the variants being similar to the new Prusa designed hotend. I have created my own designs and im just using the previous as a frame of reference.
My hotend was designed to be able to run at high temps which gives it the ability to print using just about any filiment on the market. I didn’t want it to require a fan like most all metal hotends but, the more we mess around with it and prototype. The more we realize that in order to get our ultra sharp melt zone, we might use one. It’s a small fan @ 20-30mm and weight is minimal. The further I get into it and the more I research, the more I see that there are so many benefits to adding a fan.
I will also be working on designs for the Printrbot Simple modifications I will eventually be making. During this trip I will be focusing on building a platform and stabilizer for the base of the simple. I will also be experimenting with lathed hobbed bolts. I brought with me a wide variations of bolts and rods to find out what combination will work the best. Some of my focus will be on hobbing specifically for a bowden style extruder setup. I will be setting up my dual bowden Printrbot Plus V2.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
Plans For The Future:
The simple shows so many great design cues from the high strength wire it uses to the beautifully designed direct drive extruder that we will be testing out shortly. RepRap Squad will be documenting the CNC Simple build as well as any mods we do. We couldn’t ask for a better platform to teach all of our students about Printrbot as a company as well as 3D printing as a whole. Its almost like the Simple was designed as a teaching aid as it fits in perfectly with the curriculum. The timing worked out well for RepRap Squad as well because we should be receiving anyday now our RAMPS 1.4 setup, which will be the brains or controller for our Printrbot Plus V2.
Now we are able to show the spectrum of bots that Printrbot offers as well as show the different setups and how they work. The Printrbot Plus is one of the largest platforms that Printrbot sells as well as its brother, the Printrbot GO. The Printrbot GO is being re-designed for a version two that we cant wait to see. We would love to build the new Printrbot GO. A plan is in the works to build a CNC’d version of the GO V2 if the files are released. Brook the owner of Printrbot is very good about giving back to the 3D printer/maker community. We would assume those files would be eventually released after the beta version is tested.
CNC Version Of The Printrbot GO?
The reason we want to do a CNC version of the GO is to show the many faces of the 3D printing industry through Printrbots point of view. You have the Printrbot “Simple,” which is primarily for the person wanting to get into 3D printing without spending a ton of money. It is a very good and well thought out setup that has an almost plug and play setup. After that you have the “LC Printrbot Plus,” which is one of the largest platforms for printrbot. This is a great system for any user but is primarily used by the serious maker that wants to rapid prototype parts or products. However the Plus isn’t as portable as the Simple or the GO. Lastly we have the “GO,” This is the ultra portable larger Printrbot printer. It folds up to make its own suitcase and is for every kind of builder. It has the portability of the Printrbot Simple or Jr. with a size comparable to the Plus. Having all 3 of these printers will help us teach about the different kinds of printers and what their advantages are.
You can tell that Printrbot’s line-up of printers was well thought out as they have a printer for every kind of maker/enthusiasts. RepRap Squad and its members have been and will continue to promote Printrbot as they have shown time and time again their abilities to strive as an honest and caring company. Companies like this, the ones that care about the little guy are few and far between. It’s refreshing to deal with a company that when they make a mistake as we all do say, “I’m sorry we forgot this, what can we do to fix the problem?” They have proven to be a great business to work with by not only my experiences but, the experiences of countless other customers.
I thoroughly enjoy the connection that Brook and the Printrbot team have with the maker community. That connection is one of the most important things to have as a company within this industry. It’s not only good for Printrbot, its good for us as builders of all sorts. That connection gives us the ability to continuously push the boundaries of 3D printing. Unfortunately this bond is never created or is later thrown by the wayside when companies become, “successful.” I use Printrbot as an example of what you should not only do to have a successful company but, examples of things you can do to have a successful life. I have found many examples of skills and important attributes to share with my students. An example is a saying we have in a lot of my classes. “You can do it poorly or you can do it the Printrbot way.” The kids get this concept and is an important thing for them to learn. They are learning that its important to take your time to do something to the best of your ability versus just, “getting it done.” They see examples of this throughout blogs, Twitter and other social media outlets. This gives them a tremendous amount of pride in their work and they know that no matter what they did their best.
So go out there and make something new, make something different and no matter what your doing or creating. Do it the Printrbot way, with everything you have.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
I decided to not only CNC out a Printrbot Simple for a contest that Brook decided to put on. He said for the 1st 5 printed as well as the first 5 CNC cut simples he would give away a simple builders kit. This challenge got me to work on my CNC that has gone by the way side since I’ve dedicated so much time to the 3D printing industry. I needed to replace the axis couplers and do a little maintenance. Getting a Simple builders kit will go a long way as it will be used as a teaching tool to show the wide variety of printers. It also works great because it is well, simple. It is a lot easier to teach about 3d printing with a bare bones setup.
I also decided to make a few small changes to the design as I have heard from current owners that there are a few small issues with the design files. None of these issues are hard to fix. Just a little extra cut off here and there which I will get into later on. I’ve started cutting out the main or larger pieces of the Simple which will allow me to do any calibration that may be needed. I think its really cool that Brook @ Printrbot does little contests like this, it gives people like us the ability to challenge ourselves and be able to get access to parts we couldn’t usually afford. Brook understands that the maker/hackerspace is important to them as a company. Joining the communities and giving them more focused concepts to ponder is a great way to give back as well get help with Printrbot’s designs.
We cut out all the Printrbot pieces needed to make the simple. We had to use an offset and play around with the design as these files were originally ment for a laser cutter. We posted the pics on Twitter this morning which should make us the 5th out of 5 CNC’d Printrbot Simples to be done. This is exciting news for us because we work on donations and dont havd a lot of money for tools to teach such as the wonderfully designed Simple. “Printing A Future Foundation, ” is kept alive with the help of makers everywhere and companies like Printrbot. We have had lots a donations lately and we are trying to enter every contest we can in order to build more kits, get more teaching aids, and build more 3D printers for donations all over the U.S.
The printrbot simple is perfect to teach kids how 3d printers work. It also shows the different methods of transferring linear motion. I’m excited to start building and would love to be the first to build a functional CNC’d printrbot. We will hopefully find out soon but telling from the Twitter feed we should be the 5th out of 5 winners. We are currently waiting on a custom end mill that is being made to cut out the receivers for the tabs but this is a very small part of the process. We also had to change some of the files to work on a CNC machine. This made things tricky. We have been working non stop since Brook drumm announced the contest and released the simples files. We decided to use quarter inch burch wood with a beautiful grain pattern.
Update: We just recieved the word officially from Printrbot that we are the 5th and final winner of the contest. So as soon as we get our builders kit you will be seeing a functional Printrbot Simple that has been made from CNC cut wood. In birch too. The birch was a little expensive but the super cool grain patterns were well worth it.
We have been told by Printrbot that the builders kit will be sent out today (July 10th) or tomorrow. We are very grateful and cannot wait to get our CNC’d Simple up and running. Our goal is to have the 1st operational Simple made from CNC’d parts. Regardless of wether we do it first or not is just a race between makers. Either way we will be part of a small handful of builders that will be using the Printrbot builders kit which is a really good deal and can be bought at there online store. RepRap Squad will not only benefit from being the first few to build a simple at home. It will also benefit our “Printing A Future Foundation, ”
Here are some early pics of our CNC’d Printrbot Simple
Update: July As per a challenge from Brook to see if we could alter laser cut Simple plans to cut them out on our CNC machine. We did it, now we are on to pre-fitting all the structural parts with no bad surprises. The only parts we haven’t test fitted is the direct drive extruder due to a couple of pieces not being in the original file. We now have those pieces cut and we will be test fitting those soon.
Next we will be stripping everything back down again to finish sanding and prepping for paint. So far our plans for the color scheme will be black & grey. More of a greyish whitewash look. After everything is prepped we will start putting together all the hardware that came in our builder kit. The builders kit is a great deal and is highly recommended by RepRap Squad. I will update as the CNC Simple build comes along.
We are now to the test fit stage for hardware. All the motors fit snugly in their spots as well as all 12 of the 8mm lm8uu linear bearings. It also looks like all the bolt and nut traps fit together well. All of our pieces fit together so tight that we had to do very minor sanding. We could of left it the way it was but we wanted to be able to take it apart and put it back together with ease. Today we will finish up any sanding needed and start putting together the hardware. Everything but the bed (which is already painted) will get painted later on after we get everything how we want it.
I’ve added these updated pics. You can see that we are getting close to being finished with the hardware. We still need to CNC cut out two pieces for the extruder that wasn’t in the early files we recieved. We should be up and running in the next few days as we are taking our time with this build.
Update: July 20th 2013
Today we I worked on running wiring and finishing up the hardware. We also worked on installing the and stops. This was a little tricky for us to figure out at first given the little amount of documentation found online. So we took some pictures to show you where the end stops go for the simple. Below you can see the X, Y & Z axis endstop locations. We started running all the wiring and getting all the parts together for the extruder. We also started assembling what we could of the extruder but there were a few designs missing from the released files we hope to get these soon so we can finish the extruder assembly. I have contacted Brook to see if these files have been updated. We also plan on getting the added fan for the Simple that is sold on Printrbot’s web store for $10.
I finally finished mounting sll the endstops and running all the wiring. I also finished putting on the spectra line on the X and Y axis. I spent some time with cable management as I wanted everything to be mounted cleanly as well as to be accessible for any future modifications or troubleshooting. This should save me a lot of hassle later on. Everything is labeled clearly on the printrboard, which makes installation fun. The Y axis endstop required me to use somd washers as I didnt have the correct bolts. This was caused by our miscalculations when CNC cutting the endstop mounts. It was an easy fix and I will buy the correct size bolts as soon as I can look through our enormous mostly unorganized stock. Tomorrow I hope to get the last few pieces done for the extruder and then we will be printing and calibrating.
As you can see in the above picture we have already started some mods on the Printrbot Simple. We’ve added a heatsink to keep the extruder motor happy and cool. We are also adding the fan that you see on the print bed to the front of the extruder to keep everything cool as it goes through the direct drive system. We will also be adding a small piece of bowden PTFE tubing in between the filiment guide and the hobbed gear. This will keep the filiment from bending or binding in the extruder. It’s a cheep little trick that is used on a lot of direct drive extruders, especially when using 1.75mm filiment. Tomorrow I will have some stuff awaiting me at the USPS office. My filiment samples sent to me by maker geeks should be arriving. This will be perfect timing as I will be able to test them through my newly built CNC cut Simple.
I have a lot of plans in store for this beautiful one of a kind Printrbot Simple and I cant wait to start modding.
Here’s the final finished and calibrated CNC cut Printrbot Simple. I was lucky enouph to have a buddy with a printrboard that was already setup for the simple, so we used his. Plus i didnt want to use my new one because im going to use it for my printrbot plus. Soon after all that work I had to take her apart to use for my Printrbot plus v2 dual extruder beta build. Eventually I will be putting back together using a spare RAMPS 1.4 board that I have along with 2 different steppers. Here’s the final build pics, I will post more when I hage time to change it over to RAMPS 1.4 setup.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do any modifications. I love pushing the envelope to see what is possible with these machines. One of my first modifications will be to extend the print bed as well as the sub mount. Im debating at this time to switch the bed over to a belt. The spectra line works well and is a good way of creating linear motion but, I have some spare belts and matching gears. Since I’ve already taken two motors off of the simple it only seemed fitting to put two more back on. I will also be switching controllers from the stock printrboard to a new RAMPS 1.4 setup. I also have 3 makerbot endstops that I might use if there is space to mount them. Makerbot endstops are larger than the Simples add on ones because they have LEDs and quick connect plugs. The LEDs on the endstops let you know that they are active as well as if they are tripped. This makes troubleshooting endstop issues a breeze.
So as a quick recap of the modifications I will start out with are as follows: Change out 2 motors, RAMPS 1.4 controller, Makerbot endstops, bed+submount extensions and change the bed from spectra line to belts. I will update with build info as well as pictures as I go along.
I finished cutting out the bed extension and sub mount. I ended up extending the bed about 3.5″ longer. This comes close to doubling the print size and will allow me to print a wide range of items.
More then likely due to the length of the bed I will add 2 more spring leveler mounts to the middle. This will allow for better accuracy and a bed that is consistently level. If it wasn’t so skinny this probably wouldn’t be an issue. I plan on adding glass later which will help as well.
I started to disassemble my Printrbot simple so that I could put on the new motor with an aluminum pully. This will transfer into linear motion through the belt I will be adapting for the movement of the bed. I’m still debating wether or not to replace the other spectra contrlled axis with a belt. This axis will be a lot harder to use a belt on due to the position of the motor and the mounts. So far the motor went in perfectly as it is about the same size as the stock kysan motor I removed.
Update: August 21st 2013
Printrbot has recently released a extension for the Printrbot Simple. Longer z axis as well as a longer bed. It looks like our cnc simple is going to need some new mods. Currently we are working hard on project “XL” but, once we are finished we more then , likely will have to test out some new mods. Here’s a picture of a Printrbot Simple with the new extended print space.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ
Upon recieving my new RAMPS 1.4 board I decided to figure out a mount as well as an efficient cooling system. I looked around onlind to find some options and the majority of the options were printable ones that dont leave any access to wiring. They also ran with a single 30mm fan or smaller which didn’t seem very effective for cooling. Most of them being top mount didn’t cool the drivers very well and left no cooling for the Arduino Mega. The most effective angle for cooling is to blow across the chips from the side.
After mounting 2 fans to do this job I also mounted one larger fan to pull up any hot air and expell it outward. I used 2 pieces of acrylic to make the top and bottem platform. 4 large bolts make up the standoffs between the two pieces of acrylic. I also decided to mount the 2 side fans which were salvaged from an xbox 360 on a hinge. This would allow me to adjust the fan angle which will let me tune in my cooling. I also ordered heatsinks for each of my drivers. As of now I will be running 4 out of the 5 that RAMPS can handle. This will leave me a spare until I add my second bowden extruder. More than likely I will use my 2nd extruder to be able to print disolvable support material.
I’ve decided to control these fans through a stand alone setup. You can go a few different ways at this point. You can set them up with a standard on/off switch, a potentiometer for speed control or buy a computer fan controller. The nice part about using a fan controller is the ability to moniter fan speeds, auto adjustments by temperature and controll 4 or more fans with one controller. I decided to go the fan controller route since a have a very extensive cooling setup throughout my Printrbot.
They now sell touch screen fan controllers for about $25 at any computer store such as Frys Electronics. With this fan controller I can run and moniter my RAMPS/driver fans, Z-axis motor fans, PSU fans as well as air flow fans mounted on my Printrstand. The only other fan I will be using is the one mounted on my extruder and it will be controlled via commands in pronterface. Using a fan controller with its own power source also helps to alleviate any added stress/power consumption on the xbox 360 PSU that will be running everything else on my Printrbot Plus.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ