Currently RepRap Squad is working on a project only known as “XL.” We will be releasing a build log within the next week. As you may typically be used to us posting build logs and up-dates as we go, this one will be a little different. The reason we are not releasing any info other than the basics on project XL is due to the fact that we want it to be a suprise. It’s the type of project that will blow your mind once seen in action. We want to be able to show you all the neat options and designs we’ve included in this project.
We are currently working 8+ hours a day, almost everyday in order to get this product finished so you can see “XL” as soon as possible. I can guarantee that you will at least look at it and say, “now that is freakin awesome. ” I know this because I and other RepRap Squad members have said this same phrase about 20-30 times while getting this printer together. This will continue to be an interesting project even after the info is released because we plan on making several iterations of this bot in order to make it the best possible bot it can possibly be.
Update: August 26th 2013
Lots of work has been going on with project “XL” and we are debating on bringing it to Makers Faire in Portland, Oregon. Makers Faire PDX is at OMSI during the weekend of September 14th and 15th. You can pre-order tickets and save a little bit of money. Ticket costs are very reasonable, especially for sll the cool stuff you get to see. Next year RepRap Squad will be putting up a booth at Makers Faire PDX so all of you can come see the many projects we have done in the past. We also plan on demoing our 5-axis 3D printer at that time if all goes as planned.
Lots of new innovations are going into this project. We also solved some issues that have been had in the past with this type of printer design. We will be using several different materials for the main structural parts, such as: solid birch wood (5.2mm), acrylic (in various thicknesses) and several types of metal including aluminum. Another type of wiring that is used on many other products will also be tested. Coiled wiring, like the type you would find on a cell phone car charger will be used for delicate wiring situations that require the wiring to be stretched repeatedly without damage. This is important to us in the long term use category and should help to lower eventual maintenance costs as well as down time.
Another add-on we will test is new LED task lighting in a basic circuit that we engineered. This will be used to illuminate our prints for efficiently during operation. Being able to see your prints is more important than most would think but, being able to spot potential problems with your prints early on is important to any user. We ordered very high lumen LEDs for just this reason. You can buy LED rings that will do the job well but, they cost more and take up a lot of precious space on youf printer.
Update: August 29th 2013
The pace has seemed to slow a bit on this project as we are spending a lot of time on our adjustable hotend that is quad spring mounted. Why spring mounted? It works similar to the springs on your print bed. We designed this mount to be able to be adjusted at 4 different points in order to fine tune our prints. Another reason for the spring mounts is bed crashes. Eventually ever 3d printer user will run their hotend into their print bed at one time or another and hopefully the only damaged sustained is a gouge in your print surface. This mount gives the hotend the ability to move upwards if it comes into contact with the bed which will eliminate or lesson the amount of damage sustained. We decided to use a bowden mount which works well in conjunction with the spring mounts. We are also able to adjust the amount of tension on the springs to limit its spring rate.
We recently decided to add a laser for PCB etching as well as acrylic etching. A friend of mine recently told me about a project he was building using an arduino nano, laser and printer. I’ve typically found with these kind of add ons the need to spend a decent amount of time switching between extruder setup and laser. I’ve also seen an over complication of wiring and setup. His however was straight forward and very quick switch time. Since I was in the midst of this build and had a spare arduino uno I figured why not. I had the space on my “XL” build to mount the laser so it could be folded back and out of the way during regular printing operations.
Of course I had to put the RepRap Squad spin on it in order to make it my own. The mount is located beside the extruder but due to this mounting location the laser has a smaller amount of usable space then the actual extruder will. This shouldn’t be an issue due to the fact that PCB and Acrylic etching typically doesn’t require much space. Have a mount that folds out of the way was very important to me so that I would be able to adjust any angle I needed to as well as move it out of the way when its not in use.
I will be posting all the information on adding a laser for etching to your printer so that you may also take on this task with your 3D printer. It will more then likely take a few days to get all the photo’s, video’s, diagrams and schematics together as well as write out all the information before its a usable DIY. You can find more information on this as well as a link to the early diagram under the posting title: “Adding a Super Sweet Laser to Your Printrbot.”
Update: September 1st 2013
Our pace has slowed a bit on the XL due to troubleshooting and wiring, which has taken more time then originally anticipated. We decided to build a swappable lexan bed for printing PLA only as we will use a glass bed for ABS and other filaments. We’ve found that lexan works great for PLA on a removable bed because it adheres very well and can be slightly bent to remove prints while keeping its original integrity. To date we haven’t found anything that works better especially for the price. We made sure to use some fairly thick lexan as it tends to be as well as stay flatter then the thinner stuff. We have also found rotating beds assures that we will always have a clean bed ready to go for the next print while one is cooling.
Update: September 2nd 2013
Today after a lot of thought and advice we decided to take a different route for this iteration of the XL. We have come up with lots of good ideas that we want to implement on this build but, it was decided to stay with the original plan to keep everything running smoothly. We also decided to switch back from a bowden setup to a more direct approach. Taking off all the added goodies lets us focus on the foundation of the build and re-assess what our original goal was. Some add ons and modifications will stay but, only the ones deemed to be essential to print quality and design. This is the right path for this project as all the modifications will be played out on future iterations. Our most recent estimate of completion looks like all the major work should be finished in the next few days and we should be up and printing as well as unveiling the XL after some parts arrive within the next week. This is of course if everything goes as planned.
So stay tuned and check back often as we will start posting more information as well as pictures.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ