The Trip to Nowhere and Back Again
The journey begins
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I hopped into the truck on September 27th but, one thing I was sure of is that I would get some much needed time away from the office. I had been working 10 hr days 7 days a week for I don’t know how long. With the release of the XL and the new core xy project, time has been something that I don’t have. We are also trying to finish our handheld units that will allow the user to print, slice and do just about everything else you can do with your computer. The beta release of these first few units should be within the next month or less.
September 30th 2013
I came to the forest to get away from it all and allow myself to think outside the box. So far, I have spent a lot of time just surviving due to 3 large storms with winds hitting my little hut at about 40+ MPH. I had to wrap up my few electronic items that I had with clothes and blankets to keep the moisture at bay. These storms did give me an interesting ride as the only thing that kept me and my hut grounded was myself plus the few items I brought along.
Getting down to the brass tacks, I decided that it was time to start to work on some projects that I have been developing starting with the stand alone handheld printer controller. I need to decide what other options would be important to include. I also needed to come up with a name for it. At least a good name to use when referencing it.
October 2nd 2013
Today the weather has cleared up a bit so I have had a little more time to work on the designs for Evolver H-1. I have been designing it bit by bit on Sketchup. Using a combination of designs from RepRap Squads archives as well as some new tricks we have learned along the way. Evolver has been a project in the works for the last year but it wasn’t until lately that we decided to go ahead with designing it in CAD. So dwell the design has come together very smoothly with little issues to date. I think the hardest part will be printing and tuning to test out its large print volume. We know by testing out other large format printers that we won’t have any issues with printing a lot of small to medium objects within a single print. The issues will begin to become aparent with single full plate prints. Another part of the build that will require special attention will be the feed system and the triple extruder setup but, we are very confindent with what we have on paper. However we all know that doesn’t always pan out as you previously planned.
October 3rd 2013
Looking at a motor home near the water station that is about a two mile hike, I noticed that the slide outside on the side of it use a dual rack and pinion setup. It has a cross bar with gears on either end and two rack and pinion tracks on either side of the slide out. It got me thinking about adapting a similar setup for the Simple XL or even using it with a build that is completely designed around this setup. I can see it working very well on z axis stages as well as x and y axis’s. I asked the owner if it was ok to snap some pictures for future reference and he said, “no problem. ” I could tell he was a little bit confused, so I explained to him what my reasoning behind it was. I think by the time I left he was even more confused than before.
I have a few days left before heading home and ironically I will be making a stop about about 20 miles or so from no where to get 4 or more aluminum GT2 pullys, a few meters of GT2 6mm belting and a few other printer parts from a supplier that lives in a town of approximately few or less people. He also told me that he had some other parts that I might be interested in and he said he would fill me in when I arrived.
Now that I will be getting the last of the parts needed for my recent upgrades I will be able to get my dual extruder up and running again. I’ve heard that GT2s offer a decent quality boost over MXL and T2.5s as they are specifically designed for linear motion. The only other upgrades planned so far for the Printrbot Plus are specialized Z axis rods and a set of spider couplers. Even though that is all I have planned, I’m sure more upgrades are sure to follow.
I have yet to decide wether I will test out my new rack and pinion setup on the XL or if I will try it out on a test setup. More than likely I will build a small model and see if it’s feesable on the XL or if it will be better suited on a specific design. The weather is supposed to be better tomorrow so I should be able to get more work done then. Today has been hit or miss. I’ve even experienced snow last night and the temperature has dropped to about a 19 degree low.
I finally was able to get high enough up to make a phone call to let the supplier know what time I would be in town. I will probably end up buying at least 4 GT2 aluminum pullys and 2 meters of belts. I am also debating on buying some of his 8mm bearings and a few couplers. I wish he had spider couplers in stock but unfortunately he doesn’t so I will try out the ones that have been known to be a little springy. Worst case senario I can use them when I rebuild our CNC machine. I also noticed that he sells some easy to wire kits for 3d printer stepper motors. Those I will also have to check out if he has any in stock. Of course I will also test out everything I buy and post my findings online because it is always hard to find quality parts at a decent price. I always prefer as many of you do, to of with someone that I or someone I know has done business with.
October 4th 2013
I’ve only got a few days left and I’m ready to get back to the shop. I definitely feel revived and ready to get back to work which is definitely a good thing because I have a lot of work to do. I think tonight I will take it easy and work on the core xy design a bit more. Design ideas keep popping into my head and some of those ideas have yet to be tested out within Sketchup. If it’s not too late when I’m done I will note my findings here and if I run outta time I will have to write them down in tomorrow’s post.
October 6th 2013
Tonight is my last night and I am definitely ready to go back to the shop. I have learned a lot as well as experienced a lot while on this trip. I had a great time and I can definitely say that I am ready to get back at it. I’m sure that I will have a ton of catching up to do once I arrive but, I’m kind of looking forward to it as I love what I do. I will have a little time to try and finalize the core xy design as I want to get started on the first itteration of it as soon as possible. More than likely I will add a set of lm8uu bearings to my order and any other goodies I can find for the core xy setup. I have yet to decide wether or not to buy his easy stepper wiring kit. If the price is right then I will snag a set to try out. The kit uses barrel connectors with quick screw jacks on the other end. If I get them in will be sure to post info on how they work out. I will also make sure to post how all the other parts turn out as well as info on how to buy if they turn out to be quality parts.
October 8th 2013
I arrived home yesterday evening and as anticipated I have a long list of emails. I ended up buying 5 aluminum GT2 pulleys, 2 or so meters of belts and 2 aluminum couplers. Even though these couplers look much like the ones that have been known to be too springy, these are a little bit different. These ones also allow you to adjust the amount of tension as well as how much spring or flex that they will produce. If they don’t work as anticipated, I will use them on my CNC as previously mentioned. Today I plan on installing the belts, pulleys and couplers if I have time. I will also write up a review on them as the person I bought them from has been a pleasure to work with as well as good prices. Talking with the supplier he told me about a few projects that he is working on that sound pretty interesting. One of them being a welded square tube frame for a Mendel and Delta. I was able to check out his prototypes and I was quite impressed. It is definitely an improvement over using threaded rod or even some extruded aluminum setups I’ve seen. You could literally stand on top of it and it also had built in foot levelers for fine tuning its stance on un-even platforms. I will post more information on these frames as it comes to me.
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ