Monthly Archives: February 2014

RepRap Squad: In The Shop

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I often get emails and questions from people asking what we are working on besides what we post on here. We are constantly working on different projects, printing techniques, the use of different materials as well as many other things. Some more exciting than others. I decided to dedicate a post that will be updated as we go. This will serve as a platform for our daily or weekly projects. We will also post the results from our experiments and tests. This will hopefully not only let you know what’s going on around this crazy place but, it should give you some tips and tricks that you can implement into your own 3D printing.

Thanks to another member of the RepRap Squad family, we now have access to a dedicated shop that we can move all our equipment into for all the heavy duty work. We’ve always had a shop but, it was much smaller and housed a lot of non related materials. This is the new one we will be doing all our larger builds in as well as anything that needs some precision machines.

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RepRap Squads new shop space

February 13th 2014:
Today we have spent a decent amount of time working out as few small kinks with the JunkBot as well as starting the long task of transferring a lot of its design over to STL files. A good portion of JunkBot’s build was done old school with pencil, rulers and paper. We want to make the majority of its parts printable, that way anyone can adapt the files or only use the ones they want. We have been working on getting all those files organized as well as photos taken of the actual physical parts.
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Another thing we have been working on is different ways to wire a heated bed to different platforms to make swapping out print surfaces a lot easier. We prefer to use a larger Lexan plate for PLA and a smaller mk2 heated bed with glass for ABS. Having multiple plates that are easily swapped out saves us a lot of time when printing big projects. We are currently experimenting with different locking, quick disconnect wiring setups for the heated bed. Another test we have done is to embed strong but small rare earth magnets within the removable sheets of Lexan.

Our last series of tests for the day is print surfaces. In the past we tested out quite a few different kinds but, just as new types of filament come out. So do the ideas of new print surfaces. Time is also spent testing variations of common and not so common print surfaces. Such as soda blasted glass and Lexan. We will also be testing trex, synthetic hardwood and hard board. All in natural and alternative surface treatments. Making and using various print surfaces is quite time consuming so it is assumed that we will spend at least part of the next few days or so testing these options out.

February 14th 2014
We discovered a short in the wiring of our main extruder today. The 2nd extruder has been performing correctly so we just replaced the thermistor and resister wiring. The short was contained in the wiring for the resister but, we figured since we already had a full set of spares that we would replace both. Today we plan to continue testing on different print surfaces as well as also getting some dimensions from the JunkBot for a fellow builder.

February 20th 2014
A good deal of time today has been spent revamping out print bed setup on our printrbot plus hybrid. We were finally able to get a hold of some really thick Lexan. Its a bit long and not as wide as we wanted but, it was free. It will serve as a great test platform before we spend the money on a sheet as it starts to get fairly expensive when your using high quality Lexan that is the size and thickness that is required.

I wanted to suspend the piece about 5+mm above the sub mount in order to see how flat it actually is. I modified a setup that I found on thingiverse in order to have a lot of mounting support. This will keep it as flat as possible while still being able to eventually adapt it to our quick bed swap setup. I’ve printed all the required mounts and all I have left is to install it as well as test it to see how flat it actually is. I will be using a very accurate dial gauge which will let me know if it’s off even if it’s not visually imperfect.

February 21st 2014
Finally finishing the mounting of the new 10mm thick sheet of Lexan, we were able to do a few test prints. The first few prints came out great and I plan to continue testing today. The layer that is on top of the Lexan plate comes out very smooth and is definitely the type of finish we look for. Testing from the synthetic hardwood print bed has been inconclusive. I have figured out that the surface needs to be treated, more than likely I will use various grits of sandpaper and test some more.

More testing on the Lexan plate as well as the other experimental print surfaces will hopefully lead to a usable surface that meets all our requirements. We want to try to stay away from expensive consumables such as kapton, blue tape and hairspray. If we can’t go completely without these than we would like to limit the use of as much as possible.

We are also working on organizing all of the files and designs for the JunkBot build so that our friend in Australia can make progress on their JunkBot build. Some files used on the JunkBot are from thingiverse, Github and our own custom designs. We will also add our custom designs to thingiverse as previously stated. Here are a few early pics of the JunkBot frame being built in Australia.

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February 24th 2014
We had our main computer go down the day before yesterday so a lot of time has been allocated to backing up all files. It has taken a lot of time to backup due to all the designs we’ve transferred over as well as collected. So far so good. The new work space is working great but, only a few small projects have been worked on in it so far. Im in the midst of re-designing part of the cable management setup on the JunkBot as well as the Printrbot Plus. We have been using it a lot lately and had to rewire the dual extruder setup due to internal fraying of the wiring.

It gave me an opportunity to see what needed to be done to make our wiring last longer. This particular failure was due to defect but, there is always room for improvements. The nicebpart about this happening now is that the parts designed can be adapted to both platforms. The PB Plus will be a little more tricky due to almost double the amount of wiring needed to operate the 2nd extruder. Our first thought was to buy one massive drag cable but, I later decided that wasn’t something I wanted to do. So I will be designing a custom printed solution.

I will start off with an already designed drag cable and custom make new mounts as well as a few other key components. Ive already designed and printed the X axis setup for the JunkBot. I am also building a track system for it to rest in. This will also help to anticipate its locations during operations. This is particularly important as it will be used in class rooms this year. I will update with more information and pictures both here as well as the JunkBots build log.

February 25th 2014
A decent amount of progress has been done in the way of cable management on both the JunkBot and the PB Plus. I was able to take a few pictures today to show what we have been working on. We could of just used regular drag cable but, we later decided that it would function as well as look better with a track guide system for the cable.
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Here's the track system that guides the drag cable

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Posted from RepRap Squad HQ

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The New, “All Metal Printrbot Simple”

The Simple has been one of Printrbot’s best sellers since hitting the market last year. They decided to make the Simple platform all that it can be by making it all steel and aluminum. Some of the major changes include 12mm rods all around as well as a much lower part count. They have also done what we thought that they would do – GT2 belts and aluminum pulleys. I must say that the belt and pulley combination was conceived through the hard work from all of the members at printrbottalk.com. It has been a popular mod that even us at RepRap Squad explored when we released our Simple XL before all of the print space extensions for the simple platform arose.
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The new all metal Simple a
Will also boast a 6x6x6 print space that is sure to be extended by modders everywhere as we know that the z axis height. We’ve received the technical specs that we will share with you here.
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Technical Specifications: Printrbot Simple (final production version)

Price: TBD
Release Date: 2014
Build Volume: 6″ x 6″ x 6″ (150mm x 150mm x 150mm)
Print Resolution: 100 Microns
Filament: 1.75 PLA
Hot End: 1.75 Ubis Hot End with 0.4mm Nozzle
Construction: Steel and Aluminum Body
Finish: Powder Coated
Print Bed: Semi-Auto Leveling via Software
Belt: GT2
Pulley: Aluminum
Rods: 12mm
Weight: 8 pounds

A few other changes that we noticed was the switch to the use of an aluminum coupler as well as a more organized wiring setup. No news yet on price or if this bot will be offered as a kit. One thing we can guess is that this is Printrbot’s way of moving some of their lineup towards a more plug and play unit. Personally I think that this new unit will attract more new users because of its more polished look. The question is, will it be accepted by the maker/tinkerer community that is used to being able to mod their machines to fit their own personal uses?

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No matter what your stance may be or how you look at this new bot, their is one thing that I’m sure we can all agree with and that is that this is one great looking machine. The release of this build leaves me with a few questions: Is this what we can expect with the rest of Printrbot’s line up? Does this mean that all their bots are going to be plug and play? Only time will tell wether or not Printrbot’s line up will change in this direction and part of that decision will more than likely come from how this new all metal Simple is received from the community as well as the new user.

Posted from RepRap Squad HQ

The Many Faces of The Printrbot Simple

I’ve seen the simple grow through the hands of its many owners since its conception last year. Everyday owners are making it truly theirs with mods and other transformations. After seeing a recent steampunk build, I decided to dedicate a post to the many faces of the Printrbot Simple. No matter if it’s axis extension mods or complete transformations; these truly are unique machines that show a bit of the owners ambition and personality. Without a doubt, some of these could be called, “works of art. ”

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Hands down, this is one of the most beautiful Simples out there

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Cable carriers are now on the Simple Platform

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This is a popular mod as it helps to keep the filament rigid before it enters the hotend

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As you can see the Printrbot Simple has been found in just about every configuration possible. Making your printer match your personality is important and we believe it is a lot of fun to do. Hundreds if not thousands of simples are owned all around the world and finding a completely stock one is getting harder and harder to find but, that’s a good thing. Modded printers mean that the people building them understand the basic functions of their printers as well as what they want out of that printer. I’ve found mods to be a more personal thing to not only display your personality but, to display your understanding of the technology involved. I will continue to update this post as more variations and mods of the simple platform are made.

Updates: We managed to find many more interesting Printrbot Simples that stray from the stock design.

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John Lawrences belt mod

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The new all metal Simple

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Here’s all the updated modded out Simples: There are some rather interesting and colorful ones.

••••If you have a printrbot simple that has some unique mods, feel free to email us at RepRapSquad@techie.com or post a comment and we will add it to the post•••••
Posted from RepRap Squad HQ

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