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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About RepRap Squad

I have been involved with 3D printing for years and I wouldn't have it any other way. I also started a foundation called, "Printing a Future Foundation." The sole purpose of this foundation is to get as many 3D printers as we can into schools via donations. Being an Industry trends adviser within the additive manufacturing community allows me to be immersed in the things I enjoy most.

Posted on February 14, 2014, in RepRap Squad's Projects and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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