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Orca by MakeMendel

Posted by Cosmic1953 
Orca by MakeMendel
December 09, 2011 09:32AM
For anyone interested in an Orca v0.3, www.MakeMendel.com has the kit version 'in stock' with delivery in '1 to 2 weeks'. I have been working with Tejal at MakeMendel for a week now, in a pre-sales effort to define my needs. I am ordering an Orca today... even although I have had considerations about dealing with a foreign company (they are out of Mumbai, India).

Tejal has been quite responsive, responding to my many emails within a business hour or two, which is refreshing. We also arranged a way to reduce my financial risk before delivery, which made this deal possible for me.

I will keep posting my results, as I move through the delivery and building stages.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 09, 2011 12:01PM
Congratulations, you just made us distrust MakeMendel. Astroturfing is obvious and unwelcome. If you have a product to sell, tell us about your product but don't pretend to be a satisfied customer who just happened to open an account. That kind of marketing doesn't work here.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 09, 2011 12:33PM
Say what? I am a real customer... I just hope it all works out, as you can imagine, as there seems to be a lot of 'wild west' to this 3D printer business.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 09, 2011 04:13PM
If you are a real customer then I apologize, but the post seemed suspicious because there has recently been a flood of astroturfing posts looking similar to yours from new users like yourself advertising new Chinese or Indian companies such as the one you discussed.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 09, 2011 04:45PM
I totally understand. I have a fair amount of angst about this deal, as it appears (?) that I am their first real customer, at least for the Orca. I had Tejal take and email me various pictures of parts of their Orca, so I am sure they have one. And so I believe I have eliminated the possibility that they are an outright scam... still could be, but a very elaborate one if so.

My promise to Tejal is that I will write up my experience as it happens. He seems to be quite on the ball, so that gives me a level of comfort. The next hurdle will be delivery: will it ship as promised? I will keep everyone here informed about their performance, good or bad. My gut tells me they will ship on time.

The most likely place we will all struggle will be in the build. I don't get that they have a lot of experience with the Orca... yet. Tejal has also promised immediate engineer support... which will be great if it turns out that way, when and if I need it.

I did a lot of research before chosing this route. I even left a message on a few forums asking if anyone had any experiences (good or bad) with this vendor. I did not receive any advice... which is one of the reasons I believe this is a young outfit. On the other hand, someone has to 'go first'. There are advantages to being first, if there is any honor at a new company, which I hope will compensate for my risk. We shall see.

The issue you raised was one of the reasons I am ordering from MakeMendel... namely, there is a lot of commotion out there in the market, and it is hard to predict what you can reasonably expect from the various vendors. So many of them are startups, with all those attendant problems. So, since it all seems like a crap shoot, I went with MakeMendel... for their shorter delivery timeframe, and a good price. I may get burnt, but my promise to Tejal and everyone is that I will write up my experience, good or bad.

So far, so good, the saying goes...
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 09, 2011 06:10PM
How much does it cost to ship that printer to the US? I've always seen lower priced stuff from India but the shipping cost is unbelievably high.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 09, 2011 07:10PM

The shipping for that is quoted as $161 USD ($770 - $599). I imagine that an assembled unit would be more to ship...
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 09, 2011 08:36PM
For a price like that I would expect on call customer service. Contact them about your troubles.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 13, 2011 10:33PM
does anybody own one of these yet?
they look just like the original, only they still use the v6 hotend. (i guess).
id like to see one run on youtube.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 14, 2011 06:24AM

I am supposed to get my kit in about two weeks. I will let this forum know how my build goes...
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 23, 2011 04:23PM
I stumbled here looking for reviews of their service. Their products look good, but I'm suspicious of their low prices ($110 for gen6 electronics?) and how the interface of the website seems copy'd and pasted from mendel-parts (Names of menus, etc.)
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 23, 2011 07:10PM

Yep, I understand. I ordered by Orca two weeks ago, and Tejal at makemendel says it will ship tomorrow. I will be notified by him of the tracking number, and I promised him and this RepRap forum to report my experience. Hopefully, I will be reporting tomorrow that my Orca has shipped!

As I said above, I believe the unit will ship on time, and then next question will be: how good is the kit and the instructions? I will let everyone know...
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 24, 2011 02:14PM
That would be very much appreciated Cosmic thumbs up
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 24, 2011 02:20PM
To all that are following my experiences with this vendor:

I started a pre-sales email conversation with Tejal at MakeMendel at the beginning of December, and it took 10 emails going back and forth over the period of a week to clarify my needs. All my emails were answered the same day, considering the timezone difference (the vendor is in India and I am in New Mexico in the USA.)

These interactions went a long ways towards giving me comfort in dealing with a foreign vendor.

I chose to order their Orca kit, with a list price of $599 on Dec 10th. Shipping was $171 USD. MakeMendel's website states shipping in 1 to 2 weeks. Today, Dec 24th, I received the tracking number for the package. I did not 'bug' MakeMendel during their two week shipping window, but still received several updates from Tejal during this period as to my printer's progress through their business cycle.

So, I would rate this vendor as excellent in customer service... they do what they say they can do and stay in communication... which is a breath of fresh air in this whole 3D printer domain.

I will let everyone know how it goes for me once I receive the Orca and begin the build!
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 24, 2011 02:33PM

I will report here when I receive my kit and am also willing to answer any questions you have as to the gen6 board, which I believe is part of my kit.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 28, 2011 01:31PM
To all that are following my experiences with this vendor:

I received my printer via UPS this morning. It was still in India just 30 hours ago, but once it hit the USA, it flew through customs and then arrived out here in the boonies of New Mexico, pronto. I was surprised by that.

This afternoon I will unpack it, and begin the build.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
December 29, 2011 10:51AM
To all that are following my experiences with this vendor:

I unpacked the Orca yesterday afternoon and checked the parts against the included packing list, which has a picture of each of the parts - nice.

I did not count all the washers, bolts and nuts, but they were nicely bagged in zip-lock bags, and the ones that were easily countable had an extra or two. The only items that seemed to be missing were the opto flags, but there is a piece of flat, thin metal that I assume was included so I can cut the flags from that(?)

There were no instructions in the kit, so I downloaded the V0.3 manual from mendelparts and started the build. I had a little trouble on step 1 with fitting the 608 bearing into the Z-Bearing support and frame, and even more trouble on step 2. I ended up reaming out the aluminum on the support and frame to accept the bearing. Luckily I have a vice, so I was able to use that to press the bearing into place without messing it up (I hope). This took a couple of hours.

The instructions in the mendelparts manual are very easy to follow. I got to step 7 after 4 hours, and called it quits for the night.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 02, 2012 08:52PM
To all that are following my experiences with this vendor:

I spent the last few days assembling the Orca. I got to step 15 (Fitting the X-carriage)... but the V0.3 manual had blank pages for the last few steps of the process. I was able to use the Orca V0.2 manual to figure out most of the procedure.

However, I was not able to determine how to cable the Gen6 board to the extruder... I could find no forum posts or detailed pictures anywhere. By probing around on the Gen6 and looking at the schematics from mendel-parts.com, I came to believe that the fifth 4-pin connector (the one next the extruder connector) on the upper left part of the Gen6 was the connector for the thermistor and heater block.

It is also not clear how to put the thermistor onto the heater block... sad smiley

After that, I ran into a problem connecting the Gen6 board to my Windows XP machine... I got the right serial port drivers and whatnot installed with the help of the vendor, makemendel.com. They have been extremely responsive, and spent a few hours with me last night (via Skype IM) debugging my port problem. It is still yet to be resolved. Where we left it last night was that I would locate another machine, and see if that fixed the problem. Unfortunately, it did not.

I spent 8 hours today, poring over forums, trying to see if anyone has had a similar problem and perhaps had found a solution. It's a problem with the USB communications between my Gen6 board and computer: RepSnapper thinks it has a good USB serial port, and sends a M105 code out to the board, but receives no response and gives up after 5 tries.

I tried a few different versions of RepSnapper - but all had the same symptoms...

Any ideas out there?
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 06:11AM
Make sure the baud rate is matching on the software/hardware ends.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 06:14AM
From My experience, Repsnapper does not play well with Gen6

Use this link [www.mendel-parts.com]

download (-Its a bit long winded to install) Pronterface with Skeinforge(or Sfact) and you should have no problem.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 07:04AM
Hi Cosmic

I have a v9 mendel-parts hot end which I think will be similar to yours, and have wired it up as explained in this thread: [forums.reprap.org] There are some pictures lower down the page.
For the electronics, this is the page on the wiki, and the part that shows the wiring up of the heater and thermistor: [reprap.org] If you have the newer version of the electronics with heated bed support, I'm not sure how that is wired up and it is not covered in the wiki.
I used Repsnapper for a while, until I changed the firmware on the Gen6 to Marlin. Repsnapper (on Apple Mac, at least, as it is not the latest version) does not read the temperature. Use Kliment's Printrun, which is actively being developed, though a little annoying to install. : [github.com]
For slicing models, I am using Slic3r (very easy to use): [slic3r.org] or SFACT (lots of settings to mess around with): [github.com]
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 02:01PM
Hi jkomp316,

Thanks for the suggestion.... but was nothing that easy. The engineer at MakeMendel had to mess with the firmware on my Gen6 board, which fixed the problem. Except for the fact that their work day starts at 10:00 in the evening, my time, they were just super to work with... never had to wait more than 18 hours for an answer or help.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 02:03PM
Hi Lucastar,

I will play with your suggestion, once I get the final details of my build done!

Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 02:08PM
Hi droftarts,

Wow, those links were super helpful! Thanks a ton. Turns out I did something similar, but not quite as elegant, so I am tempted to copy your method before I attempt my first print.

As you might be able to guess from my prior posts today, MakeMendel got my USB connection problem solved, so now there are only two things I need to do. The first is what I just mentioned in the first paragraph: rebuild the wiring on my hot end. The second is that my Z axis is binding... can't seem to figure out how to get it freed up...

Thanks for your help!
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 04:41PM
For the Z axis binding. We had that problem on our Prusa Mendel. I needed to make extra sure to have the threaded rods square and parallel. Also added some lubricant, Boshield. My understanding is WD-40 and oil will attract dirt and/or get gummy over time.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 05:33PM
I put silicone oil in my z threaded rods. I read in this forum that the usual hydrocarbon oil will damage the printed part eventually.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 09:05PM
Did he inform you what he changed in the firmware? We all appreciate awnsers.
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 03, 2012 09:51PM
Thanks for the good suggestions on the Z axis.

jkomp316: I have a request into Rasik at MakeMendel to find out what the difference was... curious minds need to know...
Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 04, 2012 03:32PM

This is my first post on this forum to tell about my experience with Makemendel.

I ordered an Orca 0.30 at makemendel on December 9th. It has been shipped through UPS on December 26th, and I got it in Paris (France) on December 29th. I fully confirm all that Cosmic1953 said about Tejal, Orca 0.30 and makemendel (and no! this is not astroturfing.). At least up to now, for me these guys are serious and very helpful.

I bought a Makerbot Thingomatic 3 month ago, knowing nothing about 3d printers, but having a solid background in tabletop CNC and embedded systems development. I enjoyed it a lot, but quickly found limitations, especially about the size of parts and noise, and started searching the market for something better. The Orca from Mendelparts was looking like the perfect machine, but I quickly discovered the business practices of that company... too bad, but I liked the design and the price tag.

Then my friend Google found makemendel. I sent a couple enquiries which were answered immediately, and I started thinking:
- There is a superb design which is open source (means that the IP is legally available for free), Camiel of mendel-parts did a tremendous technical job, but mendel-parts understand nothing about business (and it looks like they never will, as business is not fun for geeks), and is located in a high-price country.
- This is a low technology domain (providing a set of rods, nuts, aluminium parts and an arduino with stepper drivers is not rocket science) so the entry barrier is low, and there is no strong competitor with unbeatable business or technical advantage.
- All that makes a perfect development opportunity for a small technical company started in 2003 by 2 people, which was able to survive up to now (maintaining a business for 9 years means that they are serious), but without real success (see [www.softtact.com] ), located in a low-wages country. Too bad for Mendel-parts, but that's life!

This was a consistent picture, being an early adopter would mean getting excellent service, even if there are rough edges, and they were the only ones offering the design that I wanted, so I ordered the kit.

I am now at step 7 of building the Orca, cutting opto-flags in aluminium foil, and *up to now* happy of what I got for my money !!!

Hope that it will help,


Re: Orca by MakeMendel
January 04, 2012 06:33PM
Maybe it should be called FakeMendel?
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