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Not to beat a dead horse...

Posted by Deputy659 
Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 07:02AM
Hey fellas (and ladies), I'm a new member, but I have been reading through this forum and wiki for the longest time now. All I can say is wow, so much information and really talented folks in one spot! For the last few nights I've been trying to seriously dial into a design that I want to build. Honestly I prefer the finished look of cabinet/enclosed models but as far as build lists they seem to be non-existent. I have come to the conclusion that such builds are for experienced folks who have already built one (or 8) and can customize their own parts. I have a full wood working shop so doing the cabinet later will definitely be in my sights. For now, however, I've decided to just go with a "simpler" build. I had really figured on going with the Mendel90 but I can't find a USA source for the printed parts. Does anyone have such a source? I guess my backup will probably be the Prusa V2 since I read that the V3 build instructions were not complete yet.

I'm confused about the heat on projects. On some threads I read that heated chambers help with larger projects and bonding between layers. But then on other posts I read about guys adding fans to cool between layers. What is the right application?

RAMPS or Gen 6. At this point, what is considered the "best", while trying to avoid the ford or chevy style of debate.

Thanks for the help folks.
Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 08:28AM
It helps to put your questions on their own line instead of burying them in a large paragraph of text :-)

Lulzbot is US-based and sells full sets of MendelMax parts: [www.lulzbot.com] They also sell the full printer.

RAMPS1.4 remains very popular, but there are some new single board solutions that look nice. One of which is RAMBO (http://shop.seemecnc.com/RAMBo-All-In-One-board-by-UltiMachine-RAMBO.htm?categoryId=-1), which is based on the RAMPS architecture but has everything integrated into a single PCB. If you choose RAMPS remember that you also need an Ardiuno Mega, which is around $70.

About heat... The theoretical goal is to keep the entire printed object at the same temperature, so it doesn't warp and the layers bond well. Too little heat is bad (hence why a heated bed is a good idea), but too much heat is also bad because the printed object stays too soft and wiggly. An enclosed chamber is unusual for most printers, and they manage to get very good results out of them. So it's not critical to have one.
Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 09:33AM
AFAIK, Tantillus is somewhat an enclosed machine.

Ultimaker too, although is seems difficult to collect all the parts yourself (opposed to buying a kit).

Most of my technical comments should be correct, but is THIS one ?
Anyway, as a rule of thumb, always double check what people write.
Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 09:36AM
I agree that you should change the subject to get to the point. I almost ignored this thread since I had no idea what it was about.

I would advice against building the Prusa i3 given the other choices available today. The frame rigidity really does matter if you want to print with speed. I'm sure that getting printed parts for the Mendel90 in the US is not that hard if that's what you want. Someone in this forum can probably print them for you. I'm leaning towards aluminum extrusions myself for my next printer (the third), but I haven't decided on which one yet. The Aluminum Mendel seems like a good option. I'm also thinking a Prusa i3 with aluminum extrusion instead of lasercut aluminum plates. Lulzbot has a new printer that looks attractive too: [devel.lulzbot.com]. They're an OSH company so you can save some money if you want by sourcing some of the parts yourself and getting the rest from them.

As far as electronics, I've been very pleased the Azteeg X1 in my Prusa i3. It's cheap Sanguinololu equivalent but it comes assembled except for your choice of connectors. It handles heated bed really well with the included Mosfet heatsinks and it supports a fan for your extruder or part. If you want a second extruder, then he also made a RAMPS equivalent called the Azteeg X3.

As far as heat, it depends on what you're printing. With ABS which warps more than PLA, I get the best results when printing large parts to keep the printer in a closed chamber (cardboard box smiling smiley ). With the printer running and the heated bed set at 130C, the inside temperature goes to around 45C. With PLA, people do tend to use fans to cool the part a bit since it stays soft longer than ABS. Printing over soft plastic leads to distorted prints. People that use PLA don't use a chamber and as far as I see, only a few people who use ABS print inside a chamber. It probably depends on the size of their prints.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/03/2012 09:56AM by brnrd.
Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 09:38AM
If you choose RAMPS remember that you also need an Ardiuno Mega, which is around $70.

*Choking sounds*

Sorry, I almost swallowed my tongue. Check Mouser - $42 for an Arduino Mega. And if you're good with SMD stenciling/soldering you can spend $45 on the DIY RAMPS Kit from Ultimachine and save yourself a bundle.

The RAMB0 is a nice all-in-one solution. The only problem I have with that type of solution is the inability to swap out drivers. Look into the X3 by panucatt. royco on the forums can tell you all about it.

Different materials have different requirements. PLA is extruded at a lower temperature, but needs a fan to help cool it quickly to 'fix' its shape. A heated bed is a good idea for PLA as it help the printed object stick to the bed. ABS is extruded at a higher temp and likes to stay nice and warm. A heated build chamber helps to eliminate the warping that occurs as a temperature differential develops within the part.

As far as machines go, continue to research. If you're settled on the Prusa v2 there are plenty of places that sell the printed parts or entire kits.

But if you just want the printed parts and want to source the rest yourself I would just reach out to one of the members of the forum and ask them. I'm sure people here would be willing to help you.

- akhlut

Just remember - Iterate, Iterate, Iterate!

Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 09:54AM
Mantis & WolfStrap are two all-wooden designs, no printed parts neccessary. Except for the extruder, perhaps. They work fine, are just not popular because - well - they can't be printed.

Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 10:44AM
I have been looking at the ecksbot recently : Ecksbot on Thingiverse

They have done a pretty good job with build instructions and a simple "bill of materials"

The general design of the ecksbot seems to encompass the general ideas of most modern RepRap designs pretty well too.

You are right that there is no simply way to break into the hobby yet; I hope to work on that problem a little bit.
Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 03:01PM
Ok, sorry about the vague post heading - I'll do better next time. I'm not sure how to change it after a post is started though?

Thanks for all the replies. I'm not married to the idea of any one particular style right now. I honestly thought that the M90 and Pv3 were both considered to be very stable designs as well as newbie friendly. Honestly, my second choice after an enclosed build would be one of the aluminum extrusion designs. I can't remember a particular name at the moment but I really like those where the vertical supports meet the base at a 90 degree angle. If anyone has a complete build log of this style I would really appreciate a name or link.

I do like the little tantillus but was a little reluctant earlier in my search because the build area seemed to be kinda small. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel per se, I'm just looking for a solid design with plenty of build information to support a new guy. I'm definitely open to suggestions! I guess my criteria is as follows: Build log/BOM - probably the most important by far, I want a design that has been dumbed down for new builders. Cost - since I'm already planning on a second build after I get comfortable with the first, I would like to wade in at around $500 give or take. A budget like this doesn't allow for many full kits, but I'm ok with sourcing my parts so long as I know what I need. Stability - clearly I want a rock solid design. I don't want something that will constantly shake itself apart or give crappy print results. Beyond that, my only other concern would be print quality. Like everyone else, I want the best print quality I can get, even if I have to go with a slower printer design to get it. And while I'm wishing, if these 3 criteria could be coupled with a cabinet or extrusion frame, all the better.

I'm sure I'll have more questions when I get back to work tonight.

Many thanks!
Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 03:28PM
I think the Mendel 90 is a stable design, but the Prusa i3 is fairly new.

If you're leaning toward extruded aluminum you have a few choices.

MendelMax1.5 has been out for a while. Lulzbot just put out the TK0. And then there's the Prism or Prism 1.5. I finished the Prism 1.5 a little while ago - there is a frame build manual out on my github.

At $500 it's going to be a little hard, but I bet you can do it. You'll just have to economize on your choices. My only advice to you would be to source the parts you need from as few vendors as possible, unless of course the net price differential swamps the shipping costs.

- akhlut

Just remember - Iterate, Iterate, Iterate!

Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 03:40PM
If you're starting with a budget of $500, I start by deciding on electronics and steppers, they'll be the largest part of your budget.
If you want to go with AL extrusions, I'd try and source them locally, shipping can be a killer, if your in the US and have a local Grainger, they sell them, but you'll have to cut to length yourself.
I have a MendelMax, mine cost me about $650-$700 to source, but I spent probably another $100 after that trying to get rid of the minor Z Wobble my original build had.
I think something like the Mendel 90 would be cheaper if you cut corners on the build (I suspect the connectors and wiring add up), I think you lose some of what's good about the Mendel 90 when you do that though. IMO it's the attention to detail on that particular design that make it interesting.
I don't have a strong opinion on the i3.
Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 04:36PM
Deputy659 Wrote:

> really figured on going with the Mendel90 but I
> can't find a USA source for the printed parts.
> Does anyone have such a source?

Mendel90 USA? build with pics take a look at

M90 build

inc a BOM (Metric?) with parts suppliers worldwide. Ignore the 12v 6A PSU not needed.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/03/2012 04:42PM by mmt.
Re: Not to beat a dead horse...
October 03, 2012 11:56PM
The $500 budget isn't set in stone or anything. If I could start with an extruded or cabinet style printer, I would be ok with spending more money to get what I wanted the first time around. If I have to go with a different design then I would like to keep costs as low as possible with an eye on my second build.

Thanks for the information on the heated vs unheated units. It really cleared everything up for me and gave me more to consider. Now that I'm at work I plan on reviewing all of the links you guys provided and see where I stand. I've got the money burning a hole in my pocket right now and I'm itching to jump in with both feet. lol

Ok fellas I wanted to jump back in here and say thanks again for sharing those links. I've spent most of the night further researching these and more. I was really blown away by the build logs for the 1.5 - it was so clear and concise that I honestly think i'll go that route, unless someone wants to throw another link into the mix?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/2012 06:11AM by Deputy659.
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