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Complete Beginner Questions

Posted by amiller112 
Complete Beginner Questions
September 21, 2009 08:35PM
Hi, I have just heard of the RepRap and I'm interested in buying one of the kits, either the one from Bitsfrombytes or the Cupcake one.
I have a few, probably very simple questions that might help me, Thanks in advance:

Are both machines compatible with the same codes?

I'm tending towards the more expensive one from BitsFromBytes, looks more professional and has a larger working area, what is the easiest to build and to operate?

I have downloaded the free version of TrueSpace and it seems to run fine, had a look at a few gears/ other objects in .STL format and it seems very powerful. Now this question may be very dumb for you seasoned RepRappers, but how can you tell how large your 3D design will be in the real world before printing? Is there a way of viewing the scale in mm or inches?(Unfamiliar with this tbh)

For a 5lb reel of ABS what sort of volume of plastic is that, for instance if it were all printed out as a 3d block what volume would it be?

What thickness of ABS is required, or are they all standard thickness?

Sorry for the masses of questions, just trying to get a good idea of how best to start out designing for it.
Any other tips/ suggestions are more than welcome, thanks.
Re: Complete Beginner Questions
September 21, 2009 09:05PM
From a data sheet off the web, I get a density of 0.0376 lb/inĀ³ or 0.6016 oz per cubic inches, which by my calculations works out to about 133 cubic inches per five pound roll, or one large cube just over five inches per side.
Re: Complete Beginner Questions
September 21, 2009 10:08PM
Both the RepRap and the Cupcake CNC use the same electronics. Every CNC machine that I know of runs on gcode. This is the actual code that tells the motors how far to move, along with other information.

BitsFromBytes sell a RepRap kit, but last I heard it was out of stock. My friend wanted to order the parts for a RepRap and could not find anyone that could just mail him part. So we decided to build a RepStrap. (if you are unsure what I mean read through the wiki on www.reprap.org)

I am not sure about TrueSpace, but all the CAD software I use has a way to measure different features in the model. SolidWorks has a tool called measure which gives you the dimensions. try to find something like that.

As for volume of the abs plastic, I have also been wondering that as well. The information from R.J.Bowman is for the abs you purchase. But I suspect that the density of printed parts is less then that. Because you can print with varying levels of fill. So I think you will get significantly more volume from a single 5lb roll.

As far as I know the Cupcake and RepRap both use 3mm diameter abs filament. However the builders blog has some posts about using 2mm diameter.

I hope that helps with some of your questions.

Re: Complete Beginner Questions
September 21, 2009 10:14PM
One more thing, if you are interested in having a CNC printer working as quick as possible and with very little effort then the CupCake CNC is what you should get. You can buy the kit and assemble it.

The RepRap is designed to be more of a build it yourself project. You will need to order parts, and put some work into building it yourself. But you will be able to then print the parts to build a second one. Or print parts to give to someone else.

finally the new version of the RepRap is called Mendel and is very awesome. Physically smaller, can print the same size parts, cheaper and more awesome in all ways. That is what I am building now, actually I'm building two, and have plans for another 3 or so.

Re: Complete Beginner Questions
September 22, 2009 03:58AM
Hi, We have a BitsfromBytes Rapman here at our studio and love every bit of it. The electronics are not compatible wit the reprap as opposed to the makerbot which uses the same electronics. The Rapman has a single standalone board controlling the whole machine from an sd card. On the other hand the machine from BitsfromBytes is mechanically much closer to the RepRap and thus a larger build area. From my experience the accuracy of the prints looks better on the Rapman. There will also be new printheads in the near future capable of milling etc. I think the makerbot is definitely quicker to assemble than a RepRap or Rapman.
my .2 cents
Re: Complete Beginner Questions
September 22, 2009 07:03AM
Thanks very much for the replies, very helpful indeed.
Pretty much answered all my questions very quickly smiling smiley

I am still undecided now as to whether buy the Cupcake or the BitsFromBytes one, but got truespace working properly now (kept crashing when saving, turns out my GFX card is on the way out), going to have a look at finding the measure tool you suggested and with any luck be printing my own stuff in the next month.

I have been waiting for something like the RepRap for years, ever since I saw a NASA rapid prototyper using liquid and a laser to solidify it to make 3D parts, so much better an idea than myself trying to cut parts by hand.

Thanks again.
Re: Complete Beginner Questions
September 22, 2009 07:08AM
One more thing, BitsFromBytes offer a full kit which is in stock, as do makerbot but theirs is out of stock till 19th of october.

I might just wait till near the end of october and buy one, need to see if I can design what I want yet, though now finding TrueSpace quite suitable for editing models.
Re: Complete Beginner Questions
September 22, 2009 08:27AM
I'm building the bitsfrombytes Rapman kit just now. It's pretty good so far.


Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Thomas A. Edison
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