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Lurking & learning for 3d printing

Posted by 3Dhead 
Lurking & learning for 3d printing
April 07, 2011 01:08AM
Hi all!

I've been lurking for a couple of weeks and am totally stoked about starting my own Mendel project. I'm taking the opportunity to introduce myself to the RepRap community here in preparation for some newbie questions soon to come. Right now from the little I know I think I'd like to build a Prusa flavor Mendel (open to suggestion). I have to admit that I'm not a programmer nor very electrically inclined. I love mechanical devices and 3D printers though! I fill the daytime hours of my life with automation and specifically concepting idea's for automation. I love tinkering and have dreamed for years of having my very own 3D printer!

I'm still kind of waffling on wheather I should just buy a kit or try and do a build myself. I think I'm pretty good at what I do and that is generating mechanical concepts for automation in a digital 3D form but what I'm poor at is sticking with a project for the long haul and beating it to death. With that said I'd really be ecstatic if I could complete a build like this, thus the challenge for me!

At work I have access to a machine shop, materials, and a commercial 3D printer of which I also operate. I'm positive all of the hardware and printed parts will be no problem to acquire/make, it's the electrical and or programming (understanding) I'm worried about. I want a platform of which I could experiment with my own idea's and just plain have a good time making stuff.

I really want to work with ABS for functional parts so i'm pretty sure I'm going to want a heated bed although I'm not sure what the current trend is. I've seen a few guys making their own and one or two pre-made solutions, although I haven't identified a supplier that currently has any (for use with Prusa). I also thought It was something I could add after my build easily but it looks like I should take into account the generation of electronics controller I choose? Anyway sorry to ramble on but I look forward to interacting with the RepRap community!

Re: Lurking & learning for 3d printing
April 07, 2011 01:18AM
glad to see more people aboard,

are you more inclined to buy a kit or source the parts you need.?

at first i was trying to build a repstrap, but in the end i had a hard time getting the parts i needed, so i bought what i needed from techzone, but i would also greatly recommend makergear.

i hope you can get over the hurdles you will face, i know i have managed to blow a few things up so far, that damn blue magic smoke is so hard to get back into things..lol

Re: Lurking & learning for 3d printing
April 07, 2011 03:49AM
Welcome to this happy breed.

Some people just want a 3d printer and get the fun from building parts, whilst others get the fun from making the equipment to build the parts, yet again you could do both, whichever you fit into enjoy the journey.

Random Precision
Re: Lurking & learning for 3d printing
April 07, 2011 05:18AM
Hey 3D head

FWIW I am handy with my hands and professionally a programmer. I have (read had) absolutely no knowledge of electronics.

I elected to source and build my own Mendel. It has been a voyage, and in fact still is... I am printing but the quality is not there yet.

I could ramble on about my trials and tribulations but suffice to say the amount of money I invested in parts kept me going when times were hard and it looked like there was no solution to my problems.

The payoff has been learning a lot about electronics (and if I was to do it again I would build the electronics from scratch), microcontroller programming and various other discaplins required to build the printer.

I have totally enjoyed the experiance and would heartily recomend it if you are mechanically competent and logically inclined.

What I am trying to say is don't let your lack of skills putyou off building one as you will learn and in fact learning the skills may well be a bigger payoff than the end result of having a 3D printer smiling smiley
Re: Lurking & learning for 3d printing
April 07, 2011 01:13PM
I'm in the same boat as AgeingHippy. I'm a programmer with minor mechanical experience (working on bikes mostly) and almost no electronics knowledge. I started with a Sell's Mendel though had it been available when I started I definitely would have gone with a Prusa. I got my printer working for the most part around 10 months after I started the project, with about a 3 month gap in the middle when I was too busy to work on it. I'm still working on it now, but mostly to improve quality (and if my hotend rebuild that's almost done is successful I may have made significant progress with that).

Its been a long time, but I've learned a ton and enjoyed it the whole way. If you're looking for a hobby and have the interest, I highly suggest building one.
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