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Meetup February 20, 2010

Posted by SheepdogRD 
Meetup February 20, 2010
January 28, 2010 11:22AM
Let's plan another meetup on February 20. That's a Saturday. We'll start at noon, but we'll have the building open about 11:30 if anyone arrives early.

Johnny Russell (of UltiMachine.com) will be here with his machines and crew and samples. Rob Sweet says he'll be here, too; he's just starting his Mendel build, and we can high-five his progress. smiling smiley

We'll be at the same location:
Abacus Solutions, LLC
Suite 120
1190 Kennestone Circle NW
Marietta, GA 30066

If you punch this address into a GPS or mapping software, it may not find "1190", but you can use "1200" and it'll guide you right. Once you get onto Kennestone Circle, Abacus is in the building on your right, at the far (south) end. You'll see the Abacus name on the door.

Get it on your calendar . . .
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
January 29, 2010 07:04AM
With a little luck, I should be printing by then. smiling smiley

Rob.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
January 29, 2010 10:06AM
We will be there.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
January 31, 2010 08:27PM
Would you mind having a newcomer at this meeting? I just recently found out about these machines and am quite interested in seeing one in person.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
January 31, 2010 08:48PM
Brian Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Would you mind having a newcomer at this meeting?
> I just recently found out about these machines and
> am quite interested in seeing one in person.

Please come. We all started as newcomers, so we'll treat you like family.
toby
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 08, 2010 10:49PM
I spent several hours over the weekend reading various websites related to MakerBot and RepRap/Mendel and that pretty much sums up my knowledge/experience. I live in Kennesaw and am very interested in learning more about this. Since you're welcoming newbies, I hope to join you on the 20th.

In the meantime, I was wondering if you could clear up some points of confusion I have.

Background: I'm a little geeky, but not super hard-core...I read about the MakerBot Cupcake in Wired magazine last week, which is where I started this adventure. I was looking for a local tech center or user group for the MakerBot which is how I found this group. As I read through the thread, I learned a little about the Mendel - more googling and I think I've learned enough to thoroughly confuse myself. Can you guys help me with the following questions:

From everything I've been reading, it seems that Mendel is what people want. Besides the bigger build area, what are the other main advantages? Is it faster? Less maintenance?

-I'm seriously considering spending $800-$1000 on the Cupcake, but I have a lot to learn. What is the estimated cost to build a Mendel? I followed another thread here and I think it's $175-electronics, $170-hardware, $200-mendel printed parts (hard to find). Do I have that right? Anything missing from this equation?

What about software compatibility. I'll prob use SketchUp and/or Blender - is there anything to be aware of with respect to software?

What about precision/accuracy/quality of the prints? My understanding is that you'd use the same extruder

I'm thinking the Cupcake might be the easiest way to 'get going' for a novice like me since it's a 'kit' with instructions to build and a budding community to get support from.

Sorry to pepper you guys with so many questions...I'm really anxious to get started, but want to get a better idea of what I'm getting into before making a decision.

Thanks in advance for any help here.

toby.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 09, 2010 02:43AM
toby Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> From everything I've been reading, it seems that
> Mendel is what people want. Besides the bigger
> build area, what are the other main advantages?
> Is it faster? Less maintenance?
>
Go to the main RepRap Mendel page and you will see a list of Darwin vs Mendel plus a very nice video explaining the design improvements.

> -I'm seriously considering spending $800-$1000 on
> the Cupcake, but I have a lot to learn. What is
> the estimated cost to build a Mendel? I followed
> another thread here and I think it's
> $175-electronics, $170-hardware, $200-mendel
> printed parts (hard to find). Do I have that
> right? Anything missing from this equation?
>
The RepRep page has an estimate of $520 for the Mendel.

The RP parts are as you mentioned the unknown in the equation.
Many people are forced to go the RepStrap route whereby the McWire RepStrap appears to be the easiest to make...

> What about software compatibility. I'll prob use
> SketchUp and/or Blender - is there anything to be
> aware of with respect to software?
>
YES, those can both export to STL.
  • SketchUp is quick and easy to use.
  • Blender is powerful but has a steeper learning curve.

> What about precision/accuracy/quality of the
> prints? My understanding is that you'd use the
> same extruder
>
Basically true although the MakerBot extruder uses a DC motor and the RepRap extruder a stepper motor but they both press the melted plastic through a 0.5 mm hole (although some are experimenting with 0.3 mm orifices).

> I'm thinking the Cupcake might be the easiest way
> to 'get going' for a novice like me since it's a
> 'kit' with instructions to build and a budding
> community to get support from.
>
YES, the advantage is you order one item and receive everything you need.
With the Mendel you must buy some things from MakerBot, some from the hardware store and others from other online stores. And of course you must get the thick part pieces (which can be ordered from Ponoko.com) and cut the steel bar and threaded bar to the correct lengths.

The MakerBot is a very nice unit loosely based on the Darwin design.
It has some nice features and you will definitely have a working FDM machine much quicker if you go this route.
However you will learn more if you build the Mendel plus have all the advantages of the improved design.

Good Luck whatever route you choose to take!
toby
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 09, 2010 12:31PM
Thanks for the info - very helpful.

I like the idea of 'nearly turnkey' that is the cupcake, but I like the idea of the learning more, bigger print area, and saving a few bucks with the Mendel approach. Given the backorder situation at MakerBot, wondering if it might actually be quicker to go the Mendel route.

Johnny - did I read that you were making/selling the printed parts for the Mendel?
Sheepdog - did you get all your parts ok when you did the batch order?

Hope to see you guys at the meetup.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 11, 2010 06:18PM
As close as the meetup is, I'd recommend waiting until after that to make your decision. I'd be happy to share some of my experiences in building my Mendel and I'm sure that the others coming will do the same - that's why we're all meeting, right? smiling smiley

For some pictures of my build progress, have a look at [picasaweb.google.com] . I've got a good bit of info in the captions as well. I plan on writing up some of my build notes to go along with the pictures once I get everything working pretty well.

FWIW, I bought my plastic parts from a friend of mine locally who has access to a commercial rapid prototyping machine (more on that at the meeting) and including that cost and misc. odds and ends, I'm up to around $850 spent. You can get that down if you're willing to do things like build your own electronics from scratch but I wanted to be sure that any problems I had weren't due to things like bad soldering on my part. So, for me at least, the Mendel will cost about the same as a MakerBot but I'll have a much more capable machine when I'm done.

See you all on the 20th. smiling smiley

Rob.

Rob.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 12, 2010 02:34AM
robsweet Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...So, for me
> at least, the Mendel will cost about the same as a
> MakerBot but I'll have a much more capable machine
> when I'm done.
>

Except, have you seen the new heated platform that MakerBot now offers?


Bob Morrison
W├Ârth am Rhein, Germany
"Luke, use the source!"
BLOG - PHOTOS - Thingiverse
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 15, 2010 02:15PM
I have and it looks interesting but a heated bed will be additional cost for either machine. It sounds like a heated bed is the way to go so I'll be working on one as soon as I get the basics working properly.

Rob.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 16, 2010 01:24PM
toby Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sheepdog - did you get all your parts ok when you
> did the batch order?

Yes, we got all the Mendel parts in. We'll have rod, fastener and bearing kits available at the meetup.

I agree with Rob on the electronics; I'm waiting for MakerBot to get the electronics -- or at least the kits -- back in stock. I'd rather just buy the ready-made stuff this round, and build my own for the next version, after I've gotten started printing. I expect this will just be the first of the machines I build.

For three of the four motors, I'll be trying NEMA17s I got out of some discarded IT equipment. If they aren't what I need, I'll use motors from UltiMachine.com.

I haven't decided whether to go with the printed gears or to buy commercial gears.

I plan to print with black PLA material, also from UltiMachine.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 16, 2010 04:40PM
If you can dig up any info on those steppers, Holding Torque is the stat that you want to look at. Which gears are you thinking that you'll need to go commercial for?

I emailed Johnny last night asking him to bring down some green PLA for me. My ABS is black and I don't want to get them confused. FWIW, I was thinking the other day that if someone were going to print out sets to sell, it would be really cool to print groups of pieces in particular colors to make it easier to find them (i.e. green for X axis, blue for Y, black for structural elements, etc.) It could make it easier to build but it could also make for an ugly machine. smiling smiley

Rob.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 17, 2010 11:46AM
I think the color coding is a great idea, but I agree that different-colored parts make for a less-attractive machine. We could get the same color coding with an unobtrusive colored dot painted on the bottom of each part. I want to print with the black PLA because I think the black parts and the silver and black fasteners would make a great-looking machine. (I suspect it would be hard to photograph, though.)

Once we have motors that do the job, I figure gears are really the crux of system accuracy. The printed gears I've seen have been less than perfect, and I know that the gears need to match the belts perfectly for the best accuracy. Bad match between gears and belt means inaccurate printing. Gates has belts and pulleys with the recommended trapezoidal teeth, anywhere from 2mm pitch on up. I have some Gates 2mm gears and 1/4" belts that came with the steppers I took out of a deceased ADIC tape library, but the 2mm belt has relatively small teeth, so it's more likely to slip. The 5mm size is tested and proven, but we're not putting a lot of stress on the drive system, so it might be interesting to try the smaller ones I have. All it would cost is a test belt for $20 or so. I'll have to recalculate the belt length, but I don't think there will be any revision necessary.

I'll dig around for holding torque data on the steppers.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 19, 2010 09:32PM
Well I don't think I'm going to make this meeting. I don't trust my car to make it the distance from Auburn and back, and the car I was going to borrow isn't available. For now I'll try and figure out more on my own, but I will try to make one of these meetings eventually. I hate to miss out on it.

One question I do have about the capability of these machines is I have a small gear roughly 3/8" in diameter with 11 angled teeth, and about 1/4" wide. Are these machines precise enough to replicate that small of an object?
toby
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 19, 2010 09:48PM
Just confirming you guys still plan to get together. I have soccer in the morning and plan to meet up after that...might be a few mins late, but hopefully not more than 20-30 mins. Not sure how long you guys will be hanging out.

Looking forward to learning more about this craziness.

See you tomorrow.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 19, 2010 10:24PM
Brian Wrote: ". . . I have a small gear roughly 3/8" in diameter with 11 angled teeth, and about 1/4" wide. Are these machines precise enough to replicate that small of an object?"

@Brian: I don't think RepRap can get that fine, yet; about 0.5mm resolution, right now. Sounds like your part might be a candidate for Alumilite casting. With some care and the right technique, Alumilite can produce some amazing detail, though it has its challenges, too. The materials are relatively costly.

Toby Wrote: " Just confirming you guys still plan to get together. I have soccer in the morning and plan to meet up after that...might be a few mins late, but hopefully not more than 20-30 mins. Not sure how long you guys will be hanging out.
Looking forward to learning more about this craziness.
See you tomorrow."


@Toby: Yes, we're definitely meeting. We'll probably be there several hours -- at least until 3:00 -- so come on ahead even if you can't be there right at noon. It won't be a "meeting", with an official opening and closing, but rather a self-moderating "meetup" of like-minded souls sharing questions, answers, information, guidance, sources, resources, etc.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2010 10:25PM by SheepdogRD.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 20, 2010 07:52PM
Hey, thanks for coming out today, everybody. It was really nice to put some faces with the names I've been seeing. I hope everybody got some of their questions answered - I know I did. smiling smiley

Rob
toby
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
February 21, 2010 10:51PM
I had a great time...definitely got some questions answered. Not exactly sure what I'm getting myself into here, but I'm diving in.

Rob - I bought one of the hardware sets after you left, officially committing myself to this craziness. In otherwords, I've ruled out the MakerBot and hope to catch up with your progress soon, building the Mendel.

I read for hours last night and have learned a ton since Sat morning. I'm sure I'll have tons of questions moving forward, but I'm definitely looking forward to working on this.

Looks like printed parts AND electronics are going to be a challenge to source. Looking at MakerBot, the pre-built boards are sold out without mention of an expected ship date. If you guys hear of anything, please let me know...

thanks,

toby.
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
March 12, 2010 05:33PM
Coming into Atlanta this weekend with my Makerbot, heated build plate, and a 95% complete mendel set, are any people in the atlanta area interested in meeting up for lunch or something?


repraplogphase.blogspot.com
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
March 13, 2010 01:05AM
where in atlanta will you be? how long are you here for?
Re: Meetup February 20, 2010
March 15, 2010 12:43AM
Wife put the hold on my meeting up.. I keep repeating in my head "I love my wife, I love my wife" winking smiley


repraplogphase.blogspot.com
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