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RepRap - improvements

Posted by Tarakan 
RepRap - improvements
May 26, 2013 08:02PM
I live in a small town, in Frederick MD, USA.

I would like to contribute some ideas to the RepRap development.

I have an idea that can allow a very cheap and precise drive mechanism for a 3D printer. It was tested but for different applications.

I have one idea that may allow 3D printers to assemble SMD electronics, almost without any modifications. I know that there is a lot of research going on in this area...

I also have an idea of how to improve print quality for some classes of work. This idea, too, was tested, but not in 3D printing. I saw another machine that works on a similar principle and I want to apply this to 3D printing and rapid prototyping.

I would like to learn more about the programming that goes into the control module as well as the circuit of the RepRap.

I would like to join a development team and learn as much as I can about the status quo of RepRap designs.

If the ideas I want to test out confirm experimentally, I don't want people to capitalize on them, but instead I want to bring them to the masses. This is why I want to work on THIS project.

If you are a 3D printing guru with machining capabilities, and you live in Baltimore - Washington DC area, help me please.
Thank you.
Feel free to write me personal messages.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/26/2013 08:26PM by Tarakan.
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 26, 2013 09:42PM
The standard way to contribute is to openly share ideas through the forum and the wiki. By documenting your ideas here you can safegaurd them against patents. Not that people can't steal these ideas and patent them but they will have less of a legal footing if they try to sue us.

Share freely. I look forward to hearing your ideas.
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 26, 2013 10:31PM
I will.
I still do feel a little bit uneasy about letting go of my ideas because I am an underemployed delivery truck driver...

1) To make an additive lathe. In a way it is like a pottery wheel with a head stock-like device that the project is going to be layered onto. An extruder would be movable towards and away from the center of the spindle.
A "head stock" - like device should also be movable against the extruder nozzle to allow this device to function like an ordinary CNC 3D printer.

This will allow people to rapid prototype parts that have a rotational symmetry and keep all mating surfaces very accurate. If waste-wax casting would at one point meet RepRap than this method of manufacturing will be in a very great demand.

2) I would not talk about SMD electronics at this time. I need to consult RepRap enthusiasts in my area so I can work on it with them. The basic idea is that a copper clad will be used. It will be molten to a base. Than a filament that would be LOADED WITH SMD COMPONENTS in the order it should release them onto a copper surface, some flux and some soldering paste would be loaded into the machine and released through a special nozzle... I can give more information but I have no practical research data. There is also a heatsinking problem that I foresee, there would be a possibility of electronics assembly flaws that would go undetected, except by an x-ray. But I see how silicon wafers would soon have no epoxy resin bodies and would be connected directly to the copper plate.
There would still be etching. This process is more of a futurology forecast then a project unless proper financing and resources would be provided for me.

I need to run some experiments to be more specific about things.

I also don't want the military to get their hands on this technology before normal people do. I don't want this technology to be used to take human lives.

3) I think that although stepper motors hold status quo today, they are not an ideal device to make a machine head (cutter, spindle) move around.
I want to experiment with linear actuators. In fact I want to build a platform that would allow some LINEAR STEPPER ACTUATORS to move a "head". In fact they will allow it to move across the plane in two directions. A large magnet will hold the head to the platform while linear stepper motors would grip onto the surface and step this head, either in X or Y direction. At one point I built this device but I left it to a man with whom I tried to build it. In this design, soft iron cubes were glued to a heavy sheet of glass. Two linear stepper motor coils had crawled across this surface and caused it to move very precisely. (I could not build perfect electronics for it and some parts were burned by counter-EMF) A huge magnetic ring held the moving head to this glass table by being attracted to iron cubes.

EVERYTHING in this design was based around the diameter of the ring. Cubes were placed so the ring is always covering either 1/3 or 2/3 of the cube width + 1 space between cubes. This was done to make sure that the ring doesn't interfere with the X and Y that were achieved by the linear stepper motors. I can clarify this part.

If anyone in Washington DC/ Baltimore area can lend me their 3D printer for a short period of time many of the questions may become answered.
My friend used to have a $20,000 3D printer and a machine shop but he had to sell both and move many miles away.

I am a practical person. I don't propose things that cannot be accomplished.

I also want to experiment with the actual extruder nozzle design. I see that there are ways to make parts vary smooth and make the curvature of the bead of molten plastic match the natural curvature of the part. This can be accomplished with different nozzle shapes or entirely through CONTROL ELECTRONICS. I can see how this can be done very cheaply with existing parts.

Help me refine and build those ideas, please.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2013 12:23AM by Tarakan.
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 12:46AM
Hi Tarakan,

It is great to see new people with new ideas come to the forum. Welcome! You might be interested in taking a look at some of these projects that are related to what you are proposing:

See this forum thread discussing an additive lathe project. More information on the additive lathe can be found here.

Various ideas for making electronics are listed on the Automated Circuitry Making wiki page.

A number of ideas for making different kinds of motors are listed on the Actuator Fabrication wiki page. Alternatives to stepper motors are discussed frequently (here is a recent discussion). You would probably like this older thread about reprappable linear drives.

You might also be interested in the nearby hackerspace Baltimore Node.

Best of luck with your projects!
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 01:37AM
I would like to reach to those people.
My linear drive idea is very refined, honed out and economically justified. I spent a long time thinking about it. Almost failed my high school freshman year!!!

I will try to reach people that want to build an additive lathe.

Baltimore Node meets on Thursdays at 7:00. Unfortunately I work until 1AM on Thursdays.

Electronics assembly has to wait till I meet more people and have a more realistic idea of what DIY 3D printing really is.
Flux, soldering paste, masking polymer and SMD components go into a hollow tube that will be fed through a specially shaped extruder.

I wish that I could pay dues, use a shop, talk to people and get everything done in a month so it will pay enough money for itself.

Thank you.
Maybe I can send in pictures of my 2D linear drive. This is the mother of all my ideas. I want it built and I can convince people to do it.
It will bring this project further from self-replication, but I feel like it is a good idea. It can make a very compact 3D printer or even a small CNC milling machine.

Who are the people behind the development of the control electronics for this device? I would really like to write to them.
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 06:02AM
The forum and Wiki can be a muddled, confusing and often contradictory source of information.

Some of the most active developers are on IRC.
Server: Freenode
Channel: #RepRap

In terms of electronics you can speak to Kliment (and many others)
In terms of firmware again you can talk to Kliment, EvdZ and bkubicek
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 10:11AM
What is IRC?
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 10:20AM
Internet Relay Chat ...grand daddy of all instant messaging systems smiling smiley
Here's a link to some clients for windows, if you're mac then google will help you I'm sure!

Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 10:21AM
IRC = Internet Relay Chat

Bob Morrison
W├Ârth am Rhein, Germany
"Luke, use the source!"
BLOG - PHOTOS - Thingiverse
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 10:27AM
So the development of this device is completely decentralized. There is no laboratory, no funded part, no dedicated machine shops?
Than who develops electronics?
I feel like if I would come up with improvements here, I will struggle because I am not very skilled in microcontroller programming.

When I start any serious development project, I try to get as close to the real people as I can get. Would IRC let me do this?
Maybe there are others in Frederick MD, but I am not sure IRC will get me there.

Is there any good book I shall read to learn how Arduino boards for 3D printers work?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2013 10:31AM by Tarakan.
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 11:19AM
There's not even a proper "this device" more a family of 3D printers that share the common goal of being made substantially from parts that are either easy to obtain (because they are commodity mass produced things) or can be printed by another printer (like mounting brackets and so on). Hence the electronics started out as commodity "arduino" boards with stepper motor driver addons that had been developed by the hobby robotics community. Then later this got remixed into monolithic boards like "printrboard".

Browse around and you'll find many "core developers" of many different devices. I'm just a fairly long time observer of the scene myself.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2013 11:20AM by Zedsquared.
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 09:13PM
I see.
I would like to buy some ready-made or well tested Arduino-based solution.
I am not sure about the software that will be used for this. I am also not so sure about the price and the kind of Arduino that I should go with.
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 27, 2013 11:18PM
Hi Tarakan,

In fact, we are in Bethesda, Maryland. We meet reprappers here all the time, at the DC robotics groups, the fablabs, the 3d printer conference, etc.
Yes the development of these systems is "Decentralized" though one usually make a development on Reprap their "baby" and they champion it to see if there is interest. After that they would oversee new developments and pull then into revision from a few serious competitors, or they will abandon the project, or consider it complete. That's the beauty and disadvantage of the open source movement. At the end of the day, you will get more support from these people, and a lower cost, and better working supplies, than if you spent $5000 somewhere else.

And somehow it works. The biggest downside though, is a contiguous start to finish product system. The only people who make a beginning to end system are people like Affinia/Up, Formlabs, etc. And guess what, they all go closed source and charge more, there we are again.

Thought i feel your demise, it took me 3 weekends to get my first Prusa printer working. Since then, I've accumulated a person list of software that is easy to work. If you are a tinkerer, and know even the most basic computer programming, than this is for you, otherwise you are going to need a friend, even more effort, or take one of the closed source solutions.

P.S. you really have to take a weekend and goto Maker Faire. in NYC, it will blow your mind how many more decentralized projects just work.

I should point out that the allure of Arduino is that traditional non-programmers, particularly artists, theatre, and stage set designers are using arduino to program all kinds of neat special effects, light shows, etc, with minimum effort. You can copy the arduino examples from all the centralized code examples they offer smiling smiley

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2013 11:21PM by Simba.
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 28, 2013 12:11AM
We drive closed - source automobiles.

There is a reason why USB was not very handy for CNC machines.
Big and precise machines usually have components that are far apart so networks of ETHERNET or CAN bus are used to connect them to dedicated controller machines.

Light and medium duty machines were controlled through parallel port. A dedicated computer historically was there just because it is easier that way on a factory floor. Many cnc machines still use floppies. I have seen it myself - machines are still there but all floppies had broken.

I like open source ideology but I am still using a PC because I don't want to tinker with a computer that must serve me.
I am not a very big tinkerer when it comes to technology and things that are already invented.

I want to tinker with some Victor Schauberger designs. This is why I want to build a 3D printer. It is cheaper to print shapes that are required for this kind of experimentation than to machine them.

I like the idea behind open source and I can try to contribute. I feel like some very standard CNC controller needs to be developed, based on Arduino and it should be sold for a 3 axis machine and for 5+ axis machine.

Windows is like a fascist political system in the cyber world while Linux is like anarchism. Mac and Windows are like Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany - pick whichever you like (part of the comparison comes from exploitation of workers in Asia) and we still rely on them every day.

So you have an "undeclared" hackerspace in Bethesda?
Re: RepRap - improvements
May 29, 2013 01:52AM
I feel that you are overly concerned about the electronics. Understandable if you haven't done this before.


I personally would suggest a one board solutions to start you off like the printrboard. I am personally in love with the Azteeg X1 but you have to buy stepper drivers to insert into the board. Most people like this so that they can be replaced if needed. (Azteeg X1 is built specifically for 3D printers where a Arduino is more general purpose. However, an Arduino/RAMPS, Azteeg, Printrboard, etc. can all be used interchangeably for standard 3D printing.)

There are also many options for firmware. I personally use Repetier.


Bottom line, your standard 3 axis controller exists and all the software is written. (Assuming you have a standard 3 axis stepper driven machine.) You may need to build a custom controller and/or write custom firmware if your drive mechanism is not stepper or servo-like. (I would expect you to be able to drive it with an Arduino and a few extra components.)

I am having trouble envisioning your drive mechanism. Would it be possible for you to make an illustration? I am very curious.
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