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Ormerod or Mendel

Posted by moka 
Ormerod or Mendel
January 16, 2014 05:15PM
I understand that such question can be inappropriate in many ways, but I believe there are good arguments for both printers that will help newcomers to choose between them.

I am considering of getting Ormerod or Mendel, but to choose which - is not an easy decision.
Not being afraid of hard work, with understanding that printers that require assembly - require patience, time, and of course passion to learn and do the best.
I am developer and have some experience in mechanical engineering, so will be fine on assembling, so this should not be an argument for any printer.

But what I think most would be interested is to find out what experienced people who own or had experience with both printers would say, in details as well as in overall.

Points of interest would be:
1. Quality. It very much depends on skills of the user, but the process of achieving and possibilities of improving though modifications might be different in those printers.
2. Modification Friendly. What is better for long term, in terms of making it "cool" and keep improving it without big pain.
3. Maintainability. Ormerod is new, but experienced users can already say that there will be issues with maintaining specific things, with Mendel answering on this will be easier.
4. Major advantages/disadvantages between those two models in context of comparison.

Please provide some info, so that people can refer to this in the future.

With Regards,

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/2014 05:42PM by moka.
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 16, 2014 05:22PM

I had the same question as you so i PM'd some of the guys on here for advice.

For me it was between the Ormerod or the Prusa i3.

This is my first step into 3D printing and i was worried after reading through this forum that the Ormerod was 1 problem after the other. But the attraction is that its the newest out of the RepRap range and lots of 'cool' features will be added.

The Prusa i3 seems to be a well used design and has a lot of followers so if i got stuck then im probably only a YouTube video away from help.

Today i have ordered the Ormerod, reason being is that in the long run i feel that it will be a better investment. I know there's alot of work getting it going. but im going to follow the instructions and see where i land. If i have problems then ill read up on the forum and perhaps even submit a new thread if i need more advice.

I hope the forum will be welcoming to my 'silly' questions smiling smiley

Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 16, 2014 06:07PM
I have no experience of the Mendel, but I think the big advantage of the Ormerod is the Duet electronics, which has a much more powerful processor then the Melzi electronics used on the Mendel, built-in USB without going via serial and with flow control, and built-in Ethernet. This should eventually provide a lot more more functionality, when the firmware catches up. But I expect the Duet electronics will be available as an upgrade to the Mendel at some point.

The automatic bed plane compensation of the Ormerod is another theoretical advantage, although currently it is not usable in direct or strong indirect sunlight, or strong incandescent light. The modulated IR sensor which RRP are developing and I am already running with solves that.

Against that, the Mendel appears to be a more rigid construction (e.g. the x-axis is supported at both ends instead if being cantilevered), so I speculate that it may be easier to get accurate prints out of it.

Large delta printer [miscsolutions.wordpress.com], E3D tool changer, Robotdigg SCARA printer, Crane Quad and Ormerod

Disclosure: I design Duet electronics and work on RepRapFirmware, [duet3d.com].
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 17, 2014 03:22AM
I would love Ian to comment on this in an unbiased fashion! I own the Ormerod, the controller is far more powerful and with time and software upgrades, you will get the advantage despite issues already mentioned here.

That aside, the steppers I believe are identical, so it comes down to the mechanics and structure design for durability. I liked the Mendal but watched a youtube video of a guy ripping it and saying it was a pain and maintenance maintenance the whole time. Also changing something ment taking parts of the machine a part. I think he was harsh but he had some good points.

The Prusa i3 also looks solid and the overall structure looks durable and should all stay in alignment even when moved around. I am sure there will be bad points mechanically too. Both machines have older electronics. Basically the microcontroller has limited flash memory for advanced upgrades and runs slower on both. Ian is the right guy to really comment here.

Then there is the Ormerod... already under heavy use, people are noting space developing where bearings run on here in the forums, parts not up to the heat generated by abs printing and so on. I think the Mendal and Prusa i3 are one up on those points at this stage. In time the Ormerod will be refined to the point where it should be better. I am sure both Mendal and Prusa i3 must have also gone through development debugging. To what extent to frustration, I can't comment on except that if you want something that will just print and don't want to be fiddling for days and days with development issues, maybe one of the others are for you.

In the long run the Ormerod should be better. Not sure what others think but this can be debated (heavily) I am sure!


Ormerod #257
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 17, 2014 05:08PM
Mendel - Pros - well-proven design, mature, lots of instructions, lots of users, stable feature set, firmware etc. Tricolour version available.
Mendel - Cons - fast movements in X causes frame to shake (can cause 'frame ringing', though doesn't actually cause prints to suffer much), can be a long and complicated build, limited vertical build height, lots of parts, has to be carefully aligned for accurate prints.

I can't comment on the Prusa i3; I've never seen one printing. There are a quite a lot of kits out there, but I'm not sure how good the documentation is. It also uses Marlin (as does the Mendel) and existing reprap electronics. It does fix the Mendel X axis shake, and has a bigger build volume.

Ormerod - Pros - electronics have lots of potential, quick build, less parts, wiring looms (see the Mendel wiring instructions - wiring usually takes 2/3 of the build time!), large print envelope, axis compensation, designed with years of experience to overcome issues of previous designs, uses existing designs where appropriate (hot end, heated bed, extruder).
Cons - new unproven design (but being proven every day), new unproven electronics (but we're learning quick), teething problems (many fixes already exist).

I guess I'm going to be a bit biased. Ormerod is our future, and we're investing heavily in it, and keen to improve it, whilst keeping within the budget - we're one of the few companies that still provide a kit, rather than a pre-built, more expensive printer.

RepRapPro tech support
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 17, 2014 05:39PM
Thank you very much so far guys, for providing such detailed experiences and opinions - this has huge value!
From new user perspective: simplicity of construction of Ormerod - indeed looks more attractive, but has few worries such as: it is still young, and construction look less "stable?" (imho, but triangles and Mendel visually provides more trust by its rigidity).

Slightly unrelated question would be: How much current version of Ormerod potentially can be changed in terms of what you get in the future once you buy current version. Or is it more - once you have it (even earliest versions like if you buy it now), it actually can be improved to great state that it does print on full potential.

So actual advantage is not actual parts, but community, documentation and software and initial design solutions?

With Regards,

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/2014 05:42PM by moka.
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 18, 2014 06:20AM
The triangles of the Mendel/Prusa Mendel (i2) do provide a lot of structure and strength, but are actually in the wrong direction - the X axis moves back and forth across a square, which can deform as a parallelogram. Also, all the squares and triangles have to be carefully measured and straightened, to keep the axes square to one another. The Prusa i3 overcomes this by using a large solid structure (a big square, still) in the middle, but the X axis is still trying to deform this, and it still uses two rods for each axis, which must be both horizontally and vertically parallel.

With the Ormerod, we specifically designed it so that all movement axes are heavily constrained in the direction of movement of each carriage, and it can't transmit this from one axis to another. Because there is no pressure from a tool pushing through the work (like a CNC mill), the strength in other directions doesn't need to be that great (unlike a CNC mill). With the electronics/firmware (which could easily be retro-fitted to Mendel/Prusa/Delta frames, of course) the axis alignment is taken care of without a lot of time spent on mechanically aligning the frame. With only one motor and one smooth rod per axis (except on Y, where it's taken care of already), you don't have to make sure that two rods are perfectly parallel (like you do on Mendel/Prusa).

How much will it change? I'm not sure. We've already had a lot of feedback, as you can tell from the forum, but actually not much has changed so far. If we started introducing some of the things asked for (aluminium bed plates, aluminium x-axis, ABS parts), the price would have to go up accordingly. What you find with repraps is that people tend to focus on one specific area, and decide it isn't good enough, and want to change it. That's great! It's 'machine evolution', which is what reprap is all about. We've seen some of the things people have come up with, and we'll end up using community ideas to improve the kit, and firmware. However, we're also sure that the printer will print as supplied (assuming you have all the parts, and nothing is broken - we'll resupply you if it is, and a firmware update is usually in order). It's up to you where you take it. We try and make all changes backwards compatible, too, so your printer won't become obsolete.

Support- and community-wise, I think we're one of the best kit manufacturers for this - okay, I'm biased! You only have to read the other forums here to see who aren't good at it... We're under a lot of pressure at the moment, so can be a little slow, through selling so many kits so quickly, but we're also expanding to meet the demand.

RepRapPro tech support

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/18/2014 06:27AM by droftarts.
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 18, 2014 11:01AM
Ian, amazing huge thank you for such detailed thoughts and expertise.
I think it is clear, that Ormerod - is a great future investment in 3D printer.

It is great that there is huge demand for this printer, I just ordered Ormerod as well, and can see that it is a few days of waiting before despatch.

Thank you a lot for all information provided, I believe more is never less, so more experience and opinion share about those both - will be great for further reading.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/18/2014 11:09AM by moka.
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 19, 2014 12:29PM
You may be interested in this related thread

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/19/2014 02:33PM by Nil Einne.
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 19, 2014 01:38PM

Thank you a lot for this link, it definitely worth of reading as well!
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 19, 2014 01:54PM
A lot of problems in that thread have been acted upon. The Ormerod is still a kit for people who want a kit, rather than people who expect to open the box and find a fully-working printer. It is a fully-featured printer, with capabilities on a par with, if not exceeding, many far more expensive, pre-built 3D printers. Cheaper printers tend to have less features, ie no heated bed. However, if you application has a commercial, time-critical path, it may not be the best choice.

Ian (trying to sound not too biased)
RepRapPro tech support
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 19, 2014 02:27PM
I got mine on Friday afternoon and its sitting there printing the Orthogonal Axis Compensation pieces as we speak. they look pretty damn good too!

I was wondering if to buy the Ormerod or a Prusa i3 kit. I settled on the Ormerod due to thinking it would be the one with the most features but after reading through some of this forum i changed my mind again! it scared me and i thought it was a mess. But then i had a think and read some of the fixes and thought i would go for it.
The build wasnt hard and was enjoyable.after working out a few problems it seems to be working fine.

Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 19, 2014 02:28PM
ooooops... till now... its stopped halfway through the print! just as i pressed the send button on here
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 19, 2014 03:03PM
Ian: Offtopic but since it arose from something you said in this thread might as well mention it here. (I planned to add this to my original reply but took too long so realised it would be confusing since plenty of people including Ian had replied.) One of the advantages of the kit nature and internal production of printed parts and to some extent just in time manufacturing is that you're less limited in what you can do. Have you considered having a few key options for people to choose from during purchase? This will do away with concerns over raising the price, while still giving the option for customers to get what they want from the getgo and from a reliable supplier.

I'm not sure if RS will be interested, they may not wish to complicate things. But an idea for when you start selling the Ormerod via RRP perhaps? I don't know what in particular, but I guess you would have an idea. I presume the things you mentioned e.g. aluminium bed plates, aluminium x-axis, ABS parts have been of most demand.

The later two are I guess more difficult since you'd need to source them and keep some stock and I don't think aluminium parts of that sort are used in any of your current products. However these are also more significant options since they can be difficult to source in some places or for some people. And even if you don't want to go down that route, ABS parts seems worthwhile as it seems the sort of thing your sort of model can do well compared to traditional mass production in far away places. While it's easy for someone to print their own parts or get someone else to do it (and I know you plan to sell hardware only kits like you normally do); if someone is planning to print mostly in ABS, it doesn't make much sense to me to buy a kit with PLA mostly to use it to print ABS parts so you can then print in ABS without worrying about the excessive heat killing your PLA parts.

Yes any options will increase logistic support difficulties and you wouldn't want to offer too many options. But as you are getting bigger may be a worthwhile area to explore when you have the capacity (i.e. have staff time you can dedicate to it rather than spending it all to fulfill RS orders) and things have settled down a bit so you know what's really in demand or would make a good option (as opposed to stuff which may sound worthwhile in this early stage but aren't really needed).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/19/2014 03:04PM by Nil Einne.
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 19, 2014 03:48PM

One question which I can't get my mind around, why supply it with PLA parts and not ABS? From what I can tell price wise there appears to be no difference in pricing between the materials? Also ABS should be cheaper as it is very common unlike PLA especially if you are buying bulk. Is there a reason for this? Are your machines used for printing the Ormerod parts also not up to printing ABS? It makes no sense to have a machine printed in PLA parts that will be used for ABS or at least advertised with the ability even if only used from time to time. Secondly PLA degrades over time from moisture and so on unlike ABS.


Ormerod #257
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 19, 2014 04:46PM
@Nil Einne: Having some custom parts, or doing a 'pro' version of the printer (RepRapPro OrmerodPro...!) is something we've talked about. Once we actually have spare capacity, we'll think about it, but it's unlikely to happen any time soon. There are a few changes to the kit that we're planning, but nothing that significant. The main focus is a Tricolour version, and hardware kits, always with the aim of producing a fully featured kit for sensible money.

@dieterzar: Ideally, we would print ABS, but there are quite a few problems with the scale that we print at, mostly due to Health and Safety and operational limits; ambient temperature needs to be kept high, off-gassing of various chemicals from ABS needs extraction, more stress on printers maintaining high temperatures, higher running costs, and we'd have to rebuild all our printers out of ABS to cope! PLA prints easily, doesn't have these problems, and printed parts do not degrade over time - Adrian printed a PLA vent, that sits outside on a sunny south-facing wall - [www.thingiverse.com] - as far as I know it's fine. Filament has a problem absorbing moisture, because you expect to heat it up again to extrude it. ABS also has this problem. Post extrusion, it doesn't really matter, and the surface area of a part is much smaller than that of the filament, so it will absorb less per volume. PLA is biodegradable, but it's green credentials are over-hyped; it has to be minced up, and kept at 60C to do it. A compost heap or anaerobic digester can do this. Yes, there is the problem of PLA printed parts softening in a hot environment, like when printing ABS. I don't have any new insight into that; PLA is the most commonly used kit-printed material, mostly because of this easy handling, and we like working with it.

I ran a quick survey quite a few months ago; result: [forums.reprap.org]
It would be interesting to run this again, to see if it's changed. Clearly, there is a big demand for ABS printing. Treat it as a potential business for you - print ABS Ormerod parts, and buy the hardware-only kit from us! (When available...)

RepRapPro tech support
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 20, 2014 10:08AM
A final comment on the main topic, I mentioned in the thread I linked to that the Ormerod appears to have attracted a lot of interest particularly from those without much experience without much involvement in the RepRap community before and how I was hoping this would be a great benefit. This benefit would come to everyone where applicable but may often come to the Ormerod first. I just noticed something which IMO re-enforces the point. In terms of the machine variation subforums, there are now more posts here than there is for all except the Mendel90 and general Mendel thread, and I'm guessing this subforum will soon overtake Mendel90.

I'm not denigrating the many other excellent printers, and some of them have their own forums in other places. And there is still a lot of superb work going on elsewhere, e.g. the recent success with colour mixing and it's unlikely Ormerod would be what it was today without the contributions of the various members of the community. And not all of the attention in this subforum is positive, there are/were a few teething problems and quite a number of early users affected by them, and some users didn't really appreciate what they were getting in to. (And some of the stuff discussed here is stuff discussed many times over in many different places.)

But still IMO a sign of a vibrant community settling around the Ormerod.
Re: Ormerod or Mendel
January 20, 2014 11:13AM
The reason this forum will easily overtake Mendel90 is because we have only sold around 500 Mendel90 kits in a year, whereas there were more Omerods sold in the first month. As there are only two of us we don't have the capacity to make more than an average of two kits per day. Also it was a fully tested year old design when the kit was launched so generates a lot less support problems.

Re: Ormerod or Mendel
May 23, 2014 05:22AM
Just wondering if anyone has anything to add since January?

I have narrowed my decision to the Mendel Tri or the Ormerod. I'm very keen on having access to three heads, but the newer Ormerod has a lot of advantages, particularly the newer electronics. Is there any news when the Ormerod will have three head capability? This would almost certainly influence my decision.

Re: Ormerod or Mendel
May 23, 2014 07:53AM
Surely the Duet could be used with either of the other printers with no modifications needed? You can set up the number of steps per mm for every axis, the stepper motors are driven the same, so I cannot think of any reason why it could not be substituted with no problems whatsoever.

Re: Ormerod or Mendel
May 23, 2014 08:54PM
Thanks Dave,

I had thought the same thing, essentially the hardware for both is the same. Has anyone tried this?

From reading this thread again, the momentum seems to be with the Ormerod, so that's the path I think I will take. Therefore the next consideration for me will be how far away tricolour will be for the Ormerod?
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