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The Build: My Journey into 3D Printing

Posted by TheyCallMeJohn 
The Build: My Journey into 3D Printing
May 30, 2013 01:14AM
I though it would be interesting and valuable to future newcomers to chronicle my journey into 3D printing. By posting this here my hope is to help others who may struggle with the the same decisions and issues that I likely will encounter and hopefully over come. I was inspired to write this after following and reading much of Zacbot build log "zac's Eventorbot build". I appreciate how he credited his sources and shared how he came up with solutions to his problems.

Let me say first that I am by no mean experienced or knowledgeable. While some might make the mistake of calling me handy, I have very little experience with electronics, soldering, or machining. I am familiar with AutoCAD but have only begun learning Solidworks which I plan on using after seeing it referenced on other blogs.

At this time I am not planning on buying a kit but rather utilizing an existing RepRap design and tweaking it.

Please feel free to message me or post any suggestions. Also I would enjoy reading others build logs if anyone has any recommendations.
Current Direction
May 31, 2013 12:53AM
Based on the research I have been doing over the last couple weeks, I am currently planning on building something along the lines of the Prusa I3 with a box frame. I think this is in line with my goals of accuracy and large build volume but I am open to suggestions or tweaks.

Over the past couple weeks I have completed the Solidworks basic tutorials. I found them to be very informative. I then need to find some dimensions to build the frame. After digging around on Joseph Prusa's Github area, I was able to find the dimensions of the pieces and some direction on how to put them all together. (I found them listed down a the bottom of Prusa3 / box_frame / doc / manual.txt). After a a bit of learning curve, I came up with a decent looking model, I am getting some hits but I attribute this to the wood screws. I took me a while to find a solution on how to get it relign with the assembly with the axis but I finally stumbled upon it here. (MIE341 - Aligning planes for good engineering...)

I was hoping to avoid using the SCAD files and just pulling STL files into Solidworks and modifying them as needed. OpenSCAD appeared to be needlessly complicated but after further review this appears to not be possible as the SCAD files are not "complete". However, if I am understanding OpenSCAD correctly you need to plug in variables to get the final model. If this is the case, then I think I understand why people like OpenSCAD. If you are clever you can design parts that can be easily adapted for other components by simply changing a the variables. But now I have to figure out how to use OpenSCAD. Arggg

On a side note, I have started going through ikilledkenny's blog " i3 Video Build Log". Hopefully I can use some of his information to avoid some mistakes.
OpenSCAD and Such
June 03, 2013 01:19AM
Well after going thru the OpenSCAD tutorials and very helpful video series Learning OpenSCAD (Youtube) by James Newton, I thought I had a basic understanding of how it works. (Hopefully enough to generate some STLs) from Joseph Prusa's files.

Then it was on to the configuration.

Belt Types
Based on what I have read from the forums(Choosing Belts and Pulleyts) and RepRap (Also called: Choosing Belts and Pulleys) it sounds like GT2 belts are the way to go. Though I can't figure out what the Belt tooth distance and belt tooth ratio are or what exactly he is measuring for the belt thickness. I will leave them as defaults for the time being.

LM8UU seems to be the standard

Idler Bearings
I will stick with the 624 for right now.

J-Nozzel with Greg's Wade Extruder

I went with just the rest of the defaults for now.

Now here is where my plan kind of went to shit over the course of several hours.

Plan was to convert the STLs into solids and then just pop them into Solidworks make some assemblies and bam I would be done. Well of course it couldn't be that simple. In OpenSCAD all the curves get approximated in to faces. The approximated faces don't seem to mesh that well with the way Solidworks likes to splice things together.
Attempt 1

Attempt 2

I was able to get them to import as solids by but Solidworks and every time I reopened the file it tried to reduce the faces. A first I thought this was was good but as you can see to the right not so much...

Attempt 3

So now I am left with two options.

1) Forget the modeling and just build the BOM and STLs from the provided files and hope everything works together.

2) Rebuild the STL in Solidworks as and continue with my original plan.

The problem is that I am not currently competent enough with the Solidworks to rebuild these...

Three of the my main reasons for building it originally this in Solidworks were first that I could better understand how everything fit together, second have a working model to make alterations if needed and lastly learn Solidworks. If I give up now, I loose out on all of these.

I guess, it is time to find some more Solidworks tutorials. Any suggestions?

On the plus side I found out how to get on the RepRap IRC I had been able to find them using mIRC no luck... But then I just typed IRC on Reprap and done. That was easy... RepRap IRC

Special thanks for the good help & advice from Cripsy1 Spacexula and Systemsguy on IRC

Some tips I have recieved right now:
Extruder: Wade Extruder Or Greg's Wade Extruder, Use the J-Extrude. Possible a double extrusion.
Materials: The Majority of the part could be done in PLA with a x-carriage and Gregs/wades extrider in ABS.
Print Surface: Glass (Like Borosilicate)
Control Board: A good cheap option is an X1
Motors: Kysan, avoid 12V, 62oz/in Nema 17 will work, but stick to low voltage, 1-5-2amp motors
Bearings: 624zz
Belts: GT2

I am not saying this is the best way to go its just the advice I have received so far and I am grateful for it. I would appreciate hearing about some of the hard lessons learned.
Re: The Build: My Journey into 3D Printing
June 10, 2013 01:20AM
Well it has been an interesting week. I have been trying to back calculate from the SCAD files to create a Solidworks components of the Greg Wade Extruder. Also I after reading the Reprap Magazine, I found about the Mendel Max and a little research I am considering building MendelMax 2.0 instead of the Prusa I3. The MendelMax 2.0 seems to have a much more rigid frame and a larger print area but looks like it could be costlier and the design is even more preliminary than the Prusa I3.

Also though it is not an official SCAD editor, I found Notepad++ useful for browsing. It is great for finding similar variables.

Please vote below on the printer you would recommend.

Which printer would you recommend?

  • MendleMax 2.0
  • Prusa I3
  • MendelMax 2.0
  • Prusa I2
  • MendelMax 1.5
  • Other


More polls: id-28.pngFree online poll

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2013 12:49PM by TheyCallMeJohn.

Check out my blogs: [oc3dprint.blogspot.com] & [forums.reprap.org]
Hit me up if you have any tips or tricks.
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