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Los Angeles RepRap Groups

Posted by Wingman77 
Los Angeles RepRap Groups
November 25, 2007 03:25AM
We have a new forum here to help us begin the formation of a RepRap group here in Los Angeles.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is James and I have over five years professional experience as a machinist. I program, setup, and operate CNC mills and lathes. I have experience producing 3D and 2D models, blueprinting, inspection, and I can create toolpaths using either GibbsCam or Mastercam. I also have limited experience in electronics and programming. I am willing to lend my experience to the project and I am also very eager to learn.

I live in the San Fernando Valley and I have no problem commuting so we can collaborate at meetings.

Feel free to contact me at skinmame@hotmail.com
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
December 08, 2007 12:20AM
Hey.. i am Robert H. i design and build a lot of stuff, from concept UAV's to magnet motors and am almost finished with a CNC router that i designed which im thinking about selling as a kit. i designed it for myself cuse i needed something that would allow me to carve out complex shapes in foam for test aircraft im designing and i wanted something small that could be taken apart and fit in my small car.. im thinking about turning this cnc machine into an opensource project. because it is going to be very useful and extremely cheap to make. i want to learn about programming and work with programmers in developing advanced opensource CNC software, proably using linux.

i want to build this reprap and see if i can improve upon it. it will be good to know others in LA ( san fernando valley ) for the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and tricks.

i also do CAD design work and am just starting to learn about CAM software.
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups (SCRUG)
December 25, 2007 12:07AM
I'm based in Redlands, CA, which is driving distance from LA.

Eric M is also in the LA area.

Eric and I half-jokingly "formed" SCRUG (Southern California Reprap Users Group) some months back when I went to his house to help him out with Linux software install issues. Eric has (or had, I have not heard from him in a while) a mostly-working Repstrap based on a milling machine.

I'm very open to helping others and working together on RepRap stuff here in SoCal. I have working Reprap electronics here, but no extruder or robot yet. And FWIW, I am an official Core Team member... just bear in mind this doesn't actually mean I know any more about Reprapping than you guys!

I'm signed up to give a talk/demo about RepRap at the Inland Empire Linux User Group (LUGIE) in January, in Bloomington, CA. I'm not sure on the exact time yet, but it is scheduled for the morning of Saturday, 12 Jan 2008. If any of you can come along and support me, meet me, ask intelligent questions, etc. etc., that would be good! If anyone in the area has working RepRap or Repstrap hardware ... please talk to me, especially if you can bring it to the meeting!

If there is interest in a monthly SCRUG meeting somewhere we can all drive to, that's definitely worth discussing. I'll offer my home for that, though I'm relatively far away from LA (and from San Diego). If we grow enough to need it, I may be able to get use of my work office space, with a conference room and some tech workbenches, in future. That is also here in Redlands.

Hi there,

I'm a programmer in San Diego, and I'm pretty new to this type of technology. But I'm really excited, and I'd like to see what kind of activity I could get started with and hopefully be able to contribute where possible. I have some (very) minor EE experience from college.

I don't mind driving to attend some semi-regular meetup on this. I missed the talk in January - but there's a barCamp coming up in SD (http://barcamp.org/BarCampSanDiego)- if someone can come down and give a little talk about RepRap or show some hardware, I'm buying the drinks afterward! smiling smiley Can also provide a place to stay overnight.

thanks, and looking forward to learning more,
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 12, 2008 08:28PM
Greetings, fellow GearHeads!

I'm just a simple geek in Hollywood. I'm currently being a WebMonster, Random PC Guru, SpamSlayer, SysAdmin, DB Wizard, and all around good, geeky guy. I'm getting very interested in building a RepRap and making it make stuff.

Making stuff is why I originally got my milling machine. I got a nice little Sherline, and I'm having fun cutting aluminum. I'm almost ready to CNC-ize it.

Anyway, I'm interested in everything about the RepRap, including making it make itself, programming the hardware (I've ordered some PICs, now I need a programmer), building cool things, testing out other types of material, etc.

Are there any RepRap enthusiasts living near Hollywierd?

Can I help out in any way?

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 13, 2008 08:55PM
Well hello there.

I am a Mechanical Engineering student at CalPoly Pomona University. As of right now I am in the process of trying to get the school to help we with this. I figure I might as well try and see if I can get credit for it and/or get them to foot part of the bill. If I can get some credit for it I can get access to our schools rapid prototyper, mills and lathes. So until some time later this month I am basically sitting here waiting and planing about how I am going to make a Darwin. Later I might try and use the school machines to make a few extra part and give them out those that need them.

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 20, 2008 03:04PM
Hey there Kyle/ronanwarrior,

Getting the school to help you out is a good idea. And at least you have access to their machines. I basically started from scratch. I'm still building my shop and collecting all the necessary tools.

Do you know anything about programming PICs?

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 20, 2008 03:44PM
Nope nothing at all....I am hoping that I can find some one here on campus that can help me when i get to that stage. Also well depending on what the school says i might be able to have some time to machine a few extra parts...right now it is looking like I will get school credit for doing this project and i will have access to all the machine I might need, but materials i am going to have to come up with by my self. Either way I am not going to be really able to start working on this un till summer with the schedule i have now.
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 20, 2008 04:24PM
Dear Kyle/ronanwarrior,

Yeah, me too. But I've already found many online resources which should get me going. For example, I found a few pages which explain how to build one's own programmer for the starter PIC, the 16F84. I was going to do this because the one from Microchip costs $200:

But then I ran across this store:

And they sell a little home-brew PIC programmer for about $27:

That's the one I went with. I'm just waiting for it to arrive. I already got a tube of 25 PIC16F84's from DigiKey.

Do you know anything about metalworking with a vertical milling machine?
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 20, 2008 05:53PM
Yea a little took a basic class that went over how to use a vertical mill and lathes other stuff. Enough to make something but a long way form pro. What do you need to know?
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 21, 2008 06:34PM
I want to somehow fix a round aluminum bar to the table of my mill so that I can cut into it. It's not very big, about 3 inches long and maybe 1 inch in diameter. But it's too big to fit in my little milling vice, and my step-block hold-down set wouldn't work on a round part which would twist and turn under the pressure.

Have any ideas on something like this? Is there a specialized hold-down part that would do the trick?

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 21, 2008 10:35PM
Well what you need is to use "V blocks". Basically it is a block of metal or wood that has a V shaped channel cut out of it. The problem is you then need to clamp the bar in between the v blocks which I am not sure if the setup you have could hold down something that might be anywhere form 2 in to 3 in wide. I will try and see if I can find a picture later to show you what I mean.
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 22, 2008 10:42PM
I'm a professional machinist, I know vertical mills quite well.V blocks are the way to go for your setup it seems. Use a few clamps to hold the work piece down, and if you need to cut a grove down the entire length, you'll need to reposition the clamps at least once, If you have to do this make sure that there are always at least two clamps holding the cylinder while you make the adjustment so you don't lose your position.
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 22, 2008 10:44PM
<img src="http://www.micromark.com/prodimgs/14255.jpg".
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 22, 2008 10:48PM
There we go that is what I was talking about...for what ever reason google was failing me in my quest for a picture of one.
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 23, 2008 10:43AM
Wingman777, ronanwarrior,

Aaah, I see! That'll work.

Yes, I buy a lot of stuff from MicroMark. They have a good catalog, an okay website.

Those V-blocks are probably too small for this particular part, but I'll grab 'em anyway. Do you know of a supplier for slightly larger V-blocks?

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
April 24, 2008 03:54PM
Greetings guys,

I found these one:

But they're a big expensive, and they are limited to 2.5".

I have one bar which would probably fit okay, but the other one is 3" in dia.

So I found myself at ebay again and found this:

Do not trust the picture, these blocks are 5" long! Longer than my parts. On this page, there is a big graphic with a table of all v-blocks that this guy has, and they go up pretty big. I think the 7" x 3" x 4.5" one, which takes a max dia. of 3.5", would be good. However, I have a question about how to fix my part into the v-block. Most of the other v-blocks I've seen have a little clamp or vise-like device to lock the part into the v-part of the v-block. These don't appear to have this.

Were I to get a set, how would I fix my part into it? And possibly more importantly, how would I fix the v-blocks to the mill table?

hi guys,

fascinated by this whole idea.
not building one yet, (too lazy), but keen to get involved with the discussion, and hoping to add a little bit of my mass to the project.

four things came to mind.

the supports, and general hardware for the device could be made internally.
could you print hollow tubes? maybe fill them with mud or clay for mass and ridgidity.

do you think there would be any use in looking at "expanding foam filler", (the stuff that comes out of a can, hardens on contact with moisture), as a rather coarse, but quick curing, printing material. this could print large parts very quickly.

any value in printing "upside down". bee's and wasps do it when printing their hives.

could it print a cheap photo voltaic cell?

would love to have this kind of conversation in company, possibly in the pub.

i live on the westside of LA. My only experience would be woodwork, (but all my tools are in england), and motorcycle maintanance, valve adjustment, servicing etc.


duncan sherpherd.

i did look into building a telescope once, and i can tell you there is already a lot of experience out there with amateur builders and highly precise computer control systems for telescopes with stepper motors.
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
May 05, 2008 02:58PM
Welcome Duncan!

Yes, any help is much appreciated.

I've thought about the machine building it's own structure, but how would one get it long enough? The length of the frame is greater than the maximum length of any part which could be built in the frame... right? Or maybe the extruder could be extended so that it can rise far above the printing table? Or perhaps one bar could be printed so that it can fit into the other end, thus making a two-part double-length bar?

I'm still learning how to build/make stuff. I've got a nice little Sherline milling machine which I'm going to convert to a CNC machine probably this month. I'm still putting aside the money for it, but I'm almost there.

I got interested in Celestron telescopes at one point, and I almost got one. But I live in Hollywierd, and at night I can see one star. Maybe two on a clear night. So I decided to put that off for now.

What would be the advantage of building/printing upside down?

Welcome again! :-)

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
May 06, 2008 03:24AM
good evening mr. hawk

i looked at the materials being produced, and i'm sure there must be some way of designing the struts so that the can be clipped together (with an interference fit) like LEGO or CONNEX or some other childs construction kit. straight rods, and star shaped connectors to plug them into should give some flexibility of design, but also flexibility of Darwin, which would be bad.

obviously, rigidity is a huge issue, so maybe some sort of geodesic shape for the chassis may be, i don't know enough about the subject, but i know the answer already exists, we just haven't seen it yet.

the telescope idea is a knowledge base kind of tip, there are already a lot of dedicated geeks out there building stuff to amazing precision, eg, mirror surfaces ground out to an accuracy of less than one quarter of the wavelength of light would be normal, and the home built equipment to measure to those tolerances.

Upside-down printing.

i just thought if you were printing delicate structures, with no filler, you could use gravity to help support the structure downwards. in the same way that a wasp's nest could not be built from the ground up.

so when i started thinking about the problem of the rods for the chassis, i imagined you could build something analogous to a birds wing bone, a cylindrical or triangular tube, with bracing struts on the inside. then, cos i was thinking third world, and sustainable, i thought you could bulk out the support tubes with mud or clay, something cheap, plentiful, that could be poured into the supports, and subsequently dry out. this would not only be strong in compression, but the sheer weight of the structure may help the ridgidity problems.

actually, for the first world, i thought the expanding foam is very interesting. it's very light when hard, hardens very quickly, i might get some and play with it a bit. draw some foam girders by hand!

anyway, thanks for the email, beer next?

fuck it,

i'm going to try and make one of these buggers.

as the first step is to get the software running on a computer, that's my first job.

jonathan, i may need to turn to you as i'm going to be sticking LINUX on my G4 powerbook Mac.

i'm not very experienced at this type of thing, but i am foolhardy, (enough to swap out the hard drive once), and may either need advice, or reining in. who knows.

FWIW, i'd love to go to a meeting. i think my feelings are already clear on the subject of beer.

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups (SCRUG)
May 08, 2008 07:00PM
Hey dude,

I'm all for a meeting, but it would have to be close to Hollywierd, because all I've got is a bike. And it'd have to be on a Saturday, because that's my only day off.

What's your schedule like?


can't do this sat,
not sure about the next 2 either, let me get organised, and i'll make some time.

hollyweird's fine for me,

do you know if i can install ubuntu safely on a mac, without destroying it?
i want to keep the OSX side for my life, but use ubuntu for the reprap.
i though it was supposed to be OK, but i'm not so sure now.


Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups (SCRUG)
May 09, 2008 12:52PM

No worries, anytime you're free let me know.

As far as Linux, I have a Linux server at home as my primary workstation, but I've never put it on Mac hardware. My understanding of Ubuntu is that it's very friendly, and will keep existing OS's undisturbed.

With a Windoze machine, I've re-partitioned the drive, moved the Windoze partition over and resized it, then put a linux partition in the new free space, then installed linux with a dual-boot option so that I could boot up either OS. I've done this several times, usually for my Dad.

I'm just ASSuming, but you probably could do the same on a Mac. However, I'm no expert on Mac hardware, so you might want to google for a forum for that kind of support and ask them how they do it. There's probably a How-To on it somewhere.

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
July 13, 2008 06:24PM
I'm a mechanical engineering student at Caltech. I'm in Boston right now, but I'll be back in LA once the school year starts back up. I'm currently trying to get started on building a reprap, so hopefully I'll have made some progress by the time I get back. and, also hopefully, i'll have enough time during the school year to stay involved with this.

you can dual boot with linux and OSX without a problem. how you do it will vary slightly based on your hardware. search or post on ubuntuforums.com, it's a really active and helpful site.
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
July 19, 2008 04:03AM
Hello all!

I'm Andrey and today (7/18/08) I finished construction of a "Mcwire" repstrap machine, minus extruder. I am going to be a Sophomore at Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, but during the summer I'm hanging out with my parents in Hollywood.

I'm excited about the prospect of having a rapid-prototyping machine of my own, and also about learning how to work with cool things like stepper motors, Arduino electronics, etc.

Nice to meet all of you!
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
July 19, 2008 12:29PM
Hey there Andrey!

Nice to hear how far you've gotten with your machine. I'm still in the "collecting parts" stage. Also got distracted upgrading my mill to a CNC mill; the hardware is done, now I need to get the computer working.

Thanks for introducing yourself! I hope I can be of some help to you if the need arises (though I'll probably be the one asking for help).

Hollywierd Geek
Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
July 19, 2008 03:09PM
Right now I'm having issues getting the drive screws to run straight, and getting it to just work smoothly, since I made the parts out of plywood and 99cent cutting board instead of acrylic and teflon.

One thing I've noticed is that the host software does not seem to like the fact that the x-axis is much longer than any of the others, so if I've got my stage all the way on one side of the axis and I tell it to 'home' it tends to stop half way, and then I have to tell it to 'home' again. I keep getting all sorts of communication errors seemingly randomly, too. Oh well.

Once I can get the mechanics working smoothly, then I'll start trying to work out the softwares.

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
July 19, 2008 05:47PM
Dear Andrey,

Yes, working out the hardware bugs first sounds prudent. Also, you might consider upgrading your material. Now that you've got something which moves and so forth, you can try different things and see what works best.

Re: Los Angeles RepRap Groups
July 21, 2008 03:22AM
Progress: I have aligned the leadscrews much more effectively than before, and am currently struggling with the host software.

When I import an object onto the stage and press build, the host seems to think it is building, because the progress window shows progress (really fast progress), but the steppers don't move.

Exerciser is able to move steppers though, but the "Calibrate" button doesn't seem to do anything useful and the sliders in the middle do not appear to be accurate indicators of position.

I have not tried the GCode interpreter yet, in hopes of getting the host software working at some point.

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