Thursday, September 22, 2011

The InkShield

I first introduced this shield in July at a Dorkbot Seattle meeting and have since made several revisions which I showed at Ignite Seattle/ ThingOut.

I have a Kickstarter project to gather backing to launch this product.  That Kickstarter is now more than 200% funded with around 100 kits pre-sold and 8 days left.  I think these shields will lead to many interesting projects.

The shield should also support being connected to most RepRap boards as it only needs 5 pins (ideally with 4 on a single port).  I am still trying to wrap my mind around the best way to send print commands via g-codes.  The biggest challenge I see is that g-code is vector data and inkjet data is raster data.  I still think there are some interesting 3D applications including possible 3D powder printing.

This shield allows you to connect a HP C6602 inkjet cartridge to your Arduino turning it into a 96dpi print platform. It only uses 5 pins which can be jumper selected to avoid other shields. It is designed with a Arduino Mega footprint but fully supports both the Arduino and the Arduino Mega. It is designed with all through-hole components to make assembly easy even for beginners.
All source code (both hardware and software) will be fully Open Source and released when the initial production run is completed.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Continued IPR developments

I have reprinted most of the parts of my prototype for various reasons.  Some of them were just weak from poor print quality (My printer was acting up a few months ago when I printed most of them), others needed minor changes.
The original part is the grey one above and the new one is the white one below.  I added a extra pulley to help the belt path.

I ordered 0.2mm pitch belt and pulleys, which are very nice.

I have also finished assembling a Sanguinololu set and mounted that to my plywood side.
Sanguinololu testing
Sanguinololu mounted

I designed a smaller version of the Makerbot mechanical endstop which I plan to upload soon as well.  My version is designed to support 3 or 4 wire connections.  The boards were fabricated by the DorkbotPDX PCB service which makes very high quality purple PCBs.

I have some connectors and wire on order to finish wiring up my motors and should have a video of it moving by next weekend.  The next steps will be to finalize my extruder and hotend plans and then it should be printing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Integrated Parametric RepRap developments

I finally have had time to start working on my IPR project again.  I have a set of prototype parts printed out and have cut plywood sides and rods.

IPR main frame

Although I already have several things I want to change I plan to assemble it as much as possible before making any changes. I expect to assemble it a few times before working out all the bugs.  So far I like how it is coming together and think this is a good compromise between a Sell's Mendel and a Prusa Mendel (Although it has much more in common with the Sell's).

I bought some T-Rex 500 R/C helicopter gears that I was thinking of using for a new extruder design but I think the main gear may be larger than I want.  I have some R/C car gears on the way that should be closer to the size of the stock Wade's gears (they may even work on a stock body).

T-Rex 500 gears with Wade's gears
There are more pictures on Flicker

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A very big 3D printer

Extruder Drive
My friends at Metrix Create: Space have just completed the first major step in yet another very cool project.  They have converted an old CNC router table into a FDM 3D printer.
They are using a industrial shredder to convert old milk jugs into HDPE chips.  They are then fed into a hopper and a drill and auger bit push them into a custom extruder heater body.

While most RepRap sized printers use a 0.5mm nozzle this printer is using a 6mm nozzle.  This size is needed to have reasonable print speeds.  They initially plan to print a boat (for a milk carton derby?) and are looking for feedback on what they should print next.

I think 3D scans of people printed life size could be very cool.  Maybe this would be an interesting thing to print...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

DIY Inkjet Printer

Close-up of carriage

This quarter at the UW we produced some documentation on the development of a DIY inkjet printer.  This was partly in response to the fact that there are no DIY inkjet kits available.  There was a kit available from Parallax however it is no longer made and the main book that was written to go with it is now out of print.

The goal of this project was to develop a low cost, open source inkjet printer utilizing standard inkjet technology, for personal use. This project was partly in response to the fact that there are no DIY inkjet kits available. There was a kit available from Parallax This kit is no longer made and the book that was written to use that kit is now out of print.
The prototype design used a carriage assembly constructed from steel rods that were assembled using connectors that can be printed on an FDM machine. The entire carriage system is driven along the x-axis by a belt attached to a stepper motor. The print cartridge, taken from an HP point of sale printer, is driven along the y-axis by another stepper motor belt drive. The electronic controls use an Arduino Mega to run all of the printing systems.
The design resulted in a working prototype that fulfills all of the design constraints. The rod frame carriage design is lightweight, easy to assemble and easy to integrate with the other systems. The Arduino used in the electronics has a large library of resources available to perform things like LCD, SD card, and stepper control.
Areas where future work should be focused include making molds and casting printable parts to bring down the overall cost, developing host side software, and optimizing the speed.

The documentation is being released as a thing on Thingiverse, a photo album and a video.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The McCormick Code - help the FBI

The FBI currently is asking the public for help in deciphering these paper that were found on Ricky McCormick's dead body in 1999.  I first read about this on PhysOrg and then read the FBI's original write-up.  I felt that maybe I could crack the code but that the chances would be much better if a very large group of people worked together to solve it. Therefore I chose to start a wiki as a tool for collaborative work by anyone and everyone. It is my hope that this will allow us to help the FBI solve this decade old mystery.

This wiki site was started to have a central location to discuss and work on decoding the McCormick Code.  I have setup a Forum and a Theories page to start. I would like to see a page setup for any theory that is come up with. From there it will evolve and grow.

If you think you can help or are just curious please visit, sign up, and help crack the code.  If you have information and want to contact the FBI directly they have a dedicated tip line.

I know that this is a little off topic for a RepRap blog but I think the RepRap community could be a good resource to tap in solving this mystery.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Clonedel transplant

It seems that a year of printing parts, 16 offspring plus many other items, has had its toll on Willow.

I also noticed that the filament has not been feeding well resulting in very poor prints.  Looking for the culprit led me to my idler. The original was cracked and when I was talking to Matt at Metrix Create: Space he suggested I replace it with a Clonedel idler.
Clonedel idler installed
There are more pictures of the transplant and the original idler here.

After breaking a tooth off my x pulley at the end of the year I broke another tooth off a few days ago. The broken tooth is actually the same one as before but on the other end.
Old x pulley
This time I replaced it with a new one that was printed for me by Open3DP.
New x pulley

And finally I just noticed that my z end stop spring is cracked as well.
Cracked opto-spring
I am not sure how I want to fix that yet.  But will probably go with a Prusa style clamp on the guide rod.

Monday, March 28, 2011

An Assembled Offspring

I have not had reports back about most of the part sets that I have made, however here is a set, Prusa #4, that has been assembled and is already printing upgrades and things.

Photo: Gary J. Helriegel © 2011
Gary, thank you for sharing your picture and I look forward to seeing more prints in the future.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A new species is born!

We would like to share something we made:

Patrick Hannan, Jared Knutzen, Nicholas C Lewis, Joy Markham 

ME495 - University of Washington
March 9, 2011

Stay tuned for more details...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Light Bar Assembly Instructions

I am getting ready to sell a few of my new RepRap light bar kits and am providing assembly instructions here:

First verify you have all the parts:
Kit parts
The Red LEDs have a different resistor value than the rest.  Ensure that this resistor stays with the Red LEDs.

Take the Red LEDs and resistor and bend the resistor leads to fit the holes on the PCB.  The Red LEDs go in the spots marked "1" with the long LED leads going to the square shaped pads.  The resistor goes in the spot marked "R1." 
Red LEDs (1)
Red LEDs (1)
Solder them in place:
Red LEDs (1) using helping hands

Repeat this for the remaining LEDs taking care to do them one color at a time to avoid mixing up the LEDs.  They each have a number on the label that matches a number on the PCB.
Blue LEDs (2)
Blue LEDs (2)
Green LEDs (3)
Green LEDs (3)
UV LEDs (4)
On the opposite side of the board place the 5 pin right angle header
Then using the edge of a table or other flat object gently bend all the LEDs down to a 30-45° angle (The exact angle will depend on your carriage and hot end, so bend them to optimize the light on your print area.)
Bending LEDs to angle
LEDs bent to angle

Mount it to your carriage connect the "G" pin to ground and the "1"-"4" pins to switched 12V (1 is Red, etc...).
On stock Mendel carriage
On stock Prusa carriage
On Rhys Jones carriage
Red, Blue, & Green LEDs

More pictures here

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Electronics setbacks, an 11th Prusa, & an OpenSCAD Workshop

It has been a while since my last post.  I have been rather busy this quarter with my senior capstone project (Stay tuned for more on that later...)

I recently had a minor setback with my printer when something happened to my motherboard.  I am not sure exactly what occurred but it became unresponsive and I could not re-flash it.  I was not sure what to do except either replace the board or at least the Atmega644p.  I was saved by Mark Ganter at Open3DP who had some spare Gen3 boards that needed TLC.  I was able to find one that was in better shape than mine and get printing again.  I still bought a new Atmega644p chip and plan to try repairing my original board.  As much for the learning experience as anything else (I also hate to throw away something that could be fixed.)
The picture is not too exciting as it is just a working motherboard..
I have now printed another complete Prusa (available on eMAKERshop) using the replacement board (the first picture is of this set).

I am teaching an OpenSCAD workshop at Metrix Create: Space on Sunday, March 27 from 2-4pm.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Ceramic Tile Print Bed - Part 2

I finally made time to pull off the old bed and drill the holes in the new tile.  I always hate to mess with the printer unless it is broken, but I had waited long enough to find out how well the tile would work.

I had read some things about mounting the bed on only three points instead of four and thought that made sense.  So I designed & printed a mount to attach to the froglet on the 180° side.

I then removed the bed and springs.
 Old screws, springs, & bed

I decided that I could gain some height by cutting off the screws on the y carriage.
Cutting off screws

After blocking all the electronics I cut one screw off.  I then decided that the amount of metal debris created was risky and removed the carriage to cut the remaining screws.
After cutting the screws off I drilled holes to mount the new support.
Clamped to drill first hole

I then marked the first two hole on the tile and drilled them (under water).
The first two hole locations

The wet drilling setup

I then used the first two holes to locate the third
Setting the screws in the first holes
Marking the last hole

This last hole had a small amount of chip out on the top surface since I drilled it from the back.  Most of this was removed when I drilled the countersink.

Chip out

I then temporarily mounted the tile so I could mark and then drill the purge hole (at 0,0)

Purge hole

Finally, with the assistance of some tape, I mounted the bed using new springs.

Tape to help hold the springs onTape to help hold the springs on

I gained almost 12mm of height:
Gained 12mm

I am printing on it right now and it is working beautifully and is overall a very good success.
My new tile bed

My only concerns are that the springs I am using are not quite as stiff as think I would like and I added some weight (about 13oz from where I was).
Original wood/wood bed (18.45oz)
Wood bed with 6x6 tile (21.50oz)
New 9.5x9.5 tile (34.90oz)