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.