Return to the RepRap

The end of October and the beginning of November saw me get back to working on my RepRap-powered 3D printer project. It had been stalled for quite awhile, and to kick things back into gear, I went ahead and got some more of the much-needed materials so that I could start tinkering again.

In my last post on the topic, I mentioned that I was considering switching to a much larger build volume, a dual-material extruder, and was entertaining the idea of switching from a heated bed to a heated enclosure. With the exception of the extruder upgrade, I’ve scrapped those plans for the time being. I’ll delve into that more at the end of this post.

 What Went Down

I decided that the best way to regain some momentum on the project would be to get to the point where I was actually starting to assemble stuff. So I consulted the building instructions and decided to see what I could accomplish without having the motors, belt drives, gearing, etc.

First things first, I went to MrMetric.com and ordered all the parts I needed from them, and then I went to OpenBuilds and scored all the v-slot extrusion to build the frame. Because why not get that shit rocking quickly?

Once I got all the shit rallied, I placed a call to Erik Noren of Peacock Groove, whom I’ve known for about a half decade or so, and asked if I could make use of his cold saw so that I could get the V-slot stuff down to the proper lengths.1 I handed him a twenty and hit the bricks so he could get back to making some crazy bikes.

 Imagery

The RepRap Upgrades Plan

Over the course of this build, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into 3D printers, both in terms of feature sets, and in terms of what I need out of a printer. Versatility is the name of the game here, and my primary focus is going to be printing the molds for carbon bike frames. Clearly this printer isn’t going to be up to that task, but it has it’s uses for now.

The plan is to bootstrap into a large-scale printer. While I am building the current D-Bot Core XY, my eyes will be on designing a larger, enclosed printer. When the design is ready, I’ll use the small printer to build the printed parts for the larger one, and then cannibalize the smaller for the motors and electronics package. The remaining materials left will then be repurposed into a RepRap-driven 2D CNC machine with a swappable head (allowing it to be either a dremel router, or a laser engraver).

 Next Time

There’s a ton of stuff on the way, lead screws, build plate (300mm by 300mm), bearings, belts and pulleys, Delrin wheels, etc. There’s only one outstanding piece of equipment I need, and that’s the dual-head extruder. To that end, I also need to design a few quick-changes to the mounting system, and get those to a friend of mine to print for me.

So that’s where we’re at. By the time the next post rolls around, I should have a completed printer, and be into the troubleshooting/calibrating phase of things.

Stay tuned.

Image Credits: Jonathan Juursema/.

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