Random wires are ugly, so we decided to ask for some spare spiral binding coil at the local office supply store and walked away with a handful of 6mm and 10mm coils. They make for very nice wire wrap.
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In this video, Jacob shows an easy way to make very simple and inexpensive (yet dependable) bare wire end stops for your 3D printer (or other motion control project). This design helps to “demystify the box” by putting all of the switch mechanics in plain view, making it very easy to understand. We’ve had a printer with end stops just like these running without incident for over a year.
Our original “One-Penny Bare Wire End Stop” can be found here, but you can see from the video that we’ve changed the way we do it slightly: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:23878
Supplies used: Old network cable, paper clip, end stop holder, electrical tape, solder, and about 2 cm of solid copper wire. Tools used: Wire strippers, small triangular file, needle-nose pliers (with wire cutter), ruler, soldering iron or gun, and scissors.
Music: “Crosstalk (Take 3)” by Javolenus, 2013 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0), http://ccmixter.org/files/Javolenus/41845
We went to the Midwest RepRap Festival (MRRF) in March, and Jacob interviewed some experts to learn more about the event, the RepRap project, 3D printing and its future. This video includes a great overview of a delta bot 3D printer, which is pretty new on the RepRap scene.
Music: “December Nights” by cdk, 2011 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) http://ccmixter.org/files/cdk/34714
This is an SVG file of a Sanguinololu electronics circuit board for 3D printers, and it will likely be helpful if you’re trying to layout a mounting board for your electronics that includes the Sanguinololu and other components. The drawing includes extra space required by connectors or wires that are plugged into it, and the holes have cross-hairs so you can tape it onto a board and easily drill it. (Right-click and Save As to download the SVG. In you need an SVG editor, check out Inkscape—it’s fantastic and free.)
Note that there’s extra space for the USB cable because it tends to be a beefier cable.
Here’s a video update of our latest progress in helping a group of grade school kids build a 3D printer from scratch. A lot went into this milestone, including research, sourcing parts, accounting, blogging, build scheduling, membership coordination, and more.
The kids are learning so much—not just STEM, but teamwork, budgeting, planning, human resources, and much more—with this real-world, hands-on, high-tech project. So far it’s been an absolute joy to see them starting to come up with ideas and solve problems as if the technology were already as common and available as any of the other tools in their problem-solving tool kits.
As for the technology, they seem to just “get it” and aren’t as intimidated by it as adults often seem to be. I think we’re making great progress in “demystifying the box” and helping kids understand what goes on inside modern machines. From the start, these kids have wanted to pay it forward and help another school do the same thing, and I can’t wait for them to have the chance to do that.
We missed a meeting due to weather, and so I talked about some ideas to make up the time with one of the build team members. One idea that came out of that discussion was to involve more people in the build process, regardless of that team they’re on. Another idea was to prepare bags of required parts so there wasn’t a logjam at the parts table.
We turned to the whiteboard and broke the task of building the machine into a number of parts: Two sides, front, back, top, extruder, and X assembly. Each of these was going to be at small team of 2-3 kids so that each child would have an opportunity to contribute to the actual build. We came up with some silly names to identify the team — names like “Team Eyeball” and “Team Hamburger.”
Using a number of different colors, we drew a diagram of how the major frame sections needed to be assembled. We used the diagrams to count out the parts and prepare the kits. In each back we included a copy of the diagram and a photo of what each kit represents on the completed reference machine. The adults were asked to resist the temptation to do any building themselves, and to let the kids explore the parts and make mistakes.
The threaded rods also needed to be cut — about a dozen cuts were required. Because the rods are critical path, we set up three stations using bar clamps and printed Bar Clamp Rod Adapters and let the kids get started on this right when they came into the room for the meeting. Each length was labeled “A,” “B,” or “C,” and cutting locations were clearly marked with tape. (They had planned out the best fit the meeting prior and marked all the cuts, but I wanted to make it very clear.)
The measurements on the diagrams are made nut to nut, and there’s typically at least one that has a +/- in front of it. I explained to the kids that this one was the less important measurement — that the others took priority, and that this one could vary. To prepare for all the measuring, I also provided each table with a number of these excellent paper rulers (narrow metric).
This was the first day that the kids could really see their teamwork coming together. There was a buzz of activity around the rod cutting stations as teams grokked the diagrams and began to build: “We need another B rod!” and “All the A rods have been distributed!”
At our last 3D Printer Club meeting, the kids on the team started cutting threaded rods. We were clamping the rods to a table with a standard bar clamp to keep them in place. The problem was that they were slipping a lot. One of the adults had to sit on the end of the rod to keep it still. That didn’t seem very safe to me, and so I figured there must a better and safer way to hold them still while they’re being cut. The classroom doesn’t have an appropriate vise to use, so this seemed like a great project for a custom 3d printed object!
I used OpenSCAD, which is a free and open source CAD software tool, to design a simple attachment. The attachment has a v-groove on the bottom to hold a rod in place. (The v-groove is useful because it allows us to use it for different diameters of rods.) It also has a lip around the top to hold it in place on the clamp jaw.
This clamping attachment is going to need to take a lot of pressure, so I printed it with ABS plastic, three perimeters, three top and bottom layers, and 25% honeycomb infill. You can find it on thingiverse here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:44588
To help prepare the kids for the next meeting, I sent this email to all of the club members. The robots I’m referring to are a handful of little Maker Faire Robots (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:40212) that I printed to give away at the previous meeting.
Hello fellow makers! (This email is for the kids, but advisers can read it, too)
Our next meeting is this Friday, and we should be able to make more progress on the build. Based on the responses I saw from [build team member] email last week, it looks like we’ll have a couple more hacksaws to work with, and I’ll try to bring some more clamps — and those little printed robots I forgot to bring last time. (I’m printing more of them as we speak, and I’ve attached a picture!
I’ve seen emails from several of you regarding things like hacksaws, meeting frequency, and parts that we still need to locate, and I really appreciate the hard work that’s been going on between our meetings. Without this effort, our progress will slow down considerably, so thank you!
[Build team member] on the build team had the idea of increasing the frequency of our meetings to weekly, and although I think what would definitely help us move along faster, I think at least for the time being I’d like to keep meeting every other week. My hope is that we’ll be able to get more legwork done between meetings so that we can focus more on the build during the meetings. There’s always an option for smaller groups to meet in the off week, too.
Some of you may have met [hackerspace member] last time. He’s a member of the local maker space (or hackerspace) and was helping out last time with the makers. He and I were talking about some neat project ideas we can work on in the future. Thank you, [hackerspace member], for your time!
I was very happy to send out our first thank-you card that accounting team put together and had everyone sign. It also looks like the BOM team has been hard at work finding a few remaining parts that we need.
I believe the blog team is working on a website update, but I think they would consider posting information from other team members as well. For example, I plan to write a couple of paragraphs about the promotional video you’ve all seen and ask them to post it. So if you have any ideas, please feel free to share them!
I was very happy to see the membership team working on the sign-ins at the last meeting. They may need a little extra help in the coming weeks, so if you’re interested in membership-related duties, please feel free to contact them to offer your support.
I look forward to seeing you again this Friday! Remember to bring your science notebooks or an extra hacksaw if you have them or are able to!
P.S. Remember the email addresses you can use to contact your team or other teams: [email list addresses]