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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We made a video to show the difference in noise between the Pololu A4988 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier, which has 1/16 steps, and the DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier which has 1/32 steps. These drivers are common in RepRap 3D printers. The resistor soldered onto the DRV8825 is not required on their latest versions of the board.
The goal for this video was originally to capture the difference in sound that I noticed when I switched from one driver to the other, and this test seemed to do that. I updated it to be a bit more scientific than it was originally by carefully setting the current limit, adjusting the steps per unit, and including details about the setup.
For this test:
- 12.17V DC
- Kysan 1124090 (1.8°, 1.5A/phase) stepper motor
- 18T Aluminum GT2 2mm Belt/Pulley
- PLA bushings on W1 tool steel smooth rod with white lithium grease
- 1.3A current limit using VREF method
We got an older laptop to use for one of our 3D printer builds, and so we set out to set it up for 3D printing. The laptop is an IBM ThinkPad T41, and because the processor doesn’t support PAE, we weren’t able to use the latest versions or Ubuntu or Mint. Mint 13 installed okay, but the default window managers gave us some trouble, so we ended up installing Lubuntu 12.04. This version doesn’t require PAE.
After installing and updating the operating system, we set out to install pronterface (Printrun) and slic3r from the git repository. Here’s what we did:
First install python support for printrun, and git.
sudo apt-get install python-serial python-wxgtk2.8 \ python-pyglet python-tk sudo apt-get install git
Create a directory for RepRap stuff, and clone Printrun to it from the git repository.
mkdir RepRap cd RepRap/ git clone https://github.com/kliment/Printrun.git
Next comes build-essential, perl, and cpanminus — all required for slic3r.
sudo apt-get install build-essential libgtk2.0-dev \ libwxgtk2.8-dev libwx-perl libmodule-build-perl \ libnet-dbus-perl sudo apt-get install cpanminus
Go into the Printrun directory, get slic3r, and then dive into that directory where we’ll test it to be sure it all works.
cd Printrun/ git clone http://github.com/alexrj/Slic3r.git cd Slic3r/
Grab the cpan modules required for slic3r, and test it to be sure it loads up properly.
sudo cpanm Boost::Geometry::Utils Math::Clipper \ Math::ConvexHull Math::ConvexHull::MonotoneChain \ Math::Geometry::Voronoi Math::PlanePath Moo Wx ./slic3r.pl
Step up one directory and make sure pronterface works well.
cd .. python ./pronterface.py
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 short video that shows how I make hobbed bolts using an M4 tap, a drill press, and a couple of 608 bearings. If you don’t have a grinder, you can chuck the bolt in the drill press and use a dremel tool or file to cut the groove. The groove gives the tap something to bite into.
Please pardon the focus hunting and lighting—it’s thefirst video with the DSLR. And here’s what especially cool about this video: At about 2:40 you might notice that the bolt is spinning in time with the music… totally unplanned.
Here’s the result. You may notice that I was trying to correct for a slightly off-center grind, so the cut profile looks a bit different on either side.
Music: “Me Robo El Show” by Alex, 2011 – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) http://ccmixter.org/files/AlexBeroza/34167
(BTW: Yes, I’m aware that the lyrics have nothing at all to do with making a hobbed bolt, but this is a great mix of an excellent vocal by Farina, and so I used it anyway.)
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!”