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In this video, Jacob shows an easy way to set up a PCB heatbed for your 3D printer — a method that allows the entire surface of the heatbed to be used for printing. He also shows how to cut inexpensive certificate frame glass to size with some simple tools. We’ve had printers with a heatbed setup just like this running without incident for over a year.

Supplies used: PCB Heatbed (with high-temperature wire attached), glass (same size as heatbed), scissors, kapton tape, four M3 nuts and screws (12-16mm), screwdriver & pliers, thermistor, thermistor lead insulation (kapton tape works, too), and pipe insulation tape. See below for glass cutting tools.

Glass Cutting Tools & Materials: Safety glasses, sheet glass (certificate frame glass works well), glass cleaner, paper towels, permanent marker, ruler, cutting oil, straight edge, glass cutting tool, breaking edge, leather gloves, and sandpaper.

A project-based RepRap build is the perfect way to bring STEM and many other disciplines to your school. To learn more about starting a 3D printer build at your school, visit http://www.thefrankes.com/wp/?page_id=2766.


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 \
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

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