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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



Here’s a video to the team from software developer and RepRap expert Alessandro Ranellucci, the creator of the extremely popular Slic3r software.

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

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:

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),

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)

(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 short documentary, produced by onshoulders TV, that describes what the RepRap project is all about. Yes — we’re in it.


Our 3D Printer Club kids got a shout-out from Josef Prusa, designer of the most popular RepRap—quite possibly the most popular 3D printer period. Watch the video here:


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.


The meeting we had scheduled with the director before the first break was unfortunately postponed, and we wanted to keep the energy and interest alive. To do this, we created this short promo video (complete with an out-take at the end!) to help explain the 3D printer club idea. The kids in the video wrote the script and even planned out the “Easter egg” scenes. (Click the “CC” button if you don’t see the closed captions — it may make it easier to understand.)

The video was shot and edited entirely with an iPad, and so we didn’t have a lot of detailed control over the sound.

Well, I discovered that Popsicle is a brand name, so I’m officially renaming this little guy “StickBot” so the Popsicle police don’t come after me. To be clear, this little bot has nothing to do with Popsicle brand ice pops, and never did. My appologies Popsicle; I hope you still let me eat your ice pops because life just would not be the same without them.

Now that I’ve come clean, here’s a video that show how to assemble StickBot’s right eye. It’s an analog 555 timer-based 1Hz oscillator that controls the right/left PWM servo signals generated by the left eye.

This is the latest version, powered directly by four 1.5V LR61 batteries (similar to AAAA batteries, and often found inside 9V batteries). As a result, it does away with the voltage regulator.

Details for the previous version can be found here: StickBot V2.0 - Untethered!. The original tethered version can be found here: StickBot: A Simple 6-Legged Walker. I’ll try to get updated schematics and more assembly videos up soon.

I’ve had a few people ask me if I have a kit for this little critter. I’m working on one geared toward kids — it’s a fun project to do with kids, and it seems like they really learn a lot from it.

The parts for this eye include:

  • 555 Timer IC
  • 1k ohm resistor
  • 330k ohm resistor
  • 2.2uF capacitor
  • About 9 inches of Cat 5 network cable, phone cord, or other similar wire
  • Some electrical tape, solder, and soldering iron

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