Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Finished the Y, starting the X Frame


Picked up the nuts I needed to finish assembling the Y Carriage. Before I slap on the the heatbed, I have to install a thermistor to read the temperature. Didn't realize I had to buy that separately so I need to make another purchase order. Damn. 

3DPrintMi - X Idler
X Idler ver 2
Decided to make a last minute change to the X idler. I scrapped the idea of having to insert the Z nut from the middle to the bottom instead. That way, I can just lift the X frame without having to screw it off.

X Idler ver 3

Moved the Z nut housing up so that the nut can be at the center.

Starting to print the X Idler


Starting the X motor

Forgot to take pics of the completed X motor but I carried away and started assembling as soon as it finished.

Ahhh yeaaa. When I was installing the X frame, some of the ball bearings kept falling out of the linear bearings which was pissing me off. They are so tiny that I had to pick them up with tweezers. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Printing the Y Carriage

Printing out the first half of the Y carriage
I had to update the design of my Y idler to accommodate the huge belt idler .

Out with the old and in with the new


Realized I didn't draw any holes for the zip-ties, guess I'll have to drill  them out by hand
Starting the second Y carriage
Weeeee I'm a plane!
Drilled out the zip-tie holes, crammed the linear bearings and did some post processing. Everything fits, woohoo! Just waiting for the second part to finish so I can test fit the heat bed.

Need to purchase some 1/4" nuts later.

Looking good so far!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Power of CAD

Finished drawing the preliminary design of my 3D printer. It's nice to have a CAD program that let's you visualize the final product. The design will change overtime so I guess I should consider this as version 1.0  I will start printing out the Y Carriage sometime this week. The Z rod holders may need to be beefed up a bit so I may revisit that later on.

My heat bed and the Printrboard finally came in the mail this past Friday. Made a few changes to the Y Carriage since the heat bed I had modeled was wrong but that was easy to fix.  I redesigned the Y Carriage making it slimmer and more robust. Instead of using 8mm threaded rods, I sized it down to 6mm threaded rods (or 1/4" equivalent) since it was a bit over-sized for such a small printbed.

3DPrintMi - CAD
Y Carriage assembled


Friday, January 18, 2013

One step at a time

For the past two weeks, I've been designing the X Frame and it's a pain in the ass. I decided earlier to apply the "Vertical X Axis" standard into the design and I must say, using these standards has been giving me a hard time. I was about to call it quits and just print an existing design online. Today, after going through many iterations, I finally came up with a reasonable design that seems worthy for printing.

X Frame Front

X Frame Back

X Motor

X Idler
I started out creating the X Motor, then mirroring that to create the X Idler. Everything is symmetric and if one wants to implement 10mm smooth rods, simply change the dimensions of the linear bearings housing.

X Carriage with Extruder mount
Designing the carriage was the most difficult part. I had 5 different versions and they all just didn't work the way I wanted to be. Figuring out how to mount the linear bearings took a bit of time and every configuration I had increased the length of the X Carriage. 

The linear bearing housing. I did not want to have a 360 degree enclosure since that would mean I would have to print vertically which I'm trying to avoid. Printing vertically would just take a long time versus having it laid flat. To solve that problem, I went for a 215 degree enclosure which I'm hoping it will keep the linear bearings from falling out. Only one way to find out.

As of now, I am still waiting for the hotbed and Printrboard to arrive by mail. Once those come in, I can start working on redesigning the Y carriage.

Current Progress

Y Carriage

Y Carriage
As I stated before, I didn't like the long wooden carriage to mount the print bed. I wanted to have my Y Carriage to be completely printable so one does not need to fabricate or special order a laser cut part. The design was inspired by Wire1's Mendel vitamin-less Y-carriage. The two parts will be held together with 8mm or 5/16 threaded rods.

The Y carriage is in the process of being redesigned and won't start until the 152mm x152mm heat-bed I ordered from Printrbot store arrive by mail.

Bottom View
Top View

Will use LM8UU linear bearings

The pitch between the smooth rods, center to center will be 70mm apart. I chose this since there wasn't any standard dimension to choose from and also be able to fit on a print bed.

Z Holder

Here is my Z mount that will lift the X frame up and down. It is fairly simple in design, using 8mm smooth rod. I have thought about switching to 10mm instead wasn't able to locate them or they were simply out of stock so I just went with what was available.

Front View
Back View

Smooth rod clamp

The smooth rod will be held in place with a printed part.  

The pitch between the threaded and smooth rod will be 30 mm apart, center to center. I went with this configuration since it was the standard of the Prusa Mendel design. Also, this will also give the option to print out a X frame from the Thingiverse.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The basic frame

I'm a bit late on this build blog since I already have the Y frame printed out and assembled. I'm still working on the X frame and experimenting different configurations. It's only been a month into this build so I'll start from the beginning and work my way up to the present build. I didn't take that many pictures so I'll just use the CAD pictures to help illustrate the process.

A few project goals I had in mind:
- SI (will note english alternative)
- Build area: 152mm x 152mm x 200mm (6" x 6" hotbed)
- Fully parametric
- Provide complete Bills of Material
- Aim for low cost
- Full printable, no laser cut parts required.

- Easy to build

Starting back in December 16 2012,  spent about 2 weeks drawing up a preliminary design on Computer Aided Design (CAD) program. I designed each part, grabbing a few CAD files such as Nema17 motors from Thingiverse found here (courtesy to bdring) to help complete the assembly. Each section were viewed carefully for any clearance issues, editing dimensions as needed. After a few hours of drawing, I came up with this.

Basic Open Frame
As you know, this will be similar to the Printrbot/Wallace open frame style. The structure may limit the performance of my 3D printer due to it's frame stability but only if you are printing at high speeds. If it can print decent parts at low speeds, then it can self replicate.

The very first part

Y Idler Original
This is the Y Idler. My main influence for this part was the Ordbot's Y frame and I liked the slim frame design. The frame will be held together with 4 threaded rods and the belt system will be mounted vertically. This setup will allow me to fit the Nema17 motor between the rods.

Smooth Rod mount

The smooth rod mount was inspired by Lulzbot TK-0's Y idler using a trapped nut and bolt to hold it down, basically a complete copy. I used netfabb to measure out the dimensions, a rather crude method but it worked.

Y Idler slimmed down

The Y motor.

Y Motor Close Up

Fillets applied to areas most likely to experience stress.

Y Frame Assembled

Here is the Y frame assembled together with 8mm threaded/smooth rods. This will drive the Y carriage using  T5 belts.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

First Post!

Was given the advice that the cheapest way to document a project was to blog about it, so here I am! I am currently designing my own RepRap 3D printer from the ground up and will document every step of the way until I reach my goal: have my printer print one part of itself. Crazy right?

I got into 3D Printing about a year and a half ago, most of that time was spent researching about and debating what printer I want to start with. I was saving up for the Makerbot's Thing-O-Matic which, at that time, was the only DIY kit available but it wasn't long until I came across the Printrbot's Kickstarter project which in fact couldn't have come at a better time. I was just shy from reaching the purchase price of the T.O.M. but since the Printrbot was half the price, I was able to upgrade to the Printrbot Plus. After 6 months of printing, I'm still fascinated at the fact that I can produce just about anything I want with a click of a button.

After printing a few random items here and there, I figure it was time to put the Printrbot into good use.  After much thought, I decided I wanted to fulfill the RepRap creed, print another RepRap printer and give it to a friend. I thought about going for the Prusa Mendel since it is the most popular printer to build, just that it looks really complicated to build if you have no idea what you're doing.  Just by looking at it is enough to second guess yourself. I couldn't imagine dumping a pile of plastic onto someones lap and say "good luck!" I would be such a horrible friend. The Printrbot/Wallace was another option since both were designed to be simple and minimalistic. The only thing I didn't like is the huge wooden piece for the print bed. I thought to myself, "what if the Printrbot had a fix Y frame similar to the Prusa?" and after saying so many "what ifs" to myself, I figured, "shit, I have an engineering degree, how hard can it be to develop my own reprap printer?" Easy for me to say. So after spending many hours reading blogs, studying other open source 3D printers such as Lulzbot TK-0, Prusa i3, Mosaic, MendleMax, Ordbot, Wallace, etc, and writing down ideas, it was time to start developing my own 3D Printer.