While working on putting together some educational information on the basics of Arduino/SumoBots for the SPaRC MiniSumo Robot Competition, I remembered that a few years back I had read something about using LEDs as sensors. After looking up exactly how it worked, I began development of the LedSensor library for Arduino – a library for measuring light intensity using a regular LED. This library is licensed under a GPLv3 License and the source can be found at: https://github.com/tac0010/LedSensor
I know I haven’t post an update on the RepRap in a while, but it’s not because it hasn’t been worked on! So here is a list of what I have done so far:
- Sourced the rest of the hardware and built the frame,
- Finished up the RAMPS electronics board and tested all of the stepper motor drivers,
- Built and tested the MakerGear hotend (extruded its first plastic!),
- Soldered up the optical end-stop boards and tested them, and
- Built the Wade’s Extruder.
What still needs to be done:
- Stepper motors still need mounting (waiting on the screws),
- Frame needs to be measured and adjusted,
- Extruder may need adjusting,
- Print surface needs to be mounted,
- Electronics need to be mounted, and wires need routing, and
- Then on to first prints!
So it’s coming along smoothly, with a couple of hiccups with the extruder and hotend, but those issues have been (hopefully) solved and the printer will be done very soon! When I’m finished, I’ll post a final cost analysis, and will offer to help print/assist anyone who wants to build their own! Here are a couple more pictures of the RepRap’s progress: (more…)
The chassis/frame for the RepRap has been mostly put together, but I ran into a small problem with the PLA bushings that I received with my printed plastic parts. They were of very low print quality, looked terrible, and would not slide at all on the smooth rod. I was able to get them to work beautifully on the smooth rod after I ‘repaired’ them, so I’m going to share that process:
The bushings would not completely fit on the smooth rods because there was small bits of plastic in the way, so I took a piece of leftover threaded rod (or just use a leg on your frame if you have no more threaded rod), and forcefully slid each bushing back and forth across the rod. This removed imperfections in the plastic and allowed the bushings to slide gracefully across the smooth rods. Bushings, saved!
Looking at these bushings, however, I think one of the first upgrades to the RepRap will be replacing the x-axis and y-axis bushings with linear bearings, so that they will not have to be replaced as often. Some new parts will have to be printed to hold the bearings, but that is further down the road.
The electronics setup that I decided to go with for this RepRap build was the RAMPS 1.4 platform. I ordered the RAMPS 1.4 DIY Kit Complete from Ultimachine with optical endstops and the pre-soldered SMT components. I did feel that it was worth $15 of my time and frustration trying to figure out how to solder all of those tiny parts, and I think it was a good choice. Perhaps the next build will involve using the re-flow oven, but that’s another story. (more…)
All of the ordered parts (electronics, steppers, hotend, plastic parts) have come in! Everything looks great, and Ultimachine even sent samples of green and white PLA to test things with! Also, I would like to give thanks to MakerGear for their neatly organized parts and a surprise chocolate square.
I will start soldering the electronics next and will update when that is finished.
Yesterday, I sent in the purchase order for most of the parts of the RepRap. It was decided that the SAE (imperial) version of the Prusa Mendel would be much more feasible here in the United States, mainly because it is harder to acquire metric nuts and bolts cheaply. The build is practically the same, with differently-sized holes in the plastic parts. (more…)
My budget/proposal was approved yesterday, so today I begin working on building a RepRap Prusa Mendel. The RepRap is a “Self-Replicating Rapid Prototyping Machine”, otherwise known as a three-dimensional printer. The project will be funded by Auburn University’s Student Projects and Research Committee (AU SPaRC), thanks to the very generous donations by Julian and Dorothy Davidson, and by Charlie and Jane Stringfellow. We are quite gracious for your support!
I will update this site often with the project’s progress, as well as the AU SPaRC website (hopefully!). For more information on the RepRap and on the project itself, keep reading after the break. (more…)