Friday, December 25, 2009

Mendula Has a Past History

After a stressful search for parts yesterday I’ve probably sourced 98%. Today I’m relaxed and thought I’d look up background on the parts former owner. Surprised she has an excellent history (more posted on that later).

Now I know everyone’s going to look at the pic and say that’s not a Mendel. Right, Mendula wanted to be a Mendel, or even better yet a RapMan V3. But that was not to be. So she is a Darwin or more correctly an early laser cut RapMan.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quick Idea: Rulez for the serious RepRaper

As I review the documentation for assembly of a RepRap, many questions come to mind. As a new year approaches its good to review, rethink, redo. So I’ve come up with my list...

1) Focus on the end product the "Quality of the Build".
2) Vibration is a killer…. Less vibration equals higher quality finished builds.
3) No metal on metal contact, unless absolutely necessary Got a use for those scraps now!
4) Greater frame mass doesn’t necessary equal a stronger frame, and translate into a better build.
5) Weight balance of the frame design might be better than greater mass.
6) Top heavy vs bottom heavy designs? Better at least balance your side to side weight or your adding to the problem.
7) Why all this metal? The beauty of plastic is to combine parts for less assembly.
8) They make Nylon washers don’t they?
9) Why aren’t rubber or plastic type washers used with laser cut Acrylic parts,.... can you say crack?

Food for thought?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mystery material discovered?

What are the commercial 3D printers using for their build surface areas?
Well I’ve discovered the Dimension machines use a”glass foam build platen”.
Sounds a bit like fiberglass?
See Bolson materials Web site:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

RepRap takes a dark turn...

Soon Another RepRap running (cross ur fingers).

Of late, I’ve read some real horror stories. So when I opened today’s first box of parts the only fitting name I could assign this project was dark like a son of Dracula. So with my first impressions “Mendula” becomes a work in progress. Warped parts and all !

I’ll get Mendula to work one way or another but it’s going to be a mean beastie.

Inventory time…..

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5th Generation: What’s in a name?

"The term fifth generation was intended to convey the system as being a leap beyond existing machines."

What’s in a name?

For the RepRap community 5th generation Technology is adding more “intelligence” to the build process.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quick Idea: Instant Proto PCB boards??

Seen this screen printer advertised in the local newspaper. Have kinda kept in the back of my mind for a look see one day.

Well today was the day as looking for something else on Ebay I found the lazy mans way to “look see” and did a quick double click for the video. http://http//
The video is great and the system looks great for an Ebay price of $200 US.

Now if I had my RepRap up and running I could run with a lot of ideas. Just need to find the right conductive ink and maybe some different screens?

This manufacturer is very creative with re-spinning old technology into new products, and every thing made of plastic, hint, hint.
Die cutting – Embossing, Knitting– needlecrafts, electronic cutting.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

5th Generation Fixturing

Fixturing = enhancement of the “insertion” process that builds composite parts on RepRap!

RepRap Build Modes: “Fill mode”, “Insulate mode”, “Track mode”

To Fixture and do “Fixturing” accomplished with several methods, via software or via software and enhansed hardware.

“Fixturing” Software can be intelligent,or Software can become intelligent with added hardware.

Example: We wish to use “Fixturing” on three of these pre-built parts.

We wish to do two things; Make the next build white plastic, and also incase the screws and nuts in plastic all the way up to ¼ “ from the top of the build. Enough to have one finished part and hold it with two nuts.

Via software we need the build “intelligent” enough to know of the various layer levels, and that we have two bolts and nuts installed.

Once the SW knows its stuff we only need align the part in the assigned “point of orgin”, lock it down and we are off and running.

The second method of “Fixturing” is a variation of the first example:

We add some Intelligence to the build process. In this case, we use the basic : “Fixturing” “Fill mode”. It should operate something like this: The original parts design is loaded up into Fixturing with the fill command saying Fill 1 ½” high.

Option: We could design the second half of the part and leave off the info about the screw and nut installed. Bring both parts into “Fixturing” under the fill command and the second half would become the fill part.

Once the SW knows its stuff we only need align the part in the assigned “point of orgin”, lock it down and we are off and running. In this example we have added another part to the RepRap a Whisker. It adds intelligence to the extruder.

Whisker = a springy piece of thin metal wire, formed the metal side of the junction. When the Whisker makes contact with a level in the build it sends a signal to the processor to tell it, hey you need to move the axis! The Whisker can be a contact type, photo, radar etc.

The Fixturing SW will know that contact was made outside the circle of the whisker at point x and axis (?) should be altered. With this intelligence the build can be completed in easy order. If multiple parts are to be built the whisker intelligence can be saved and the next build would go faster.

Third method of Fixturing:

The part is locked down in the assigned “point of orgin”. The “Fill mode Scan” is used with the only parameter given to the SW is the need to Fill 1 ½” high. The whisker in this mode acts like a scanner and slowly builds an intelligence base to Fill and build.

I’m sure the various variations on this will become evident once applied.

5th Generation What is it?

5th Generation RepRap Technology?

Currently its taken from 2005-Now to achive a level of quality operation with RepRap technology, with enhancements ongoing.

My hope is to kickstart, and bypass 1-2 generations of enhancements to the technology and achive 5th Generation technology. It can be done, just takes the time and will power to do it.

Taking my ideas and concepts and applying them ALL leapfrogs any current technologies. Apply them all directly to the current 3rd Generation “Mendel” design. Mendel becomes obsolete, with a new beast inside of it!

We made 5th Generation Technology without any major redesigns. No tool changer or second extruder needed.

Mendel becomes:
Vastly stronger, Smarter, Cheaper to build, and adds many new features in the upgrade.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

5th Generation PCB 2D Layer

Use of the 2D Insertion Layer

2D Insertion Layer = Flat Foil type builds made of conductive materials.

Sticking a 2D flat piece of material onto a RepRap build might contain some sticking issues with existing build material as new hot material is added. The Flat Foil type material(s) builds made of conductive materials might not adhere to the build. The problem has been addressed by the “Insertion process” for composite builds. This process was covered in detail in an earlier blog.

Example of making a working build:
Aluminum foil is a cheap, durable, and workable “2D Insertion Layer” material. We can obtain other foils from “Craft Stores” etc. but IMHO is a great starting point.

1) Our PCB board design will contain its first build layer the “Insulate Layer”.
2) our build will contain several “Assembly connections”.
3) Our “2D Insertion Layer” is placed on the “Insulate Layer”. To lock the foil firmly on to our “Insulate Layer” we use a two step process. We take either “Internal connection” materials i.e. paper clip wire or “Insulated connection” material such as tooth picks. We press down the connections to lock down the foil firmly.
4) Next we make the product permanent by adding “Assembly connections”. This could build in or cover the paper clip or tooth pick materials. The foil is now locked in and other layers can be added until a full build is made.

Some detailed planning and testing will be required to make a high quality pcb build in production mode i.e. several copies. The concept however is sound. Stepper Motor assemblies cheap and easy to make.

The real beauty of this process is that once perfected, we can build in electrical items anywhere within plastic materials a Grand Hope!

5th Generation PCB Terms and Use

Overview and new terms for use
I’ve received a great deal of interest in this so I’ve released a draft “drawing” and material, sorry about the mess.

IWire Rap

IWire Rap = Insertion Wire Wrap Process used by RepRap building.

Wire wrap = Wire wrap is a technique for constructing circuit boards without having to have a printed circuit board manufactured. It can be made by hand or by machine, and can be hand-modified afterwards.

Insertion process = process for composite builds. Information located in this blog

Wire wrap + Insertion process = IWire Rap

RepRap Build Modes: “Fill mode”, “Insulate mode”, “Track mode”

Insulate Layer =ABS plastic materials, non conductive layers
Insertion Layer = conductive materials.
2D Insertion Layer = Flat Foil type builds made of conductive materials.
3D Insertion Layer = Round wire type builds conductive materials.

External connection = Conductive Material open to contact outside world
Internal connection = conductive material in contact with other conductive material(s)
Insulated connection = ABS plastic materials used in “Insulate mode” in contact with other conductive material(s) used.
Assembly connection = ABS plastic materials used in “Fill mode” to assist build process the hold down during a build composite insertion materials. Contact with other conductive material(s) used Insulate mode.
Track connection = the pathway, track, or trace area where any of the Insertion Layers can be placed during a build.

Monday, November 30, 2009

5th Generation PCB boards using "3D Insertion Layer"

Prior art

The idea of making a pcb board directly via a RepRap machine is not new.

One such idea or concept is to use a "Solder Paste Syringe".
The method is described http://http//

"It might apply solder around all the pads on the board where component legs need to be attached. Next, place components onto the board where they need to go. It may be possible to use a heat gun or some other device to melt the solder en-masse. If not, then theres always hand soldering. Which would definitely be easier if there were solder pre-applied where you needed it. "

While Solder paste has worked for some test designs its very complex method of making pcb boards. My preferred method is to use the “Insertion Method" or system, described in 5th Generation Strengthen Builds w “Insertion”.

Suggested reading and review Prober's Ideas blogs:
5th Generation PCB 2D Layer
5th Generation Fixturing
5th Generation Strengthen Builds w “Insertion”
5th Generation PCB Terms and Use

I’ve received a great deal of interest in this so I’ve released a draft “drawing” and material, sorry about the mess.

5th Generation PCB boards using "3D Insertion Layer"

We also use our friendly and available product the paper clip to make the 3D Insertion Layer interconnections wires. Any conductive material can work, small nails, tumb tacks

Double click this rough sketch to view it full size.

While A = two layers of paper clip wire with X showing a non-conductive layer between one layer.
While B = two layers of paper clip wire with X showing a conductive connection of the 2 layers of paper clip wire layer.

While C = one layer of paper clip wire with X showing a non-conductive opening at the top layer non-conductive plastic. A stiff wire contact from the outside makes a conductive connection via the open hole X.

While D = one layer of paper clip wire with X showing paper clip wire set within a non-conductive opening at the top layer of non-conductive plastic. A header clip can be installed via this paper clip wire.

Top view E = a top view of A-D listed above.

While AA = two layers of paper clip wire with X showing a non-conductive layer between two conductive lines of paper clip wire.

While BB = two layers of paper clip wire with X showing a conductive connection of the 2 layers of paper clip wire layer. At X, two paper clip wires overlap each other.

While CC = one layer of paper clip wire with X showing a non-conductive opening at the top layer non-conductive plastic. The open hole X allows a stiff wire contact from the outside.

While DD = one layer of paper clip wire with X showing paper clip wire set within a non-conductive opening at the top layer of non-conductive plastic. A header clip can be installed via this paper clip wire.

5th Generation Strengthen Builds w “Insertion”

Make composite parts on RepRap!

Looking toward the future in building Enhanced RepRap machines it accured to me that another method might be used to “Strengthen” final builds. Inserts may well be the answer to this. For example a higher strength material could be “Inserted” into the build, then given the go signal to the printer and the final build finished. Software will become the key to implementation of this idea. This could be done several ways.

Several “insert areas” could be assigned in the raft build. Say we build a square rod of higher strength plastic (the more expensive kind). Using this concept, 4 insert points would be assigned on the raft where the “Strength Square” would be inserted into the raft insert points. Once inserted the “GO” is clicked on for the software.

Another way of doing things might be to build a part to a certain level and the system build software flash for an “insert” during the middle of a build. The part or parts could be “inserted” and the build continued until completion.

Using the “ (1)Insertion” System
We add new features such as:

1) Adding a different color part into a build.
2) Adding new materials for a “complete build” in one step.
3) Add a feature, move the table to the front load area for part(s) insertion.

“Insertion” materials for possible composite builds

Off the top of my head some cheap materials.

Unwound (2)Paper Clips anyone?


Dental Floss a Great material!
How about a pre-wound coil or square using nylon? Dental floss is either a bundle of thin nylon filaments or a plastic (teflon or polyethylene) ribbon. Great material!

Springs anyone? Available in plastic, or metal

Paper Products

The list goes on…….have some ideas how about listing them.

(1) Insertion (genetics) From Wikipedia
In genetics, an insertion (also called an insertion mutation) is the addition of one or more nucleotide base pairs into a DNA sequence. This can often happen in microsatellite regions due to the DNA polymerase slipping. Insertions can be anywhere in size from one base pair incorrectly inserted into a DNA sequence to a section of one chromosome inserted into another.

(2) A paper clip is usually a thin wire in a looped shape that takes advantage of the elasticity and strength of the materials of its construction (usually steel or some other metal, but sometimes plastic) to compress and therefore hold together two or more pieces of paper by means of torsion and friction. Some other kinds of paper clip use a two-piece clamping system.
Recent innovations include multi-colored plastic-coated paper clips and spring-fastened binder clips.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A view 2 extrude #2

or Food for thought?

Found these Kitchen items that are decent for parts.

The pasta maker (got to love Stainless Steel), sells for 16-29 used on US Ebay.
or this:

This scoop has a great, simple mechanism built into it.

It’s also make out of Stainless Steel.

Lots of “Fun” ideas can be tested with this!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A view to extrude….

Well all this reading is having its effect on me.
Found myself in the department store looking at all kinds of products looking for items that might be useful to adapt to a 3D fabricator.

Being turkey week I went down the kitchen isle and found some really decent stainless steal items. Also some cheap digital temperature probes used now on a turkey could be useful. Lot’s of good stuff cheap that could be adapted.

Well, better focus first on getting a fab up and running, then build and test the ideas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quick Ideas: Extruder Innovation

Problems within current “RepRap” designs
IMHO, some of the current designs have lost "consistency"

Maybe because it’s an “open” project? or
Maybe its trying to do everything without any constraints?

ATM many users are using 3mm diameter feed stock filament. Many are outputting finished material via the nozzle out to the build material in the area of 2mm or less. Some of the advanced users from my reading are using various methods to achieve the 1mm finished product output.

One such method used is to stretch the output material to achieve
1mm finished product. IMHO, consistency is lost in the process.

If users are moving in the direction to process smaller, and smaller output via the nozzle hole pre treatment, or more detailed preparation of the filament before hand to make higher quality output is needed.

The consistency fix?
My thinking atm is that consistency of build quality is being achieved and processed, within the extruder (whatever type used). What would be much, much better is to achieve the consistency at the feedstock or filament level. Eliminate the variations at the nozzle output to build level. Thereby eliminate the pressure within the extruder design. Why try and squeeze 3mm feed filament in and try and out put “finished” at 1mm? Pre-process the 3mm and re-spool the filament into a standard 1mm feedstock to the extruder head. That’s a 3>1 reduction making a lighter less stressed and consistent quality extruder.

Other benefits:
Use up dead space within “RepRap” designs.
Make available different colors and kinds of material at a twist of a knob. (have a design to put yet to paper)
Recycle I love the idea of using plastics around the house and recycle them into something else that can be used. Saw somewhere a device to take strips of soda bottles and feed it into the extruder, great idea! Ok this is design is done, now take this concept and add my idea and you have trash to 1mm feedstock ready to be used when needed.

I have about a half a dozen other ideas building off this simple concept and am sure this will open up some new doors to innovation.

My writing style

Hope you folks don’t mind my writing style. My time becomes increasingly more valuable to me each day. Getting lost in the process is my “good grammar” hehhe.

The choice had to be made: Output the ideas and concepts in a blog very quickly or worry about grammar. I chose the latter.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quick Ideas: Open the E-Door

Building on the last post "Quick Idea E-circuits", we move on to a few quick ideas on what we might do with the E-circuits.

IDEA: Build our own LED's
IDEA: Build our own LCD's
IDEA: Build our own OLED's

Once this "E-Door" is open all types of new projects and ideas are open

Quick Ideas: E-Circuits

Been reading and watching videos dealing with Makerbot, RepRap etc. Great group of people and it looks like some of my crazy ideas might be helpful.

Problem: Looking for a way to build electrical circuits via a bot. The methods of choice seem to be melting solider etc.

Idea: (KISS) Keep it simple, electronic ink is the way to go. Saw the early work done by E-Ink (Former Motorola), and others. The basic idea is to print conductive paths with conductive ink. This can be accomplished via any known printing method. For this 3D printer project, the ink jet should more than do the job.

This this idea workable? Yes

Many brand new products are coming off the line using this technology.
E-readers, and a new technology I can't wait to purchase and watch TV on, OLED.

The beginning….

Today I found a new group of "Thinkers", much like myself. They love to tinker with new ideas, mechanics, electronics etc. The common goal being to take "ideas" with the aid of an "Open" 3D system and transform the ideas into a 3D build form.

As my German friends would say "Fantastish"!