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.