Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quick Temperature Hack

One frustration with Reprap for me has been the fragile nature of the beast. Seems like I get one item fixed another item breaks on me. Such was the case with my thermistor.

I had rebuilt my hot end, and had my thermistor taped to the nozzle and it generally worked. Thought I had gotten up and running again, then the thermistor failed on me. It was my last one and I had a supply on order.

The problem I realized was getting readings off the nozzle itself.
The wires would get twisted among other issues I had with it. A better way had to be found with the materials at hand.

I attempted to take two washers and make a temp reading washer. It just didn't work right.


Then it hit me, the trusty Paperclip. The more I played with the idea the more ideal this became for a quick temperature hack or more.

The Trusty PaperClip

It can be reused, it’s modular
Can be turned to adjust the wires
The nozzle can be changed with no issues

Working Parts

All you need to do is pick the right size paperclip for your hot end.

Bonus!!! Need to see if your temp is working? Turn on your software and put your two fingers on the end of the paperclip and you will shortly find out if it’s working or not.

How it works

The small end of the Paperclip acts like a nut and can be screwed down to any level needed. Just make sure you use plenty of tape.

Wires Wrapped

Make sure the wires are fully wrapped as you don’t need any contact or shorts.

Finish Wrap

Finish wrapping the glass bead so you have one complete, taped up device.


Lock in the glass bead leaving the small space at the Paperclip top, to be used as a locking means.


Finish off the device by taping down the locked in glass bead. You’re all done.

You are ready to test.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Whistles for Josef A RepRap Action.

Repost of the Blog by Rick Pollack

"Josef Prusa - the Prusa in the Prusa Mendel - is giving a presentation at the TedX event in Prague on November 20th. He is printing 300 whistles to hand out to the attendees but he is up against the clock.

If you have the technology to print some whistles and you can have them in Prague by the 20th...let me know and I'll get you the shipping address..."

Update: Link to more info: How to send a whistle

Thursday, November 4, 2010

3D Printed Cars & MDAR bots for Area 51

Couple of news stories that might be of interest ….
3D Printed Cars May Be the Way of the Future and MDAR the new bots for Area 51 etc.

"Urbee, a two passenger car, is being designed by Kor Ecologic Inc., using Stratasys 3D printers. Kor Ecologic probably chose Stratasys because their printers are considered cheap and reliable; I know that they're reliable because I have seen them myself and I know what they can make. But cheap? If you consider a $14,900 cheap for a small printer, then sure, why not, but I can't imagine how much a large 3D printer capable of printing car parts could cost!"

Robots Invade Nevada National Security Site

"And it's in this spirit of optimism -- some might say naivete -- that technical whizbangs working for the Nevada National Security Site, formerly known as the Nevada Test Site, have unveiled the MDARS, short for Mobile Detection Assessment Response System. Call them what you want, they're robots. And they are now on the job patrolling sensitive parts of the sprawling desert facility.

"It thinks on its own, and in that regard it doesn't require the constant plume of intervention," said NNSA senior engineer Steve Scott."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Impressions Gen6 Electronics

This morning I was handed a set of the new Gen6 Electronics manufactured in the Netherlands by Mendel

I haven’t written much lately, and frankly this new “gift” to the RepRap community forced me to make the time available.

Most of the time I don’t like to buy electronic items on the first run. I like to buy when items come down in price, and have any bugs taken care of. When I reviewed the hype (in hindsight), of Generation 3 electronics I thought that I was buying a mature, bug free design. I’m going to be kind to MBI here and just say “not as advertised”.

At first look, Gen6 electronics truly can be advertised as “plug and play”. I will know much better when I hook everything up and start running.

Pics from the web site just don’t do this set justice. We are talking a quality board here. Just new I had to take some quick pics, and show the community what they haven’t seen yet.

I love when a product has some thought given to it. Truly, the optics are a Gem! Who ever thought of the endstop optics design, needs to be given real thumbs up! No fiddling around with solder, just plug and play, the real thing.

From these pics you can see its very comfortable size compared to a standard Gen3 extruder board..

Front and Back sides.

To sum up my first impressions; Gen6 is everything Gen3 should have been!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A wake up call !

I was shocked this morning when I opened my email.
Let me digress for a moment to tell the story.

I’ve been on my quest to get a decent RepRap going. Seems each time I turn around Its another patch up job or a visit to the local hardware store (they know me now). With no Reprap parts available you have to “innovate” and make your own hacked up fixes.

Sometimes you get to the point of no return. You must ask for others for help as only a new printed RP part will do the job> Only way to make all the other hacks work. This was my case; I had a hacked up revised extruder that worked. Only problem, the Darwin x carriage would not do the job. It only had a very small dc motor on it, just couldn't handle the small weight. You see the part was an early Cast Reprap made out of Polyurethane. I’ve learned so much since I bought it.

Anyhow, I tried Emailing for some help to print out some parts. The end result would bring some much need strength into the project. Some people said they would help and never would reply to again to the emails. Some offered to build for a cost, no problem if it wasn’t an arm and a leg, I would have gone for it. In the end nothing came of it. With all the users in the community out there my only hope turned to posting in the forums.,51778 Posted on 7/15/2010,
Up until the time of this blog posting, not one email, or contact has come from that post. That was until today’s surprise email.

See a new firm with the UP Printer just released a new 3DPriter to the Reprap community. They had an offer that I thought might be great to try.

Step 3. If you kindly provide your input to all the questions in the survey, we are willing to mail your 3D model to you only for the cost of mailing for our appreciation of your feedback.

So I looked up the old STL, done in AOI I believe, and sent off an email to them This was in late afternoon for me. Like many of the firms now days, I expected some game, or to be ignored as in my past experiences. To my shock in this mornings email
I received these beautiful jpegs. This UP printer firm means business, and is building good will!

Side note: I may have gotten lucky. Reviewing the jpeg’s shows that the reinforcements in the UP software have made one of the best,if not the Best Darwin x-carriages ever repraped.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New field of research

Today I started a new field of research dealing with the “cooling zone” inside the insulator and below.

What I made up was a heat shield. My theory is that we have been concerned with the heat within metals; I wanted to deal with the unseen radiant energy.

My first tests tell me I’m on to something. I seem to have blocked some of the heat from the insulator and created a new mess of Radio interference.

The once working temp system failed in reading and providing power for heat, frankly it went nutz. So its time to do a complete rethink of the shielding of the wires and retest.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Poor man’s enclosure

aka heated chamber, heated room

Another problem with ABS is the fumes. My Mendel extruder seems to give off more fumes than HydraRaptor's does, perhaps because the melt zone is much bigger, and the white ABS seems to smell more acrid than natural ABS. I did a build with a window open to get rid of the fumes but most of the parts then warped, presumably because there was no longer a buffer of warm air around them, but a cool breeze.

In an attempt to tackle both of these problems I built an MDF box around my Mendel.

In my case everything I’m working on is “experimental” and in the process of rebuilding. What was needed was a method to grow with my projects. The answer was simple. Build an enclosure out of clear plastic aka "Visqueen" film. Thick enough to do the job and hold up to use.

Lightweight, flexible polyethylene construction film offers economical all-weather protection indoors or out. Known as "Visqueen" film - a brand name, although this is a commodity plastic product.

Some quick thoughts/ideas:
1) Make a front folding flap and install a couple of magnets to lock the cover when U need it closed.
2) Your stepper motors produce heat, cool them and reuse the heat. Install a fan blade on the unused shaft side,FREE cooling/reuse heat. Many sub-ideas can come off this simple idea.
A) Like the back and forth of the stepper could be used to make a one way fan.
B) The free air movement can be used to vent out the fumes.

Give me some links with your projects off these ideas. Would enjoy seeing them!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Toothed, Bead ,Chain Belting …oh MY !

Since our quest is to lower the cost and improve operation of our RepRaps I felt the need for an alternative belt to what’s currently being used.

Long ago on one of my parts quests I picked up some “Diamond Braided Rope” as a possible drive belt or maybe used in an emergency to fix a RepRap. My belief now is that it’s a very good replacement candidate. The numbers speak for them self. I recently ordered Tooth Belting @ $1.81 a foot, plus shipping, taxes etc. The Braided Rope I purchased cost only $1.00 for 10 feet of the stuff.

Further, this might be a superior product for RepRap as seen in the general specs.
¼” x 10'feet
Braided for Strength
100% polyester strands
Resists rot, mildew, oil, and gas
300lbs working capacity

On the minus side that Red & White is ugly and changes to a V type pulley system would need to be made. It’s made in China, so maybe a pure color is sold someplace.

One feature I really like is that the material is very RepRap like. Looking at the pic you can see that the manufacturer hot slices the material for packaging. This is very advantageous for us. Using a hot means we can melt the polyester to any part we might wish. If we wish a continuous belt I would just butt the two ends together and melt them. If looks or an added protection is needed, then put the seal inside some shrink tube and presto you have a dirt cheap continuous belt.

Another feature: This is round material and therefore makes it superior in looping compared to toothed belts.

Where to buy? I purchased these at Harbor Freight Tools Item number 96186. Also sure these are available at other locations.

Monday, May 24, 2010

“Mendula” Status

For those who know this Star Wars movie: Vader announces “Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate you”.

I have received motivation from the strangest places. Nophead’s continual quality building examples have always been the mark to shoot for.

This project started out as a “winter build” project. It’s now near the end of spring and sometimes the project has been like living in the money pit, but there is much progress.

“Mendula” gets a new name today and becomes “RapBoy”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Makerbot Giveaway Entry #1



Shaker Flashlight:
Test print of Inner Case Housing:
Shaker Light Case designed to print on Makerbot:

This is a great idea with some less than perfect quality Chinese manufacturing!

If memory serves I Paid closed to 10 US dollars for one of these “Shaker lights” plus tax. Buy them on Ebay cheap but you must pay the postage, it still costs. No batteries great, simple to keep around and use when needed.

Mine had a few “issues” the switch didn’t lock in right and then I dropped the light and the case got all screwed up. Generally I like the light and concept it just needs to be “personalized” with RepRap.

These make great personalized gifts. My hope with this project is to personalize the lights for areas of usage. Seems I have a bad habit of picking up the light and putting it in another place then end up looking for it when I need it. So the fix is make one that says “Auto” on it, one for Bedroom, kitchen etc.

Problems with the original design you can purchase: The magnet is locked in with a poor seal on the end. The seal isn’t glued; it kinda just locks in very poorly. I highly recommend A decent bit of tape to lock the seal. If the seal unlocks then the “inner works” moves out of position and the power switch won’t make the correct contact.

The power switch is a very simple mechanism. It pushes the metal contact down, makes contact and you have power. As this project is only to replace the casing we won’t address the issues at this time.

The mirror type mechanism is basically some reflecting foil around the led light. One flat piece of reflection does the job but could be improved on. From what I gathered of the design the idea was to give a little light near the top of the light as well as out of it. Serves no purpose other than look cool.

My first run on this project: covers attempts to make a “clone” very close to the original design. It might have worked, but I put out a test print and asked some questions found that making a copy on a Makerbot would push the machine to its limits. So last minute as my software skills improved, the decision was made to start from scratch again.

Overview: The updated design has two parts

1) Inner Case Housing: is designed to be the printed area to use the “Shaker drop in package”. Contents of a self contained shaker power system, led light, and power switch.

The critical measurement is making the “Shaker drop in” package” fit inside your replication. To make this easy for future versions I made and posted a “test print”

2) Outer Case Package: Contents of the Plastic Lens, Lens Cover, seal and “Outer Case Housing”

In this design we focus on the outer case of the design. We have an “Shaker drop In” package, contents of a self contained shaker power system, led light, and power switch. The inner works fits inside of the outer case and is locked in at the top.

My Hope: This someone buys and stocks ”Shaker drop In” packages. They should be dirt cheap to buy in quantity. Resell them in printer packs of say 6 or 12 units.

This is the perfect demo print for shows. Just print out a bunch of the “Outer Case Housings” maybe personalizes with “made on Makerbot” or some such.

At the demo personalize a name on the Lens cover and make a quick print.

Great as a giveaway and great for giving personalized gifts!

More, Fine details Updated later...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Electrically Conductive PLA

I know the subject of my visit to the APEX expo might be getting a little old. It just was one of those times you had to be there to experience it, and the valuable contacts made.

One such contact was the chemist I met in one booth. Seems the firm he works for worked with various forms of plastic compounds including a super electrically insulating cousin of PLA.

Our conversation was about the RepRap project, making or printing pcb boards etc. So we talked about the possibility of removing the insulating properties of his material, and doping it to become electrically conductive. Can you say “Electrically Conductive PLA” to print out circuits? He took down his notes on the subject, and hopefully will follow up as a “Noob”

The seed has been planted. I know with all my other projects this must be passed on so others might water, and bring the process to maturity. My hope with this post is that enough attention will be gathered and Adrian and Vik will find the emails, keeping them from the spam bucket.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Essence of an Idea

Last night I was making a second round with the various materials obtained this week at the APEX expo. What nagged on me was the excellent part in production I found at the show. My hope was adapting the part to use in the “V Extruder” project. The part had one major flaw that made it impossible to work. Then the fix for this flaw hit me! It was late in the evening and exhausted, I went to bed. Would deal with it in another day or so.

Saturday: Woke up this morning and to help me wake up I fired up the laptop to get my eyes in focus. Then I put a few words in Google, something from last night. It lead me to a complete, and “brand new” concept, and process.

So my plans for today are screwed. It’s going to be over 80 deg. F, bright and sunshiny. I should be out and about and enjoying the spring weekend. What do I find myself doing after several hours? Documenting the “new processes” for admission to the Patent offices, how sad.

I find myself tortured again! I suffer from the same mindset Thomas Edison suffered from। He used to take short power naps, and would wake up and have fixes or brand new concepts available to him when he awoke. What tortures me, is that in prior times, most of my new ideas were 5-10 years ahead of the technology to manufacture them.

The RepRap projects have been very good to me and my way of thinking। The focus now is on ‘manufacturing”। So to sum up what happened to me this morning….my mind overnight worked out the problem or fix from last night,when I went to bed.

I have about a dozen or so other projects RepRap related in the works. So I Google that word this morning it all came together !!! My mind had combined the ideas from one project, with the fix from last night, and presto a “brand new” concept and process.

By now I’m sure the “Open source” people are all fired up with me saying the word “Patent”. Not to threat, I have it all documented. Parts of this new concept and process will become open in the future. On the restricted side,the licenses pay to bring the major part of the technology to market. Under the documented timeline my hope is to bring something out within a year or less, or maybe I’ll just sleep on this?

Time to enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcome the Noob

I’ve had the very good fortune this week to attend the IPC APEX EXPO. Featuring advanced and emerging technologies in printed board design and manufacturing, electronics assembly and test.

In past years a project like RepRap wouldn’t gain much interest. With the world economy in such a mess,the companies are all hungry. I found a great deal of interest in the RepRap projects, so expect a few noobies in for a peak!!!

Use IFF for Rep Rap

The Interchange File Format (IFF)

Link to info and specs:

Y Iff ?
“One of the most disappointing lessons learned from IFF is simply that a pretty good standard can easily be ignored in favor of a huge variety of proprietary formats. A very large number of formats out there have carefully attempted to recreate just the basic functionality of IFF. In practice, this means that graphics programs are stuck supporting dozens of subtly incompatible formats, each of which has its own innovative set of quirks.”

IFF Official Specifications

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Recycler a New Approach

I have a bunch of plastic for recycling building up and wish to use it for infill. So maybe this will help someone to run with some of the ideas.

Building on the post I made today:,34188

What about using a meat grinder? Something that worked in progressive stages, so that large objects to be recycled and something like a tree shredder cuts them down to smallish chunks।
I was thinking along the same lines as you with the meat grinder along with the reuse of a few other kitchen tools। I put some time into the idea of using a "dumpling pan" and further a "pasta maker"।

Attacking it with a milling bit gives fine powder of course।
I ruled this out a long time ago। KISS, this is the key IMHO The problem with cutting HDPE is it is one of those plastics that gets stronger when you stretch it until it is incredibly strong and very very thin.

Use as a starting point various temps, within progressive stages to reshape and reuse the plastics for infill। The device would operate kinda like how they crush cars down to a chunk। For our purposes, the plunger will push the plastic into an extruder to “reform” the plastic into tootsie roll size, or the preferred filament size rewound into a spindle।
If I had the time would build it:?

Some possible Crusher plunger mechanisms

Both the French fry cutter, and Can Crusher mechanisms are similar. Might be great as candidates to quickly prototype a working recycler.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CES 2010

It's CES time again for me !!!

Alot of my interests are here this time. The show starts in like 24hrs and Makerbot should be here, looking forward to that booth. Some other tech goodies of note: LG's "metal foil" technology. On my list to see and test out.;title

Another booth on my list is a 3DFab service that does metal as well as plastic. Their news release is kinda confusing and I am not sure ATM if they have a printer of their own design or not?? 3D is the word this year at CES so maybe the hinted at 3Dprinters from HP etc will show, never know what kinda surprises, but it's all fun.

CNet has some decent live feed and general info....Highly recommended!