MakerBot + OpenSCAD

8 11 2011

When I started this project 3 years ago, one of the first things I did was build a reprap. Sadly the state of the art  just wasn’t there yet. I assembled the reprap, but it never worked well enough to print.

Since then I’ve been following the impressive progress of the reprap and then MakerBot. All along I’ve been using 3D printing services like shapeways, with a 2 week turn around. That’s a painfully long time to wait only to discover your design doesn’t work.

So I have purchased the latest Makerbot Thing-O-Matic with MK7 extruder. It should arrive in 4 weeks. Can’t wait!

Along the way I discovered OpenSCAD, an open source solid modeling program for programmers. I like it. It’s easier than the ruby + BRL-CAD I’ve been using. Additionally there is broad community support.

I’m rebuilding my polywell models in OpenSCAD now. I’ve gotten this far:





DIN Rail Terminal Blocks

16 09 2011

All photos.

My shop-mate Stuart is a master prototyper. He frequently uses Phoenix Contact DIN rail terminal blocks for wire-up.

Taking a page from his book, I got my own set of Phoenix Contact DIN rail terminal blocks (3044102):

Terminal blocks make for easy changes. The red bridge-bars create busses with as many connections as you need. You can easily probe any point in the circuit. Everything is bolted down to the chassis.

Connectors may seem like an insignificant part, but these will really help.





Welding 3D Printed Steel

16 09 2011

All photos.

My shopmate had a TIG welder here the other day.

I took the opportunity to try welding the 3D printed metal parts I made last year:

These are intended to be coil holders, so I installed a 40 turn coil prior to welding.

Mike welding the halves together:

We used no filler rod on the theory that the infused bronze would melt and form a braze of sorts.

It worked very well:

The coil insulation didn’t survive: The coil is conductive to the casing.

I’m encouraged by the weldability. I am ordering more test parts to keep pushing this approach.





Oscilloscope Camera Mount

13 09 2011

All photos.

Reader jsults turned my on to g3data… it’s a little open source program that helps extract data from graphs.

It looks like this in action:

I tried it with my oscilloscope photographs and it worked OK.  But it does not compensate for trapezoidal distortions.

If my camera were perfectly lined up with the oscilloscope g3data would work great.

This got me to thinking… maybe I could build a camera holder for the oscilloscope?

So I did.

I designed this mount using sketchup and had it printed at shapeways. It came in the mail today.

 

Works like a charm. Now all my oscilloscope photos will be perfectly centered and flat:

You can download at thingaverse or purchase at shapeways.





MetalicaRap

8 03 2011

I am very excited to learn of an effort to build an open source EBM 3D metal printer :

http://reprap.org/wiki/MetalicaRap

This technology is currently offered commercially by Arcam AB.

EBM fabrication is rather amazing. It can make fully melted metal parts from STL files.

I am planning to build the superconducting polywell in titanium using Arcam’s process. It would be amazing to eventually have a Makerbot for metal.

Additionally the EBM device itself has much in common with a fusion reactor. Both use high vacuum, electron beams, high voltage.

I’d be happy to help this project with any vacuum, high voltage questions.





Bellows Holder

19 12 2010

All photos.

Back in the lab today after some travel out west.

Previously I designed a bellows holder to keep the high voltage feedthrough from moving.

I received the part and installed it successfully today:

A real win using 3D metal printing.





Prototyping

19 10 2010

Just got this sweet breadboard and jumper set. I really needed this!








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