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:


21 02 2009

Here is a 1 axis stepper motor robot (it’s just the x-axis of a reprap). I’ll use this to do a laser welding test… a straight line butt joint. This makes it easy to control speed and distance with Gcode.


Coming Soon

24 01 2009

I took a page from zach’s design, for the latest hercules extruder:



This ended up not working very well. Not enough torque or grip overall. I just purchased this geared motor. Zach mentioned having issues actually getting his hands on the Kysan motor his design uses. I’m impatient, so I’m going to design around another motor, BUT try and follow Zach’s design as closely as possible otherwise.

Heater barrel working

23 01 2009

Hooray, we got the heater barrel working. Except I _thought_  JB Weld was safe upto 600˚C, but that stuff was smokn!  gross. We’ll have to redo it using proper fire cement. Here is a short video:

Reprap Gcode Gotchas

19 01 2009

For some reason, for my reprap to work I had to plug my min opto end stop in to the max port on the stepper motor controller. So for other reprap’ers out there whose symptoms include: normal response to Gcodes, except for motion towards the min opto-endstop, for one or more axes, try inserting the min opto into the max opto port on the stepper controller. Makes no sense, but bam there it is. 

I also had to invert my opto-endstops by setting this in _init.pde:


I spent days struggling with these idiosyncrasies, hopefully this post will save someone else the same trouble.

Also remember to set the baud-rate to 19,200


19 01 2009

Wade is helping me troubleshoot the wiring harness. I’m currently running from the Arduino, but the Sanguino is on hot standby. Here is a pic:



Reprap Frustrations

19 01 2009

I’m having a tough time getting the Gcode firmware to work on either the Arduino or the Sanguino. The PDE files compile and upload properly, but when I issue a Gcode command through the serial connection, such as “G1 X10”:  it does not work, and I get this crazy response:


Another Iteration

17 01 2009

I still need another iteration in the design, but getting close:


Now we have a lighter nema 17 motor, and better balanced on the x carriage:img_3079

More Hercules Extruder activity.

16 01 2009

Zach is doing R&D on the Hercules Extruder

Danger Laser

15 01 2009

I just received a Coherent 808nm Laser Diode 3.5V 60-90Amp 50-60W:


Freaking awesome. High power cutting laser. I’ve always wanted one of these.  This is powerful enough to cut just about anything except metal. 

I’m going to turn this into a cutting head for the reprap.


You can see the electrical power connects, and the water cooling connectors.


This laser is dangerous:

THERE ARE NO “OOPS THAT WAS BRIGHT” SECOND CHANCES WITH THIS LASER! A single careless glance into the beam or it’s reflection WILL PERMANENTLY BLIND YOU FOREVER! To the eye the scattered output looks as bright as a red laser pointer, but that same “weak looking” beam will light a piece of cardboard on fire in about 1/4 of a second!

Protective eyewear is mandatory. I’ll provide a full safety rundown prior to firing it for the first time. 

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