Saturday, February 18, 2006


The Concrete Extruder and Full RepRap Axis Assembly

Several of you have asked for still pictures of the concrete extruder, so here they are...

... and some new parts coaxed from the Stratasys by Ed have now enabled the completion of the long linear axis. The holder for the vertical axis now slides nicely up and down the rails, and the vertical axis - to my immense relief - fits in the gaps between the rails and the drive screw properly. The stage sits on top, and the extruder hangs down from above. 'Tis a wondrous sight.

I believe I've pretty much got the hardware I need for a basic RepRap sorted out now. I've got to build 3 of Simon's stepper driver boards, and modify my extruder board but the major hardware work is pretty much done. Here is a picture of the entire X-Y-Z axis collection. All of them have been individually tested and work, but I have only one prototype stepper driver board at present. I want to keep that for basic unit testing, hence Simon's axis boards going into mass production.

I have to modify the stage slightly for Simon so that the new steppers from Forrest will fit properly. I underestimated their size slightly, so I'll have to add mounting lugs in a very ungainly manner. A good job not much torque is needed! Slight downer that I can't find time to play with all the new toys just yet :)

Oh, and my daughter Kate has built one of Simon's stripboard comms controllers with built-in 5V power supply, and it works properly (it's in the front right of the axis image). Now to build something real to get it to communicate with. Lo, I multitask. Kinda.

Vik :v)

Go Vik!!!! :-D
Oh wow Vik! Just looking at your first pic. That is SO beautiful! :-D
I'm pretty pleased, I must say. Sorry I can't press on and do all the remaining hardware straight away - I've got to get the stage axis sorted so Simon can have something to hang his exiting new hardware developments on. Not to mention your kindly donated stepper motors :)

Vik :v)
***I've got to get the stage axis sorted so Simon can have something to hang his exiting new hardware developments on.***

Exciting new hardware developments? Have I missed hearing about something?

Do you need anything else to finish it up?
I'm not short of any hardware right now, and I've got more software to configure than I know what to do with :)

My excitement is over the various stepper and controller modules Simon is making. This has potential for people outside RepRap and might well be one of our first "spin-off" components to be adopted by the rest of the world.

Vik :v)
It definitely does. The cost of stepper controllers, especially controllers with any real intelligence like Simon has designed is just ridiculous.
Got that right! And even the fairly stupid PWM motor drivers that I use in robotics cost about as much as this whole machine looks like it's going to add up to.
When I first heard of reprap I was like "I'm so sure, another project that has a ten year development period and then we never hear from it again"
Wow, was I wrong.
You folks have TOTALLY impressed me.
Go Reprap!
My only wish is that I had some other way to contribute. Until I find a skill I can share I'll just keep chanting your praise.
We should have one you can build and use for yourself before too long. :-)
I'll do it, don't you doubt.
Meanwhile I've been having great ideas about what can be done with the sub assemblies. The pic programmer for instance and that king-kong size axis chassis. Would like to try mounting a wire feed welder into that thing for the head. If you got the speed down right you could actually build up weld material into shapes.
You sure could. :-)
I'm planning on building RepRap-generated moulds. These can then be filled with wax, which can be used as a core for lost-wax casting - behold, metal components!

Vik :v)
Wouldn't it be quicker just to use wax filament if you wanted to do one-off casting?
Yeah, but then I only get one of them. Plus wax is kinda hard to bend around corners. AN icing-bag approach might work, and I believe Adrian is working on an icing-type extruder.

Vik :v)
Beautiful shots, Vik. Thanks for posting them.
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