Thursday, August 17, 2006


First part printed by Zaphod

Two announcements in one, really. The new machine has been cristened "Zaphod" on the grounds that it is going to have two heads. But with just one head installed it has printed out a linkage part, the first printed by a RepRap. Here it is just after printing, a process that took 35 minutes and used about 1.7cc of polymer:

Here it is prised off the deposition surface and next to a scale. I left sprue & cobwebbing in place for this photo, but that mostly vanishes when you wave it over a blowtorch:

Now, all those people who said it couldn't be done can start contemplating tasty recipies for their words.

Vik :v)

Nice. I'm guessing you're going to use that part as a piece of Zaphod, is that right?
Zaphod! LOL!! Are you using the Infinite Improbability Drive to move the stages? ;)
Nah, if you want to reproduce an Adamsian drive technology, do the Bistro Math-based drive. That way, you can fudge on the accounting for materials costs.
Very neat, another functioning reprap model. I'm sure it...


(couldn't help myself)
I'll certainly be adding the part to Zaphod. It'll be the second link on the X-carriage, and will prevent excessive wobble of the X-axis threaded drive rod (otherwise known as the finite improbable drive). I'll blog a photo when I've fitted it.

It's a non-optimal part, being just a little too flexible to use as the main linkage. We'll obviously need to redesign some elements to optimise them for Polymorph rather than ABS.

I'm still pretty pleased with it as a "first one ever" :)

Vik :v)
Yes, it's just sinking in that you've pulled off a "first ever". I'm just used to seeing you pull off pretty amazing stuff. ;)

I guess parts will have to be thickened with a ridge along the perimeter to thicken the flat axis, if that's the one that's too flexible?

These parts that you are now starting to make, what plan or design are they from? Just a direct copy of your own machine right now?
Yup, just a copy of what I've got now. But I'll optimise from what I've learned.

Vik :v)
Brilliant, Vik - just brilliant!
Very nice, Vic! So, I'm thinking you'll have a reprap built from parts made by a reprap ... hmm ... next week? ;-)
Next week? Well, it might take a little bit longer...

Still, I'll have time to work on it in Vienna next month.

Vik :v)
I've never seen parts made with this technology before. With all due respects, it looks kind of crude (to my inexperienced eye). But that's OK -- it's still pretty early in the development. So, my question is this: how does this part compare to one made with a commercial system? I'd like to see what one of them looks like right off the machine. How much cleanup is necessary.

Don't get me wrong... I'm impressed. But I'm interested enough to want to know how close this is to making "real" parts. (I want one.)

We've still got a couple of tweaks to make to the fundemental operation of the extrusion software. Notably the lead-in and lead-out times for extruding, and the part shown here was produced with about 5-20% too much polymer due to problems with the extruder motor stalling. Once those are sorted, we'll be in a position to make alpha comparisons.

Vik :v)
I'm guessing it's the small part in the middle of this photo that has a bolt protruding through it at one end and a metal rod going through the slot at the other:

...but whether it is or not - that photo gives you a good idea of what a commercial 3D replicator can produce. On the other hand - I wonder what their first ever part looked like?!?
It's a simplified version of that part, yes The split at the end attached to the carriage turned out to be unneccessary.

Vik :v)
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