Friday, February 08, 2008


Back from Mel8ourne

Being allowed to present RepRap at LinuxConf 2008 was wonderful, and thanks to all for the encouragement I got that really belongs with the RepRap team. So many new ideas, and very little time spent on repairs all considering.

One that stood out was the idea of using RepRap to print braille, and to make relief maps with textured surfaces to assist the blind.

I contacted the OLPC project to see if they would cooperate on ensuring an OLPC can drive the RepRap. Currently our software won't fit, and the OLPC is essentially python-driven so a re-write or novel way of printing the CAD files might well be necessary as things stand.

Finally, I've been porting Toby Borland's plywood RepRap files to Ponoko's upload format and I think I've got something that should print. Whether one can actually assemble what comes out remains to be seen. The parts cost for RP'd parts, gears & base is in the region of USD$350 and you can download the source. I say again, it's not quite perfected yet.

My Darwin has been chugging along while I work, having a little difficulty with the Z axis after its return from Oz. Perhaps I was just lucky before, but now the Z axis rubs on parts of the base. Being me, I've bashed holes to allow clearance for the nuts.

Here are three Y bearing housings, recently printed. One is marked with a break and is dud, the other two were printed after Adrian's recent accidental sqrt() bugfix. I now have 3 of them, and have manufactured bearings. Bearings look a little short on infill - OK, very short - but seem functional. I've just done another corner bracket (3 to go) and the next part is: Replacement Y axis flag.

Vik :v)

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Nice Blog :)
It was good to see the beast in action at lca after following the blog for so long. Very impressive. Thanks for bringing it and having it in action.
I think the way to handle the OLPC is to note that it has great internet connectivity - and at a minimum, there will typically be a 'cluster' of them. Most schools using the OLPC will have a deskside machine connecting them up to the Internet proper.

So perhaps the way to go is to distribute the workload and storage across the network. It's unlikely that more than one RepRap will need to work at the same time within the scope of a small village. So have one OLPC drive the RepRap using data streamed to it from the other machines. Each one could rasterize a small volume of the workpiece and have the machine doing the work download one layer-worth of commands at a time.

A significant rewrite of the RepRap software seems likely though.
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