Friday, August 21, 2009


Buying a Rapman

After some weeks of soul searching and accepting the fact that my day job has cut rather severely into the time I have to devote to Reprap, I arrived at the conclusion that I could address my research agenda much more efficiently if I simply bought a 3D printer rather than rebuild Tommelise 2.0 or build an all new Tommelise 3.0 to do printing.

There are currently two full kit Reprap machines, the Makerbot and the Rapman. Although I was seriously considering using a Makerbot extruder with Tommelise 2.0, when I made the decision to buy a full, separate printer a few days ago I decided to go with the Rapman. It was a tough decision given the price differential between the two. The Rapman choice hinged primarily on what appears to me to be much more personally familiar PIC-based electronics used in the Rapman. What really sold me, however, was Batist Leman's videoclip published in the Builders' blog a few days ago. It was one thing to know intellectually that the Rapman could run autonomously from an SD card. It was quite another to see Batist demonstrate it.

I am going to keep Tommelise 2.0 as a milling machine. It is very good at that. The Rapman I hope to use to generate parts for Tommelise 3.0 and, more importantly, to extend the know how for the turkey bag approach that Adrian demonstrated a few months ago. I purchased another Rapman extruder to use exclusively with HDPE. If the turkey bag approach gets HDPE warping under control we will have effectively halved the price of feed stock for Reprap machines and captured a huge waste plastic resource if and when we get recycling working.

I am also hoping to get back to the research thread I started a year ago to develop a printable stepper motor. Having a reliable 3D printer should advance that cause considerably.

have fun with it! (we have)
wahts that the turkey bag approach that Adrian demonstrated do you have a link?

They use the bags for turkey roasting here. Duck isn't cooked much in the US.
Forrest, this is very exciting news! With this new axe I expect great things from you in the months to come!

I did have one question, though. Why HPDE? It looks like Vik and Nophead are getting really good results with PLA. It will take some doing to get a hold of some in the US... but it sure beats a turkey bag, no?
I've got no problems with PLA except that it is not readily available in 3 mm or any other diameter filament. HDPE and polypropylene are and are much cheaper than ABS.
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