Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Still Extruding: RepRap Price Points

In this video I covered what a very basic RepRap would look like (The Pink one), a "normal" RepRap would look like (Black one), and what a full out obsessive build would look like (The White MakerGear Prusa).

Thanks to the constant work of developers like yourself throughout the community, the base price point, and what it takes to make a truly beautiful machine continues to drop.  But just because the lowest bar has dropped does not mean that all RepRap are created equal.  

$350ish Very Basic Prusa Mendel 

A very basic machine means you will be getting the plastic parts from someone who already has a machine.  If you’re getting it free that very likely means you know this person, or are willing to trade for it with a local person who has a 3d printer or a Hackerspace.  Also you’re going to use lots of used parts.  You can get used linear rod and steppers off the internet or at your local electronics recycler (think Goodwill in the US) or Ebay. The electronics I suggest Sanguinololu and Stepstick drivers off Ebay.  No Heated Build Plate.  Raw threaded Rod, hand polished smooth bar from the hardware store, a used ATX from your old computer (you only need 60W).  As you can see at this point you are talking about a LOT of foot work, but it's been done.

This machine can print PLA 80% as well as the next step up, but because you don't have a heated build plate very large PLA prints, and even medium sized ABS prints are going to be very challenging.  Your likely going to have a harder time trouble shooting because almost all your parts second hand or hand made.  But a changing 3d printer is better than no 3d printer at all!

$550ish realistically Cheap Prusa Mendel

$550 is about average for a self sourced Prusa at this point.  This has you buying your motors new from one of the venders suggested in the wiki or IRC, your hot end from someone who has a good reputation, a Heated Build plate (If you don't have Milled Aluminum & Power resistors sitting around, get a PCB heater), and all Zinc/Black oxide Hardware. and a new power supply (switching or ATX)

This machine is basically the one that most RepRap classes build and the most common RepRap in the world.  It can print ABS and PLA across it's full build area, and is a solid machine.

$850ish Full out RepRap

At $850 this is when you have decided to make a VERY nice machine.  There are really 2 options here, self source or Kit.

The two $850ish kits that I can suggest are Mendel and  I have bought products several times from Camiel at Mendel Parts and he is a really good guy, and man does he know how to shoot a nice video of his RepRap farm.  On the other side you have Makergear, who I have bought every hot end I own from, and is  a personal friend of mine.  I can only speak to the quality of MakerGear's kit, because it's the only RepRap kit I have ever put together, and it is wonderful.

The other way is to self source.  At $850 you can afford to get really nice motors like the ones sold by MenelParts and Ultimachine with the connectors already on, nice stainless hardware, plastic parts for your favorite flavor of Prusa, like a Felt, lm8uu, brass, or self centering brass, a geared stepper extruder, heated build plate.

This machine will print equivalently to the $550ish RepRap, but sourcing is easier, and if you get the kit from a vender, they do owe you some tech support.  

The best way to get guidance on what kits to buy, or where to get supplies is in the RepRap IRC

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Still Extruding: Installing Pronterface and SFact in Windows

With all the repeat tech support issues we run into in the #reprap IRC I have decided to start a biweekly webcast covering the most common questions asked in there.  I should be publishing twice a week Mondays and Thursdays.  If you have any requests for a video please just comment on the video, if you have further questions please post it in the #reprap IRC that way you get instant feedback.

Does the community have an issue if I post these videos here on RepRap blog or should I move it to my Hackerspace's blog?  I would rather post it here because the issues covered will always be 100% RepRap related.

Monday will be the difference between a $350 RepRap (about as cheap as you can put one together), and a $850ish RepRap, which would be with all the latest bells and whistles.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Around the RepRap Community 08/06/2011

RepRap Cousins in Zero G!

Made in Space, a space startup founded to leverage 3d printing as a manufacturing tool in space, has operated 2 RepRap Cousin Projects in Zero G.  They took what looks like a Makerbot Cupcake with what looks to be a stock DC gearmotor extruder in this image, a Makerbot Thing o Matic, and a Bits from Bytes 3000 on a ride doing Parabolic dives in a Zero G airplane.  Can't wait to see the results, but I wish they had added a RepRap kit like Makergear Prusa, Emaker Huxley, or MendelParts Orca instead of 2 Makerbots and a closed source 3D Systems printer, but who cares, FDM in Zero G is awesome.

Sfact by Action68

Sfact might look like Skein forge, but it's a long way from it.  What Action68 has done is cut down skein forge to just the pluggins that are still in use, and normalized all the defaults so that 90%+ of people will find that once you have set 5-6 parameters within skein forge you should be getting good prints.  This is huge for Reprap because one of the biggest challenges is getting over the monstrous Skein forge learning curve.  I really hope Enrique rolls some of these changes back into the master of skein forge.  Instructions can be found at the RepRap wiki, and tech support can be found in the RepRap IRC.

Pronterface, UPGRADE!

Pronterface, Kliment's Host program for RepRap, is evolving like no program I have ever seen.  The comment log will show you why you really need to download the program at least once a week.  The Additions since the last post are just entirely to long to add in this post (go check out the commit log), but just a brief overview

-Executable versions of both Pronterface and Sfact can now be found here.  No install needed and Sfact is preintegrated with Pronterface
-Garyhogdson has added a truly amazing quick setup menu for Sfact integrated into Pronterface, you can change all the most tweaked settings from 1 screen... Amazing
-Integrated Gcode editing
-SD card support
-Custom Gcode buttons addable in GUI
-LOTS more

Finally I can stop missing ReplicatorG, Pronterface to me is now MUCH easier than RepG because of the Gcode simulation view and Gary's quick Skeinforge settings.

Hostless (computerless) RepRap printing with RAMPS, SDRAMPS, SJFW, an LCD and keypad by ScribbleJ

ScribbleJ, a long time designer on Thingiverse has developed an awesome piece of firmware that allows a basic keypad and LCD to be attached to a RAMPS electronics with SDRAMPS.  This gives you the ability to warm up, center, and execute a print all without ever having to turn on your laptop.  This is hugely important for the long term development of RepRap, and part of the Gada Prize requirements, so when you win your $20,000 be sure to send ScribbleJ a case of beer.  Instructions can be found at the RepRap wiki, and tech support can be found in the RepRap IRC.

Hall-O Hall Effect Sensor by Ruben-Ikmaak

For some people a limit switch that is only accurate to .1mm is just not going to be nearly accurate or cool enough.  For those people RepRap has the Hall-O Hall Effect Sensor. 

A Hall sensor is much more accurate than a mechanical, has no physical contact, and can act as a linear encoder within it's sensing range.

Ruben-Ikmaak and Kliment are selling it in the RepRap IRC

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