Saturday, March 17, 2012


Standardization and RepRap

Brian Benchoff of HackaDay wrote a great article expressing his opinion of what is wrong with RepRap.  He made some very interesting points.

As one of the 20ish Admins that he seems to be interested in vesting with power over the future of Reprap, I figured I should respond to his coronation.  I try very hard to be 100% positive on this blog since Adrian was nice enough to get my keys, so my response is over at my personal Blog where i an be a bit more blunt.

But to sum it up quickly, RepRap is 100% controlled by those that do, not those that dictate.  Adrian, and the Admins try to exert as little control over this community as we can, and to date that has been effectively none. 

The front page of the Wiki is pretty self explanatory, if you don't know what to build, build a Prusa (Every RepRap listed on the front page has some basic instructions and has printed before so no reason to get rid of them).  We refuse to pick a commercial provider that is the "official" RepRap because there is no way for that to be fair.  IMHO the "official" RepRap is find a friend/org who owns a 3d Printer, hang out at their place for 14-20 hours and print your own, or bribe them with a few cold drinks to print it for you.  Find the components you like, and build your self one for $400-$700.

Enough of that, now back to those awsome people that really run RepRap, the devs.

Smoothie Electronics / Firmware

For some people an Arduino is just not going to cut it, they need to feel the power of an ARM Cortex M3 to feel truely happy.  Smoothie firmware and electronics have been in active beta testing for many weeks now and it looks like  will actually make his Juneish timeline for his Smoothieboard.  If you want to join him in the beta testing, Arthur and his team have put together a breadboard version of their electronics you can test now on your RepRap, Lasercutter, or CNC.

DLP-Based Resin RepRap, ohh and $40 a Quart Resin!

ScibbleJ did a great write up on a DIY DLP Projector based resin 3d Printer he has been working on.  You might wonder why RepRap, an org based around accessible 3d printers would be intersted in a printing technology that requires $400 a liter printing solution, well part of the reason is Bucktown Polymers (started by A2Sheds, developer of the Lemon Curry DLP based Resin Printer) is selling Resin for DLP printing for $40 a quart.  That's almost as cheap as PLA!

To give you an idea of what this form of 3d Printing could look like once it matures... check this out:

Different project entirely but that's what the goal is.  Ohh isn't the future grand!

I'm trying to understand why no one in the RepRap community is working on powder based printers. They are patent encumbered, so no one could sell kits, but designs could be published and people could build their own printers if people worked on designs together. Why not move beyond PLA and ABS?
Al I know part of it is that powder bed is has a lot of mechanical things going on. Your not going to get away with anything as mechanically simple as a FDM Prusa with 5 steppers or a Resin Printer with 1 Projector and 1 stepper. Powder bed machines need a ink jet head, a sane way to handle the power, a sane way to remove the powder, a sane way to harden the print, and very likely a completely different software stack than normal RepRaps (Lots of servos)etc etc etc
There is a guy down in Brasil who built a pretty nice one. Problem, as I understand it, is that the patents on that approach are still active.

The other problem is that a Z-corp style printer only makes prototypes and fragile ones at that, not useful parts.
The same guy behind LemonCurry and the low cost photopolymers has a inkjet design that uses binder + powder and also other designs that inkjet polymers directly into 3d shapes. The inkjet designs output 0.5L/hr of binder with one printhead. The direct polymer printers can build at even faster rates. He's learned quite a bit from the LemonCurry project and will publish the complete designs later this year rather than just bits and pieces at a time and then answer the same questions from thousands of people trying to cobble them together.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]