Monday, 11 April 2011

In One Piece... Almost

After some going round in circles with small assemblies on a few late nights earlier in the week, plus moving my PC into the same workspace so that I could interface with it there, which involved running a long ethernet cable, I finally got the mechanical parts of my RepRap together.
Crazy wires want some electrical tape, extruder wants something to extrude on.
The main mistake that I made and learned from, was going and following the helpful step-by-step instructions on the RepRapWiki before actually checking the complicated assembly models of the custom 'Mendel v2.0' and taking measurements.

To my dismay, I realised at around about my last blog post, that as I had put together several small assemblies with the minimalist set of bolt sizes advised by the RepRap wiki, I subsequently ran out of a few sizes due to having been supplied with some bolts that were more suited to their places.
Going back and replacing bolts with smaller ones in several places (and even longer M3 bolts in a couple of places) so that I could continue construction, probably added a couple of hours of build time, but gave a valuable lesson in SolidWorks, a CAD program that I haven't had time to get familiar with up to now.

Yesterday afternoon, Neil Underwood blogged about sourcing parts for a 3D printer, including a video he made about the differences between Sells' Mendel and the newer Prusa Mendel, where he mentioned the difference in build time, number of fasteners and bearings in Prusa... FFFFFFF-
Although I've been impressed before with the increased simplicity offered by Prusa, I'd still rather see some FEA performed on the joint shapes and hear some accounts of its reliability before I consider building one.

However, I'm starting to suspect that the time I supposedly saved on sourcing parts by getting a busy-man's kit from Mendel Parts, might have been less than some build time I might have saved if I had only sourced a few different lengths of bolts myself. Below are the various bolt sizes you currently get supplied in a kit from the MP webshop; I think there might be one or two missing that I used up in assemblies long before this photo was taken.
Let me play you a nice tune on my boltsichord.
The two sizes of countersunk bolts used to fit the bespoke heated bed aren't included there. Also, by that point, I had just got this together:
So close, yet so far...
I don't mean to put down Camiel's business at all, the service was great actually, though there was all kinds of whining from impatient people about the delivery times over the new year when they got behind a stack of orders before moving to a bigger warehouse. I'm just weighing up the nicety of having bolts that fit well in all places and don't stick out several mm, versus saving a bit of time and money by using a less complex set of parts.
My printer isn't 100% ready to go however, as now I need to go to the local hardware store and get a countersink drill bit, since MP wouldn't countersink the bolt holes for me on one of their home-made heated bed plates.

Along with the semi-tradition of naming your printer, I'm sorely tempted to call my one 'JockStrap' just now, but I think I'll wait and see how well it prints first.
For now, who wants to name my RepRap? I'll bet someone out there can think of a better nickname for it than I can.

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