- Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:00 pm
I bought a RepRap Mendel Tricolour last month. I've broken it several times already and fixed it. I've identified a couple of improvements to it that I'm going to be able to do myself, with no problem. For one of the fixes, I needed to print out improved parts, and was able to easily do it (RepRap prints them out of PLA plastic, which is fantastic. I wanted slightly more durable ABS plastic because it is a higher temp plastic. I melted one of mine).
I really haven't done anything productive with mine (though I'm printing my first contract piece tomorrow), but I'm a huge fan. I just ordered some medical grade nylon filament and a replacement hot end (I toasted the heating element on one of 'em, and I want to have extra spare parts).
The printers are for tinkerers. This isn't something that you're just going to pull out of the box and set up (yet). I don't know about MakerBot, but you won't catch me buying one of those... I'm really pissed at them. It took me two weeks, working before and after work, only one real weekend day, to get it up and running. I really, REALLY, took my time to make sure things were right, tight, and level. In return, the machine was printing usable parts after my third print (I had a nozzle setting wrong).
I really recommend the kit that I got from RepRapPro. The kit comes with spare parts (you're going to need some of them. You may need some washers for shimming), and is pretty well laid out. It comes with all of the things that you should be thinking about: Heated bed, full length bowden tubes, multiple print heads, supports two different materials out of the box, open source everything (including parts), and a pretty good community online.
The big thing is to have patience with the build process. It will really help you if you can appreciate the journey to build the printer, and understand that the assembled printer is not the destination. You're going to be tweaking this thing continually, not because it's falling apart, but because you're going to see little things that can be made better. I'm already planning my next printer build for a new business idea that I have. I'll be able to take this printer and apply it directly to my bigger printer. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to use the exact same software.
Back to the AEG Computer... I completely agree with you on the current monitoring, but... a completed, working build is the real measure of success. Ksw9293 got his build done (my hat is off to you). With some of the things that I've learned, I may try tackling this again. I think our approach was really good, I just didn't have the mad skills with Arduino programming that is needed here. I wish I could do it in Python (got one of my libraries published in a recent book! Woohoo!).
This project started out with me wanting to make a highly configurable gas powered airsoft gun. That AS-50 gun looks pretty cool (I checked the HaD link, not the actual site. Stuck at work again).
Ksw9293, you're not in the Northern Virginia Area, are you?