Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fully document Makerbot Build

Attached is the 1st in a series of build videos I am making for the Maker Bot CupCake CNC. I promised myself that when I received my RepStrap, that I would document the complete build. Well what started out as a cam pointed in the general build are has turned into a full step by step birds eye of the build. I have 3 more videos ready to publish, and likely another 5-10 before I am done. Is the community interested in having this type of build video on Youtube? Would you like me to post it here, where it will get sucked into the RepRap pipe, just leave it on Youtube, or stop because I am waisting my time?

Let me know.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The "Professional" Price of a Mendel

Likely not many of us make $21 an hour, especially in our spare bedroom, or shop wearing our hack around clothes. But that is around how much you can tell your family you are paying yourself as you spend a week or two printing the Mendel parts.

A company named Protovanage posted an advert on the RepRap forum, offering to print a full Mendel set. They didn't mention a price, but luckily for me they have a WONDERFUL web interface, that makes tracking out the costs of their printed items very easy. After adding up the costs of all the items to build a Mendel using their service (They offered some parts for Mendel that are not listed on the Mendel Assembly Data Sheet, but this might have been my lack of understanding considering I haven't even built my RepStrap Yet.

The Total cost of a Full set of RP parts for Mendel came out to $1,577.33. Or ruffly the equivalent of 2 Makerbots, or 1 Rapman and 8 pounds of ABS. Below is the spreadsheet that I used to come to this total, please tell me if I am wrong here.

The point of this post is not to beat up on Protovantage
, honestly I might use their service at some point if I have a part that must be printed to an extremely tight tolerance, such as extruder. They are the only Rapid Prototyper firm that I have seen that allows 1 off prints of any STL with an instant online price quote (considering all the Mendel parts came out between $5 and $50 a piece it might occasionally be worth using them).

My point is likely some people in the community are actually going to pay the $1,500 to get the pieces from Protovantage. Most will scoff at the price, but in a community where Darwin, and now Mendel parts have always been few and far between, it really raises a question.

If RepRap has put a factory in your shop, are you willing to pay yourself $100 for an afternoon reading a book while your Reprap sings The Gold diggers song to you?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Embedded Etherpad, it really couldn't be easeir.

After seeing that Google planned to maker Etherpad open source, I felt an obligation to go check it out. This seems like a perfect addition for a blog. Like an integrated comment sheet, that can be time tracked.

After looking around I found that they have a a beta embed that is abolutely awsome. -----> isn't it great! It's a snap to add to your blog. Here are the steps:

1. Go to, click [Create new Pad] Middle of the screen in blue.
2. Copy The Web address, it will look like ""Bunch of random letters and numbers"]
3. Embed the Gadget. For Blogger you follow these steps
a. Click [Layout] two tabs right of the [Posting] Tab
b. Click [HTML/Javascript]'s edit button
c. Post the code from their instructions at the bottom of the window. Be to replace their address with the one from your blog (don't ask how I found this out)
d. Save and go back to your blog. Look!! A grafitti wall for your notes, and other comments that can be added live. How fun could it be to run a live chat in that space!

Now back to Robots and plastic bits related subjects... Sorry had to share!