Saturday, December 25, 2010

And RepRap comes off the Top Rope for 2011!!!!

2008 Was a Year of self Made RepRap Kits.  Ponoko Darwins, and various RepStraps/Junstraps

2009 Was the Start of the Commerical RepStrap Revolution, with the BfB Rapman, and the Makerbot CupCake.

2010 Has been the Year of Transition, with the explosion of Makerbot Marketing, and maturing of the RepRap Design, with Mendel, and the supply chain filling out with Makergear, MendelParts, Botmill, Techzone, Reprapstores, the German RepRap Foundation, and Ultimachine.  2010 saw the 1st year where RepRap had multiple venders offering interchangeable parts, based off a common design.  It started with the extruders, and by the end of this year expanded to include the kits themselves.

2011 is the year that RepRap will come to the forefront, I know this because like all good declarations, it happened a month or so before it was declared.  2011 will be the 1st year where the price and quality points are more on the RepRap side than the RepStrap side.  The era of the Lasercut kit being the better choice than the RP kit has ended.  Let me give you a few examples why:

MakerGear Prusa Mendel Kit: $825!!!!

With Makerbot having decided to end the Cupcake standard kit, they have officially ceded the low ground in the RepRap/RepStrap community to Makergear.  MakerGear is officially the cheapest off the shelf 3d Printer kit that I can recommend, and boy is it not a compromise.

Prusa 20x20cm PCB Heated Build Platform
Ramps Electronics
High Quality printed Parts printed on an Up!, and RepStrap printer (second only to Stratasys is FMD build quality)
All hardware and Bearings
Makergear's Planetary gear extruder (The only extruder available with a metal planetary gear)

All that from a company where you can find the owner in IRC almost all the time, and the most responsive customer service in the community. Sells Mendel Kit: $916!!!

MendelParts is something special, they are taking the RepRap concept to it's logical conclusion that all of us have surely thought of.  Build a Mendel, print the parts for a second and sell them, use the funds to build more.  Well Camiel now have 6 folk running full blast running over 8 machines 24/7 printing Mendels for the world.  Poor fella isn't sleeping or seeing his friends any more, but his loss is your gain at this price point. :)  Again No compromises here either.

Gen6 all in 1 board electronics (developed by Mendelparts, and shared on the RepRap Wiki)
Aluminium build plate
PLA printed parts printed on a Mendel, they way all RepRap's really want to be
Adrian Extruder, with Mendel parts v4 hot end
Stainless or Zinc rods

BotMill's new  Sells Mendel Kit: $1165!!

The issue always I had with Botmill was that they used the Gen3 Remix electronics by Techzone, which are known for having issues (read the RepRap forums).  Botmill has remedied this by going to the Gen6 electronics (I do not know if these are sourced through MendelParts, or if they are a copy.  If they are sourced from MendelParts they have a proven track record of reliability).  This is an awesome kit also.

Professionally printed RP parts produced off a Stratasys 3d printer (The gold standard of FMD printing)
Looks like only 1 color is now available (yellow?)
Prusa Heated Build Plate
Gen6 Electronics
Adrian Extruder

All of these kits have something no lasercut kit can offer:

You can replicate each one for 1/2 what you pay for your 1st kit.
RP based printers using 1/2 stepping are ghost quiet (even a lasercut kit using 1/2 stepping can't say that)
All parts for these printers can easily be upgraded in the same material, in the same color as your base printer, so upgrades don't make your printer look like a Frankenbot.

His name is RepRap

One year ago RP parts where going for $750 dollars, we only had one choice in electronics, there was a 2-3 month wait for a Makerbot, and not even the best of us could print the RepRap parts without warp issues.  The majority of interesting research was being done by the core team that had been with the community from the beginning like Zack and Adrien.  

Today the hottest new RepRap was designed by a DJ from the Czech Republic (Prusajr), & the hottest electronics come from south of the Mason Dixon Line in the US (Ultimachine's Ramps Electronics).  In this short year RepRap has exploded.  The number of designs on Thingiverse has doubled, as have the pages on the RepRap Wiki.

It's only the beginning folks, the RepStraps have served their purpose, they got RepRap jump started, now it's time to see how how well this bird flies.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Automatic Mechanical Self Replication

Automatic Mechanical Self Replication (part 2) from chead on Vimeo.

Posted by NickC in RepRap IRC

Here is the paper that this video is based off of.
I had never heard of  Lionel Penrose before, but his work was intersting.  I bet he would have loved RepRap, shame he isn't around any more.  Read up on him over at his wiki page.

Wouldn't this be a wonderful tool to teach the concept of replication without intelligence in schools?

Anyway back to printing, thanks for indulging me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Contemplating a Pod Cast

Has anyone else besides me seen a real need for a weekly video podcast for RepRap?  I LOVE watching videos by/about other people in the hobby, but most interviews I see are by people who don't know much about the hobby, so you spend 3 minutes with them asking questions like "So that's plastic right?  When will the robot revolution come?  What can it print?, and Bre, how do you do that with your hair?". 

I would love to see a Weekly vidcast for RepRap that had:

-Little tips that people tend to have a hard time grasping, like how to wrap nichrome, to set up and operate skein forge, the difference between the electronics, etc

-A non company view of the printers.  How awesome would it be to see an interview with the Makerbot, UP!, Mendel-Parts, Botmill, Techzone, The RepRap core team, Ultimaker, Makergear, Ultimachine, 3dink, BfB, the list goes on and on, where the questions come from the community (sent via twitter), and they all get to show off on a show directed at our community.

-How great would it be if we had someone from our community going around interviewing people at the NY Makerfair?  I wanted an Interview with Rick from Makergear, and Tony Buser, Someone at Makerbot besides Bre or Zack, or how about the other folks that where there, I saw some awesome bots in the pics, but we don't know anything about them.

I could think of a 100 things I would love to see in a nice 4-5 minutes pod cast each week, the only issue is I really don't want to do it myself, mostly because.

-I am a overweight white dude, not exactly the image I think we want to portray.

-I am from the Southern United States, and I have an accent that does not convey... intelligence :)

-You have likely seen my videos, the video quality is good, but the production quality is really poor, I don't have a communications degree, and it shows.

Should I:

A. Start a pod cast and hope someone comes along and does it better than me and lets me off the hook.

B. Just drop it, there is no need/let someone with more skill start it.

Please do me a favor and respond in the comments, I am very on the fence about this idea.

BTW I got my Gen6 Electronics and motors in, and 1 of my Prusa Mendels is nearly completed, and 2 others are started, videos and pics hopefully later this week :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

So many intersting things in the last few weeks..

Hot Rod Makerbot

Nice little kitty right?  Must have been printed on a UP! or BfB Rapman right?  Wrong.  A Makerbot with MakerGear Compact Plastruder. The drive is an abridged version of the Brustruder, and the hot end is new Makergear compant hot end using professional grade 1.75 mm orange filament with support material enabled in skeinforge.

Seriously, printed on a a Makerbot, who knew a Makerbot could do that?  I guess that's the end of Up! and others uploading stuff to Thingiverse that no Makerbot can print, go Makergear!

So many different RepRap Electronics are now in stock!  (How much 6 months can change things)

Ultimachine's Arduino based electronics ($195 complete kit)

Johnnyr of Ultimachine has done some wonderful work on these electronics, and they are written up in the wiki.  Adrian and Johnnyr are neck and neck on the RepRapable electronics for RepRap "race".  Adrian's version is written up in the wiki also (but to my knowledge are not currently commercially available).

Makerbot Gen 3 Electronics ($199 complete kit)

They have been in stock for a few weeks now, this has to be a record.  But considering how many alternatives there are now, and the fact that Makerbot has now shown the Gen 4.  These are very likely to stay more reliably in stock now.  To my knowledge Makerbot electronics and firmware are still the only ones that allow for Printing from SD cards, which I am slightly addicted to. Gen 6 Electronics ($210 complete kit ($180 without End Stops )

Mendel Parts newly introduced Gen 6 Electronics.  These boards are in pre-order currently, but according to Camiel there is only a 2-3 week lead time, and he is scaling up quickly.  These are professionally designed boards, so look for good things to come from these.

Botmill's Gen3 Remix Electronics ($179 complete kit)

Botmill / Techzones shrunk version of the RepRap Gen 3 Electronics.  One point I must bring up, these are based off the Makebot manufactured Gen3 Electronics, but they are not a component for component copy, so even though they are "Gen 3" they bare very little in commonality with the Makerbot manufactured Gen3 Electronics.


RepRapstores community shop Electronics ($143 w/ power supply)

Seriously WTF.  RepRap Electronics for $143 with a power supply?  I knew Botmill/Techzone had sort of a bad name in the community for not shipping quickly/not responding to emails/minor issues with quality of the electronics, but RepRap Gen 3 Electronics for less than $150 with a power supply?  Seriously, if you have ordered these recently, please comment, do they burst into flames when you plug them in or something, or are they just being aggressive as heck on their pricing?  If they work that's a GREAT deal.

German RepRap Foundation Gen 3 Electronics ($267 complete kit)

These are to my knowledge a component for component copy of the Makerbot/RepRap Gen 3 Electronics (I might be wrong).  But non the less they are not Makerbot sourced, so again, each "Gen 3" is different.  These are not Makerbot or Techzone sourced Gen3.

I think that's all of them.  The ones that have peeked my interest are the Makerbot's Gen 4, Ultimachine's Arduino Electronics , and Mendel-Part's Gen 6 electronics.  But RepRap is entering a whole new world of commercially available, open source electronics, in stock even.

Brustruder, STILL EXTRUDING (and a little red in the face)

I designed the Brustruder because I honestly got sick of all the headaches I was having out of my Mk4 Extruder.  I have not had 1 issue in the month since I installed it in my Makerbot.  But the coolest thing is it's been downloaded over 80 times in the 30 days it's been up, and I have not had one person say they have had issues out of it.  Which is just the best feeling in the world.

Now what is not the best feeling in the world is having Make Magazine pick up a video where you accidentally punch yourself in the face with a Kysan Gear motor, and run it on their national blog.  Then it get's even less fun when people at work find out...  Explaining to your coworkers why you where straining pickup up 20lb of water, or what you mean by "steal extruding", while groaning, or why your floor is dirty, not so fun.  :)

I kid, it's flatting that so many people like the Brustruder, and that over 4000 people watched the video, and the fact that every time I go into the RepRap or Makergear IRC people pick about "Still Extruding".  Thanks for the Fun!

Bits from Bytes acquired by 3d Systems

So many litmus tests have happened in the last few weeks for our community. 1st it was the Makerbot/Techzone Electronics Drama, then the Up! Printer Drama, now BfB has been acquired by 3d Systems.  Before I comment, a lot of Folks in the community don't really know who 3d Systems is, and what they are known for.

-3d Systems was started by Chuck Hill, who was the creator of the 1st rapid prototyping technology, Steriolithography, and created the STL file format.  He was also the 1st one the bring 3d commercial printing to market in the 80s.

-A little over 1 year ago 3d Systems acquired Desktop factory, which was at the time a failing 3d printer company, that never really managed to sell their promised "revolutionary inexpensive 3d printer" at $5000.  Some say the death keel for Desktop Factory was Makerbot squeezing them on the low end with their $750 kits and Z-corp's Z-150 ($10,000) on the high end.  3d Systems likely acquired them for a song.

My personal take is this is a VERY smart acquisition for 3d Systems.  With this acquisition they get the product that Desktop Factory always wanted to be able to sell, the BfB 3000 Panther.  The Panther, which at this time is being pathetically marketed by BfB is a full up 3 head, multi material 3d printer for $3200, a full $1800 less than the promised Desktop Factory price.

But what I don't quite understand is where does the Rapman 3.1, and the Bits From Bytes brand name fit into the picture?  It would not suprise me to see the Panther sold under the 3d Systems moniker as one step below the V-Flash $10,000 printer.  But the Rapman does not fit the 3D systems model at all.

1 year after Desktop Factories acquisition their web page is little more than a redirect to the low end V-Flash $10,000 printer.  I don't think BfB will suffer quite the same fate, simply because they do have 2 products, and a valuable brand name.  So what would be the logical, and profitable reason to acquire BfB, and not just build a BFB 3000 printer alternative in house?

Just Speculation

If I had to guess, I think 3d Systems has read the same tea leaves a lot of us in this community have.  3d printing is exploding, and I think 3D Systems is getting ready to use the BfB brand name to come in hard on the personal market.  I think the purchased BfB for the brand name, and the Panther.  So this is what I think is going to happen:

-V-Flash shows up on BfB website
-The BfB 3000 Panther shows up in a few months as a cartridge unit on the 3d Systems website
-BfB will release a new 3d printer to replace the Rapman 3.1 in the next few months.  This will be their new competition for  Makerbot.

The new printer would be optimized to be quicker and easier to assemble, the harder bits to assemble would come pre packaged (The X axis and the Extruder), and be a part for part copy of the Panther.  It would look like a cross between:

Fab @ Home
The Panther

Think of the possiblity for such a machine.  It does not have to compete with the Cupcake, so as long as they can keep the same price point as the Rapman, it would be price competitive with the Thingomatic.

Makerbot really needs a competitor, I was hoping Up! would be it, but they just priced themselves out of the Market by trying to sell a a visually cheap printer at the same price that BfB is asking for the Panther.  I was hoping Botmill/Techzone would be that competitor, but they don't seem to know how to hire someone for $7.50 an hour to answer email questions and send tracking numbers.  I was hoping that the Old BfB would be that competitor, but they never seemed to learn how to market their obvously superior product.  I even hoped that Profound Devices would be that competitor, be he just turned out to be an over promising hobbyist with a inflated ego.

So if I am reading the tea leaves right, I hope Makerbot has some more ammo in that clip, because I have a feeling the  3DS/BfB is going to come out with all guns blazing in the next few months, with a mission to become the defacto 3d printing brand that Makerbot currently is.

If you have read my blog, you know I am a Open Source fend, but in the end it really doesn't matter to me if the printer is open source or not, as long as it prints RP and is a good price.  If 3DS/BfB can compete with Makerbot on price, I know they can beat them in quality.

Honestly I can't wait to see the real reason 3DS bought BfB, but no matter what, they are going to use that Brand name for something, and I have a feeling it's going to be fun to watch.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

And as fast as it started, the Mendel Price war is over!

It would help if I had basic third grade reading skills.  Thank you goffrie for pointing out my error.

Botmill does not include Electronics with their kit, meaning if you purchase their kit, you have to purchase the electronics separately, bringing your total to $1165.

Ran though the checkout process, and with Shipping to the US it comes to $1050.  This places this kit firmly between the The Makerbot Ultimate kit, and the Thing-o-Matic. At their $960 price point it is cheaper to get the kit from them than to self source, unless you can get the plastic parts for less than $260. 

The thing that is most awesome about this kit is he is using Mendels to produce the RP parts for these kits.  That's right folks, this is to my knowledge the 1st time anyone has followed the logic of a self replicating robot to it's logical end, a self replicating bot farm!!

I sincerely congratulate him on being one of the 1st, but I have a feeling he will not be the last if he is successful with this..

Now all we need is an Automated build plate for Mendel.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Mendel price war

RepRap printed parts, with professionally printed  gears available in Black, Blue, Green, Natural, Silver, and White.
Gen 6 Electroncis All 1 board electronics,(dead quite)


All professionally printed parts (not just the gears) available in Lemon Yellow, Fluorescent Red, Bright Blue, and Black.
Generation Techzone Remix Gen 3 electronics (soldiering required)

It really is amazing how this market has changed in the last few months.  A fully functioning Mendel kit for what I paid for My full Makerbot kit a year ago?  Amazing.  These kits are almost identical, except for one uses the Techzone Gen3 Electronics, and the other used the Gen6 Mendel-Parts electronics.  

One guy asked me which I would buy, and I would have to go with Mendel-parts, only because I have read so many bad things about Botmill customer service, and seen so many people brag on Mendel-Parts service.  Also I have seen video of the Mendel-parts Mendels printing, but never a video of the new RP Botmill kits printing (if there is a video, please post it in the comments!).

Also if you are selling full kits for Mendel in the sub $1000 price range, and I didn't list you please mention it in the comments.

Throw the Makerbot Ultimate Kit at only $899 (which now includes a Automated build plate AND a Mk5 extruder) into the Mix and a person deciding on what to buy in the sub $1000 price range in RP hobby has some real thinking to do.

Friday, October 1, 2010

And here I though RepRap was the coolest thing ever

This is a real, honest to goodness robotic walker, with evil death grip claws, for KIDS!  It was posted on Next Big Future. This is real, it's $21,000, and it's quite possibly the best think I have ever seen.

Reenact the loader vs alien scene from Aliens with the neighborhood dogs, check
Let your kid knock on the neighhood bully's front door with the claws of death, check
Just look at it and giggle like a schoolgirl, check.

Anyone willing to give me $21,000 for a slightly used Makerbot?

Friday, September 24, 2010

What the heck is a Thing-o-matic?

Did just scoop Makerbot's announcement? That don't look like no Makerwave to me, but it sure does look pretty.

Looks like:
Internal electronics
Only 1 Rod to lift an all wood Z platform (No belt?)
X is now on the trolley instead of Y
Looks larger than your average Makerbot
Open on all 4 sides (one side looks sorta open)

Could this be the big announcement?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Don't Play MineCraft, espeically considering it's free for the next few days.

My Brustruder is working perfectly, I have it on the loosest setting using 3d Ink cheap natural plastic, and it chugs along like nothing ,and what is weird, it it's super quite. I can't even hear the motor when the axises aren't moving, which I didn't think was possible for a gearmotor.

Went ahead and dropped $75 on a set of Acme Z rods from Ebay

So between the Brustruder, My Makergear heated build plate, my .35 nozzle, and my freshly leveled build platform, I can for the 1st time just print, no need to keep the toolbox in the office with my printer (It has not left the office in the 9 months I have had my printer, till last week).

So now with a perfectly operating 3d printer what am I doing?  Playing Minecraft and not printing a dang thing.  I havn't designed anything in Heekscad, haven't turned a bolt on my Mini Mendel/Huxley, I even stopped printing my 7th Mendel (I know I said I was out of the Mendel business, but I can't get the idea of having a Makerbot, Darwin, Mendel, Huxley and Mantis 9.1 all in my office out of my head).

I hope I get over this Minecraft addiction soon, I have schoolwork I need to get done.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Dangers of Extruder development, accentually punching one's self in the face

I was doing failure testing on my new Brutstruder.  I was very proud of myself when my 1st version lifted a 2 liter of coke.  Well, after a few modifications, this one got up to 3 1/2 gallons of water, or about 27 lb worth of lift strength.  That's not quite a wades extruder, but considering the 1st 1/2 of the video was with 2 springs, the later I put 3 on, and they are compressed out, so this has a lot more pulling it can do with proper sprints, and 4 of them.

I would suggest watching the whole video, but if you are sick like Rick From Makergear, you might want to skip directly to 3:10 where I punch myself in the face with a Kysan Gearmotor.  No blood, but my nose is still sore.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I have started the wiki page for my new extruder at the RepRap Wiki.

I thought I would be smart and put all four spring on the extruder for it's 1st test run, it literally squeezed the ABS so tight that it came out the other end flattened out (but by god it didn't slip!).  I think I need to test it with only 2 half springs tonight :).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Almost done.

There are 4 people on the Makergear IRC (Basically the official IRC of the Makerbot folks, considering most of us that have operational Makerbots have some of Rick's goodies ) that have kept steering me back to this project.  Well It's finally "done".  I just need 4 new Wingnuts,  a 5/16 jam nut, 4 smaller springs (the one's I have are almost 3 inches long unspring, WAY too long. and a 1 inch bolt (Everything I have is metric, and getting a 8mm jam nut is not likely at Lowes).

This extruder was originally designed as a super small gearmotor extruder for the now Huxley, but since I have hit 5-6 snags on the  Mini Mendel, and I sold my extra set of electroncis, this is now a Makerbot Extruder.

Here are some design charateristics of this extruder:

-608 spring tensioned bearing idler (stolen from Wades Extruder
-Viewport for  the drive gear, and the hot end integration  (stolen from juniortan's breach extruder
-Mk5 drive gear (Stolen from the Mk5 extruder
-Legs (Stolen from Zaggo's prinstruder legs  I use 2 sets of his left legs (two left feet, get it!), Funny thing is I had to extend the extruder 11mm on the x axis to reach even that.  But I don't think I am up to designing a whole new leg system)
-A heaping helping of advice from the folks off Makergear and RepRap IRC, thanks folks!

It has extruded, but I will not upload it still it can print.  We have enough semi-functional stuff on Thingiverse already. 

If you already have an extra gearmotor, mk5 drive wheel, and springs and want to Alpha test it just let me know. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Now that's timing

New 550 watt ATX to replace my burned out PSU ✔
New .35 Nozzles from Makergear ✔
New Aluminum Idler from Makergear ✔
Person going to show up to give me $500 for my Mendel (Giving him the RP on loan, he owes me that back when he gets printing)✔
Slotted Channel cut for my new experiment ✔
Pick on MakerBlock for selling his soul to Makerbot ✔
Folks showing up for 1st real Hackerspace meeting ✔

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Botmill just changed the game again.

I am blown away.

Spent all night thinking about the Mk5 extruder and how it changes the game.

Then I go onto the RepRap Wiki.

I notice Botmill had updated the Buying guide.

And I see this:

$1245, fully assembled Mendel, (or unassembled $945) printed on a professional printer, only lacking motors and electronics!

Ohh I forgot to mention, it is available in Blue Black Green Yellow, and Red.

How big is that?  1 year of blogging and I have never changed font size, I had to go and find out how to do it :)

Why is this big?  I mean seriously you can get RP parts from Ebay for $200-$300, and the rod and bearing set for $200, and the Thick sheets for $35.  So you can get basically everything that is in this kit $945 kit for $550 is you shop around.

It's big because these parts are not printed on a RepRap, they are printed on a professional grade printer, aka you know the quality will be as good as the top 5% of our hobby.  The lowest cost that these parts could be found for before this was from Protovantage for $1500, dropping that price to effectively $700 is mind blowing ($945-$35-$200).

Also given that they are likely sourceing the parts from a factory, part availableity should not be as much of an issue.  Also, from what I have heard and seen Botmill has improved in the last few weeks.  I no longer see the unresolved customer service issues, and they are much more active than they where at one point in the wiki, IRC, and forum.  I still see confusion on their electroncis, but you see confusion on all electroncis.

What a week.  To think in the past few weeks these things have happened:

$35 6lb rolls of ABS, confirmed to be reliably printable (I have printed with Mk4 extruder Makerbot.  If it will print there, it will print anywhere!)

China joins the Game with a $1500 (to start) folded steel RepStrap, that uses a heated build plate and stepper out of the box, and news is they will be adding Paypal payment soon.

BTW they are now posting pics over at Thingiverse, lets hope they share designs (and posting on the wiki too, might make us all much more comfortable with them (even if it's only a little).

X-axis prototype, motorized, originally uploaded by prusajr.

Prusa Mendel

Prusajr's doing a wonderful job cutting down the printed mass on Mendel, he posted a video of it over here.

If you haven't been keeping up the Mendel Part's "Generation 6" electronics, They are estimating there electronics price as being $175 with their opto end stop cables.

It's been a heck of a few weeks, has any noticed that the pace of expansion/improvement in this hobby is accelerating at a incredible rate?

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Makerbot Mk5 Extruder has exited the Botcave

I love my Makerbot, I hate my Mk4 extruder.  Ohh the pain it has caused:

-Idler wheel loosening up over time
-Idler wheel snapping in half
-PFTE bulging
-PFTE popping off (before the bolt became standard)
-Nicrome frying itself
-Broken retainer rings
-Gunked up drive pulleys

I looks like Makerbot has eliminated the possibility of all the common Mk4 failure modes..  Now don't get me wrong, I am absolutely sure we (at least me :) ) will figure out how to break this thing, but it looks like the weak link of the Cupcake, the extruder, has been solved (we hope).

I though it would be a fun excersize to play "find the fix" with this design.  Like all good ideas, it's a copy's a lot  of other designs that work well.

The Mk5 drive gear:

Hobbled gears have been around for a while in the hobby, but they where made famous by Wade's wonderful geared extruder.  The 1st time I ever saw one works was Nophead's Tiny Stepper Torques Big post.  Ever since the 1st time I saw it, I wanted that for Makerbot.  I have used my Mk5 drive gear in my Mk4 Makerbot since the 1st day they offered it, and honestly it really does improve the Mk4, but it didn't fix it.  The Mk5 looks like the final Fix.


The Tensioner was 1st introduced by Charles Pax for his Paxtruder 0.1.  I remember reading his blog and thinking, god I wish I could buy that thing...  well it only took a year :)  I still think the spring and 608 approach is better, but for a laser cut design, this is likely as close to perfect as you can get.

The Power Resistor Heater

The heater looks to be derived from the work of Nophead's.  Funny how SO many things in this hobby go back to Nophead, we need to throw him, Adrian, and Zack a party..  Oldest reference i can remember actually using power resistors was his Pear Shaped Post.  Cool thing is if you want something like this on the Mk4 you can buy a kit over at Makergear, but it does not require a relay, and only uses 1 smaller Power resistor.  I have not used it yet..  My hot end is still working, and I have a backup that Rick over at Makergear put together, but I hear it heats up slower than Nichrome.  The Mk5 looks like it will heat up nice and quick with it's relay:).

Thermal Barrier
The Thermal Barrier looks to have been heavily inspired by the Bit's From Bytes Thermal Barrier
PFTE tube constrained by a stainless tube.  It's brilliant really.  Slick, strong.  It's great stuff.  I 1st read about it at the Rapman Blog.  Unfortunately it's not "Fab-able".  But as the Rapman has shown for over a year now, it's a rock sold and relaible design.

The Nozzle
The nozzle looks basically the same (besides now being a male instead of a female), but honestly looks much closer to the Makergear Big Head Nozzle than the old mk4 nozzle.  I know the people who have tried the larger headed nozzles have found that the larger head acted as a thermal battery, holding the heat and allowing for a more consistent extrusion. 

Plastruder Mk5 looks like the a true changing point for Makerbot.  There was very little difference between the Mk1 and the Mk4 Plastruder.  Sure there where changes, but in the end it was always the Child of the Hercules.  Mk5 brings marks the end of the Hercules generations of Plastruders, and begins the Paxtruder generations of Plastruder..

As much as I like this design, it does mark 1 real change for Makerbot.  No longer can it be said that you can build the Makerbot extruder with a laser cutter and a drill press.  The hot end has now entered the only makeable with a lathe world.  Guess I can't get too bent out of shape over it, Adrain's new nozzle is a Lathe only design.   At least RepRap and Makerbot both did a LOT OF WORK making the fab-able nozzle design as relaible as it could possibly be.

Makerbot now has a Paxstruderesque  tensioner, Wades Extruderesque drive gear , a Rapmanesque thermal barrier, a Nopheadesque heater core, and a Makergear big head nozzlesque nozzle.

That's why open source is so great, we all build on the shoulders of Giants.  How long before we see this hot end on a Wades Geared extruder, for the ultimate extrusion Machine! :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hopping Mad, changing direction.

I have found out that of the sets of Mendel I have printed, only 1/2 have been assembled at all, and NONE are printing.  No matter what people think, there is no money in printing Mendels, or honestly any RepRap, even if it was only 2 hours to print, you couldn't really "get your money back".  I print parts for people because I want to spread the hobby, obviously I have failed.

I am starting a Credit Union for Reprap over at the Reprap Wiki. I came up with a very original name for it SpaceXULA Union. :)

Here are the terms:

The Fees:
$100 Mini Mendel (Current Version as$50 back if you replace within a month)
$30 Prinstruder II$15 back if you replace within a month)
$40 Wades Extruder$20 back if you replace within a month)

The "Terms"
-To receive parts you must have Hacker space or group with multiple members (And have some way to confirm this to SpaceXULA's satisfaction).
-You must promise to form a bank once you have an operating RepRap.
-You must pay a deposit before I send the parts
-You must be within the United States (Sorry, Import dues make international shipping unfair to the receiver)

The Benefits
-SpaceXULA promises to support you though to completion of your project, you are getting a relationship. You get the parts, and if you need more parts because you break them, or the design changes before you can get your own printer operational, he will provide them as 1st priority prints.
-If SpaceXULA receives a set of parts back from you within 1 month of the day you receive the parts, he will PayPal back to you 1/2 the cost of the part to you.

If your interested, please add your RepRap Wiki user name under Aplicant, and I will contact you right away.

I have 5 Wades Extruders,  2 Prinstruder II, and 1/2 of a Mini Mendel ready to go.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wasn't going to Blog it, but Jay/Makerblock said I should :)

My daughter got in trouble at Bible school a few weeks ago. One of the boys brought a Transformer to class, so my daughter started telling the other kids about her father's robot that sang songs,and made toys. She went on and on about it, talking about how it woke her up at night, about it's 2 babies, and how it would bite you if you put your hand in it's mouth. The teacher told her that she needed to stop lying. My daughter, with all the dignity that a 3 year old girl can muster (which is a lot), told her that she was telling the truth, and didn't appreciate being called a liar.

About 30 minutes after this my wife picked up my daughter from school (she was still in the corner, now crying because she had been sent back 3 times because she refused to admit she was lying). My wife asked what she had done to go to the corner. The teacher told my wife about the "lie" that my daughter was telling. Needless to say my wife insisted that the teacher apologize to my daughter.

Best hobby (and daughter) in the world.

Brutis is dead, long live Brutis!

Instead of focusing on Brutis, I am going to dedicate my time to getting the fully metric, 606 bearinged, NEMA 14 mini Mendel working 1st.  I think Brutis would have worked, but I am not going to touch it for a few weeks.  If you want the design files they have been uploaded to Sourceforge here.Take it as your own if you want.  Any questions don't hesitate to PM me.

I have my Mini Mendel put together, and have been trying to run the Bowden extruder.  I can already tell that unless someone does some very slick codeing, or we put a second booster motor at the hot end, it's never going to print at a quality level anywhere near even what Makerbot does, which is not exactly the highest of quality out the box.

Problem is they went with a boden for a very good reason, NEMA 14 are VERY low toque, and any height added to the trolley directly reduces you maximum build height.  I tried attaching a Prinstruder onto the trolley, but both it, and a Wades where HUGE on that little trolley (looked like an elephant riding a donkey).

I needed a smaller high torque extruder that could fit on a Mini Mendel X trolley.  I came up with this:

It's the Kysan/Makerbot gearmotor using the MK5 wormgear and a 608 bearing idler like a wades extruder.  I printed off a copy last night (something wrong with being able to print an extruder in 30 minutes :) ).  Even with the filament being a little off it was able to lift itself, and the gearmotor up a length of  HDPE filament, good sign on the grip end of things.  Added the hot end today, and tonight I am hoping to have my 1st extrusion with it, but that brings me to the sad news.

The thermistor port on my Extruder board just gave up the ghost.  Swapped the thermistor, reloaded the firmware, even taped the thermistor to the back of the board, nothing.  Thanks to some guidance from Kliment looks like I could install a thermistor off the A7 port and change the firmware slightly to take the temp from that port instead.  As a work around I took my Mini Mendel extruder board and put it over on my Makerbot.  I will do my exstruder testing off my Makerbot and deal with the soldering when i finish up the mini.

I hate Windows Movie Maker, it takes SO LONG to bring videos into the library, and then over 1 1/2 hours to process 15 minutes.  If anyone knows a faster option that allows for videos to be edited, double speeded, and and the ability to add titles, let me know.

Back to good news.  My 3 year old daughter decided she needed to be like daddy and take apart random pieces of electronics. Unfortunately she chose as her first victim my microphone (it was already broken). Didn't realize it until I found the outer casing of it reattached with silly puddy. She claimed to have fixed it, which amazingly enough meant the speakers where twice as loud, but the microphone still didn't work any more.

Birthday was good, got a Drill press from Harbor Freight for $60 bucks, and a new microphone.  Fun Stuff!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Interesting Repstrap

Doing my weekly blog search I found This Gem Out of Utrecht.  Mmmm, So pretty.

Added their blog and a few others to the Google Reader feed , We are now up to 266 blogs.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A guide to getting into RepRap (only my opinion)

I am always seeing people trying to get into RepRap Printing, but there is always the question of price.  I am no expert, but I wanted to lay out in a Post what I have seen.  I will go from the lowest price to highest price.


Cost: Free  up to your 1st born child
Difficulty: depends
Reliability: depends

My 1st suggestion to every person trying to get into RepRap is to try to find a local RepRap/RepStrap owner.  There are several ways to track these people down, but some of the best resources are:

The RepRap Map
The Makerbot Map
Remember both of these have multiple pages, so look though all the pages each has different pins!
Regonal User Groups Sebastian over at the Wiki and forums has been nice enough to start a Regional User group for almost every area in the world (how does he find the time?).  If you have a printer, or want a printer update the RUG page in your area.  You never know who you might find!
The Hackerspace Map (They don't always have RepRap/Repstrap, but they will likely have some of the tools you need)

Cost: There has been talk that this can be put together for $3-400 dollars, I have only seen the original
Difficulty: Home made Repstraps are always an adventure
Reliability: Depends

The wiki page shows some details, but this is looking like the "official as it gets" RepStrap. 

The Wild World of the Mendel/Sudo-Mendel

This is the contentious section of any list. EVERYTHING is debatable because no one to date has really built up a track record.  To keep the price comparison reasonable I am only going to compare the prices of their RP parts replacements.  Keep in mind that Once yo have your RP part replacements you still need your electronics, hardware, motors, belts and lasercut parts.  All these together will be $557 plus shipping if you  spend $260 for your hardware, belts and bearings at Ultimachine, Get a Wades extruder off Ebay (there is usually at least 1 up at all times now) for $30, Thick Sheets from Techzone/Botmill for $37 and $230 for electronics (4 major sellers of electroncis now, of varying levels of quality, check them out before you send them money!).

Remember add $600 to any of these prices to arrive at what your cost will be for the printer (using conservative estimates)

RepRap forum, Ebay, Etsey or RP parts printed on another RP printer.
Cost: $60 - $400
Difficulty: Parts are usually printed in either ABS or PLA (HDPE has went out of style).  Easiest parts to put together.
Reliability: The VAST majority of all Mendels to date are made made this way.

If you can get these parts, they are the best to go with, but the supplies are VERY limited because they take 40-60 hours to print, and that is a challenging amount of time.
Folon Labs on Ebay
Cost: He has sold parts for $65 - $297, but the price is usually $150-$200
Difficulty:  The parts are Resin cast, so you will have to process them, and I have heard both good and bad things about his product (you always do).  I have not seen one assembled in the wild to date.
Reliability: Not enough info.

His website is Fotonlabs, and he usually has at least 1 set of cast parts up on his webstore.

Cost: $199 - $202
Difficulty: Parts are made to be drop in replacements for Mendel, but I have seen many people have issues with the assembly.  I have not seen a blog entry to date of one built "in the wild"

Reliability: Not enough info

There are 2 variaites of these parts, the processed, and the unprocessed.  Unproccessed parts are sold at Botmill for $199, and the processed parts go for $202 at the Techzone Ebay site (These are the same parts, Techzone sells parts to Botmill).  From comments in the forum the processing is quite intensive, and if you don't have a wood shop, you might want to get the proccessed parts, or go for the full kit (later in this post).

Fleming cnc Isaac Mendel

Cost: $245-$270
Difficulty: These parts are made on a CNC, not a laser cutter or cast.  The parts SEEM of a higher quality than all but the RP parts (which vary wildly in quality).  They should not require processing, but I have not seen anyone blog a build in the wild)

Reliability: Not enough info

FlemingCNC has been selling their kit, the Isaac Mendel, for a few months now.  I have not seen anyone blog a build, but the kit has changed material, and included the belts and gears.

The "other ways"

Ponoko Darwin You can still get the parts for a Lasercut Darwin (the daddy of the BfB Rapman printer), for free or for a small donation to one of our favorite designers Vik.  It costs between $300-400 if you have Ponoko cut the parts, or between $200-$300 if you use BigBlueSaw.

Cut your own Techzone Mendel This should be possible considering they have uploaded the source files.  I don't think anyone has done it to date.

Laser cut Mendel by Decru This lasercut Mendel was Decru's master's thesis.  I dont' know if it ever printed, but again, you can upload the files to BigBlueSaw, Ponoko, or your local laser cutter and give it a go!

Cut your own Makerbot.  It can be done using Charles Paxes Muffin, The Makerbot svn, or the Routerized Cupcake CNC Body Panels by pandelume.  ( Believe it or not I have seen many more non Makerbot sourced Lasercut parts for Makerbot produce working printers than I have seen non RP Mendels print.  But that makes since in a way because Makerbot is the only lasercut design designed from the ground up TO BE LASERCUT.  All the other designs are coping a printer designed to be printed and shoehorn it into a laser printer ).

I don't know of any other RP replacements, if I missed one please Email me and I will update this post and repost!

The Kits:

I am only including full kits, with basically everything you need in the box.

Botmill/Techzone Lasercut Mendel

Cost: $799
Difficulty: I have only seen one printer put together in the wild, and the guy said it was a hard printer to assemble (I can't find the link now, sorry). 

Reliability: Not enough info.

Botmill sells them at their webstore, and Techzone sometimes puts the same kit up for sell on Ebay, but they are always available at Botmill.  They are the new guys to the game.  They seem to be having more issues than Makerbot did with Batch 1, but that is to be expected with any new kit.  I personally wouldn't buy it, but I am also the dude that had cash in hand when batch 1 went on sell from Makerbot, and STILL waited till batch 9 to buy.  $500+ is serious money.

Makerbot CupCake
Cost: $950
Difficulty: The easiest printer to put together, It would have took me 9 hours if I hadn't shot video.  The cartiean bot is almost perfect, but the Mk4 extruder can give you head/heart ache.  I love mine, but be preparts to buy some replacement parts! :)
Reliability: Very once you learn to use it, till then it's evil

The full kit at Makerbot has been $950 for a year now, which is great because their demand is though the roof.  They could price gouge, but they haven't yet.  For me it was a toss up between the RapMan and Makerbot.  I chose the Makerbot because it was smaller, and had a stronger support base in the US.  I have regretted that decision at times, but in the end I love my Makerbot (30 hours not shut downs at this point woho!).

Bits From Bytes Rapman 3.1
Cost: $1,270 at current exchange rate
Difficulty:  More difficult to assemble that Makerbot, due to it's larger piece count, and acrylic material (don't over tighten those bolts!).  Able to print 4 times as large of area, and is significantly more acurate than Makerbot.  Also it can print independently of a computer (it has a LED screen where you can print your stl directly)

Reliability: Very once you learn to use it, but not as steep of learning curve as Makerbot

Rapman by Bits from Bytes was the 1st Commercial RepStrap, and is very much based off the RepRap Darwin.  It is still being sold, and is a rock solid printer.  The support base is thin inside the US, and even in Europe it doesn't seem to have sold nearly as well as the Makerbot.  Any person that considers a Makerbot, should also consider this printer, It's definitely worth the $300 difference if you can afford it.

Up! by pp3dp
Cost: $1,500 (will rise to $3000 once they have sold 100)
Difficulty: They seem to sell it as a out the box printer.
Reliability: Not enough information

PP3dp is selling their printer for $1500 for the 1st 100, then raising the price to $3000.  You can't use a standard web interface to purchase, they have to send you a purchase order.  They have only been our for 1 week, so I really would be very warry, but their printer does look awesome!

Cost: $2,565 at the current exchange rate
Difficulty: They come mostly assembled, but I can't say

Reliability: I have seen them print online, but there have been only 12 so who knows.

RepRapSource sells this kit on their website, and honestly it's sexy as heck.  It's the only all metal RepStrap, and looks mean as heck.  I don't know much about it, but just look at it!  :)  It needs rally bars.

BFB 3000
Cost: $3,185 at the current exchange rate
Difficulty: It comes mostly assembled.
Reliability: It's a Bits From Bytes product, so likely pretty good.

This is currently the most expensive RepStrap avialable, but your likely getting what you pay for.  This machine looks like someone over at Bits from bytes took the joke Apple 3d printer a little too seriously:
If budget is not a consideration, this is likely the printer for you.  This is the machine that likely the folks over Stratasys where really hoping would not happen.  Good job guys, way to make the Mercedes of RepRaps, or I guess since they are British, it would be the Lotus.

Monday, August 2, 2010

And here come the Chinese.

Degroff over at the Makerbot Google pointed out this video.  The company Personal Portable 3d Printer is offering a "RepStrap" with a heated build plate, stepper extruder, and metal frame for $1500 to the 1st 100 orders, then the price goes to 2,999.

I love the design, but wow this is a shot across the bow of Makerbot, Bits From Bytes, Techzone, and the other commercial 3d printers.

Here's the fun part.  To order you have to fill out a purchase order, email it to them.  Then they will email you back to confirm the order and tell you how to pay.  It's shaddy as heck, but  this is likely some dude in a small village. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I need design advice? And who better to ask than a community of Developers?

I have a choice, and I can't really figure out which direction to go.  If I keep the build plate 6 inch, and continue to use 608 skate bearings, & place the extruder on the X trolley, Brutis will only have +- 50mm travel in the Z axis.  I could very easily end up with only 40 mm in the Z axis by the time I give myself some margin.  This is enough travel to be able to print all the Mendel parts, which is the main design goal, but it would give a build area of 150mmx150mmx40mm which looks really sad...

I see a few directions I could go here, any advice?

a. Since the top vertexes are already different than the bottom axises, I could make those vertex much bigger (same size as the Mendel, but with only 6mm/ 1/4 rod), and turn the gear motor sideways and design a whole new extruder that can fit between the upper threaded rods.

b. Forget having the extruder on the trolley and just go back to assuming bowden extruder (which adds cost, reduces print quality, and makes this harder to calibrate).

c. Make the build area bigger, therefore adding 5mm in the Z for every 10mm I add in build area.  I have to be careful here because the point here is to keep the print time below 20 hours.

d.  Since 40mm is enough for Mendel say the hell with it and just let it be.

e.  Something that I am missing that you would be kind enough to share?

I know I need to alter the placement of the Y motor (needs to go lower), to allow more room for the smooth rod supports.  Also I need to move the cross beams that support the Z axis down below the side bars to again allow more room for that y stage.  But she is looking good in my opinion.  But I am at a point where either I have a lot more work to do, or I get to start making printed prototypes on Monday.  What do you say?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

How many different ways can you mess up a Z axis? 9 so far.

Brutis, my Mini Mendel rework is coming along nicely.  Because all the parts are so small, I can change the design, print off the part and attach to my test frame 20 minutes later, then throw the off part into a vat of Acetone to punish it for it's insolence.

I have settled on a different form of idler than I have ever seen for the Z axis, hope it works once I cut my belts.  The motor bracket floats on 2 parallel threaded rods, one only attached to the Z base, one that is the frame side bar.  To tighten you will just  tighten 2 wing nuts to move the motor bracket further from the Z base.  It's a knock off the Mendel Z Leadscrew Base with Motor Belt Tensioner by nicholasclewis, but in 2 parts instead of 1.

I was going a complete different direction with the X trolley, then I saw the rhys-jones's Mendel Multi Extruder Carriage.  I will have to rework my trolley (that's why you don't see it in the pic) because his would add 10+ mm in the inside capacity of the trolley.  Might just be enough to put the extruder on top of the trolley :).  Considering this project is only concerned with making a self replicating printer, if I only have 70 - 80 mm in the Z axis I don't care as long as it can print all the Mendel parts.

My run of trouble free printing ended.  My hot end started acting up.  Funny thing was Rick over at Makergear got a little perplexed, because he had never seen PEEK have a flowback issue with ABS, and all but demanded I send it too him to let him take a look.  So I sent him my hot end and went to a backup.  There's something profoundly embarrassing about letting another person look at your nozzel, but I think my constant issues with the Mk4 hot end has finally made him snap (he claims that his hot end is Gremlin proof, we shale see :)  He has never seen Gremlins like mine..

Also I just ordered the Power Resistor Heater Block from Makergear (hot end the Nophead way baby!). I personally didn't like his ceramic heatercore, fire cement and I just don't get along (which hurts because everyone else who uses them LOVES them... go figure), and the workings for a new hot end (big head nozzel, barrel (turned down on both sides?  never seen that), and a new PEEK thermal barrier.  Wife and kid will be out of town next week, so it's just me Makerbot, and my 3 half finished Mendels. 

In other news HeeksCAD just released version 0.14.0, and this one is great for our community.  Now STL don't cause the huge memory leak, or crashing if you hit undo.  I have managed to run it now for 5 hours straight without a single crash, also the colors look a little better.  Dan & his group did a lot of work on this one.

It warms my heart to see Tony Buser has really ran off with my Printable Filament spool over at the RepRap wiki.  I like how he has made the sides stronger, and moved it over the Openscad,  Can't wait to see his setting under his Mendel!

If you ever get bored and want some good reading, check out the Recent Changes at the RepRap wiki.  They are now up to like 20-30 updates a day, there's a lot more than just Mendel instructions over there now and days.  Ohh and check out the Wolfstrap, and Eiffel repstraps.  Those projects are quickly becoming the new and improved Mcwire.

That's all for this week, well besides did you see Adrian's Ninja electronics set?  I swear I didn't know it was even possible for a RepRap to be that quite.

Edit  Just saw this. MSC industrial has PFTE tubing CHEAP, like $2-3 a foot cheap.  Lots of other goodies over there also.  Good job tesla893 over at the reprap forum!  Edit further..  PTFE tube bearings for a buck?  God they have EVERYTHING cheap.   I am in heaven.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Death by Wife

I am SO dead.  I purchased 6 foot of the PTFE Tubing, and a 6 foot stick of 6mm smooth rod without consulting the wife 1st.  $40 will be noticed :).   Even though I don't plan on using my Mini Mendel, other than as a base for my own build, I am going to start uploading videos to Youtube of the build, and I don't feel right not doing everything by the book if other people are going to use it to help them build.

 By the end of next week I hope to have a fully assembled Mendel, & Mini, and a 1/2 completed Brutis.  Let's see how far I get.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A week like no other.

The gremlin which has resided within my Makerbot for the last 7 months left my printer and started eating other random pieces of tech in my office. My camera stopped working, (I think he had help from my 3 year old). Then a few days later when i tried to do an updated HeeksCAD tutorial I found my microphone was busted. But the good think is now my Makerbot is working PEFECTLY. When I say perfectly:

-Makergear Heated Build plate heats up in 5 minutes flat to 115 and stays within 5 degrees no mater what I do. The other thing is it gets hot enough to not need sanded Kapton, which makes the parts look like glass, sweet!
-TeamUSA has created a mod of RepG17 to allow you to use the raftless script in RepG, this is the best way to print raftless. It slows down the feed rate on the 1st level, allowing you not to pull the printed parts off before the Kapton bonds well to them. It can be found here
-Filament has not stripped once since I installed the Makergear idler wheel and Makerbot Mk5 worm gear.
-I have not had to touch my plastic once since I installed my Printable Horizontal Filament spool. It just works. :) Here is a little tour of what it looks like and how to put it together.

-After installing the filament spool I found that the filament tube was coming close to my 2nd Thermistor that is plugged into my extruder board. I got concerned with it was putting stress on the plug and board so I went ahead and moved the extruder board, temp sensor board, and Makergear High output control board onto the side of my machine. While I was at it I went ahead and installed plugs on all my wires, so next time my extruder fails I will not have to mess with anything electric besides 3 plugs. Here's how I rewired it.

-I finished these Mods on Friday of the week before last, and worked all weekend. On Monday morning I got back to messing with my Makerbot, and something amazing happened. My Makerbot never broke. I managed to get though all of a Mini Mendel in less than 19 hours straight through. I then started printing Mendel. I got all the way though to the last 3 plates on Friday. So I managed to basically print a Mini Mendel, and a Mendel in the same week! Eventually I decided to move from the Aluminum plate that Makergear includes with their HBP to a Stainless steel one, allowing me to pop parts off the builds like MakiYoshida's build plate, I do want to know how he keeps from smaking his clips into the Z stage. Also I wanted to be able to swap the build plate faster so I altered my start.txt and end.txt to allow for a modified production G-code (cool side note, now that RepG has profiles you can have multiple start and stop.txt, which is all sorts of awesome)

Now when a print ends the end.txt runs "G1 X0 Y0 z100 f1000" moving my extruder out of the way of my swap. It also leaves the Build plate & nozzle hot. I then just unclip my plate, replace it with another steel plate (the plate gets up to temp in about 2 minutes), use the control panel to drop 50Z manually (while confirming my temps), recenter, Zero, and build from SD. Start text is still basically the standard HBP start.txt. Here is a video of me doing the swap. Ohh a little hint, put an X on your Build plate (under the kapton) at the true XYZ zero of you Makerbot. Remember we don't have access usually to all 100mm in the Y axis,

I did my 1st International sell last week to a Gentleman in the Netherlands. Shipping was $45 dollars, and after we shipped it he had to pay some sort of fee to reiceive it. I will not be shipping international again. That was horrible.

Another mistake I made was trying to order Gearmotors directly from Kysan. I figured "heck, They sell the makerbot gearmotor for $8, and Makerbot sells them for $20, I need to cut out the middle man". Well the middle man cut me :). Kysan allows you to place the order without shipping, so I though the shipping was free. About 12 hours later I get a very nice email asking me to send $55 more dollars for shipping on my $100 dollar order.... >:( I had already transfered the 1st chunk of money, and I have had issues in the past with Paypal on refunds so I just sent them the money.

To make it make since to order from Kysan instead of Makerbot, you would have to order 5 flippin motors. Ugg, that was not smart.

Lesson learned, the gear motors are expensive at Makerbot for a reason, Kysan is cheap to buy from, and expensive to receive from :) I do have 3 gear motors and 3 NEMA 17 steppers in the mail, so that brings me to 7 NEMA 17 motors 3 NEMA 14 motors, & 3 gear motors, and 1 extra set of Makerbot Electronics.

I received a sample pack of the new buy3dink supper cheap ABS from a gentleman named Mark. The sample I received looks much better than the stuff I have seen in prior photos, this looks very similar to the Village Plastic I am used too. I will check the diameters and roundness this week, and test it in one of my RepRaps once I get it working (hopefully this week).

I have started documenting my build of a Mini Mendel, which will be humorous because some parts are having to be Dremeled into submission to get them to work (my nema 14 was too big to fit, Dremel fixed that. I hope to actualy get it working, and then peddle the design over to something more practical to build. I will be documenting my alterations over at the RepRap Wiki "Breeder" page I made.

I am in lust with this machine.

whosawhatsis over at thingiverse has managed to sqeeze a 8x8inch build plate on a slightly expanded Mini Mendel without drastically changning the Mini's parts. That's impressive enough, but the yellow kapton with black ABS, and Silver zinc rod makes this printer look NASTY :).

He didn't post the picture till I included his part in my abridged Mini Mendel Build set on Thingiverse, and he really didn't document all that much, but he is gathering all the stuff he has posted on his website and there is a good conversation going on over there.

I will shut up now :) Hope some of this helps!