Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Selling my RepRap again on Ebay:)

I can't keep all 3 of my printers busy enough hours of the day to make since to have 3 of them, so I am going to sell off the other 2.  This bot has worked 100% for over 100 hours of printing, no self replications for this one but a lot of spare parts for me and other folk.

Unlike most sellers I try to always keep up with the people I sell printers to, so anyone who gets my machine will get my personal phone number and I will work how ever long it takes to get the person printing, which with this machine SHOULD be 2-3 hours, but if it turns into a few weeks I don't care.

Nothing in the world is sadder than a 3d printer that does  not work.

2 hour in the bidding is up to $100, hope for gods sake I at least more than break even, if it goes for less than $600 I am going to cry.

As always if you need help you can almost always reach me in the RepRap and Makergear IRC at:

BTW the link is http://www.ebay.com/itm/RepRap-Prusa-Mendel-Rapid-Prototyping-3D-Printer-Including-Software-and-Support-/180733556929?pt=COMP_Printers&hash=item2a148f38c1  I forgot that part.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The final death of Makerbot #469

After 18 months of ownership, and literally not going more than 3 days ever without printing or being took apart, my Makerbot has finally died.  She lived a very hard life.

-1st 4 months was spent rebuilding the hot end on a nearly weekly basis (back then, all of us Makerbot folk where purely convinced that the reason our Mk4 extruder crapped out all the time was because of "nozzle blockage"...  Well it was a crappy idler that was causing it the whole time.  We all learned that lesson the hard way.

-I did my very 1st Demo last year at the 1st Annual Makerfaire in Raleigh NC.  I had over 40 different kids print off those awesome Zodiac pieces from thingiverse.

-After that I sort of got demo fever, I have done demos at over 5 different schools in the last year.

-They wrote an article up on my and my Makerbot for the local paper, they even interviewed Bre for it.

-Eventually because of repeated issues with my printer I designed the Brutstruder.  To be followed very shortly by helping Rick at Makergear design his Brustruder that is used to this day on his kits.

-I got sick and tired of the Z wobbling all over the place so I replaced them Acme Rods.

-My Heated build plate died several times.  I used every single iteration of the Makergear heated build plate, and found every way to screw up it's construction and fry it.

-I jumped in both feet on cheap plastic from 3d Ink, only to find the only way to break a Makergear hot end.  Feed it filament that seems to have sand in it (no crap).

-I had to replace the relay board, I had to replace the motherboard, I had to replace the extruder controller... TWICE.  I had to replace a stepper controller.  I went though over 15 thermistors, 25 feet nichome, 5 PTFE thermal barriers, and 1 PEEK (how to you break a PEEK?  cross thread it that's how :) ).

-The final death came when Makerbot decided to no longer sell extruder controllers and mine died.  So my Acme rods and Brustruder have moved over to a friend at the hackerspace who has never managed to get his Mk5 extruder to act nice. 

Final Tally:

-33 total RepRaps printed, 8 being Sells Mendels, 1 Huxley and the rest Prusa Mendels (Of those 5 are at the hackerspace and still "mine".  Plus the ability to give away over 10 extruders in the old loaner program, and very casually print replacement parts for people with broken extruders, gears etc.

-I think RepRaplogphase is one of the most subscribed RepRap related Youtube channels and blogs in the community, of course behind Nophead, reprap.org, and Makerbot... But that’s still not bad for it just being me.

-My Makerbot made out hackerspace, literally.  Even though I have always had RepRap (since I manged to print my 1st one over a year ago), my Makerbot has always been my bread and butter machine.  The people who helped start the hackerspace partially joined to have access to that machine.

So as I sit here, and look at my Makerbot, with the motherboard sitting in the build chamber, no Z axis, a whole in the front for the manual control for my 1st HBP, and wood that is almost black in places where skin oil and silicone has stained the wood.... I can't help but smile. 

As much as I have hated this machine at times, it's the best purchase I have ever made.  Now it goes to the attic for my grandkids to marvel over in 30 years when they clean up after my death (Don't worry kids, people picked on the wood box printer before it was even new!).  And the Steppers are going to live on in... you guessed it, another RepRap.

Thank you Adam Mayer, Zach Smith and Bre Pettis  It was a great machine and I will always be in your debt.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Full Sized Prusa Mendel, Fully Assembled and Calibrated, T minus 10 hours :)


I feel dirty doing this on by blog but WFT why not?  My Mendel is now at $812, and the auction ends in 10 hours.  I guess I am nervous because I messed up the title and said everything but RepRap in it :).  So if you search reprap you don't find my machine.

Anyway, back to being a good dev and not some used Robot salesman :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Selling my Mendel for $1

She has done great, she printed for 14 hours straight at Posscon, did a 18 hour straight print for a 1 shot replication, and did another in smaller chunks till I had the bed level enough for the 1 shot print.  She has copied herself twice, printed a ton of odds and ends to test designs, and now it's time for her to go out into the world.  I wanted to be fair, so I posted her for $1.  Let the market do what it will.  I will do anything I can to help the person that get's her have a good experience with it.  Here is the link.


I really hope this goes to a good home, with someone who will print with her 24/7.  It's a heck of a machine.  God I am a little teary over this.

BTW as with all my sells, the proceeds for this just goes to make more Mendels.  I want everyone in the world to have these things, best invention ever.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I thought I had done something pretty cool

My 1st time printing with my Prusa Mendel in Starbucks.  I was disappointed, no one even noticed.

Come to find out Rick over at Makergear likes printing in Panera Bread.

The girl sitting in front of me never even turned around for a 30 minute print... disappointing..

I mean I know your Mac Book Air is cool and all, but a RepRap doesn't even score a turn around?

So where have you printed for the fun of it (demo's don't count, just random printing)?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's just can't be that easy can it?

On the left is my 1st calibration print with my Prusa, on the right is my Prusa Mendel motor block.  I am officially heart broken.

I use Makergear .5mm big head nozzle, heatercore, PEEK thermal barrier, ACME threaded rods, a Brustruder, Teflon filament feeder tube from my horizontal filament spool... I have spend a YEAR getting my Makerbot calibrated to the point where most people can't believe I get the quality I do.   I mean, heck I have had over 1000 people download MY calibration set on Thingiverse.

And here I am !1ST! print off my Prusa, and it looks better than my Makerbot print.  This Home made Prusa just blew my Makerbot out of the water BEFORE calibaration.

I don't know if you can see it in these photos, but there is no visible Z wobble on my Prusa, but even with the ACME rods, there is a very slight wobble in my MB.

Here is a video of my getting as excited as a little school girl over a box :)

And here is a video giving you the sound difference between my two machines

Now I go onto printing on Makerbot, Calibrating Prusa White, and building Prusa Pink.  I know I am hugely behind on the goal for the week, 2-3 family emergencies, and learning the eccentricity of Gen6, Repsnapper, and 5d firmware took a bit more than I was expecting.  But it all came out in the end :)

On to printer 3!

BTW Prusa White thank you list.

Mendel-Parts.com for the Gen6 Electronics & motors
Ultimachine.com for the PLA
Ultimachine for the Skeinforge Settings
Makergear for the Hot end
Eckerteck for the hobbed bolt
Lowes Hardware for the wood
My local plastic supply Triad Plasticfor the Acrylic
My local fastener supplies Automotive Fasteners and Salem Supply for the fasteners, tool rod, and threaded.

But the largest thanks has to go to Makerbot & Makergear. Makerbot for getting me off the fence about the kit over a year ago with their great price at the time, and Makergear for spending a year giving me wonderful customer service helping to get my Makerbot reliable. 

And of course Klimnent, Prusajr, Tesla, Makergear_Rick, arspitfire, Camiel, Spec, and ALL the others for answer 1000 stupid questions in the RepRap IRC

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 1: One step ahead, right into a wall

On the up side:

-I got one set of RP parts printed on day 1, I assumed I would not get much of anything done
-Installed Redsnapper Repsnapper (I keep calling it redsnapper, and people get getting hungry), found an out of date RepRap Wiki page for Repsnapper.  Luckily half the dev community for RepRap are in and out of #reprap in Freenode IRC all day and night.  Tim Schmidt, they guy that runs the github for Redsnapper was in there and straightened me and the wiki page out.  Check it out, he has written a a pretty great on how to install Redsnapper
-Ordered $500 worth of parts for the printers (all money from prior RP sales)
  4218L Nema 17 steppers from Alltronics (I have two others in my office, so that's enough for two more printers
1 Groovemount for Makergear's Groovemount thermal barrier
2 36mm brass barrels from Makergear
1 .35 Bighead nozzle from makergear
2 V3 Hybrid Groovemount 3mm thermal barriers  (I have the rest of the stuff in hand to finish off 2 hot ends), and I plan to use Rick's Groovemount as a jig to make more (sorry I am cheap).
1 5lb roll of 3mm Natural PLA from Ultimachine
1 set Pre-Assembled RAMPS Kit from Ultimachine
1 1lb roll black PLA (for calibration, from what I understand black is easier to calibrate with)
32 PLA sliders for Tesla893.  I can't print in PLA and he decided to help me out with PLA sliders.  He is awesome

So there goes $500 in about 20 minutes.  But that should give me everything I need to get up to the testing point on 2 more Prusa.  Still need more stuff but I am sure I can sell enough RP sets to get me further along.

On the down side:

-My god forsaken Makerbot DC gearmotor died again.  That's 5, FIVE freaking motors failed!  
I understood the justification when we didn't have gears worked well, but why would Makerbot put DC gearmotors in the ToM, a freaking $1200 Machine, when they have KNOWN for the last year that they are fail prone.  The Thingomatic seems to be  a great Cartesian bot, but it's extruder is junk.  I am done with the DC gearmotor extruder on my MB, time to go stepper.. on that note.

-When one asks a vender to not include the printed parts so you can get a few dollars off on the parts.  It's a wise move to go ahead and print those parts BEFORE your extruder breaks.  That way your not stuck with no printer to print the RP part you need to put together your new extruder for your Makerbot.  Not that I would EVER do that, just a note. :)  When stupidity meets procrastination, fun things happen

-I now have to solder stepper driver board for a stepper extruder for my Makerbot.  God I hate soldering.  I killed 3 opto end stops when I put my Makerbot together last year...  I have got much better, but none the less the all or nothing aspect of soldering scares the heck out of me.

-Speaking of Makergear.  I wanted to go Geared Stepper Extruder on all my bots, and use Prusajr's HBP on them all..  But SOMEONE has grabbed up all the really nice HBP and good priced geared steppers in the world.

Ohh yea, Makergear hogging all the "good stuff" for his customers... In the words of James T Kirk " RRRRRIIIIIICCCCKKKK!!!!!!!!".  

Anyway, now that I got that off my chest.  That's a freaking nice kit for $825.  Self aligning brass bushings, 1.75 filament, HUGE 200x200 build area, Ramps electronics, floating Z motors to get rid of Z wobble, spring tensioned Z nuts to alleviate Z binding...  That's one mean looking machine.

God you would think this guy pays attention to what the RepRap folks want and builds it or something.


Ahead on the RP, need to list, anyone want a set of Prusa RP parts for $100 plus shipping to anywhere in the world?. guess I have to get the Mendel going to print the replacement part for the Makerbot.  Unfortunately a day of soldering... yay.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Arcol's mean little hot end

photo from Kliment of Prusa / #reprap fame

Arcol, of the http://blog.arcol.hu/ blog and the Planet RepRap feed (the more selective version of my RepRap Google feed) has a new hot end he has came out with.  As you can tell it's loosely based on the BfB Rapman nozzle, but he has took the design and took it into open source overdrive.  He has some prettier pictures out there (go looking though Kliment's website) but there is something about the look of a used nozzle that just feels more honest.

Per Kliment, who is the owner of this example, the brass get's warm, and the 4 hex spacers stay cool to the touch.  This makes it a MUCH cooler nozzle than the Stock Mk5 and BfB Rapman nozzle sets.  With it's benign thermal characteristics, and captured PFTE design, it should give trouble free service in what ever bot you decide to marry it to.

Arcol is in the process of setting up a web store, but if you want one of these he is asking 69 euro ($95), which puts his hot end right in the middle of the pack on price point.  He has mounts for Brutstruder, Mk5, Mk4, BfB Rapman, Prusa Mendel, and Sells Mendel  (Sells Mendel requires a altered X carriage).  Until he get's his store up and going you can find him in the #reprap IRC or email him at order[at)arcol.hu.

Anyway I am a sucker for Steam Punk, and that my friends is a Steam Punk beauty of a hot end.  I wish Arcol well, and it's nice to see we have a growing group of developers that are strongly aligning themselves with the RepRap organization.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

18 day RepRap Marathon

A experiment in self funded exponential replication.
For the next 18 days, it's just going to be me and my RepRap hobby.  It's something I have wanted to do since I first read about RepRap 2 years ago, and finally I have the time to do it (Use it or loose it vacation days, got to love them :) ).  This will be an experiment in how exponential growth works in the real world of RepRap. 

To keep myself honest, I am going do to 1 blog post each day telling about the progress i have made toward my goal, and what I have learned.  It should be interesting considering my pension for doing stupid things and telling the world about it. :)

I go into this project with

1 95% completed Prusa Mendel

1 50% complete set of Prusa RP parts set to SAE fasteners
1 100% at this time operating MB Cupcake (with DC gearmotor, so let's see if it holds out)
1 1 set of the Makergear Stepper extruder kit to replace my DC gearmotor if it dies
2 Set of screws, smooth , and threaded for Imperial Prusa Mendel
1 Set of screws, smooth, and threaded for Metric Prusa Mendel
2 sets of PEEK barriers from Makergear
2 NEMA 17 stepper motors (two different makes, so must me by X & Y)

My goal is to by the end of the 18 days have enough money coming in from RP parts sells, and enough experience with the Prusa Mendel Design that I can reach exponential growth (If only mathematically for a few days).

I am going to set a lofty goal, 6 new printers in 18 days, all funded via selling RP parts online.  I feel I can use what I have already because besides my Cupcake I got 14 months ago, everything else has been paid for by selling RP Parts.

The "Plan" assumes that I will not have the Prusa printing parts until Friday, that the Makerbot holds out for 18 days at a 20+ hour printing pace (We will see), that I will at no point have more than 2 printers functioning at one time, and that I have a quick turn over on the Prusa Mendel RP sets.

To this end all RP parts sold from this project will be only $100 ($50 less than the going rate), so that they go quickly.  All parts will come with a certificate stating how what number replication it is for me, and what machine made it.

My "base" build will be as follows
$50 4 http://www.alltronics.com/cgi-bin/item/28M056/55/Lin-Engineering-4118M-02-07RO-bipolar-stepper-motor 63 oz-inch stepper motors
$220 1 http://ultimachine.com/content/ramps-pre-assembled-kit Ramps Electronics and 4 connectors for motors
$165 http://www.makergear.com/products/plastruder 1 plastruder kit from Makergear, if they are out of stock I will just get 1 more stepper motor and $87 http://www.makergear.com/products/operators-pack an operators pack and mount
$40 http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=110538227436&ssPageName=ADME:B:WNAFP:US:1123 a 20A power supply
$35 http://www.mcmaster.com/#9368T115 12 brass bushings, and http://www.mcmaster.com/#7959K24 8 foot of .2" xl 1/4 inch wide belting.
$50 Local fastener store all the Tool & threaded rod and fasteners.

So $560 that's the simplest, easiest way to build a Prusa, I could cut that by $200, and likely will if it seems practical, but considering I am going to be printing 20+ hours a day, I might not want to get into complicated soldiering :)

I go into this project with $600 from selling RP parts, so on Monday I will order 1 of everything I need for Prusa2

So for the 18 day run, this is my "plan"
1. Finish partial set, and 1 more for getting ahead on Prusa Mechanicals
All components for 2nd Prusa ordered
2. Sell 1 Prusa Set ($100)Altronics
3. Sell 1 Prusa Set ($100)Ebay Power supply
4. Sell 1 Prusa Set ($100)electronics
5. Sell 1 Prusa Set ($100)belts/bushings
6. Sell 1 Prusa Set ($100)Hot end
All components for 3rd Prusa ordered
7. Sell 1 Prusa Set ($100)Alltronics
8. Sell 1 Prusa Set ($100)Ebay
2nd Printer online
9. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)Electronics
10. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)belts/bushings/hotend
All componetns for 4th Prusa ordered
11. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)Electornics
12. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)Motors/Hot End
13. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)belts/bushings/powersupply
All components for 5th Prusa ordered
14. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)Electronics
15. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)Motors/Hot End
16. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)belts/bushings/powersupply
All components for 6h Prusa ordered
17. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)Electronics
18. Sell 2 Prusa Set ($200)motors/Hot end
All components for 7th Prusa but hot end belts and bushings ordered

That would mean that in 18 days I could supply the world with 27 new Prusa Mendels, and they would return the favor by giving me 6 1/2 back.  of course there are a lot of ways this could not work out.

-My MB loves to eat DC gearmotors, if this happens before I get Prusa1 up and going the Geared Stepper falls into the critical path.
-The parts could not sell, but I think at 1/3 less than the going rate I shouldn't have an issue with that.
-It could take more than a week to get Prusa1 up and going (All I need to do it put the build plate & hot end on, calibrate, and I am good).  Not likely, but with the help of #reprap in IRC I think I will have no issues
-The Great Gremlin, we don’t' talk about him, but Makergear and Prusa designs are mostly Gremlin resistant.

Next post tomorrow evening.  I made Day 1 pretty easy considering I work 14 hour days on the weekend, and those days are hard.  Wish me luck, and if you see me in #RepRap tell me to print faster. :)

Still Extruding

Friday, January 21, 2011

Death of the "sub $1000 Desktop Factory"

Bre Petis just announced today over at the Makerbot blog that after a small hiatus the Cupcake will be brought back for a 250 set run, and then the Cupcake is over.  It's a pretty good assumption that the death of the Cupcake also comes the death of the Gen3 Electronics, but I might be wrong.


Around 18 months ago I had to make a decision, I had just finished watching Adrian Bowyer's Poptech speech.

I wanted a Darwin, and I wanted it BAD.  Looked into getting the RP parts, no luck, professional printed was going to be $1700 plus just for the plastic, and I could tell a repstrap was going to be outside my technical ability.  So it was a kit for me.  At the time there where two choices, Rapman by Bits From Bytes and Makerbot Cupcake.  To me at the time the Math was obvious:

-$1250 for the kit
-200x200mm build area
-single source nozzle
-Expensive electronics (what happens when you loose a board?  Which I read happens a lot)
 -Superior Build Quality


Makerbot Cupcake
-$750 for the kit
-100x100 build area
-All the parts where source able from different venders
-RepRap based hot end
-Cheap Electronics ($175 for complete kit or $150 for DIY at the time)
-It used the official RepRap electronics
-Loudest printer on the market

Well if you’re reading this blog, I went with the cheaper, more open design.


Up! by pp3d
-$2700 for a pre assembled printer
-140x140 build area
-1.75 filament stepper extruder
-Single source everything

Rapman: (some things don't change)
-$1275 for the kit
-200x200mm build area
-single source nozzle
-they don't even sell their electronics any more
-3mm stepper extruder nozzle
-No heated build platform
-Multiple print heads available

Makerbot Thing-o-matic
-$1225 for kit
-96x108 build area
-3mm DC gearmotor extruder
-Single source nozzle
-Expensive electronics ($100 dollars more than Rapman's electronics’ where)
-still the loudest printer on the market

Botmill Axis 2.1
-$1025 for kit
-200x200 build area
-RepRap nozzle, stepper extruder-3mm stepper extruder
-Single board electronics (1 thing fails, the whole electronics fail)

Mendel Parts Mendel
-$950 for kit
-200x200 build area
-RepRap nozzle, stepper extruder
-Single board electronics (1 thing fails, the whole electronics fail)

Makergear Prusa Mendel
-$825 for kit
-200x200 build area
-only kit printer to offer 1.75 filament option
-Only kit printer to use RAMPS electornics based off the "offiical" reprap printed electornics

Self Source Prusa Mendel
-Find Prusa Mendel parts on Ebay, http://www.emakershop.com/, RepRap IRC, or in the RepRap forums
-Get your electronics form Ultimachine.
-Get your Extruder from Makergear
-Get your hardware at the local fastener supply (type in your zip code and fastener supply in Google Maps)

I love Makerbot, and I love my Cupcake.  But the reason I bought my Cupcake was it was solidly the best deal PERIOD in RepRap at the time, and it had a great brand image.

But that was last year, now the Thing-o-Matic has the smallest build plate, with the least reliable extruder, the most expensive electronics, and the most complicated printer to put together.  I have been suggesting the Cupcake as a great alternative to the Mendel kits, but now MB has not a single product I could recommend.   It's a shame really.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Heekscad 0.16 for windows is now avialable

You can get it over at it's Google code webpage.

HeeksCAD is always my 1st suggestion for a solid modeler for several reasons.

-It will run off a Thumb drive no problem
-It's free
-It works
-It's easy
-It's GUI is dead simple easy
-It can handle all the major file formats (iges, dxf, jpg, stl, step, & svg)
-They don't make you jump though hoops to get it, just go there, download, and your good.

If you just need to design a part to print, and don't want to have to spend hours learning how to program 1st, or spend $50-$3000 on a design program which has lots of features you just don't need, well this is the program for you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cleaning ABS from a RepRap (or MB Cupcake) Nozzle & Barrel

Yet another in my series of how to do things in RepRap.  BTW I know that :

-ABS let's off some strong fumes when burnt (I have the windows open, and fan on high)
-ABS when burnt let's off black soot (I know, I had to dust the house after my wife tried to kill me)
-My had was under the drop zone for the plastic about 1/2 the time

Ohh and I let myself run low on alcohol, a 3 foot tall fireball is what ended the video (and a section of my eyebrows).  This will not happen if you don't let the alcohol get as low as I did (about 1cm).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Welcome to these Chinese Ebay, land of the $1105 Mendel

Ebay may be king in the US and the rest of the world, but in China, it's taobao.com.

Thought it would be intersting to see how RepRap is going in China, so I did a search for RepRap.  They have 1 person selling cast parts for $265, and a full mendel kit, using what looks like knock off Gen3 electronics for $1105.

You can go crusing for stuff in the reprap search translated to English via google here.

Considering how little competiton is going on over there at the moment I can't beleive the prices are so good.  One thing that was amusing, no pp3p Up! in their Ebay yet. :)

I have been trying to figure out how to list parts from the US on there for the last hour, how fun would be be to sell RAMPS boards and Prusa Menel Parts into THAT market :)

Cheap skates guide to a $510ish Mendel ($360 if you have access to a 3d printer)

(This was a much longer and more detailed post, but Blogger ate my 3 pager, I am not typing out all the details again, I don't love you that much :P)

Just a few shopping notes, getting ready to start building my second Prusa (3rd one will be a lobotomized Cupcake turned into a Prusa, poor MB) , and was going to use some of my lessons learned to make the next one a little cheaper.

Cheapest Electronics: Ultimachine DIY Kit $162 or $170 with shipping

I tried buying the generic Arudino off Ebay, or stepper controllers direct for Pololu.  Didn’t matter what I did, it was going to be $162 or more.  You can usually get the power supplies for dirt cheap at your local computer repair shop, just remember you need 60W plus.

Cheapest Full hot end: Makergear Hybrid Operators Pack $70 or $80 with shipping

The cheapest and most respected hot end in the community.  Mendel-Parts came close, but Shipping put it way over the top.

Cheapest Motors: Alltronics ~43n-cm NEMA17 Steppers $9.95 a piece or $55 with shipping and $5 more for the clips from Ultimachine

You will need to add the plugs for your ramps, and likely extend at least 3 of the stepper's wires, but if you need cheap, that's cheap, and the steppers are strong enough to each run an extruder.

Cheap Hardware:  You can get all the hardware for a Prusa Mendel locally.  The bearings from a skate shop, hardware from your local fastener supply (you have one local, I promise, and they are cheap on screws, threaded, and A2 tool rod).  I got all the hardware for my Prusa Mendel for $50.  If you try to buy this stuff online any savings is likely going to get killed by shipping.  If you’re scared to hobb your own bolt you can pick those up on Ebay for $10.

RP parts (the plastic bits):  CHEAPEST place is likely always going to be #reprap IRC, the RepRap forum, and Ebay.  Currently Prusa parts are going for $125-$150.  Just keep in mind if you get a "normal" Sells Mendel, you’re going to pay $100 more for the plastic, and then $100 for the added hardware it needs for no benefit in build quality. 

Next cheapest place, but (unless order from the right person on Ebay) higher quallity will be the Webshops that sell RP parts.  These include Makergear, Emakershop, and a few others I can't think of right now.

So the total is:
Electronics $170
Motors $60
Hot End $80
Hardware $50
RP Parts $150 if you need them

So that comes to $360 is the cost of a second RepRap, and if your new to the hobby a Prusa can be self sourced for $510.  Of course this is trying to minimize cost.  If you want a HBP, or not to have to solder much, etc etc then the price goes up.  Getting the Electornics done by Ultimachine and getting the motors from him so you don't have to deal with any soldering outside the hot end would add $100. HPB is going to run you $50+ from Ultimachine or Makergear. 

2 years ago the official RepRap was Darwin, and at the time the official cost to self source (if you had access to the RP Parts) was over $1000.  A Year ago a Sells Mendel costs $600-$700 if you had access to the RP Parts (And VERY few people did).  Now we as a community are down to less than $400 dollars.  Amazing times my friends.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The power of a good name.

A year ago I bought my Makerbot, It printed 2-3 times then it broke, I then bought some replacement parts from Makerbot, and followed some advice from some guys in the Makerbot Google Group.  Sage advice like "Crank the Heck out of the idler wheel", I then need new idler wheels from Makerbot, and "Turn your temp up higher", and then  I need to buy a new PTFE after it comes off the barrel, and then my favorite "You have a clog, you need to rebuild your hot end", whole new thermistors and nichome.  5-6 times.  MONTHS of no printing.  This is heart breaking when you where promised a 3d printer.

After a bit I realized that Rick at Makergear was actually willing to help a person instead of just filling orders.  I starting going to Makergear because they where on average 20% cheaper than Makerbot, and the Makerbot Google Group was making me a very regular purchaser of extruder parts, I kept going to Makergear because over the course of a few orders my Makerbot started to work as a printer and not a Science Fair Electronics Project Kit it had become.

Now I wake up in the middle of the night, and see that Rick at Makergear has managed to sell out of the 1st batch of his Prusa Mendel kit, and is on batch 2.  We have not seen a picture, nor a video of it printing, heck we don't even know how close to the current Github Prusa it's going to be or how he is going to power that HUGE HBP.  But you know what?  I have NEVER, in all the 300+ blogs I follow though the Google Aggregate feeder, nor in my obsessive following of the RepRap/Makergear/Makerbot forums, or my near constant vigile in the #reprap and #makergear IRC channels EVER seen Rick not deliver everything he has ever promised, and a little bit more.

Wiki's and Forums are great, but sometimes having someone around who cares enough about his good name to spend dozens of hours a week doing the customer service and design work to fix the flawed designs of others, well it's humbling. 

Congratulations Makergear, I am glad you guys have a commercial success in your kit, and I know Rick will not sleep untill all those Prusa are Grimlin Proof Resistant.

I'm still extruding, are you?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Robotics Design Principles.

It's not RepRap, but good design is universal.

This will be a good series to follow.  Do you have a 1st in your area?  Unfortunately the nearest one to me is over 2 hours drive :(.  We as a community make the perfect mentors, and resources for these teams.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

11 Predictions for 2011

1. By the end of 2011 the majority of Printed parts sold on Ebay will be of the Prusa instead of Sells Mendel variety.

2. Ultimaker will be released by Erik, and he will have found a solution for the latency issues of the bowden extruder, which will drastically improve the build quality of those style extruders (and paste extruders)

3. RAMPS by Ultimachine will continue it's improvement, and become the de facto of electronics for RepRap in 2011 as Gen3 by Makerbot was in 2010.  RAMPS will have HBP, Multi Extruder, Bluetooth, Print from SD, and be a SMD board.

4.  The wedge "Mendel" design will continue to be the mainstay of RepRap design though 2011 for FDM, but RepRap will officially add a pic-n-place either detla or arm based, and a "offical" CNC Router design.

5 The Makergear Prusa Kit will become the most popular "RepRap" kit, because Makergear is the only kit seller that does not rely on forums to do their Tech Support.  Relying on Forums/Wiki for tech support isn't community; it's just lazy/cheap if the seller is not active in that wiki/forum.

6. By the end of 2011 more 1.75 filiment will be sold than 3mm.

7. Makerbot will offer a commerical "plug and play" 3d printer in 2011.  It will retail between $3000 - $4000, and will use the Gen4 Electronics. I think Gen4 was not designed for Thing-o-Matic (it could have been run on Gen3 or Ramps just as easily).  Gen4 I think is the brain for that industrially manufactured non kit printer, and Thing-o-Matic is being used as a field test for those electronics.  I don't believe Makerwave  is dead yet.

8. Legal action will be threatened against Thingiverse some time in 2011 for distributing proprietarily designs.  It will make big news in the real world.

9. By the end of 2011 more of the "who is making what" photos on Thingiverse will be RepRap printed than Makerbot product printed.

10. Before the end of the year the average cost for the RP parts for a full sized 20x20cm print area Mendel will be $75 (with some being as cheap as $50), full "kits" will be available for $550, and fully integrated and tested RepRap will be avialbe for $750.

11.  Someone is going to offer an injection molded 3d printer before the end of the year.