3D Printing & Design

The first thing I want to make is a pen-holder for my robotic drawing machines - probably a large diameter cylinder (sized for fattest pen) that attaches to a servo motor pen-lift. Then a series of insert cylinders of various internal diameters, held by an integral ring on top to stop it sliding through.

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When can we get the 3d printer set up and working? I think Chris will be back from holiday at the end of this week.

I may try to have a look at this - we need to get it fixed & back in use ASAP. I’m not overly technically minded, but I’ve got a very handy friend coming this weekend, so may study it together.

I gather from @treb0r that the software’s been rolled back to an older version, & the issue is that the PC can’t ‘see’ the 3D-printer. Is that the key issue as far as others are aware? How does it connect - via what sort of cable? Are we sure the cable’s ok? Sorry for asking the obvious.

Are there printable designs loaded onto the PC ready to go?

It connects via USB and appears to the PC as an Arduino (serial port).

The firmware running on its controller board is built and uploaded using the Arduino IDE and there are a few parameters “baked” into this that are machine-specific. E.g. calibration stuff. So we don’t want to lose the sketches on the PC that has this stuff in it, as it’s a good starting point…

I think it’s mostly a question of levelling the bed, which involves adjusting screws at each corner that compress printed springs. Or maybe we replaced them with steel ones… If the former you need to be especially careful, as too much tension causes the plastic springs to break.

It’s a Thames Valley RepRap User Group machine and either the build 2 or 3 version. See:


Probably a build 2, but hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard to work it out by comparing the machine to photos…

Not got it working today, sadly.

  • Re-attached belt for x-axis.
  • Changed permissions to allow all users - via command sudo chmod 777 /dev/ttyUSB0 (from command line)
  • As @sky documented in readme file, can open pronterface.py, but clicking on ‘connect’ returns errors. Specifically, "Can’t read from printer (disconnected?) (SerialException); device reports readiness to read but returned no data (device disconnected?)
  • although can’t connect, can still ‘load file’ and ‘print’, but prints nothing.
  • within pronterface software, can click left most diagram to send to home for each of x, y, & z axes. Print head does move for each of these. So, suggests that commands sent ok from pc, but printer not sending information back to pc
  • disconnected USB cable at PC end & 6 connecter UART at printer end, then reconnected.

@RoboGuy if you’re down this Wednesday evening we can take a look and see if we can work out what’s going on with the PC-Printer communications.

Yes, @9600, will be down then.

Found a code example to crib from. So, will edit code & bring doorbell back on Wed to download new code, @9600

I spoke to people at Derby Mini Maker Faire, who used a machine all day every day, which only costs £399: http://www.flashforge.com/finder-3d-printer/

Is it worth cutting our losses, & buying a reliable machine, so that people can get on & use it, rather than spending forever trying to fix the RepRap, & then lots more time maintaining it? By all means, let’s fix the RepRap later, but we need a good machine in regular use by the time we start using the laser-cutter.

I’m keen that when we have open days to promote our group, & use local press to publicize the events, we’re able to showcase various clever kit & creative applications, so that we capitalize on every opportunity to make a good first impression.

There’s a possibility to apply for a small Calder Ward Forum grant by 17th January, which could cover this.

If we’re forever going to have to support the current one spending £400 on one that works seems reasonable to me.

Sounds good to me, @RoboGuy !

In the ‘Laser-cutter funding’ thread, @9600 recommends the Ultimaker 2 Go 3D Printer, from RS Components, costing £1,125. I’m sure it would be a superior product to the £399 model I’d suggested, not least because it allows 3 different material types instead of 1.

Whereas I’d originally proposed funding a purchase entirely from a possible £500 Calder Ward Forum grant (not yet applied for), if we bought the dearer model, we’d need additional funding. In theory, we could fund some/ all of the remainder from BR reserves, subject to directors’/ members’ agreement, and/ or donations.

I’ll update a cashflow projection before we consider options further. Hope to discuss at the xmas social next Wednesday, as well as on the forum.

Hi Guy’s. I totally understand you want a working, reliable 3D printer. I’m mindful of our limited finances at present, so I’d like to bring home the current printer, see if I can fix it over Christmas. Let’s chat tomorrow night? Cheers…

I saw your comment in a different thread, @paul123. Have you managed to make any progress with the 3D printer over xmas?

Hi @RoboGuy. I’ve got it working again, and will be bringing it and the PC in tomorrow night.

I’ve detailed the work done, and still to-be-done here:

@sky, I know you were interested too.

It’s not printing perfect items, but larger ones with less detail are OK.
Speak tomorrow night maybe…

Well done! I look forward to giving it a spin. Not sure if I will make it tomorrow, I’ve not been very well, but who knows I might be feeling better by then.

@sky Thanks, and I hope you’re feeling better soon…
I’ve added some photos to http://wiki.bridgerectifier.org.uk/RepRap_Work. A ‘before’ test print, etc.

Wow, you’ve been busy, @paul123, and very productive too. Well done, and look forward to learning what all that means. See you tomorrow.

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This wizzy new 3D printer was installed on Wednesday, after being refurbished by Karl - many thanks!

Here’s a very small test piece Karl printed - look at the detail & the whole thing’s only about 10mm:

I need to get along to this exhibition quickly for inspriation - 3D printed artworks at Oldham until 3rd june Gallery Oldham - current and forthcoming Exhibitions

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