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Old 01-15-2013, 2:15 PM   #1
GiulianoM GiulianoM is offline
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3D Printer

Some time back, I ordered myself a RepRap 3D Printer kit called the RepRapPro Mendel and spent some time over the holiday building the kit and printing out things..

A 3D printer is a device that takes plastic "wire", heats it up, and squeezes it through a small diameter (0.5mm) nozzle to form a thin string of plastic.

It builds 3D objects out of plastic by carving a model up into horizontal layers, and then "printing" out the object layer by layer until it's done.


This allows you to make almost any object you want out of plastic, as long as it's within the size limits of the printer.


Here's an example of an object I printed out last night, a nozzle for a small fan:




This object took about 2 hours to print, and here's a short video of the first few minutes.



I didn't design this part, but there's tons of open-sourced parts available at Thingiverse.com


Anyway, I hope to make some really cool parts as time goes on, there are practically no limits...

(No, I will not make gun ammo clips/magazines. )
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Old 01-15-2013, 2:48 PM   #2
spankdog spankdog is offline
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very cool

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Old 01-15-2013, 2:57 PM   #3
rdnelson99 rdnelson99 is offline
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Smoking!!!!!

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Old 01-15-2013, 3:01 PM   #4
GiulianoM GiulianoM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdnelson99 View Post
Smoking!!!!!
Is that what I smelled?

The glass bed that the part is printed on is heated - and it's VERY hot.


I was watching the print job this weekend (it's fascinating), and got a little too close to the print bed...


I got a nice little singe on the tip of my nose for the trouble.

No joke...
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Old 01-15-2013, 3:12 PM   #5
rdnelson99 rdnelson99 is offline
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LOL. Reminds me of the dog I had who kept coming over to smell the food cooking on my pit BBQ grill. After I went in and finished dinner I went out to check things out. When I reached down to pet him I noticed a brand on his butt. The dummy sat on the hot grill. LOL

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Old 01-15-2013, 3:50 PM   #6
grouper therapy grouper therapy is offline
 
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How does it prevent cold joints? Does the plastic stay hot enough to bond the next layer?

Edit: What type/types of plastic can be used?

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Old 01-15-2013, 3:59 PM   #7
GiulianoM GiulianoM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouper therapy View Post
How does it prevent cold joints? Does the plastic stay hot enough to bond the next layer?
The glass print bed is heated to 90C (194F) for the first layer to get it to stick to the glass, and the nozzle starts out the job heated to 190C (374F).


After the first few layers (0.2mm per layer, so about after 1mm of height) the bed gradually cools down to 65C (149F) and the nozzle stays at 185C (365F) for the rest of the print job.

The heated bed at this temperature keeps the part from shrinking too much during the print cycle...


For parts with thin sections, I have the opposite problem - the thin areas stay too hot, and get deformed as more layers are printed on top of each other.

That is what the fan is for - to cool down the layers so they solidify in time for the next layer to be printed.

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by grouper therapy View Post
Edit: What type/types of plastic can be used?
PLA (polylactic acid, plant based) or ABS (petroleum based) plastics.

Those are the two most popular types of plastic - I'm using PLA, and I bought three 1kg rolls in white, black, and blue...


PLA is the most popular, it's biodegradable since it's made out of plant-based materials... It smells like pancakes.

ABS is another common plastic - it generates nasty fumes (petroleum based) when it's melted, but it melts at a much higher temperature (~230C) and is generally used when stronger parts are required.


There are also experimental materials - polycarbonate, sugar, chocolate, ceramic clay...
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Old 01-15-2013, 4:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouper therapy View Post
Edit: What type/types of plastic can be used?
I have used ABS and PLA but there are a few other options.

I currently have access to a Thing-o-matic and an Ultimaker. Soon I will have access to a print cluster of 10 DIY level printers that will be automated and fun to play with.

Last edited by cdavidson; 01-15-2013 at 4:07 PM. Reason: GiulianoM beat me to the answer.

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Old 01-15-2013, 4:18 PM   #9
GiulianoM GiulianoM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdavidson View Post
I have used ABS and PLA but there are a few other options.

I currently have access to a Thing-o-matic and an Ultimaker. Soon I will have access to a print cluster of 10 DIY level printers that will be automated and fun to play with.
What do you think of those printers?


This Mendel kit I bought from RepRapPro cost me about $780, and took them about a month to ship it...

I like this printer, but boy was it very finicky to get it up and running...


In fact, it's still not 100% operational, as I can't get the print bed 100% level - and it has to be dead-on level if you want to use the entire print surface.

I've already printed out a few upgrade parts to help me correct the leveling issues.


I've been looking at the forthcoming Lulzbot TK-0 printer:
http://devel.lulzbot.com/TK-0/ (scroll down for pics/description)

I like the fact that it can use a smaller nozzle, has a larger print bed, and is faster... but that will be for a new build later next year, I think.
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Old 01-15-2013, 4:19 PM   #10
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That looks fun!!

Pretty soon you will be making bulkheads!!
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Old 01-15-2013, 4:22 PM   #11
GiulianoM GiulianoM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnashty View Post
That looks fun!!
It's a bit like a gateway drug for geeks/builders/Makers...


First you print plastic parts...

Then you build a DIY CNC router...

And then you build a CNC Laser Cutter (YES, THEY EXIST)...



And then one day you come to, and think, "Wasn't I supposed to have a fish tank up and running some day?"....
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Old 01-15-2013, 4:24 PM   #12
gnashty gnashty is offline
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I was thumbing thru the link looking for a price on those bad boys, couldnt find one in a few clicks so I gave up.
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Old 01-15-2013, 4:28 PM   #13
Ripped Tide Ripped Tide is offline
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Can you print ABS bulkheads?

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Old 01-15-2013, 4:35 PM   #14
GiulianoM GiulianoM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripped Tide View Post
Can you print ABS bulkheads?

I could, if I had any ABS material, and if I had (or could make) a model of an ABS bulkhead.

You'd still have to buy the rubber seal, though.


The real question is, why should I make an ABS bulkhead when you can get one for a few bucks?

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnashty View Post
I was thumbing thru the link looking for a price on those bad boys, couldnt find one in a few clicks so I gave up.
The one I got is here:

http://reprappro.com/Mendel

$788 shipped to the USA, but it takes a while.



The RepRap.org main page has a few different variants (Prusa Mendel, MendelMax, etc..) at different price points, with links to sellers that offer prebuilt machines or full kits.


If I had to do it over again from scratch, I probably would have started with a Prusa Mendel instead of the RRP Mendel...

Unless you spend a few thousand on a prebuilt model like a Makerbot Replicator, the DIY route is the lower cost option... but there's a learning curve.


I went through a spool of 1kg plastic just printing test parts and such...
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Old 01-15-2013, 5:03 PM   #15
ichthyoid ichthyoid is offline
 
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FWIW-

In 1986 I worked in R&D and invented 3D manufacturing using lasers (both argon ion & CO2).

Three methods:

1) free radical polymerization
(liquid to solid)

2) thin film lamination, and
(film to solid)

3) fine powder sintering
(powder to solid)

My bosses/company decided not to pursue patents, and the rest is history.

I also had a 3 axis/700 watt CNC controlled CO2 laser machining center, which I designed/specified as well.

Using the first ever linear motor driven gantry robot, it had travel of 36x36x18 inches with 1/2 G acceleration, and maintained +/- 0.005 inch/foot repeatability.

There was also a custom fume extraction system and a 600 foot/min. conveyor/forming table.

The work cell allowed for processing any material desired. There was a 'teach pendant' capability to program around existing objects, or I could just write the 'G code' manually.

I was developing an Autocad post processor CAM system when the project was shut down.

All built/developed for less than $250k (including my salary).

It was bad a$$

(and potentially lethal)

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Old 01-15-2013, 5:04 PM   #16
grouper therapy grouper therapy is offline
 
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Thanks for the info. I have the prints for a cnc router called mechmate that I hope to build in the near future. I'm sure I will pick your brain if you don't mind

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Old 01-15-2013, 6:07 PM   #17
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How does the plastic come to you? Pellets? If so, let me know...i work in the Plastic Injection Molding machine industry. In fact i have pails of either Polypropylene and i think Polyethylene at my office. I know local customers that i can get other types from.

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Old 01-15-2013, 6:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MC524 View Post
How does the plastic come to you? Pellets? If so, let me know...i work in the Plastic Injection Molding machine industry. In fact i have pails of either Polypropylene and i think Polyethylene at my office. I know local customers that i can get other types from.

Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk 2
Earlier in the thread he said it utilizes a wire form that comes on spools.

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Old 01-15-2013, 6:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdnelson99 View Post
Earlier in the thread he said it utilizes a wire form that comes on spools.
Sorry about that. I read the original post earlier, then caught up a bit ago when he was mentioning types of plastics.

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Old 01-15-2013, 6:31 PM   #20
RonnieBlaze RonnieBlaze is offline
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this is sweet!... ive wanted to get one for a while now... where did you get it from?

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