Last spring, I brought in a Stratasys FDM 2000 3D printer for the Makerspace to use for a few months before delivering it to our good friend Frankie Flood for use in UWM’s Digital Craft Research Lab. Many people had items printed on it and wished we could keep it at the space, so I promised that the next Stratasys I acquired would indeed have a home here. Fortunately, that didn’t take long, but unfortunately, the machine wasn’t fully working and needed a new support nozzle solenoid and had persistent jamming in the support extruder. It functioned well enough with just the model material that we were able to run it successfully at Makerfest, but it needed much more work to run properly.
Thanks to another FDM owner, the solenoid was quickly replaced, but the jamming remained. I assumed that it was something in the extruder tube itself, and set about a long process of clearing it of all obstruction. Unfortunately, this provided no benefit whatsoever (but I at least got the satisfaction of a successful head teardown/rebuild and understand the internals better than before).
Even after carefully drilling out all traces of plastic from the nozzle with tiny drills and a pin vise, it would still clog and jam. Replacing it with another 0.012″ nozzle cured all jamming issues.
As proof, here is a grainy, Loch Ness Monster-esque photo of a print done with support material. Since printing Duchamp chess sets are all the rage, this seemed like a perfect inaugural print. Much more tweaking remains – the XYZ offset of the support nozzle needs to be dialed in, there’s a bit of slack in the cable drive system that I think may be causing ripples in the part surfaces, and I’m not convinced that the ‘moonstone gray’ model material is running as well as other colors. Regardless, full operation is within grasp – ladies and gentlemen, prepare your STL files!
About 7 years ago I was given the honor of caring for the family violin. What I got was a neck (separated from the body), the body, and one tuning peg. This is an especially sensitive item because the name written on the inside holds the name Stradivarius, and came over with my family from France. Turns out it’s not a Stradivarius, but it’s estimated to be 100 years old. It’s also estimated to have been silent for about 80 years and no living Massie has heard it played. - More on its background on my personal blog, this blog is for makers
I investigated options to pay to have it repaired back to play grade, repaired enough to be an art piece, or just leaving it as is. It is a family heirloom so lending it out for someone to play was selfishly not attractive. Repairing with current parts would obfuscate what was part of the original and what is new. Finally, leaving busted up was just not cool.
At a later trip to the museum I saw the T-Rex had a bright white resin femur place holder unit they could get a real one. I assumed the stark contrast in color was to not confuse what was original and what was a replacement. I.D. Magazine also had an article some time ago about some Dutch students repairing damaged wood furniture with lime green plastic replacement parts inlaid with the originals.
These use cases inspired me to try replacing the parts in some type of acrylic or pop color plastic replacement.
As a Milwaukee Makerspace member I felt the best solution would be to replace all the missing pieces in 3D prints based off original parts (scanned and/or measured out). I additionally chose white cause it stood out against the dark wood.
I measured out the Tuning Peg by hand, rebuilt in SketchUp (don’t laugh) and printed to a Makerbot Replicator for first run prototypes.
Similar models of the tailpiece and the chin rest were purchased, sanded down, painted a flat brown and then scanned on a 3D scanner.
Once all pieces scans were complete, it was time to bring it all together (Thingiverse STLs – Violin Peg, Chin Rest, Tail Piece). This was the easiest part, cause it just involved me handing someone a bag of money. Final edited STL’s were sent off to Shapeways to be printed and once returned all parts were taken to someone to be cleaned, assembled, strung and tuned.
So now that it is done, it’s time to get it into able hands to have it played for the Massies that are still alive.
As many of you might have known, this weekend we had our monthly space improvement day. Thank you to everyone that came out and helped make the space even more awesome! Here are a few of the neat improvements that happened this weekend.
My old garden box pretty much rotted away so I made a new one. I spent $57 on six 2″ x 8″ x 8 foot boards at Home Depot and did the cutting and some assembling at the Makerspace yesternight. Today, the kids and I connected the sides together and replaced the old box with the new one. It looks pretty good. (Thanks Mike for the help.)
Next, I need to attach the PVC frame I made to hold vegetable netting, and plant some veggies.
A few weeks ago Mike Stone of CNCMogul.com visited the Milwaukee Makerspace.
Mike donated one of his machines to the space for testing and feedback as well as to use for the membership. It should also be mentioned that Mike is local and has his shop and distribution in Wales, Wisconsin.
Joe Rodriguez built one machine and I also put one together at our shop at home. So here are some thoughts on the process as well as some pictures. It isn’t a review as these machines haven’t really been put to the test as of yet. Time will tell.
The CNC Mogul is a general purpose 3 axis CNC kit that is relatively easy to put together and can be used for anything that you like. I’ll be using ours for routing and Joe wants to make a CNC plasma cutter with the one in the space. The basic kit is affordable and it uses the Makerslide as it’s building blocks. The stepper motors are run with a rack and pinion setup on aluminum tracks and gearing as well.
The controller is a Chinese Tb6560 Stepper Motor Driver Controller that is controlled via parallel port.
The power supply is a 24V 14.6 AMP 350W Max Power Supply.
The whole kit can be ordered online from 2ft X 3ft up to 4ft X 8ft. Custom dimensions are also available.
So here is the kit before assembly. This is a 3ft x 3ft kit that I will be building and using with a router.
Inside the kit there are a bunch of baggies with tons of little parts. You can look at the manual here
I’m assembling the quad rail kit. Once I start pulling things out of the box there is an amazing array of parts that explodes out of it. Fortunately each bag and part are well marked.
The kit took approximately 3+ hours to put together. The documentation in the manual is hit or miss. The pictures are extremely good and really help in putting this together. The accompanying text is also great for the first 1/3 of the manual and then you’re left to interpret pictures from there. There are a few questions that came up while building this but fortunately I was able to figure it out.
After the gantry gets built and all of the wires are connected it’s time to test. CNC Mogul recommends using Mach 3 for your machine control. And even has a few pointers on how to setup Mach 3 on their site.
I decided to go with LinuxCNC because it’s open source, I’m comfortable with Linux and it’s low cost (free). I loaded it up on a spare computer and after running through the instructions I was able to control the stepper motors on the Mogul.
What I had difficulty with is that the CNC Mogul uses an “A” axis and “Y” axis slaved together. LinuxCNC can do that but you can NOT test for that in the setting up process. You essentially tell the “A” axis to use the same step and direction pulses as the “Y” axis. I also inverted the “A” axis so they would turn the same direction when they are facing each other.
One of the other difficulties I had was figuring out the leadscrew pitch to enter into LinuxCNC. After some experimentation 1.27 inches per revolution seems about right but some more testing is needed.
Once you’re finished building the whole thing you need to mount it to something. I picked up a Craigslist find and the Mogul fit perfectly.
I generated some G-code from Vectric’s Vcarve Pro Zeroed each axis and started to cut.
I still need to put a waste board down and face it off flat and put some type of work hold-down system in place.
After the unit gets setup in the Makerspace the members will have access to the machine and we’ll see how durable it is.
Total time to build, test, and implement the whole system has been approximately 6 hours. There is still some testing and tweaking to be done as well as putting in a dust collection system.
If there are any questions feel free to ask me either on this post or in person. I’ll be putting this through it’s paces as well.
Early this year I purchased a Printrbot simple to have a printer I could keep on my desk at home. I didn’t need anything big, just something for printing pretty things and parts to fix stuff around the apartment so it was a perfect option.
While it has been a fantastic printer there was one drawback to it. That is that there is no place for the filament on the base model. There is an upgrade kit for the 2013 model (I am not sure it it works with the 2014 model that I have but I think so) that adds one on top but it was not really what I was looking for since it is only slightly adjustable width wise with some mods. Also I know me and I would knock it over.
Using some parts and scrap from around the makerspace along with several printed parts (it is always fun printing parts for a printer on the printer you are printing them for) I designed something that will fit just about any filament spool, holds the spool in such a way that the printer barely has to work to un-spool more, and can be used to keep the printer from spinning off my desk when it decides it wants to start shaking and walking while printing.
The parts are now up on thingiverse with all the instructions to make one of your very own. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:299541
As previously mentioned, we’re the proud new owners of a LulzBot TAZ 3, which features an impressive build volume of 298mm x 275mm x 250mm. I finally got some time on Saturday right before the Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup to do a bit more testing with it.
We’ve got it loaded up with some 3mm blue filament that was provided by Coex, who graciously donated filament from one of their early test runs last year. We’ve not tried other brands yet, but we’ll get to that soon enough. The Coex filament required bumping the temperature up just a bit, but was flowing smoothly at 235.
If you’ve used Slic3r and Printrun (which is what LulzBot recommends) you’ll be up and running pretty quickly. LulzBot provides a bunch of Slic3r profiles for you to get started with the TAZ.
The design of the TAZ is really nice, with a mixture of extruded Aluminum, 3D printed parts, and laser cut parts, each being used where they make the most sense. The extruder is held into place with a French cleat style groove, and one bolt, which should make it easy to remove in the future if we need to do maintenance or repairs.
For Milwaukee Makerspace members, if you’re looking for more info or to get trained, check the wiki page. If you’re not a member, come to an open night Tuesday or Thursday at 7pm if you want to see the TAZ or ask any questions about it.
Sample print below. Not bad for a first attempt!
LulzBot is know for producing and selling open source 3D printers, and in the spirit of open source, they do their best to give back to the community. In the past they’ve helped make Slic3r better, and more recently they’ve done a printer giveaway to hackerspaces… and yes, we’ve been chosen!
We are one of the LulzBot Hackerspace Giveaway 2014 Winners, and we’re pretty excited about it!
We (as a space) acquired a 1st gen MakerBot Replicator (the one with the wooden frame) and it’s served us well (ok, we never quite got the second extruder working, and it was down for repairs more than a few months last year.) Anyway, the MakerBot has been our best 3D printer to date, but with a LulzBot TAZ on the way, we’re really hoping to up our 3D game to include bigger and better prints, and hopefully explore new materials like Nylon, wood, and NinjaFlex. Being fans of open source ourselves (a makerspace is all about sharing!) it’ll be great to have a high-quality printer for our members as well as events like the Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup.
Once we get the TAZ in and up and running, we’ll share the results. Thanks again, LulzBot!
September 27-28 at Wisconsin State Fair Park, the same weekend as Harvest Fair. Admission is free. Maker Faire Milwaukee's Call for Makers is now open.
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