Thursday, June 30, 2011

Skeinforge 40+ Calibration guide

If your reading this blog you likely know I am a bit obsessive with documenting stuff.  I did a tutorial series on building a Makerbot, Sells Mendel, Huxley (not finished, I thought the design sucked), and a Prusa Mendel so far.  Rick over at Makergear has asked that I start actually start doing tutorials helping people after they have their Cartesian bot.  So as my 1st venture in I decided to do a video on the most complected part of RepRap.  Skeinforge.

By the way I am sure the 1st 80% of this video is right, but after having a conversation with Greg Frost in the RepRap IRC, I am pretty sure I am off on the Infill Width/Thickness part.  I am trying to wrap my mind around what Greg said (here is a log of his wisdom ), and once I have picked up the tiny pieces of my brain that was left when I found out infill w/t changes the infill pattern... well i will reshot the video.  Till then I suggest you watch the video, then read the log and try to meet the two in the middle.

Considering how much I love reading all your blog posts about the reprap's your building, I am going to be a lot more active documenting the stuff we are doing at the space.  Like today I put together 9 Makergear heatercores ( He gives you 2 when you buy one, and well none of mine have died, so we have lots of extras at the space, decided to use the extra nichome and cement to do up all of our extras in 1 shot... we only need 3 of them :) ), and it looks like in the next few weeks I will be shooting a tutorial video on building a MakerGear Prusa Mendel, and continuing to try to get our 6 (soon to be 8! 3d printers all running)... YAY!

Please if you understand the profound wisdom of the Sage Frost, and can reduce it to a level that a simpleton like myself can comprehend PLEASE comment here for in the Youtube video.

Thanks for continuing to follow me in Youtube, and all the wonderful comments in my old blog.  I hope this one is a lot more fun and varied.

New Blog, Same old Spacexula / Neil, still extruding!

I have decided to move my blog over to the blog RepRapLogPhase of my local hackerspace, Fablocker in Winston-Salem NC. Mostly because all my 3d printing equipment has moved over there.  We have 6 3d printers, 2 server towers, electrical workstations, and a MAME cabnet... it's geekapoluza over there. :)

The hackerspace's youtube channel is going to be RepRaplogphase just because it's already got so many subscribers, and 90%+ of our stuff is always going to have a 3d printer kick.

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,, 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.