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  • 3D Printing is coming to the Draper house

    Posted on July 27th, 2015 Pastor Kevin Draper No comments

    Yes, we have been talking about 3D printing for a long time and now we are starting to make progress toward our very own 3D printer. Today we started building a Mini-Mendel (aka Huxley). This is one of the RepRap 3D printers. If you are not familiar with RepRap, it is a collection of 3D printer designs that use 3D printed parts (Yes, you have to print parts on a 3D printer in order to build the 3D printer). They are open source – that means the designs are available for free.

    I plan to post details and pictures here as the build progresses.

    The Plastic

    The first thing we needed was the plastic pieces that hold the rest of the parts together. Thanks Jason S. for sending the 3D printed plastic pieces! At first, it’s hard to see how all those seemingly random bits of plastic can become a 3D printer, 20150727_104356
    but after a little research and finding some helpful pages, it started to make sense.

    Since the RepRap printers are DIY projects, you follow a general pattern, but you find your own parts and sometimes the instructions on the internet aren’t always very specific, so this will be an interesting and challenging project. I’m sure we will learn a lot along the way.

    More Parts

    I was able to get some of the parts today to build the basic frame. The parts are in metric sizes so they are a little harder to find, but at a local Fastenal store I picked up (cost – $29.25):

    • 4 – M6 x 1 meter threaded rods (basically a long bolt)
    • 100 – M6 hex nuts
    • 100 – M6 washers
    • 20 – M6 Nylon lock nuts

    The threaded rods were cut into the correct lengths (more about that in the next post).
    (The red on the ends of the threaded rods is just the tape I used to mark where I needed to cut.)

    Gathering the plastic pieces we needed along with the parts I just purchased, Benjamin, Luke, and I started assembling the frame. The main problem here is making sure things go on the threaded rods in the right order. There is always a washer between a plastic piece and a nut. I needed to look at pictures of the completed printer to make sure everything was oriented correctly and in the right order. If you take a look at all the nuts on the threaded rods, you’ll understand why we were pretty tired of spinning all of those nuts to get them in the right places on the rod.

    That’s the frame so far. It does need to be adjusted and we need to make sure the base is square and level and that the triangular sides are correct (They should be equilateral triangles.) More about that later.

    Not bad for a first day!

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