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  • The Ups and Downs of Open Source Hardware

    Posted on July 31st, 2015 Pastor Kevin Draper No comments

    Open Source Hardware

    Did I mention that this particular 3d printer design is “open source”. That means the design is freely available to anyone. Not only can anyone get the plans and use them, but anyone can make their own changes . . . and many people do. So you have people all over the world improving the design. It’s nice to have those improvements, but sometimes they aren’t documented very well and it can get confusing.

    As a result, I have had some difficulty trying to find good directions. I’ve had to look at what several other people have done and piece together the information I need. It’s not like getting a kit where all the parts fit and the directions are provided step by step. That’s ok. Actually, I like it! I get to be involved, in a small way, in the design process, and I’m learning a lot as I go.

    My First Technical Difficulty

    One website mentioned that someone was able to increase the print size (so I can print bigger things) by lengthening the rods. That sounded good to me, so I did it. But then I started looking at heated print beds – a flat surface where the printed plastic ends up. (It’s heated so that the plastic doesn’t curl up from cooling too quickly.) They only come in certain sizes and I realized that the increased width that I chose for some of the rods wasn’t quite wide enough for the next size print bed. I will need to replace some of the rods with longer ones and that will mean another trip to Fastenal, but the few extra bucks will mean a significant increase in print size – from 5″x5″ to 7″x7″ or more (that’s 25 sq inches to 49 sq inches). I’m still not sure how tall the print area will be yet.

    Speaking of Fastenal, I placed a large order for a lot of small parts. I’ll provide a list when I pick them up.

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