|Open source 3D printers, the society can use for rapid prototyping ideas.|
If you have never heard of the RepRap project, you should head over to their wiki and see what it is all about. The society currently has one working printer, with one new one on the way. which have been named Gef and Bruce. We also have a depriciated printer called woody, he is enjoying retirement. The printers provide a cheap and (reasonably) quick way for the society to rapid prototype ideas and aid with the development of projects. This page will contain all the details for you to be able to use the printers, provide the current status of the printers as well as tips and tricks.
Bruce (Prusa) - Dead
Was not completed last year due to exams and other stuff getting in the way.
Gef (Mendal Max) - Back in the lab!
This printer works well but is currently out of service for the summer holidays as it is being used by Josh for external projects. See below for the status of the second printer.
RepRap2 - Phil (Mendal Max) - Under Construction
Phil is now working, albeit in a limited fashion. It still needs a glass plate and a case to get some really nice prints. I have it running a bit slower and it seems ok, needs a bit of fine tuning. Setting have been saved on slic3r. Quality is kinda bad but that's probably because we are printing on paper and some tuning of setting needs to be done. The Z axis doesn't always move correctly as well.
All the software that is required has been placed on the nearest computer to Gef under the following directory:
I have installed Printrun :
We are using Slic3r as our slicing program at the moment (ver 9.5).
The printers are currently working with the Marlin firmware.
The printer is using Sangiunololu electronics, with Pololu Drivers.
How to use the Printers
Firstly, the printers should only be used after a consultation with Joshua Elsdon, Oskar Weigel or Aksat Shah. This is to check that your designs are compatible with printing, as well as to help us plan our stock of raw plastic. Before actually printing on a non-ICRS project, ensure you buy print credit from the union page. At the moment this will be used up on an honesty based system until we have the encoder set up. Once you have been approved follow these instructions:
- MIRROR YOUR MODEL IN NETFABB FIRST!!
- Load your model to slic3r(current), found in the Reprap directory of the computer near the printer.
- make sure all 3 settings tabs within slic3r have ICRS black default (or the relevant colour). then on the platter tab export the g-code to a known location.
- Load pronterface. Also found within the Reprap directory. Set the bed temperature to 120, and the heater to 245. the bed will take about 15mins to heat up, use this time to load your G-code into pronterface and inspect the diagram of the gcode for potential problems.
- When up to temperature, extrude 10-15mm of plastic (a button below the round dial in pronterface) and remove the waste with pliers from the nozzle.
- Press the print button, and cover the printer with the bubble wrap hood. (this is NOT optional) You can veiw the print through the window, eave covered until the model is finished (or failed).
- If a print fails before the end, press pause in pronterface and then set the bed temperature to 0. Allow to cool below 60. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL. Premature removal will damage the print surface.
Tips and Tricks
- If you want to do a scan of something to either be replicated or as reference for your design, ReconstructMe is totally awesome. (OpenCL enabled graphics card pretty much a requirement). Generates a .ply file, use any mesh editor of your choice that supports it. (Sketch-up can't handle the polygon density even if you convert it)
We are now in the process of building a second MendelMax printer. We have built the frame and are now working on the 3 different axes. The electronics will hopefully be salvaged from the old printer (Woody).
We may also add an encoder which will allow us to see how much plastic is used by a print job. This will then allow us to charge people for the use of the plastic.
https://kd85.com/makerbot.html -- Fairly cheap PLA available from this guy.
http://czechreprap.eu/ -- Where we usually order our plastic
http://www.aluminium-profile.co.uk/ -- For extruded Aluminium
Risk Assessment: File:RiskAssessmentReprap2013.doc