Sunday, April 15, 2007


The adventure begins

Tommelise's Mk 1 AEM extruder looks great in print, but the visual reality leaves a bit to be desired. It's basically a hack built up of a RepRap Mk 2 parts kit with pieces of wood added to accomodate a rather different polymer pump design.

I did a lot of thinking yesterday about what I should do next. Indeed, I even set up a priority list in the Tommelise 2.0 Blog. This morning, however, it seems clear that if I really want to be ready for the Maker Faire and make good progress along the way, the first thing I should do is to apply the kaizen principle to the Mk 1 and at least get rid of the wood bits.

So that's what I'm going to do. I've sketched out the filament guide on my whiteboard.

This morning I'm going to cobble together an XML file to print it and see how it works out.

The way I look at it is this, HDPE is dirt cheap, Tommelise costs less than 5 cents per hour to run and I can't get back time I wasn't running Tommelise. Rather than spending a lot of time agonizing over 3D CAD sketches in Art of Illusion I'm going to rough out things, print them and see how they fit and then repeat the cycle till I have something that works well.

In short, for now at least I'm going to use HDPE the same way I used poplar wood when I was building the bootstrap Tommelise that prints for me now. I like to work with my hands. I like to visualise where I want to go with things I can look at and hold rather than squint at on a CAD screen. Prototyping has just got cheap for me and I intend to take advantage of that to boost my creative productivity.

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