Monday, May 28, 2007


Adventures in RepStrapping: Day 1

Well, I've finally taken my first steps in the world of RepStrapping. My plan is to take an old Sherline mill that was collecting dust in the garage, convert it to CNC, attach an extruder head to it, connect it to the RepRap control boards and software, and see what happens. I have spent the last week gathering together my materials and today started putting everything together. I have a few days off from work, and I theoretically have all of the parts that I need, so I'm hoping that in a couple of days I will be able to extrude some plastic in an organized manner. :)

I decided to cheat a bit and use a commercial RP company ( to make the extruder parts for me. I found the price to be acceptable for the amount of time and aggravation it would save me. I ordered the parts on Sunday evening, and got them Tuesday. When I got the parts, I was a bit surprised at their size - though I certainly know approximately what size a millimeter is, all of the close-up pics on the site made me think they were a good bit bigger than they really are. So for those who are as dimensionally confused as I am, here is a picture of the extruder parts with a human hand as size reference: :)

extruder parts

To attach the extruder to the mill's Z-axis, I ordered a spare mill headstock spacer from Sherline, drilled and tapped it, and added a spare chunk of aluminum for support as below:

Extruder clamp1extruder clamp2b

And here is the Sherline mill, now newly CNC-capable and partially converted into a RepStrap:

Lamarck - day 1

I have decided to name him 'Lamarck' since he's kinda sorta like a Darwin, but not really :)

If all goes well tomorrow I will have the circuit boards assembled and hopefully an extruder as well.

Very interesting. If you don't mind sharing, what was the cost of the parts commercially RP'd parts? Was it a complete kit? What was the first quantity at which they offered a discount if you know?
Wow! That bottom mounting block for the Mk II has grown a bit since I got my parts set.
The commercially RP'd parts cost about $230, with shipping included. They have a minimum order of $150, and I'm not sure what discounts they provide, if any. I'm definitely pleased with the service they provided, and I found them through the Google advertising on the RepRap forums, so if you decide to get some parts through them click through the forums pages until their ad comes up, and click through so RepRap gets the advertising credit. :)
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