Sunday, June 03, 2007


Wiring up

I have spent quite a bit of time on getting the stripboards done, and now things seem to move in the right direction. 2 out of 3 motors are running (i.e. the boards work) but there are still some small issues to iron out. See the image for the colorfull arrangement of stripboards and lots of wires :-)




although i think this reveals a crucial flaw in our build process. its something i experience too: a huge rats nest / buildup of wires.

i wonder if it would be better to do it in the reverse: first build the cartesian robot, then build, and attach the electronics. this would also have the side benefit of having a working system right away. technically, you could attach handles to the drive shafts and have a 'manual' 3d printer. that would make some great steampunk right there...
That makes me wonder how hard linking the drive on the polymer pump to the movement of the other axes mechanically would be... that might make it not even quite unpleasant to use that way. A bit like a three-dimensional etch-a-sketch...
well, it would be pretty easy to wire it up so its just 'always on' or to add some sort of toggle switch and heat control.

it would definitely be interesting.
First of all, congratulations to you for working out your recent controller issues and getting at least 2 of his motors working! As for Zach's comment, I don't think that the rat's nest is necessarily due to the build process - it's primarily due to the testing process. Once the cartesian robot is built and the boards are installed the wires are a lot more manageable, but it is also more difficult to fix or adjust things if it fails testing once they are installed. In my experience, the rat's nest is not too bad when testing boards individually, and only gets messy when testing multiple boards. Optimally, reprappers will only test multiple boards for a short amount of time - to test a particular failure that does not appear in individual board testing. Once we have the components and build processes more finalized, this should be a fairly quick process. In Joost's and my case, we are using semi-standard parts, so we are never sure if it is hardware or software causing the issue, and this makes the multiple-board-and-stepper testing phase generally longer, and the rat's nest more of an issue.
I have to say that the wiring section on the RepRap Twiki does give some clear instructions as to how to control the rat's nest:

Vik :v)
Personally, I'd prefer to do the mechanics first, then add the wiring. Right now, I've been playing with the software, waiting for the store to start selling kits. (yeah, I'm lazy)
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