Wednesday, February 20, 2008


First Print!

I'm slightly embarrassed to post this, seeing as I've been involved with this project for nearly 2 years now. However, yesterday evening, I had my first print ever! It was a very exciting moment for me and there was some shouting, dancing, and jumping around. Personally, I think this is a testament to how powerful the idea of RepRap is. I have been working my butt off with the project for 2 years while having essentially nothing to show for it. I firmly believe that this technology has the potential to change the world for the better.

Of course, the print itself was nothing amazing, but it is definitely a start. I used CAPA as the print material. The electronics used were the Arduino electronics controlling a Darwin machine. There is a bug with the Arduino SNAP based firmware, so I was experimenting with the new GCode interpreter firmware for the Arduino.

I have to say it was a wild success, because with the GCode firmware I was able to very easily make a test shape and have it printed. I spent some time tweaking parameters and such, but its nice to see that the GCode stuff works quite well and has the added benefit of allowing you to easily switch your RepRap machine over to a milling machine if you so desire.

Finally: I have a good lead on fixing the SNAP based code which will all allow the Arduino electronics to be 100% compatible with the RepRap host software. I'll try it out tonight and report back.

Brilliant! Is there a MiniMug in the very near future?
First well done for getting there.

Having said that those shapes look pretty much to have the same shrinkage warping as I get with HDPE. I though CAPA wasn't supposed to do that?
I don't see shrinkage warping, just gravity deforming the still hot and thin walls (next photo shows it better). Temperature and fan speed are probably not tuned yet...
No the walls coming in near the bottom and then coming out again is due to shrinkage not sagging. Its exactly the same shape as I had here:

In fact every test I have done has that shape to some degree or other.
hey, Zach, are you planning on having reprap generate gcode to do the print, or was this just a prototype?

I'm a big fan of the idea of using gcode as an intermediate format, because i already have a 3-axis machine i use for milling and pcb routing.

i know it is heresy, but i think a 3 axis machine with an extruder head and router/milling head is more flexible and more useful than a machine that can do only plastic.

thus, convert to gcode, treat extruder as a spindle and you're off and running :)
Great stuff, Zach! Welcome to the 3D printers guild! :-p
hey, dont worry, gcode isnt taboo... its just not what we chose to start off with.

to be honest, this was made with a custom gcode script i wrote. one of the things i plan on doing soon is modifying to host to add an option to output gcode. the team seemed really receptive to it, so theres a good chance we'll get it in =)
At some point when work's not that crazy i might be willing to take a shot at modifying the host program to spit out java.

At my day job i manage a team of java developers-- maybe doing that would let me actually write some code for a change :)
^gcode i mean, not java. duh
dude, just got back in from the world... so good to see this post

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