Sunday, March 01, 2009


Introducing the JunkRap

Or, what there is of it so far, any way.

After around a year of watching the RepRap project with quiet envy, I have finally decided to go for it and start scraping pieces together.

Having taken Forrest's post on the future of RepRap to heart, I decided that, in theory, a complete 3D prototyping table (x, y and z assemblies) could be built from the guts of only TWO 2D printers, since each has a sheet feed in addition to a print head. A repository of printer-to-reprap hacks might be a great start to a list of "locally inexpensive" RepRap parts.

JunkRap is definitely a RepStrap, but I don't think that would necessarily be true of a second JunkRap, which would have screwdriver-and-wrench-scavenged printer parts as some of the vitamins. To my regret, I don't have the printer make I'm working from here (I scavenged this assembly quite some time ago) but RepRappers who kept track of the printers they used could ultimately create a database where one enters in the available scavenge and recieves a list of printed parts necessary to create the remaining subassemblies. In the industrialized world, this might drop the cost of a RepRap dramatically.

On the JunkRap itself as it stands: I have hacked an interface in to the shaft encoder on this printer's sheet feed, which should give me about a half-degree accuracy in knowing the position of the wheel from my initial experiments. Of course, actually getting the wheel to go there may be another story, to say nothing of stabalizing the table (yet to be added) on the additional rollers (also yet to be added) and making it reliably move back and forth.

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Welcome to the repstrap fold. I'm also building what you refered to as a "junkstrap" too, and I have been on-and-off for a couple of years.... it's more on lately, and nearly done. My printer parts came from 3x old A3 dotmatrix epson printers, which have beautiful steppers and rails in them. :-)
O: Ah, another fabbing wiki! Always useful.

Buzz: Seems like the older the printer, the higher quality the parts. Guess the more aware of technology shifting companies get, the less inclined they are to make their wares last for decades...
You might even be able to get all the parts out of a single machine if you can get your hands on a multifunction unit (e.g. one that does print, fax, scan and copy). Especially the flat bed scanner type could get very useful here -- in essence, you get the X axis pre-built for free.

There are tons of old HP Officejet printers which are junked because of dead scanners or even empty cartridges, this might be a good way to repurpose them.
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