Archive for category Other

Reprap Morgan SAE build

So far, here are my notes on building a Reprap Morgan using easily sourced parts in Iowa. Easily sourced means the metric bits need to be kept to a minimum. The rest was printed on a Reprap Prusa Mendel with a SeeMeCNC Steve’s Extruder and their Bowden hot end, using green ABS from Makergeek, sliced with Slic3r 0.9.10b with two shells & 20% fill. That feels a little flimsy on the thinner pieces – if I break something, I’ll probably re-print at 5 shells.

I printed the moving bits for the shaft – the two drive wheels & 4 arm pieces, plus the Bowden lock nut. I was surprised how well the nut fit – I thought my printer wasn’t accurate enough, turns out the spring belt tensioners I added work wonders. I printed the metric version & substituted hardware for what was close, and had fairly good luck.

For the main shaft I used a 5/16″ x 3′ threaded rod ($2.50 or so) a box of 100 hex nuts & a box of 100 washers ($10). the instructions call for a pipe crimped around two nuts to improve stability – I got a 1/2″ x 2′ copper pipe ($5). For the outer tube, I got a 3/4″ x 2′ ($7) that barely fit the printed parts. OK, it probably was too tight, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to slide around. for the “elbows” I got a 4″ and a 2.5″ x 5/16″ bolt, a little over a dollar for the two.

I did buy metric bearings. I didn’t know where to look for the 6805  (the one I got is labeled as an auto part if that helps), so I bought through Amazon ($7) and the 9 608 bearings are used in roller skates & skateboards. It was cheaper to buy a 10-pack off Amazon for $10, though.

As for assembly, the washers were too big for the bearings & caused them to grind, so they were skipped. Since this is just a test fit, I didn’t crimp the 1/2″ copper tube yet, either. But, with some gentle persuasion, everything fits!The copper tube may need to be seated deeper into the printed parts than I have it, but not bad for a test fit & guesses at the hardware store! Total investment so far is about $43.

I’m not a big fan of the stand design, so an enclosed one may be in my future. Maybe built as a freestanding table.

I’ll still need electronics (~$120), 4 steppers ($70), a J-head hot end ($50+), linear rod & bearings (?), heated build plate, fan… this is far from a cheap design.

Morgan column

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The new DIY Revolution

There’s a certain amount of pride that comes from doing something yourself, whether it’s painting a fence, fixing the car, or creating a precision computer-driven laser cutter. You heard me – weekend projects have evolved from lopsided birdhouses to complex robotics, custom electronics, and tools that make the professionals jealous.

At the heart of this revolution is a funny little gadget called an Arduino. It’s a miniature computer, able to be programmed to do the tinkerer’s bidding. Simply plug in a USB cable & tell it what you want it to do. Blink some lights? Simple. Run a few motors? Easy. Automatically post to Twitter when your plant needs to be watered? Not a problem. Now your DIY Garage Warrior is armed with computerized control of whatever he or she wants. Build a proximity sensor that automatically opens the garage, or a robot that brings you beer from the fridge. But where are you going to get the custom-made pieces for your new army of robotic minions?

Once only available to the big boys, custom manufacturing has moved to homes. In CNC milling, a robot moves a router bit though a computer-programmed path, cutting the desired shape as it goes. For $400, a DIY enthusiast can build one of these gadgets, using a Dremel to carve the custom pieces they need. Or, replace the Dremel with a laser module & you can quickly carve through craft foam & other materials. Or, take the same robot & use a molten plastic extruder instead – now you have a 3d printer & can build custom plastic pieces without the noise & wasted material of milling. Now you’ve got the tools to build nearly anything! What’s next?

As it turns out, what’s next is really exciting. Make the technology better, faster, more precise, less expensive, and more available. Some day every home may have a 3d printer, able to print out anything you need at the push of a button. Just keep the raw materials on hand & push print when you want a birdhouse, toaster, or MP3 player. But then, without the workshop in the garage, won’t the DIY movement come to an end? I don’t think so – the focus will just shift from building something familiar to creating something new. The design will be the next frontier, and that’s where the tinkerers of this world will really shine.

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Oh my noggin

As most of my friends have heard, Friday,  June 19th 2009 I went to Sturgis on the River to photograph the Roller Derby.  I didn’t get a chance to.  For anyone interested, here’s the story as best I remember. I’ll try to be as accurate as possible.

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Egg Drop Conclusion

Once upon a time I thought I’d write my egg drop contest build log here.  I did, too, at least the one day I worked on it.  The night before the drop I finally got my act together and built the dang thing.

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