Making moulds using CNC, with urethane foam, wax, silicone and epoxy

I’ve been doing a bit of work on making moulds for the injection moulder. I’ve been making the base moulds with urethane foam and machineable wax. The was is definitely better since the foam is too grainy. I’ve ordered some urethane boards that will probably be really good for this, but they haven’t arrived yet. If you’re interested in some pictures of the process, read on. I’ll be posting some videos later on.

Continue reading Making moulds using CNC, with urethane foam, wax, silicone and epoxy

Case for MSP430, combining 3D-print and laser cutting

Here’s another attempt of making a case for the MSP43o Launchpad, with room for the LCD board I’ve made and touch sensors. The black side is 3d-printed, while the top and bottom is laser-cut. In this model I’ve used screws to fasten the top and bottom plate, but it may have been prettier to glue the top plate on. I could have chosen a less transparent plexiglass/acrylic, but I did it this way in the prototype to show the inside. It would probably be nicer with a less transparent one, but I would have had to cut a hole for the LCD display. I wonder if I could maybe cut a square hole for the lcd display and cut a similar square in transparent plexi, and glue it inside the whole. I might try that out.

There is a room in the side for the USB contact.

There is space between the capacitive sensors on the board and the top plate, and it turns out that air is a bad material to ‘conduct capacitive touch’, while silicone apparently is pretty good. So I filled the room with transparent flexible silicone glue from a tube. The type you use on the bathroom to waterproof stuff. I had to turn up the sensitivity in the firmware, from 1000 with nothing there to 50 (so the effect on capacitance is still pretty big). The acrylic is about 1.5 mm thick, so the total is about 3-4 mm of silicone plus 1.5 mm of acrylic.

A youtube video:

My own reprap design

I’ve made a reprap design, derived from a few other designs, and built the printer. It works great, though I need to test it more and also make the build area larger. It’s intended to be a small printer with a small print area, around 12 x 20 cm.

Here is a picture of it and here’s a video. You’ll find a lot more info about it on: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:15611

Portable reprap?

I’ve been thinking about the possibility for a portable 3D printer, where it’s possible to lift up the build platform so that the printer is simpler to move.

It’s sort of a derivative of the Printrbot design, I guess, but some of the ideas are my own also. I’ve put it on thingiverse, and there are some really good suggestions on improvements there.

Here are some pictures of the design:

My own diy home designed printrbot alternative

So, it’s not really a printrbot, but I’m making a similar design. Just to test it out. The guy behind the design hasn’t shared his files (yet), so I had to make them myself. I’ve just made the base so far. I think it’s a simple and effective design… well at least it seems good so far. Good work Brook. It’s really amazing how he’s gotten so much backing with deliveries promised some time next year. It means there’s really interest out there for a simple 3d printer at low cost.

Here are two pictures of my version. I guess I could share the stl if someone wants it.

Printrbot

For those considering a new 3D printing, there’s a new printer on the way that might be worth considering: The printrbot. It seems it might become a cheaper, less complex build. But the project is still in its early stage, and lots of people have signed up, so it might be worth considering how it proceeds. If you’re in a hurry and haven’t ordered already, you’ll be back in the line.

Other alternatives are the Prusa, Orca and of course a Makerbot. The Prusa seems to be a well adopted open source alternative and is pretty easy to build. I built mine using the Gen7 electronics, but I could also have used various others, including the very simple but effective Sanguinololu. I might order a Sanguinololu kit to test it out. Hey, maybe I should try to build my own mini printr bot. I wonder if the design could be simplified further. If the printrbot design really holds the vertical rods steady enough, maybe one could make the frame from wood. I could use my CNC to make more of the parts, and it should be cheaper and faster to build. Hmmm… it could look something like this:

I wonder when the great product designers will come in to the 3D printer area. (I’m not one of them 🙂 … )

Funny, as you’d think there are many great designers working on 3D, but they all look quite ugly (Orca sold at mendelparts at least has a nicer look, but Makerbots are pretty ugly in my opinion). How about a retro design. For example, rebuilding an old something (toaster?) into a 3d printer? What would make a good, nicer looking frame? The printrbot concepts might be quite good at fitting into something else… like the dashboard of your car 🙂

Reprap finally working

I finally added a J-HEAD hotend to my reprap and configured it to get it running. I’m using Pronterface with SFACT embedded as the print software. It works really great. I first tried editing all the SFACT settings to get a good print, until I realized I mainly had to get the steps of the extruder right in the firmware, and everything else worked pretty well without change. I’m using a lexan print plate, which works great… well… until I forgot to oil it and it got stuck to the box on the picture. I had to break the lexan plate to get it off.

The firmware is Teacup and the electronics is Gen7. I’m using PLA bearings, which is probably not optimal, but works ok… It’s pretty much a standard Prusa. It was fun to build and it’s working!! I’m so happy.

Here are some test prints. I’m pretty happy with the quality. It’s not quite as good as the Makerbot, but almost. I have a z-axis wobble, and fixing that would put it very close in print quality I think. I’ve just tried PLA so far, as I don’t have a heated build plate.

Hmm… I should really get a better camera for taking close-up photos. Bad focus on my phone camera.