Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Mendel90 Laser Cut - Ready to Print

The Think3dPrint3d Lasercut Mendel90 is ready! After a period of extensive prototyping and beta testing the design is set, and right now multiple versions of this printer are churning out the parts for the initial run of kits.

This is our interpretation of the Mendel90 design by Nophead based around a laser cut frame. It borrows the fixing method from the Lasercut i3 design by Shane Graber and the majority of plastic parts are from the Dibond Mendel90.

A quick orientation around the printer:-

First, the laser cut frame is made from melamine-coated MDF which is much more resistant to knocks then regular MDF and doesn't require any painting or other finishing.

It is very quick to assemble with square nuts and M3 socket cap screws

The build area is 200x200x200mm 

All the wiring comes ready to plug and play in pre-assembled cables or looms so there is no crimping or soldering required at all. The printer comes with a RAMPS controller with 5 "Ice Blue" Stepsticks and the Panelolu 2 controller as standard.

The acrylic enclosure is an optional extra which keeps the heat inside the printer to reduce warp when printing with ABS. It also helps to reduce noise and adds to the professional look of the printer. It uses the same fixing method as the printer frame and can be fixed on quickly and simply without disturbing the printer or calibration.

Overall, the design removes hassle from kit assembly at every turn. The printer can be easily put together in a day, with very little calibration required as all the critical dimensions are set by the laser cut frame. 

Kits will be available shortly (Update: now available from our webstore). We have a couple of components to finish sourcing in bulk and I will do another blog post with a run-down of the assembly process. I also need to tidy up and document the source code for the plastic parts and frame. All the source will be available on our Github before the printer goes on sale.

We are supporting the RepRap stand at the TCT show this year and will have a Mendel90 LC or two on display. The TCT show is free to register for so please do come round and say hello.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Think3dPrint3d at the TCT show

Come and visit Think3dPrint3d at the TCT show

As RichRap announced on his blog, the RepRap community has a stand at this year's TCT show. The TCT show bills itself as "UK’s definitive and leading Additive Manufacturing, 3D printing and product development technology show" and its certainly going to interesting to see all the different people, companies and technologies out there!

The RepRap Community Hub is being organised by Richard Horne (RichRap) and RepRap Magazine assisted by us, Think3dPrint3d, RepRapPro, RepRap Barcelona, Faberdashery, Active3D and Alessandro Ranellucci who develops Slic3r along with other RepRap enthusiasts.

Think3DPrint3D will have on show our brand new laser cut version of the Mendel90 (more info to follow shortly) along with a preview of some very exciting electronics....

Registration is free, just signup here, we are looking forward to seeing you all there.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

3D printing with Acetal Filament

I recently got some experimental grade acetal filament for testing purposes from Stratum3D. Acetal, or Polyoxymethylene is an engineering plastic with the desirable characteristics of high stiffness and a low co-efficient of friction.

That low co-efficient of friction is where I think it can have a major impact on what can be produced with fused filament 3D printers such as the RepRaps we use. I have visions of moving parts with integral low friction bushings and other surfaces. It is not as low friction as PTFE but has better wear resistance.

The acetal was supplied in 1.75mm filament so the quick change extruder design on the Mendel90 came in handy and I was soon up and printing.

As the picture shows I had to experiment with a number of build surfaces; the advantage of this plastic being slippery in use is a disadvantage when trying to get it to stick to anything! The slight blue tinge to the picture is because it is taken through the acrylic enclosure that I added to our prototype Mendel90, acetal degrades if overheated giving off formaldehyde which you don't want to breathe.

Acetal also takes on moisture readily so I left it in the sealed bag with moisture absorption granules and made a small hole to get the filament out: