Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A month of updates?!?

It's been a month since this updated? When did THAT happen?We've spent many more hours configuring the machine, changing various bits of the hardware and software, and we finally have it printing very well. Skeinforge took a lot of work, but the 20-odd hours poured into debugging nearly all of the options available were spent well.
We also constructed our very own heated build plate! Three times! The first time it was not strong enough, with an 8-ohm wrap, the second was too strong with 4-ohms (and burned up!) and the third try is 6-ohms and performing GREAT with a blue painter's tape surface.
Our heated build plate is essentially just a twirl of nichrome wire taped to a brass plate, with a plywood base and acrylic mount, with ceramic "tape" insulation inside. The top of the plate hits a reliable 90-110ÂșC in around ten minutes, and the makerbot firmware supports the reprap temp sensor 2.0 attached to port A6. The whole thing is pretty awesome.
Here's a picture of that, without the tape on it.
Those bolts that stick out are a little irritating, and I am working to make them obsolete. We've only head-crashed into them once, but it was truly nerve-wracking.

On the subject of nerve-wracking, skeinforge on my partner's machine self-destructed, and we cannot seem to restore it. Basically, we were running the raftless version, and when updating to the newest standard version it overwrote all of the settings. Now the raftless version is completely broken. This means we have only one machine that can run skeinforge well, yet Replicator G chokes and freezes, pausing the motors or extruder (but never both!). The fix for this has so far been to clone the copy of replicator G and skeinforge between machines, but we have not finished that yet.

In other news, we're using the new MK-5 Drive wheel from makerbot, we totally impulse-bought two of them. They're amazing, and we get something around 25mm/s at maximum motor speed. The insulator is showing some over-pressure wear and tear, but we can reinforce it/replace damaged ones.

We've ordered some awesome PLA from ultimachine, and as soon as it's here (measured in hours!) we'll be printing the first successor machine, probably a standard reprap mendel. Unless of course we decide to aim cheaper.

I hope to post again before a month passes, but with how busy I have become with work on this machine and work in school I do not know when my next chance will be.

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