It’s been awhile so I thought I’d post a quick update on my Prusa Mendel build progress.
Technically, I’ve got everything I need to assemble the 3D printer…just a lack of time lately. I’m hoping to fix that this weekend though.
I’ve got all the electronics now and just need to wire them up.
I ended up going with RAMPS 1.4 that I bought preassembled from Ultimachine. They seemed to have the best reputation and easiest shipping options for me. I also got my heated build platform from them as well. I’ve got the RAMPS mounted to an acrylic mounting plate from Lulzbot.com (I bought just the plate, not the kit, by mistake so had to find some compatible hardware to mount it and fortunately, they posted the mounting clamps on Thingiverse so I was able to print them myself) as I liked how it looked. It also has room to hold an LCD or keypad which I’ve also purchased although I haven’t landed on specifically which firmware to use yet that will ultimately dictate these extras usefullness. My plan is to ultimately be able to print from SD cards using the LCD/keypad combo directly but that’s another hurdle I’ll tackle when the main build is finished.
A friend cut some glass and I now have a 20cm x 20cm heated build platform…nearly double the size of my MakerBot’s!
The Y-axis motor has been mounted as has the lower thick sheet, belt and bushings.
I’m still concerned my bushings are too stiff so will be attempting to loosen them up this weekend using the heat gun on the smooth rod trick I’ve heard about.
And lastly, I’ve figured out what I’m going to do about the extruder and hot end. In the photo, it’s just sitting on the rods for the X-axis and not mounted nor fully assembled. I’m going with Greg’s Accessible Wade’s extruder and the standard hotend for the Wade’s that I got from Mixshop.com. I’ve been waffling back and forth over which diameter to use for the extruder given I have so much ABS plastic filament and PLA is generally harder and more expensive to get in Canada. But I’ve decided to go with the 1.75mm PLA filament for now, as I had originally planned. I bought the parts to make two complete extruders (one in each diameter) so I could always swap it out at a later point if I decide to change my mind.
The biggest challenge during this process is the constantly evolving Reprap community. While I’m half way through my build, a number of revisions to parts I’ve already printed have shown up that makes me ponder reprinting the new parts vs going with what I have and swapping out later. Also, as you can see from the various parts listed, I’ve had to literally source parts from all over the place. Places like Mixshop and others are now starting to put together complete kits for sale but I guess the benefit of sourcing things from all over, it gives me more control over the options that I build into the Prusa.
It’s definitely not for the faint of heart and unfortunately it’s a fairly technical process…but it is a hell of a lot of fun to work on.
As a side note, I just sold my first complete set of Prusa printed parts to someone locally so they can start building their own 3D printer:
I’ve already started printing another set. Contact me if you’d like a set to build your own 3D printer.