I rebuilt the extruder on my Delta #RepRap again

I rebuilt the extruder on my Delta #RepRap again. Trying different things to find something that works for me. This is a cable-laced short bowden tube with no 'real' connectors. Quick and dirty, but it seems to be working well so far.

In album Repaired stubby bowden tube

The cable lacing is where the hold-it-all-together should happen. This is with Spectra fishing line. Same as I used for the drive-line. Low stretch. Should keep the two halves from being pushed apart.

Boom! Wonderful printing all of a sudden.

Installed. The idea is to balance the weight of the motor over the effector so the printer doesn’t have to sling all that weight around.

I used some self vulcanizing rubber tape to try to get some traction on the tube. It should also stiffen up the joints a bit so there is less flex at either end and more in the middle.

This is the prior iteration. The nylon kept wanting to stretch so I kept twisting the extruder around to tighten up the cable lacing. 2.5 full turns here! The nylon also dug into the plastic a bit as well.

I recently printed a prosthetic hand for a little girl back home, where I grew up….

I recently printed a prosthetic hand for a little girl back home, where I grew up.  I did this as part of http://enablingthefuture.org/ 

It took a couple of months to get this done as I was working with a few other programmers in the evenings to create a website that allows for easy(er) prosthetic hand creation. With our new website, about a dozen simple hand measurements need to be typed into the page, and select some options, like what style hand, and you get the printable files, already sized correctly. It's magic! An awful lot of work was done by other people to get us to this state where we could put this site together. 

This hand was the first hand created with this new site. When we tweak the site based one the lessons learned on this hand, it will be announced to the public soon.

My 4 year old LOVED helping put this prosthetic together. She is quite proud of herself for helping a stranger in this way, as she should be! she even gave her own toy hand to the little brother, so he would leave big sister's hand alone.

The family of the new hand owner, including grandparents showed up and my parent's place to help put the hand together.  Over the course of 2 days, we assembled and fitted the hand.

I believe that part of the mission of http://enablingthefuture.org/ is to truly enable this little girl to overcome her handy-cap. By simply giving her an assembled prosthetic, she would be no better off than if her parents had purchased a commercial prosthetic (although the family would be a great deal poorer buying an expensive prosthesis). With the whole family taking part in assembling the hand, they truly own the prosthetic – if it breaks, they know how to fix it.

To take this mission to completion, we will be having a fund-raiser in a few months to raise money to purchase a 3d printer of her very own.  She will then be able to create new hands that fit, as she grows up. She can also take her future into her own hands (pun intended) and design improvements and special purpose hands for herself which she can share back to the community if she so chooses (I can hope, but I will not dictate).

In album 2014-06-25

My 4 year old assistant LOVED helping build this hand.

Showing how bending one’s wrist is supposed to make it work.

So very pink!

The finished hand.

The spaghetti monster ate my printer. The black thing sticking out on the right side is supposed to be around the hot end.

The dyed palm and the undyed guantlet. Chicago screws are used to hold the pieces together.

Such a sweet little girl, she let the little brother of the recipient  have her black hand.

Some sodas have phosphoric acid and some glass cleaners have ammonia. These are supposed to treat the nylon and allow it to take and hold onto the dye better.

My 4 year old helping dye the finger pieces. The dye is in the plastic bag. The bowl has hot water to warm up the dye bath. Checking on the color. It starts out really purple looking.

Leaching the excess dye out of the big parts which ended up printing more porous than the finger parts.

Tilting the wrist will cause the fingers to curl up.

The padding is some leather I glued in. It’s probably Elk. Soft, but a little bit grippy.

I am hot pink iron man!

Pink and Chrome!

The RepRap revolution started 6 years ago, today.

6 years ago, today is when the first ‘child’ printer was created.

6 years ago, today, the RepRap revolution started.

RepRaps, or Reproducing Rapid Prototypers are 3d printers that are designed in such a way that you can use one to make a copy of itself. The goal is to be able to use ‘stuff’ that is easily available locally. Today, I could make one using parts bought from Radio Shack, Home Depot, Walmart, and junk inkjet printers sitting in people’s closets, and my existing 3d printer. It’s easier and cheaper to order parts of ebay, but I can cobble one together after a couple hour bike ride.

The hardware is open source –  that means I can download, view, edit, and distribute my changes to the machine for free & legally.

The software is open source – that means I can download, view, edit, and distribute my changes to the software for free & legally.

There are thousands of people who are actively making tweaks and adjustments to the printers & software every single day. Thousands of people who are making these 3d printers better, every day, just for the fun of it.

6 years ago today, the first RepRap begat the 2nd RepRap and the world changed forever.

My college, MSOE, had the largest Rapid Prototyping lab in the world at that time if memory serves correctly. They had millions of dollars in equipment. I remember walking past the glassed windowed RPC and looking at the cool stuff they where making there. Engines for GM, hands for NASA to fit gloves, skulls to solve murder mysteries.

2 years ago, I got my first RepRap for as much money as the TV in my living room – http://mike.creuzer.com/2012/02/i-ordered-my-3d-printer-last-weekend.html. I ordered a kit of parts, and built it over the course of 2 days with help from strangers who where also putting their printers together at the same time.

6 years ago today, RepRaps started a revolution that made 3d printers accessible to me, in my home. My children will grow up never not knowing having having easy access to 3d printers. In their home. My dad remembers when he got indoor plumbing growing up, I remember when our house got it’s own phone number and not a shared number with several of the neighbors. My kids will never not remember a 3d printer or two in their house. This blows my mind. The paradigm shift in their thought processes is revolutionary – http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/07/bella-printed-a-missing-part-for-one-of-her-toys.html.

I’ve come up with a few ideas of my own – hybrid drivelines http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/04/delta-reprap-using-both-belts-and-spectra-fishing-line.html, hooking up my printer to my fish tank http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/01/watercooling-my-makergear-prusa-reprap.html, and a temp monitoring idea across the printer as a hole.

The people who have made the RepRap revolution possible deserve much gratitude. I’ve been able to meet in person many of the ‘key’ people who have made RepRaps possible – the (re)designers of the hardware, the (re)designers of the firmware, the (re)designers of the electronics.

Today, today is Mr. Bowyer’s day. Thank you. We will probably never meet in person, but you have changed my life & my children’s life. For that, Thank you.

I finally got my Delta RepRap moving correctly

I've been fighting it for over a year. First it was a bad RAMPS board/pololu drivers. I replaced that with a SmoothieBoard (which is awesome by the way) and then it took me a month to figure out that my bed center, homing and gcode combo is causing the machine to calculate out-of-bounds which gives some VERY odd movement.

But now it moves right, with just a single config setting change in slic3r. Set the print center to 0,0 and not 100,100 like I do on my Cartesian printer.

So, now I get to re-wire the printer, as the printer has grown a foot taller over the last year. The existing wires are now too short.

Then, I get to make it print!

In album 2014-04-28

The extruder motor doesn’t move near as much as the effector does. I hope this will allow me to get better prints than if I had a long bowden tube or a heavy effector.

Looking down from the top. You can see that the effector moves much more than the extruder motor.

I was SO happy I got it to move right, that I just HAD to mount the extruder right away. With the printer running. I was THAT excited about it moving correctly that I didn’t even stop the test-print.

Looking down a pillar. I was hoping to see the carriage move up and down more and that the belt & spectra hybrid drive works well. But, this is what is shown. Instead, this shows that the extruder motor moves very little in relation to the effector.

It moves!
I ‘borrowed’ some of my wife’s hair bands and zip tied up the extruder so it balances on a short bowden tube.  I saw this at MRRF and liked it so much that I decided to buy a SeeMeCNC EZstruder even though I already had an extruder for this printer.

Portable RepRap for demonstrations

I recently attended the Midwest RepRap Fest (MRRF 2014). In talking to a few of the other attendees, I noticed a couple of themes. A lot of us do demonstrations of our printers and those who flew to the event didn’t have their printers along.

2 RepRaps and a ROMER laser scanner
This is what I brought to the event. 2 printers, a ROMER arm laser scanner, 2 computers, 3 tablets, my portable robot making fastener kit, some clothes, and a case of soda. Filled the back of trucklet right up.

This tells me that there is a need that has yet to be fulfilled. The hobby needs a small, portable printer.

Just push hard, it will fit, right?
I think having a 3d printer that can fit into a carry-on bag isn’t too much to ask.

OK, that would be a REALLY small printer, that can take a bit of abuse, being banged around inside a carry on bag.

Water Cooled Maker Gear Prusa Mendal RepRap with a tablet using GCodePrintr
This is my ‘small’ printer. That’s a 7 inch tablet running it in this photo.
RepRap in a case
I have this HUGE case that JUST fits my printer.

So, on the way home, I put some thought to the problem.

We need a printer that is:

  • Able to be held in one hand for demonstrations
  • Able to fit in carry on luggage for travel
  • Able to run while ‘unplugged’ if just for a short period of time
  • Visually interesting and has all the parts exposed so it’s easy to explain how it works


I picked up a SmoothieBoard at the show, so I want to run it off of this new-to-me board. It seems to be one of the larger boards, so other boards could be dropped in if desired. It has a built in microSD slot, so it can print without a controller. It also has lots of extra horsepower so it can do some crazy cool stuff.

Looking around, at MRRF, I saw the Tantalus. A nice, small, box printer, but not small enough. I also saw the Wally.

Then it hit me, what if I was to put a Wally inside a Tantalus. Shrunk down. The magic is that the Wally can extend outside of it’s containing ‘box’ while in use, but ‘park’ within the confines for safe traveling.

BOOM! I can print a larger print in a smaller space.

Wally at MRRF 2014
Meet Wally. So named because it’s a ‘wall’ printer, everything is built off of the back wall.

I think Wally is a slick printer. It’s built with plastic parts, common bolts, and not much else.


Wally's Z Stage
This the Z stage. It travels in an arc as it goes up and down. Crazy simple mechanically, and it makes my brain hurt doing the math on it even though I know it’s a simple offset.




A few minor tweaks and I think a Wally can be crammed into a small box. The Z can come out of the front view port while printing and the XY arms can extend out the sides while printing.

The Z arms need to be longer, poke through the back, and bolt on with the mounts towards the inside so we can get the max width print bed on the inside of the printer.

Everything needs to scale down a bit. From my reading, there needs to be a 7-10 ratio between the pulley on the motor to the big pulleys. There is also some ratio for the arm length to the big pulley size, but I don’t understand that yet.

All the motors should hang off the back I think, just so there is more viewing room inside the box.

I am thinking a 150mm square box would give me enough room to route wires cleanly off of a smoothieboard.

A small battery can sit under the print bed. I am thinking the power supply should be a generic laptop power supply. This keeps the printer smaller and lighter, not having to mount a power supply in it. This would also allow us to unplug the printer for short periods of time to walk around with it.

Mulling the idea around a little bit before I create a fork of Wally and start wrenching on the parts hard.

I think a lot of people will complain that it will be TOO small to be useful. It’s not intended on being an only printer, it’s a functional demonstration piece. Long (large) prints aren’t useful for demonstrations, it seems like they are only half-done when you want to pack up and leave. You want to be able to spit out a part in less than half an hour and have people hold it.