Mass RepRap Prusa Build

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We are planning a mass build of RepRap Mendel Prusa http://reprap.org/wiki/Prusa_Mendel 3D printers on June 18, 2011.

This page will provide basic organizing information to get you prepared for the build.


What you'll get during the build:

You'll receive and assemble the plastic and metal parts necessary to build the 3D platform for a Mendel Prusa. This does not include the actual hot toolhead, stepper motors, power supply, build platform, PLA or ABS filament, or electronics. With the exception of the extruder, most of these parts are available from many sources and just bolt onto the Prusa platform.

Here are details on the plastic parts included with this project: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6788

What you'll need to acquire on your own to complete the build:

  • Steppers (you will need 5):

These work, but possibly a little pricey, and overseas shipping: http://www.slidesandballscrews.com/sy42sth471684a-p-315.html?cPath=45_80

These should work, but haven't been tested yet: http://cgi.ebay.com/4-Stepper-motors-DIY-CNC-ROUTER-MILL-LATHE-ROBOT-/120557925061

Really, any NEMA-17 stepper of sufficient force should be fine.

Here is a list of suppliers (make sure to look under NEMA 17): http://reprap.org/wiki/StepperMotor#Suppliers

  • Build Platform:

1/4" MDF works just great to get started.

You might want to get a heated bed; PLA prints just great with no heated bed, but a heated bed is pretty much required for ABS.

By all accounts, this is a fine heated PCB that's ready-made: http://ultimachine.com/content/prusa-pcb-heated-bed

  • Electronics:

The current popular choice is RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield (RAMPS): http://reprap.org/wiki/Arduino_Mega_Pololu_Shield

Another good choice is "Sanguinololu"; it is smaller and cheaper: http://reprap.org/wiki/Sanguinololu

  • Stepper Drivers:

The above electronics also expect you to have 4 Pololu A4983 stepper drivers, this precise model: http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1201 These are great stepper drivers and frequently sold out, but still ship within a reasonable timeframe on backorder. You should get heat sinks for them, too. There are many suitable options, here is an example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835708011

  • Hot end:

The final piece is the hot end for the extruder. It's very easy to build the 'cold end' which pushes the filament, but so far I have kept to purchasing hot ends. I think it would be easy to machine one that worked well at the space -- but in the meantime, there's two popular options here:

This site is a little confusing, but the 'superpack' here is the hot end only: http://www.makergear.com/products/operators-pack

The other popular option is here: http://shop.arcol.hu/

Hot end nozzles come in a variety of sizes; I recommend starting with a .5mm nozzle and getting a supplementary .35 or .25 later on. I've only actually /used/ .5mm nozzles ever, personally, although I have some .35mm here I mean to try out 'someday.'

Hot end nozzles also sometimes have options for 3mm filament or 1.75mm filament. I'm using 3mm for everything, although 1.75 is becoming more popular, it hasn't reached 'critical mass' in the community yet.

  • PC Power supply

The easiest way to provide power to the system, but you can use anything that will give a 12v at decent amperage.

  • Misc stuff you'll want
    • PLA plastic. If you get ABS, you will /need/ a heated platform. Also there's suggestion that using PLA is both safer and nicer to the environment. There are many options to source this. My favorite source is also the most expensive and longest wait:

http://diamondage.co.nz/pla.html

But you can find 3mm PLA in many places, like Makergear, Makerbot, Ultimachine, etc. While 1.75mm is becoming a popular option, I haven't personally made the switch, and all the stuff I've recommended is for 3mm filament.

    • Kapton/Polyimide Tape. When printing ABS on a heated platform, use this like you would Bluetape for PLA. It's typically VERY expensive stuff, but you can buy it SUPER cheap from dealextreme.com -- the downside is they always take > 1 month for orders to arrive... very slow shipping.
    • DMM with a temperature probe. Some folks run out and buy an IR thermometer to help calibrate their hot end. THIS DOES NOT WORK. You need to get a legitimate K-type thermocouple temperature probe. They are common on midrange ($50) multimeters.