Favorite Products of 2008

Wohlers Talk

My interest in it is from a custom product design and manufacturing perspective. As I havedone in the past, I’ve identified a few products from the past year that have been as good or better than expected. Here goes … 1) Seagate portable drive. The 250 GB FreeAgent Go portable disk drive from Seagate is slick, especially compared to my older portable drives. It measures 11 x 80 x 130 mm (0.45 x 3.15 inches), weighs 170 grams (6 ounces), andfits in a small pocket.

Data 100

3D Design for Everyday Consumers

Wohlers Talk

How about three-dimensional design, author Scott Kirsner explained that computers were once used only by PhDs and videocassette recorders were designed for television broadcasters. Kirsner suggested that 3D design software may someday become common among non-professionals and I agree. However, before 3D design truly makes it to the mainstream, it will need to become even easier than SketchUp, and it will. In The Boston Globe article Next software for the masses?

Corporate Litigation

Wohlers Talk

The report, published in the January 2008 issue of Manufacturing Engineering , went on to say that 56% of these companies encountered more than 20 new lawsuits in 2007. The money and other company resources that are spent on litigation could be used to design and manufacture better products and improve customer support. Can you believe it?

How Much Do Engineers Make?

Wohlers Talk

Earlier this year, Machine Design magazine revealed the results from its annual salary survey. Design, project, and R&D engineers are at the other end of the pay scale, although its not dramatically lower than other engineering types who earn in the range of about $70,000 to $91,000. According to the April 24 issue, engineers make from about $68,000 to $148,000 annually. Vice presidents of engineering earn nearly $129,000, while consulting engineers get $148,000.

Survey 100

Autodesk is Now the Giant

Wohlers Talk

Their comments would imply that if you wanted to do serious drafting and design work, youd need expensive software from CADAM, Calma, Computervision, Dassault, or Intergraph running on high-end, proprietary, and expensive hardware. The company CEO was seeking advice on the future of design and manufacturing. He tried to convince me that his company could not do intricate design work using anything less than software running onUNIX workstations.

Engaging Students is Key

Wohlers Talk

In the May 22 issue of Machine Design , editor Leland Teschler explained that a kid with a 1.9 The kids develop skills in conceptual design, modeling, and experimentation and then print their work in 3D, giving them a chance to touch, evaluate, and test their designs. The U.S. has dropped to tenth place worldwide in high school completion, according to the September 2007 issue of Manufacturing Engineering.

Course 100

Magnetic Rotary Encoder Design

RepRap Blog

I''m designing a new board around that AS5040 magnetic rotary encoder. Hey RepRappers! Inspired by Nopheads fantastic printing progress using his encoder, I decided that RepRap would greatly benefit by having an awesome, standardized rotary encoder board.

Lack of Engineering Graduates?

Wohlers Talk

Leland Teschler, editor of Machine Design , said, There is no shortage of scientists or engineers. A lot has been published over the past couple years on the suspected lack of engineering graduates in the U.S. Some articles suggest that countries, such as China, are producing many more engineers than the U.S.

Richards SolidWorks Blog: Digital and Physical can both be reduced.

Richard's SolidWorks Blog

Designing without limits. Mans Future on Earth » July 10, 2008. By Richard Williams July 9 th 2008. “ However, even more than that I like to see the digital design come to life. But there are many really nice designs out there. Richards SolidWorks Blog.

Paste extruder motor test

RepRap Blog

I wanted to find out which motor lends itself best to a paste extruder design. Both designs worked great, however, the non-captive stepper design was radically simpler with significantly less fiddle and faff (hats off to Evan from F@H for going with this principle).

Key Things

HydraRaptor

Zach Smith and Bre Pettis have created a web site called Thingiverse , which is designed to make it easy for people to share digital designs of real objects. I have put most of the things I have designed for printing on a RepRap on there.

New Materials

HydraRaptor

I have recently formed the opinion that the extruder design is far from optimum. A problem with the current design is that once the heater barrel is screwed in and full of plastic it is hard to remove it.

Suppression

RepRap Blog

Zach kindly sent me a sample of his PCB version of the radio interference suppressor that I designed for the GM3 gearmotor. I have tested it and am pleased to report that it works at least as well as my prototype, possibly better. Here is the noise spectrum without it fitted.

Suppression

HydraRaptor

I designed a simple suppressor that fixed the problem, details here. Recently Zach Smith designed a nice little PCB version of it and produced a kit.

DC 52

Well. That didn't work.

RepRap Blog

This is my new vertical design based - as you can see - on the existing filament extruder drive and motor (M). The mechanics are essentially the same as the previous design, so we have halved the radius and thus increased the pressure by a factor of 4.

Mother of all Boards.

RepRap Blog

But Zach rightly designed it as a general microcontroller with RepRap as one application, not specifically for RepRap. Zach kindly let me have a prototype of his latest Sanguino board. I''ve just installed it on my RepRap (above) and it runs just fine.

Sticking point

HydraRaptor

Unfortunately the thermocouple sensor board that Zach designed using the AD595 is for the more common type-K thermocouples. The reason the original extruder design does not have this problem is that the thermal gradient is in the PTFE.

Hat Rack

HydraRaptor

I came across this object designed by Gorg Huff in the RepRap objects wiki. It was such an interesting organic shape, completely different from anything else I have printed, that I had to try it. It was a bit too big for my machine so I scaled it down and printed it diagonally.

No-curl hair dryer

RepRap Blog

I made the hopper (green) in the Strat as my RepRap was in bits the day after I''d finished the design for that. ABS is a superb building polymer, but it does tend to curl up and delaminate as it''s laid down because of thermal contraction.

Multiple materials

RepRap Blog

Thus you can design something in several materials, save each as an STL, and then load them all together. Next I''ll update the paste extruder design and get that working again, and see what we can make.

Granule Extruder - the sequel

RepRap Blog

Now to design a hopper, a motor drive for the screw, and a force transducer for it to push on so we can control the flow rate. I''ve rabbited on about granule extruders before.

New Board: LCD Controller v1.0

RepRap Blog

It was primarily designed by Bruce Wattendorf who did the heavy lifting on finding the right chip, prototyping it, and figuring out all the technical details. If you''d like to download the design, its available on SourceForge. This is a fun board that has some really cool potential.

Sky Hook

HydraRaptor

I designed a ceiling mount to hold a skate bearing. More by good luck than design, but that means that they can''t be pulled out because they pull towards each other and meet in the middle before they can clear the M8 hole.

Exchangeable Lasercut Extruder

RepRap Blog

I''ve been working on the design of the Ponoko lasercut extruder. I''ve managed to make it fit better into the extruder socket and even made the "handle" on the extruder clamp variable in width for maximum grip by putting a split in it.

New Board: Sanguino Breakout v1.0

RepRap Blog

The board itself is designed for both new Sanguino users, as well as people with a pre-existing Sanguino. Designs posted to Google Code This is a breakout shield for the Sanguino.

ReplicatorG 0002 Release

RepRap Blog

If you''re not familiar with this software, its a generic GCode host software designed for use with RepRap machines. Today has been a busy day. I''m also releasing ReplicatorG 0002.

Spurred into action

HydraRaptor

An obvious test case are the two gears on Ian Adkins'' alternative extruder design. I couldn''t find a picture of Ian''s, these are a similar design by Vik Olliver. Forrest''s success at milling spur gears with Tommelise 2.0

Granule extruder

RepRap Blog

This prompted me to sketch out the above design for a granule extruder. Also one potential problem with this design may be overrun: even when you take the pressure off, the nozzle may continue to extrude for a while.] click the pic to get one big enough to see.

Brassed off

HydraRaptor

Maybe it is time to look at ball bearings and an offset shaft like Ian Adkins'' design. My first attempt at an extruder had stainless steel bearings and a stainless steel drive shaft, more by accident than anything else.

Ponoko Lasercut Prototype Strike 3

RepRap Blog

The extruder is now swappable and is compatible with the Darwin swap design (if I''ve got the measurements right on this one too). The Y opto flag can be placed on either side of the X carriage so we remain compatible with Ian''s design.

Shoe

RepRap Blog

I''ll post the design in the repository shortly when I''ve made a few final tweaks. I lost count of how much I spent on shoes when my daughter was growing up. I just reprapped a left shoe. It cost me 30 pence.

Wahooo!!

RepRap Blog

I''ve come from basically zero understanding about electronics, firmware, microcontrollers, extruders, and cartesian robots to a point where I am reasonably comfortable with all of those technologies and am now active in developing and hacking on the next generation designs.

Shaft encoder, second attempt

HydraRaptor

I made a right mess of the first design, not only did I get the angle wrong but the second opto is also at the wrong radial distance, which is why its amplitude was less. If it proves to be a useful encoder I will design a pair of PCBs.

Belt tensioner

RepRap Blog

The design is a little unusual in that I have used a piece of 3mm PLA filament as the axle for the idler wheel instead of the usual M3 bolt. I''ve just designed one for the lasercut RepRap kit. One RepRap part not covered much elsewhere is the belt tensioner.

Announcing ReplicatorG 0001

RepRap Blog

It is designed to solve many of the problems that I''ve run into when working with the current state of the art RepRap control software. Hello All, One of the many side projects I''ve been working on lately has now come to fruition!

Alternative Z-endstop

HydraRaptor

I designed a new bracket and tab for this: - The tab enters the opto from the side which gives the best resolution. I prefer my machine to home the z-axis away from the workpiece so that homing is always a safe operation, regardless of what state the machine is in.

RepRapped Shaft Encoder

HydraRaptor

design has one with a single opto but it needs support material and gears. I am happy with the older design now that I have got it to run reliably, so I needed an encoder that mounts directly on the motor. I have started making an extruder for my Darwin but I am running out of ABS.

Extruder alternatives

RepRap Blog

The first couple of things I''ve added are a direct drive, which eliminates the need for the flexible coupling: And a high-temperature heater design using Ian''s idea of fire cement that will outperform JB-Weld-bonded ones: That also uses Zach''s thermocouple driver board , rather than a thermistor.

Going Round In Circles

RepRap Blog

If they work well enough, I''ll add them to the next run of the lasercut design. I took apart a swivel chair the other day and noticed an interesting ball bearing race in the bottom of it.

Extruder valve

RepRap Blog

The design above owes a lot to both Ed and Ian, and works reasonably well (though it leaks a little slowly at the side, as you can see). I''ve been working for a while on a valve to control the flow of the polymer from the extruder.

Every little helps

HydraRaptor

The RepRap Darwin design has 10 diagonal tie bars across the corners of all but the top face of the cube, making it very rigid. Here is my smaller design which uses 21% less plastic and reduces the time to make 20 from 11.5

Blood on the carpet.

RepRap Blog

At the moment my Darwin is printing out parts in ABS for Ian''s extruder design to make sure we can reprap them as well as lasercutting them. I soldered up one of Zach''s Sanguinos on stripboard from the circuit diagram.

New Board: Magnetic Rotary Encoder v1.0

RepRap Blog

I''m very proud to announce a new board, designed and developed by the RepRap Research Foundation. Now, we have a standard, open source design that is intended for use with the GM3 gearmotor that we use on our extruder.