Four, no, 32 months.. part 12 of ?

I started the last post by describing how back in January of 2012 that we had solidified a date for the first meeting of the New England RepRap group: February 26th, 2012 (but I spent the post discussing my rush to create a RepRap for the Museum of Science in Boston between those dates). Now let’s cover the event – the first meeting of the New England RepRap group!

Actually we’ll start a few days before that.

While printing at the Museum of Science in Boston (with my Mendel, which I brought down for a day, not to be confused with the Prusa IT2 I made for them), it was printing horribly. I had multiple big y-shifts that helped contribute to this miserable print:

Later when printing at home I saw a similar shift in the first layers of this aborted print:

Here you can hear and see it:

I decided the y-belt was probably lose (and might have loosened up after the trip). Having just put an adjustable belt tensioner in the Museum of Science’s RepRap, I wanted to upgrade my Mendel as well.

I removed the bed, installed the tensioner, hooked up the belt, and set the tension correctly.

(Note in that picture and video you can see the old legacy stepper driver boards that I never bothered to take off, beneath the bed. Maybe someday I should use that space to mount a Raspberry Pi).

It was around then that I finally uploaded my first Thing to – an OpenSCAD version of the arm to the OpenX carriage. Here it is in the Newest Things feed:

..and here is the page itself:

Ok enough of that.. back to the printer. With the Y-skipping problem fixed, I did a few prints.

Replacements for the y-belt tensioner pieces that I borrowed from my future RepRap parts:

Heart boxes that I had failed to print in time for Valentines day, 10 days earlier:

A flimsy mount piece for the Museum of Science’s RAMPS board (which I later replaced):

Then I wanted to print out more of the garbage bag holders that I’ve printed before. I started the print:

but then an hour and a half later, another knot in my filament spool again hurt an X-carriage by once again pulling the extruder and carriage off of the x-axis and into the air. (Everyone that I’ve endlessly lectured about not letting go of the end of filament on a spool, take note!) Note in this first picture that the extruder is way up at the top while the X-axis itself is much lower (also note the knot in the spool):

On the front of this next picture you can see where the small oval plastic piece that holds the front bearing on was severely bent. The bend is between the top and bottom screws.

Here were the partially printed parts. Note how good they looked before the failure.

The carriage wasn’t damaged much except the bend on that front part, but even then it still functioned.

I fixed it all up, and brought the RepRap upstairs to our “pinball room” for the New England RepRap 2012 meetup the next day.

I had the Museum of Science’s RepRap (just taken back from the Museum so I could do more work on it) on display too, even though it didn’t have an extruder yet:

Then I started a long print. Alicia couldn’t figure out what it was when it started printing, so I referred to it as the mystery print. I posted two pictures on Google+ asking if anyone had any guesses what it was..

This was the first picture I posted. “Who can guess the mystery print?”:

Twenty minutes later and I posted this, saying “Here’s a little more progress. Again, who can guess the mystery print?”. This picture was enough to get the author of the print to guess what it was:

(I think the above picture and views before that had Alicia guessing “the front part looks like a cave from Star Wars” and someone else (Laurie?) guessed maybe that part of it was Florida so perhaps it was the United States).

Then after a bit more progress..

This next part almost looks a bit like the Enterprise from Star Trek: Next Generation (someone else said the same thing to me recently):

Progress continued..

Here’s a shot of the whole RepRap printing it (with a light behind it):

I started becoming aware of the Z-height and how close my extruder was getting to the top:

…but, I pressed on..

Good video of it printing:

And then I got really worried about Z-height:

I think this picture is where my Z-height started to actually matter:

I hadn’t yet figured out (I realize that in this next video) that Z has already stopped going up. I must have set a maximum Z-height in the firmware, and it reached that. There’s no code yet to say “hey wait this print is taller than your build area” though, so it just kept right on going, but it was such a small piece of the print that I still consider the print an amazing success.

It finished! I give you, the head of Tony Buser!

I looked it up.. My 2nd Google+ post said “Here’s a little more progress. Again, who can guess the mystery print?”, and here was Tony’s response:

I really liked this print, so here are a few more pics:

But a view like this one:

makes me really aware of the butchering I did to the top of Tony’s head, leading me to use other prints as hats. 🙂

Here’s a picture from earlier in the print that I didn’t want to use above (because the computer screen gave it away):

With everything ready for the next day, I went to bed.

The next day, everyone showed up. We had lots of people, lots of printers, and a lot of really good discussions. Everyone had an incredible time and wanted to know how long until the next one.

At one point I went outside and saw we had at least 10 cars parked.

I didn’t have much space on my phone (because I’ve been behind in this blog for so long!), but here are the two videos I took:

Some more pics:

Katy Hamilton, one of the attendees, took a lot of great photos. Here are some (used with permission):

To organize the group we’d used our Google Groups mailing list, but we all realized we needed something more. So the next day I created the New England RepRap Google+ page (go follow it!). While I’m on both Facebook and Google+, it seems Google+ is where all of the RepRap activity is. The downside to a Google+ page is that the only person who can post is the owner.. But then things really got better in February of 2013 when Google+ allowed Communities (which is basically like a forum – people can post their own threads and others can comment, etc). Be SURE to join the New England RepRap Google+ Community.. At the time of this post (August 8th, 2013) we have 128 members (597 people have the page in their circles).


That seems like a good place to stop. This catches us up to the events of February 26th 2012 (whereas today is actually August 8th 2013). For anyone that’s particularly confused by the delay – future spoiler: we just had our SECOND New England RepRap meetup in July 2013.. but the blog hasn’t caught up to that yet! 🙂 ).

One Response to “Four, no, 32 months.. part 12 of ?”

  1. Tony Buser says:

    LOL Yes, a Mendel cannot contain my big head. 🙂

    Also: tldr; should go at the top, not the bottom of a long article. 😉

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