Four, no, 33 months.. part 15 of ?

It all starts with a clean table.

That’s how my RepRap started – I cleaned off a bit of table to work on. And that’s how my setup for Makerfaire NY 2012 went. I needed a table.

In this case, I owe that table (and the room it was in) to my wife Laurie (thanks Laurie!). Last September (2012) as I was getting ready to exhibit at Makerfaire NY for the first time, I decided I needed to do a mock setup of my table. Laurie sensed my need for more space and cleaned out the adjoining “room” in the basement from where I’ve been working (which had previously held dangerously high piles of stuff).

Once the room was usable, I set up my mock table:

Here’s that same room from the other direction

I did a quick trip to Home Depot and bought new bulbs for the light in that room, a portable tool bag, some more zip ties, etc. Then I moved my RepRap to the table:

My tool bag:

I’d also pack a huge duffle bag with the larger things like the laptop and power strips.

There’s not too much narrative after this, just me going through pictures from last year to see which are worth posting.

I’d forgotten this, but I made a metal piece to rest on top of my extruder so the PTFE tube that my filament was going through (from the spool) had a place to stop before being chewed up by the extruder:

[EDIT: I found a movie about that which I hadn’t included in the post initially:


Then after grabbing a blob of PLA off of the print bed, I noticed that it bent light and acted like a lens.

After the power came back on, it was back to work.

In the last post I talked about how I’d made a metal brace for the bottom of the cold end of my extruder, to more strongly hold up the M3 rods that hold up the PEEK block that holds up the nozzle.

Well, it turns out to have been a bad idea to make that out of metal (at least when combined with the other bad idea of printing my X-carriage out of PLA!). Here is what I’d noticed had happened to the OpenX carriage – it melted!

Despite knowing that the issue was caused by having a PLA carriage, I apparently printed another one, just so I’d have something to work (but that I knew would eventually melt). That’s tough to believe now, but that’s what the photos and movies show. Maybe I thought that the heat was only slightly contributing to the warp – who knows. So I built another one, and optimistically declared that it would work better despite being ugly:

Something was awfully wrong after that. I almost wanted to skip this next video, except that it does capture a desperate version of me trying to rattle off into the camera all of the theories and things that I’ve checked, hoping that I could someday diagnose what’s wrong. I’ll include it with that context: I had no idea what was wrong:

At one point in that movie I’d postulated that maybe it was because of the brittle plastic. I tested that theory next by using some other sample plastic that threw in one of my orders (thanks Johnny!). This was the first colored plastic that I ever extruded out of my RepRap:


Then later in the print I found that layers further up were printing okay, whereas the first layers had been awful.

Then was this picture.. Check out the metal plate above the carriage (look for the blue bit between the x-carriage and the metal) – you can see it going up at an angle! Clearly that PLA carriage had melted too:

It turns out I noticed it back then too:

Here’s the horrible print that came out of that. The lower layers were far worse than the upper ones:

I made a replacement support piece out of MDF instead of metal, so it wouldn’t conduct heat and melt the carriage. If I remember correctly, after the video above I held the extruder up straight while it cooled, leaving the PLA carriage somewhat flat and unbent. Then I put the MDF version on instead.

I finally decided to open up my next real spool of PLA. I used the last of the green to print an absolutely awful (but functional) spool holder, and mounted the spool.

The prints were better with the MDF (but still not as awesome as my older prints had been with a Wade’s extruder and a traditional groove-mount style mounting). The blue print was the newest of these:

Here’s another “sad xmas tree” I tried printing (which had worked great in the old days out of ABS on the Makerbot, but which I hadn’t printed well in PLA). I still didn’t, since I still didn’t have a fan. At least the bottom layers looked nice:

I printed a filament guide which replaced the metal thing I’d made:

I’m surprised to see that I tried printing a fan mount, because I didn’t use it back then:

Then I tried printing another version of the OpenX carriage, which I ultimately never used (I may have just forgotten). Still out of PLA (facepalm).

Then while trying to print a large gear, I had a problem with the large gear on my extruder (and I had to dig into the printed set of parts for my eventual 2nd RepRap):

I was later able to print this (which my eyes today don’t see as usable, but they did a year ago):

I put it back on the pile to replace the spare I’d borrowed:

At work I was supposed to do some talk, and I asked if anyone minded if I did one totally unrelated to work – I wanted to dry-run my Makerfaire RepRap presentation. Work was fine with that. I created a powerpoint presentation, packed my RepRap in my car, and drove it to work.

During the presentation I had it printing a bottle opener (out of the new blue PLA I was using). Here was the final product:

One week later, I would go to Makerfaire NY 2012 and exhibit my RepRap in public for the first time. That was one year ago.

[EDIT #2: Here’s another video I missed in the initial post, of me at the end talking about getting ready for Makerfaire NY 2012:


Back then I blogged about [Makerfaire NY 2012] out-of-sequence (when I was a year behind). If you’re reading along, chronologically this would be a good time to go back and read that post (actually, read it even if you already read it – it’s a great post!):

Makerfaire NY 2012: Booth 8736 (My RepRap!)

Rather than deciding now what the next blog post will be, I’ll save that decision for after Makerfaire 2013 next week. We’ll see if I blog about that one out-of-sequence too, or if I use it as motivation to completely and totally catch up. Man I hate being behind. Today is September 14 2013, and now the blog is caught up all the way to September 30th 2012 (so I’m behind by less than a year!! 😀 )

If you’re within a reasonable distance to Queens New York, come see me next week at Makerfaire NY 2013! I’m booth #10895. It’s on September 21st and 22nd. I’ll be at the 3D Printer Village. I hope to see you there!

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