Notes on experiments with CNC machines - e.g., the Reprap open-source 3D printer

Recent prints

After switching to a J-head nozzle, and making a few other adjustments, the machine is extruding more consistently. Most of the parts shown in the photographs below were printed at a layer height of approximately 250 micron - some slightly lower. The prints of Sapphos head were an experiment in high-resolution printing, with layer heights of 85 micron in one case and 55 micron in another. When I tried to go below this there were artifacts in the prints.


More test prints

After changing some settings in the gcode generator I'm using (Slic3r), the quality of prints is slightly better. There is still lots of room for improvement though. E.g. compare these prints to what Richrap or NumberSix is printing.


Reprap - electronics

Generation 7 Electronics

I am using Markus Hitter's Generation 7 electronics.


Introduction to Reprap - an open-source 3D printer

Reprap is an open-source 3D printer that turns CAD models of objects into physical objects. There are different technologies for 3D printing. The particular technology that Reprap uses is called "fused-deposition modelling" (FDM) or "fused-filament fabrication" (FFF). It is limited to the use of thermoplastic materials.


Reprap - motors

The stepper motors are NEMA 17 motors. Five are required for a Prusa Mendel Reprap - one for the X axis, Y axis and extruder, and two for the Z axis.


Reprap hot-end

Initially, I was going to order a Makergear hot-end from the US, but - at approx. 90 euro after postage - it was quite expensive for a hot-end alone (i.e. not including the rest of the extruder) so I changed my mind and resolved to at least try to build one myself. I could have sourced cheaper hot-ends from somewhere in Europe, but I had already acquired the rest of the extruder parts at this stage - and thus limited my choices of hot-end.


Reprap - to-date

To date

I started working on the project a few months ago. Due to college, however, I haven't been able to devote much time to it.

I have used Gary Hodgson's visual instruction manuals: . They are well-written and the images to supplement the instructions make a huge difference.