The RepRap is alive!

I have previously written about my RepRap build, now its starting to come together. The last part I need before i can make my first print is the hotend that I’ve ordered from www.hotends.com

I use a RAMPS 1.4 board that, I ordered from 3D Gadgets, to control the stepper motors. RAMPS is an Arduino based RepRap controller that you can flash with several different firmwares. My first try was Marlin which seems to work fine. Since I dont have any hotend and temperature sensor I had to make some firmware hacks to get the thing moving. But I did!

And some picture of how it looks right now.

Picture of my RepRap
My RepRap including motors and RAMPS controller. It’s just put together to see if it works.

The steppers are pretty small but I got them very cheap. Let’s hope the have enough power not to loose steps while printing. A worst case solution could be to crank up the current and put heatsinks on them, or just buy bigger ones.

RAMPS 1.4
The RAMPS (RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield) 1.4 controller loaded with Marlin firmware.

RAMPS 1.4 have 5 Pololu stepper drivers to be able to control X, Y, Z, E0 & E1.I only use one extruder and the Z axis have two motors connected in paralell on one of the driver. Maybe I’ll change the firmware so I can use one driver for each motor instead, but I don’t think that is necessary right now since the load on the Z-axis is very low.

Z-Motor
One of the stepper motors controlling the Z-axis
Y-Motor
The motor controlling the Y-axis
X-carriage
The carriage and extruder moving in the X-axis
X-Endstop
Each axis have a mechanical microswitch for endstop.

Right now I only have 3 endstops which is enough for the controller to find the home position (coordinate 0, 0, 0). It’s probably safer to have 6 endstops, one for each end of each axis, maybe I’ll add 3 more in the future.

Extruder
The extruder which push the plastic filament through the hotend
Extruder-top
Top view of the extruder, you could see the hobbed bolt inside which grips the filament

I use Wade’s Geared Extruder I hope my small stepper motors are strong enough for this extruder.

Filament
A 1 kg roll of white 3 mm PLA filament

I will start out with PLA plastic for my first prints, from what I’ve read I think ABS is more likely to warp because of uneven cooling. I think PLA will work great until I have my heatbed working.

Updates on the RepRap build

Last week I received 5 NEMA 17 stepper motors for my Prusa Mendel RepRap. They are pretty small and I’m a bit worried that they will be to weak for some parts of the printer (mainly the extruder) but I have to wait and see.

I also ordered a complete RAMPS kit and 1 kg of plastic filament from 3D Gadgets. The shipment from china with FedEx was super fast but since I work office-hours it seems impossible for FedEx to deliver it to me.

I hope I’ll find a solution to get my package and will post some pictures on both RAMPS and the steppers when it arrives.

I also discovered that I could run the whole RepRap on 24 V using RAMPS or that I could divide it so the steppers and extruder run on 12 V using the 5 A fuse on the board and the heatbed running on 24 V using the 11 A fuse allowing me to push 264 W of power into the heatbed. Should be enough.

To buy before first print:

  • Extruder
  • Power supply
  • Endstops
  • Piece of glass to use as print surface.