Sunday, April 22, 2012

2 Cubic Meter preview

Vertex support for Misumi 5 series extrusions, hoping to have the rest of the modeling done for the repraped parts done in the next two weeks. During that time hopefully the first generation printer will be up and running so I can use it to print the parts for this. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Printing underway

It's about as exciting as watching paint dry, but after some odd bugs going from standard units in Catia to metric in replicatorg the first dog bone is under way!

Side Project: Science!

Getting ready for a long night with the printer. Tomorrow going to be testing dog bones for compressive and tensile strength so printing those as we speak. Looking forward to testing different fill types and comparing PLA, ABS, and HDPE.

As for the big machine now that Ultimaker is temporarily set up here, as soon as I get my next shipment of filament in I'll start printing parts for that. On that front I've decided to go the linear bearing route. Will be posting about that in the near future.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hardware Order

Got my order in from McMaster today. I have to say I was surprised by that since I only ordered on Wednesday night about 8pm.
Hardware, got my smooth rods and threaded rods. Figuring out how to accurately cut my smooth rods to length will be something I'm going to have to tackle.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I got home from class today to find a surprise, my extrusions from Misumi. I have to say I'm impressed, I was not expecting the turn around time to be so quick. I suspect that the fact that where they were shipping from in Illinois is under 150 miles away helped to expedite things but still.
The extrusions were well entombed in plastic film wrap and bubble wrap.
A 500mm, 540mm, and 620mm extrusion for size comparison.
Look down the extrusion. Next up more hardware, motors, and printed parts!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

First Steps

I suppose as a first post the logical place to start is an introduction. I'm Zach, and the purpose of this blog is to chronicle my work on what will hopefully be several generations of 3D printers working my way up to the goal of producing a 3d printer with a multiple cubic meter build volume that utilizes automated fiber integration and resin deposition to produce cheap, precise, and strong composite parts.

Why? I'm glad you asked, for starters because if you can print composite parts you can dramatically reduce the time required and skill set need to build experimental aircraft. I'm sure one of the reasons Rutan named the LongEz that is because they often times take a decade to complete. Slightly more ambitious is I would like to demonstrate printing cryogenic compatible composite tanks suitable for space applications. Space is my end goal, as evidenced by the title of the blog. In the long term future I'd like to try and experiment with printing using analog materials (lunar and martian regolith simulant) to demonstrate insitu manufacturing techniques for use on the moon and Mars.

I chose today to start this blog because I just order the extrusions for my first generation device, which is going to be a scaled version of a MendelMax. I order the extrusions from Misumi, I'll be following the basic MendelMax design but I've scaled the design by adding 200mm to the extrusions. This will necessitate changes to the Y carriage as well as other minor changes but I will document those as they occur in the build. Generation zero will be a stock Ultimaker owned by my friend David which will allow me to print the 'repraped' parts needed for this first build.