We’re a US-centric site, but aside from events in New York or California, we don’t see many hacker, maker, or 3D printer events aimed at the parts of the country filled with corn and WalMarts. The 1st annual Midwest RepRap Festival aims to change that with enough events, speakers, and activities to make Elkhart, Indiana look like the hoppingist place around.
Officially, the festival started yesterday but the schedule of events really ramps up today. [Josef Prusa] will be taking the stage talking about the state of the RepRap, and a ton of 3d printing vendors will be there showing off their wares and selling some really cool stuff. There’s also tons of experienced RepRappers available to help you tune your machine to perfection; just as well, because the festival is going for the world record for the greatest number of 3D printers printing simultaneously.
If you’re around northern Indiana, you might want to check out the festival and send us a few pics or videos.
It may just be another 3D printer, but [Jonas] and [Simon]’s Kühling & Kühling RepRap Industrial is a cross between a work of art and a beautiful machine tool. It also looks to be a pretty nice 3D printer, to boot.
The Kühling RepRap is built out of 20mm t-slot aluminum with plastic sides that keep the machine’s internals at a toasty 70° C, just about the optimal temperature for making large, complex prints. The machine has two extruders with all the cables tucked away in 3D printed cable carriers. One really interesting bit of innovation is the tool less belt t tensioning system.
On the list of upcoming features, [Jonas] and [Simon] say they want to add a touch screen controller powered by a Raspberry Pi, and a controller that’s even more capable than RAMPS electronics boards. No word on how much a Kühling & Kühling RepRap will cost, but like any quality-looking tool, we don’t expect it to be cheap.
Midwesterner’s should take note — here’s an event that’s happening somewhere other than New York or California! We jest, of course there are great events in the Midwestern states every year, like the Kanasas City or Detroit Maker Faires. This event puts focus on 3D printing. The Midwest RepRap Festival will be held in Elkhart, Indian March 15-17, 2013. Despite the name, the event is meant to encompass all things involved with any brand, make, or variety of 3D printing.
The owners of a local business called The Royal Phoenix have opened their doors for the weekend. Organizers have arranged for [Josef Prusa] and [Johnny R] to speak. There will also be build events (one session will show the build process of the MendelMax 2.0) so feel free to bring your own equipment for help with construction or getting it dialed in.
There is no registration fee, or tickets. But it would be best if you did fill out the questionnaire so they have some semblance of how many people might be coming.
After you’ve got your Reprap running smoothly with acceptable resolution and good quality prints, the next order of business for any 3D printer hobbyist is headless printing. While the greatest and newest 3D printers come with controls to allow jogging, homing, temperature control, and printing from an SD card, the home-built versions will require an add-on attached to the electronics board. [Marco] has been spending his time improving the character LCD control panel projects we’ve seen for Repraps with an awesome graphical version that emulates the control interface found in the Pronterface control software.
The biggest problem with adding a control interface to a Reprap is the number of pins available on the electronics board. While an electronics board like RAMPS has enough spare I/O pins to drive a display, other boards such as the Sanguinololu and the Melzi are extremely limited in their expansibility. To get around this limitation, [Marco] used a 4D Systems serial touchscreen display.
This display only requires two pins to fully interact with a printer running the Marlin firmware; the graphical processing, communication, and SD card access is handled by the on-board PICASO micocontroller, leaving the ATMega on the electronics board free for important things like printing stuff out of plastic.
[Marco] has a git full of modified Marlin firmware and firmware for the 4D Systems display. There’s also a neat printed case for the display, making a very professional-looking standalone controller a weekend project instead of a months-long ordeal.
Thanks [Antonio] for sending this one in.
And then Obi-wan said, “you were supposed to be the chosen one!”
Yesterday, a little bird told us Makerbot will be moving to a closed source model for their newest printer. This was confirmed, and now [Zach Smith] a.k.a. [Hoeken] – creator of the RepRap Research Foundation and co-founder of Makerboth Industries is weighing in with his take on the situation.
Hey! Free stuff!
Remember that DIP28 ARM chip with BASIC? Remember how I told you Coridium will be giving a few hundred away as samples? Yeah, that’s happening now.
Replacing a scroll wheel with titanium
[Rhett] has been using a Logitech mouse for a few years now. Recently the scroll wheel became corroded, so [Rhett] replaced it with a titanium version. The perfect match for the trusty battle axe, theIBM Model M keyboard.
Web-based IDE for the Raspi
[Phil Torrone] sent in a video of something he and [ladyada] are working on. It’s a web-based IDE for the Raspberry Pi. We’ll do a full review of this when it’s released.
Intro to software defined radio
So you have one of those TV tuner dongles and want to get in to software defined radio. Where do you start? [Al Williams] over at Dr. Dobbs has a great introduction to SDR, and gives a few pointers that should help you get that cool looking waterfall plot very quickly. Thanks for sending this in, [Chris].
Instead of dedicating his laptop to control his RepRap all night, [Walter] is using a Raspberry Pi as an Internet-enabled front end for his 3D printer.
Before [Walter] got his hands on a Raspberry Pi, he set up his laptop next to his RepRap and let the machine do its work for hours on end. Obviously, this tied up his laptop for a while so when his Raspi was delivered he was eager to offload the responsibilities of controlling a printer to his new Linux board.
Right now, [Walter] has his Raspberry Pi set up as a web interface able to control his printer similar to Pronterface. We have to note that the Raspberry Pi isn’t driving servos or feeding filament onto the bed; those responsibilities are still handled by the RepRap electronics, but the ability to use a 3D printer over the web is still pretty cool.
[Walter] is putting the finishing touches on his 3D printer web interface, after which he’ll upload everything onto the git. Planned features for future updates include uploading gcode from the web and an option to connect a webcam for visual feedback when controlling a remote printer.
Video demo after the break.
Continue reading “3D printer control for the Raspi”
Multicolor 3D printers have been around for a while, but most of these machines – like the Makerbot Replicator – suffer from alignment problems and the inability to mix colors on the fly. [RichRap] came up with an interesting solution to this problem by having three filament extruders feed into a single hot end, allowing him to change and mix colors on the fly.
To print in multiple colors, [RichRap] developed a three-extruder x carriage that sends colored filament to a single hot end. Unlike the Makerbot Replicator, [Rich]’s extruder can mix and blend different colors into each layer of a print.
The electronics portion of the build, [RichRap] controlled the X, Y, and Z axes of his printer with a RAMPS board, but used a slightly modified Sanguinololu board for the extruder motors. A single motor driver for the extruders is connected to a trio of toggle switches, allowing [RichRap] to switch between filaments on the fly.
[Rich] has a very cool build on his hands, but it’s far from a perfect solution. Right now, any one of the three colors can be used to print, but printing with two or three colors simultaneously requires a change in the firmware. We expect someone to solve this problem in the near future, allowing the holy grail of a CMYK print head to come to fruition.
You can see a demo video of [RichRap]’s tri-color print head after the break.
Continue reading “Multicolor print head allows RepRap to print rainbows”