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OUPower.com • View topic - Homebrew Rapid Prototyping Machines

Homebrew Rapid Prototyping Machines

Do you have a project you're working on that doesn't fit into any of the forums above? Please post about it here.

Homebrew Rapid Prototyping Machines

Postby Cryptonic26 » Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:16 pm

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Postby AlaskaStar » Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:25 am

for home-prototyping in a hurry? i found this great site, and a really good idea! i have heard another version does metal...might be useful for other uses, but the basic idea of going from the computer drawing to a PART-IN-YOUR-HAND, that to me is well worth it, but not for the $25,900.00 price tag!!!

the site is:
http://www.zcorp.com
it looks interesting, but the technique is simple, once it is shown.

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Postby Cryptonic26 » Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:56 am

I'm in the process of building my own SLS equipment for that reason (the outrageous price tag of commercial printers) Its amazing what this kind of stuff goes for these days.. considering that the raw material cost is fractional, and the technology is old (no R&D overhead!!).

$25,900? try less than $2,000 for my design. Should be much cheaper when I get the first one build (In theory, one could build a second machine using parts printed by the first, even the circut boards can be etched by it).

The difference between SLS and the Z-corp printer is that they use powders with a gluelike binder. where SLS doesn't need a binder, and simply fuses the powder together with a spot of heat, selectively fusing the top layer to the one just under it, building the part from the bottom up as a solid structure.

One of the really cool things about the Selective Layer Sintering (SLS) process is that you can use a variety of powders as the stock material. Plastics like nylon and vynle are common, as well as metal powders like aluminum, zinc, pewter, and even STEEL if your equipment is powerful enough to sinter it.

In many cases, you can print out the FINAL PRODUCT by using a stock material that already has the desired properties. Instead of printing, then tooling, then casting like the other (oddly, more common) systems out there.

What I'd like to do once it's all up and running, is to offer an online service for 3D artists, and the individual inventor, so they can have their 3d models (or blueprints) printed and mailed back as a working prototype; at a fraction of the cost of other prototyping services out there.

I'm nearly ready to setup the framing and start tweaking the core concept, Got most of my parts in this week, and my software is finally giving me the output I want... I even know where to get some free stock powder for testing! Albeit, slightly more brittle than I would like.. but I'll see if I can change that, 'cause theres just too many people throwing this stuff away by the ton.

Interested? I love talking about this stuff!
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Postby AlaskaStar » Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:05 am

try this one for the metals....

http://www.prometal.com

this does steel...maybe there's something hotter and cooler at the same time on this one....

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Postby kevinsatterfield » Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:57 pm

Those printers are awsome......last time i looked at those for prototyping they were $40,000...that 2,000 $ idea for home built unit would be gr8!!!!
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Postby AlaskaStar » Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:18 pm

think about being able to literally e-mail a part, have it spit out for somebody?

or maybe you are on a ship, like an aircraft carrier for the navy, and they need a part PRONTO...they just have it e-mailed to them, and it spits out of the printer, ready to use.

or maybe in research...someday, you can send a part to somebody over the internet, and they have it in their hand in hard copy form. like what people are trying to do here verbally.

somethings to think on....

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Postby Cryptonic26 » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:02 pm

absolutely, AS.

Another aspect that I dream of, is a time when ordinary people are producing new technology and innovation faster than the highest payed government R&D labs.

I get very frustrated when I imagine a new idea and my only option is to jot it down in my journal because I dont have the means to fabricate the complex parts required to test it... I dont think I'm alone in that respect.

What happens when you give everyone with ideas the abbility to fabricate any parts they can dream of with the ease of printing a text document? I think a second industrial style revolution should occur!

Remote environments could benifit especially. Space stations, and undersea structures aside, there are many applications for direct product synthisis.

Imagine you're setting up a water irrigation system for a remote desert villiage or somplace cut off from the industrialized world, one of the parts break? Well, you could place an order for it, and have it sent weeks later at great cost, or you could load up your schematic, select the part and hit print.

There is a greater good of instant fabrication here. One just needs to tap it.

Besides, like you said; It would be great for sites like this, if 3D printers become standard equipment in the experimenters home, you'd get a whole new downloads section for 'custom parts'; and believe me, I have a huge list of prints I would contribute to such a database, I'm sure others here do too.

No more fumbling around a hundred websites to find one particular connector/adapter that you need. Just go to a 3d part database, and search for the part you need, download and print. ;) You could possibly even ask someone to build a part file for you!

For me at least, 3D printers open a whole new world of invention.
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Postby kevinsatterfield » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:53 pm

Any one know a simple 3D program (3DS Max) or something similar that seems to be the easiest to learn?
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Postby kevinsatterfield » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:55 pm

would be nice to build a printer like that that could read from something real simple ......
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Postby Cryptonic26 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:16 am

If you dont have any 3D modeling experience, you're in for a semi-steep learning curve. One that can be overcome by a lot of dedicated effort and time.

If you know machine shop, then 3ds is possibly the closest match of the 'popular' softwares. Its quite expensive however.

There are lots of softwares out there that are better suited for mechanical design, 3ds and maya (the ones you'll hear most about) are designed towards artistic modeling and animation, which is really not what you need for this kind of printer.

A program called Rhino is really good for this kind of stuff, in fact it comes with an exporter that can print directly to a stereolithography machine. Its made for commercial product design and archetecture.

Other than that, there are a few that I know of, such as the cad software that you can pick up at an office depot or the like. Seems to be suitable software for general use.

It all comes down to finding the software you're most comfortable with, and taking the time to learn it. You can get free demos for almost all of these softwares from their respective websites if you need to figure out which you like best.
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Postby AlaskaStar » Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:18 am

I prefer AutoCAD R14, which is what i learned in college, while in high school. AutoCAD2000 is quite similar, except for the fact that the "autoSNAP" feature will drive a sane person NUTS!!! "if i don't click it, i don't want it!!!" is what i used to say! and there's NO WAY to turn this feature OFF!! (at least that is what i have been able to ascertain from working the program)

the AutoCAD R14 is easy to use, and even more precise using the text command line. the mouse features in my opinion only slow me down, but then again running any Microsoft operating system with ONLY the keyboard, this drives spectators nuts, because the mouse doesn't move, and yet everything else is! so i guess the mouse has to swallow the cat in this world...

the possibilites are ENDLESS. say for example with this 3-d printer...i wanted to show you something that was next to IMPOSSIBLE to describe verbally...i could just simply e-mail you the model, and it would then be SO MUCH easier to figure out. teaching elements would be so much easier too! i could show examples that everybody could possibly hold in their hand and see. and so could everybody else. this could take technology to WAY PAST the next level of speed of thought.


if you want to e-mail me, and it is your first e-mail to me, please put OUPOWER in the subject line.

my address is :

AlaskaStar2000 (AT) Hotmail (DOT) com

fix it to make it work...

thanks!

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Postby Cryptonic26 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 4:06 am

I know theres nothing quite like holding something real in your hands, but there is an old web technology called VRML that could be useful for sharing models with other folks online.

It was around about 7 years ago, then it just dissapeared into the hype machine. as far as I know it's still supported on IE as a standard plugin.. I may be mistaken, I havnt tried it in years.

Anyhow, the way it worked then was fairly straight forward. many 3d programs allow you to export vrml files (wrl I think it was) and you could load that just like a web page. the web browser would then display the model geometry, and you get a basic exploration tool bar which you can use to rotate and zoom the camera. You could also take the time to program in various interactive elements into the world file if you wanted, but it was great as-is for general display of models.

It has been a while though, so there may be a better 3d web plugin for that now.

Just wanted to point that out in case you had some stuff to share with us ;)
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Postby AlaskaStar » Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:06 pm

hey what program was that????

where do i get one???

i musta missed that one, because i was one of the FEW in my area who was "online" back in 1995, and have been online since.

i watched the internet go from being an endless fountain of knowledge to a fountain of knowledge that you had to keep feeding $20 bills to get to the information, it also became an advertisement, and a big sales pitch for everything from 1 to Z, and beyond.

but anyway i have never encountered one of these VRML/ VLR sites, and it would be a neat way to load up cad drawings for people to look at.

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Postby Cryptonic26 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:18 pm

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Postby Cryptonic26 » Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:23 pm

and yea, I know what you mean. Its not what it used to be.

In many ways the internet is more, and in many ways its less.

I used to enjoy browsing, because you never knew what you were going to get.. now you know that you're going to find at least %20 broken links, %30 advertisment, an array of sites trying to give you a virus, and lots of porn.

Something needs to be done to clean up the www, or its going to become little more than the old town junkyard that has all kinds of great stuff, but noone ever want to go there because its too messy and unorganized.
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