I got my RepRap to extrude for the first time recently, which was a very exciting step for me. I’m waiting for endstop connectors before I can make a real test print, but I wanted to go ahead and test the extruder anyway (just pushing plastic through in one spot) and here’s what it came up with:
It’s ALIVE!!! I’m sure this is a fairly common refrain among first time makers when they get their printer to follow an order for the first time. But it certainly didn’t work on the first try. Oh no! After all, why would it? Things are never that easy are they?
Well, I’m finished with all my axes… sort of. I kinda mighta sorta installed my X axis on backwards. (!!) The belt that drives the extruder is on the front, while the gears are on the back. I’ve thoroughly inspected it and consulted my trusted advisor (thanks John) and I really don’t think it will be a bigger problem than telling the software that things are reversed.
I believe I may have secured some RAMPS electronics from a local source, so I took a break from coding to finish the Z axis on my printer.
Want to use a stronger language in OpenSCAD? That possibility may not be far off.
I’ve got a basic proof of concept working, and I took the code from here and made a 3d representation of Pascal’s triangle. I’m sure this wouldn’t be too hard in .scad script but I think it was easier in Python. Not just because Python is easy to use, but also because it has a strong user base of folks who like to share code with each other.
What a hack job.
Honestly, that’s the best I can do directly with my hands. Isn’t it a far better use of my time to develop something that I can print effortlessly as many times as I want? Ok, Here's the 3d printer prototype:
I recently found out about a wonderful program called PySCAD. It’s a fork of another program I like called OpenSCAD. Allow me to explain (actually most of these reasons are pulled from here) why I like OpenSCAD and why I like PySCAD even more:
- You don’t need a surgeon’s hands to use OpenSCAD. I can get 100% perfect precision without dragging anything with the mouse.
- OpenSCAD scripts are really nice to use with version control systems like git. Differences between one version and the next is represented as text because an OpenSCAD script is plain text rather than a binary blob.
- With OpenSCAD, you have Infinite undos and you can change something you did at the beginning without modifying what you did more recently.
- With OpenSCAD, you can make repeated patterns trivially; i.e. by copying and pasting text.
PySCAD goes WAY beyond that by adding the full (infinite) power of Python into the mix. The programming language used in OpenSCAD is pretty limited, but with PySCAD you have all the power of Python at your fingertips. I recently ran up against some of those limitations and I’m excited to redo the project with PySCAD.
This part of the assembly turned out to be a lot more trouble than I anticipated. Like a lot of things, it was harder than it looked. The bushings were just way too tight on the Z axis. After two iterations of gluing and then breaking the glue when I tried to slide the Y axis up and down, I decided to try a different approach.