Over a year ago I started building a RepRap. During that time I’d say it was operational for about four months; the rest of the time was spent troubleshooting, learning, waiting on parts and fixing things (mostly the hot- end).
In the last two weeks things have accelerated tremendously. The key to this success was replacing the Makergear hot-end that came with my kit with a J-Head; after that things started to come together.
Finally back to where we left off before the “headaches”
Once I was able to print for more than a couple minutes I stared to find other areas to improve, and this is where the RepRap really comes into it’s zone, because the RepRap is born to be hacked.
Here’s a list of modifications I’ve made so far:
Added these thumbwheels to make leveling the bed easier (possible?): http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:39459
This fan mount: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:13343
These z-rod isolators to eliminate “ripples” (more on this later): http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:20147
A better z-stop adjuster (attempted twice but still failed to print): http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:25383
An even better fan (the other mount doesn’t seem to actually get the air where it needs to go): http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:34387
Another thing to address z-rod wobble: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:34140
The first mod: a thumbwheel to make leveling the bed possible…
I’m still working on addressing the z-wobble. My prints are starting to turn out pretty good but I’m still getting a rib pattern on the walls that seems to come from a bend in the threaded rod that raises and lowers the nozzle. The first thing I printed seem to make this better, but it was still present so I’m trying something more drastic and replacing the threaded rod in the z-axis alltogether. We’ll see how that goes but I may end up going all the way to a proper set of leadscrews to fix it once and for all.
Not bad but…still a bit wavy on the sides
I’m also troubleshooting a problem printing circular overhangs, they tend to get ahead of the nozzle and from the discussions I’ve had this has to do with laying a new layer down while the previous layer is still cooling. I’ve printed an improved fan mount/duct that is supposed to help with this but I’m also going to try and slow down a bit while printing shapes like this to see if it improves.
…one fan duct to rule them all!
This might sound like a bunch of problems but really it’s been a blast to work on. The cool thing about the RepRap is that the more you are willing to do the better it gets; the printer is capable of producing useful parts as-is (otherwise it couldn’t improve itself) so I could just stop and use it (and to some degree I have), but I love to hack and this device, more than anything I can remember working on provides such an awesome reward for someone interested in putting in the extra work.
Of course not all of the prints are serious engineering improvements
I have an album on Google+ where I’m collecting all of my RepRap related photos if you’d like to follow along the adventure visually: RepRap Album .