Tantillus Reprap Build Part 1

Ever since I finished building my first Reprap from a kit I’ve been wanting to build one “from scratch”, using my first printer to make as much of the second printer as possible (in the Reprap tradition).  Of the designs that were floating around at the time, the one that captured my interest the most was the Tantillus .  I’ve made several attempts to print the parts needed to build the Tantillus, most times resulting in either parts that were not good enough, or breaking my original printer, so I would get frustrated, forget about it for a few months and then try again.

Over this time a lot of cool new designs have emerged, and each time I get inspired to print another printer, I consider what’s out there as well as designing something new from scratch.  Each time I find myself back at the Tantillus. There are plenty of practical reasons why (mostly because it addresses most of the problems I’ve had with my original printer) but I think it also strikes a balance between functional and aesthetic beauty that I find compelling.

So yesterday I decided to take another go at it after fixing a Y-axis issue on my current printer.  The results speak for themselves:

Inline image 1

On the success of this I printed the next big part of the Tantillus and again, success !

Inline image 2

This was inspiration enough to take another run at building the Tantillus printer.  While much of the printer is “printable”, there are of course plenty of “minerals” that will need to be tracked down, and it’s a little tempting to simply order all these bits online, but one of my main interests in building a second printer this way is to avoid the pitfalls of the “kit” approach, and really experience the ultimate goal of the Reprap project, which is to create printers that can be reproduced “in-the-field”, using only printed and readily-available parts.

So instead of placing a few online orders, first I’m going to scavenge as much as I can out of my own “inventory” (i.e., the buckets of scrap in the laboratory).  I’ll also hit-up my hardware-hacker co-horts for surplus that I don’t have in my own reserves.  Next I’ll try to find any remaining components within “bicycle distance” from home, and consider fabricating anything that I can’t find locally.  If after all that there’s still things I need (I expect some of the electronics, etc.) then I’ll resort to ordering online, but I really want to see how close I can get to finishing the project using the things I print, recycle or source around town.

I’ll be posting updates here as the project progresses, and I’ll be keeping track of the parts hunt in this Google spreadsheet for those of you who want to follow along.  If you have any recommendations for parts sources or feel free to pass them along or share your own build stories on Preposterous (yes I’m planning to mention Preposterous in every post, part of the dogfood effort :).

- Jason