March 4, 2013 - kenshinjeff
3d printing kit recommendations
It’s been a long time since I’ve last blogged, I’ve been so busy with work, weddings, friends and whatnot.
Recently, or more specifically, after form1’s kickstarter, I got interested in 3d printers. It got me wondering how much money exactly would it cost to make one myself, and I started digging. Turns out that there has been an open sourced 3d printer with blueprints and all, readily available for you to make. It’s called a reprap, and the current iteration looks something like this:
In my opinion, the open sourced version is not “ready” for the mass market per se, it’s more for the hobbyists who like to tinker. I like the philosophy of repraps, which is open sourced, can print out parts to replicate another 3d printer, and mainly the goal to reduce costs to enable everyone to have a 3d printer at home. It shouldn’t be too long before canon/hp/xerox starts to sell 3d printers.
I shall not bore everyone with technical details on 3d printing, not because it is difficult subject, but mainly because as an open sourced project, all the branches are really messed up with new developments every now and then, and an extremely hard to follow wiki page. So what I did to get into 3d printing was to read everything, quite a few times before I started. And then re-read everything. LOL. Then again, the benefits of an open sourced hardware project is that schematics are available online and you are free to expand and modify your own machines with parts that are reasonably available. Trust me, it was much harder to recompile a linux kernel correctly 15 years ago then it is now. Given that the reprap project is about 5 years old, the tested and proven prusa mendel is about 2 years old, I foresee a lot of progress will take place in the coming 2 years.
As of March 2013, the most popular version kit is still the Prusa Mendel Iteration 2, and try PLA instead of ABS.
If you think you could spend countless hours assembling a printer, purchase complete kits from these folks, they have good instructions (from what I can see):
– reprappro mendel (the “original” maker from uk)
– mendel90 from nophead (pro and active participant with experience with machines on reprap forums)
– makerfarm’s prusa kit (great support from what I’ve seen)
– makergear’s prusa kit (great support from what I’ve seen)
If you think you want to spend more time printing than assembling, try buying assembled machines from these folks.
Regardless of the choices that you make, you’ll still be able to learn lots about electronics, printing and stuff. Personally, I have decided to go with a mendel90 and after I get that to work properly, I’ll be making a prusa mendel i2, followed by one of the other models with aluminum extrusions, and hopefully a deltabot. At the end of the day, I should be able to comfortably make and assemble machines. Theoretically, at least LOL.