The Reprap Project

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The Make Lehigh Valley Reprap project began in March 2013 with the decision to match $250 in donations with $250 in space funds for a $500 budget to purchase the parts and build a Reprap Mendel Prusa i2 3D Printer. Donations were raised via WePay here.

[edit] Build Info

What follows is the documentation of our funding, parts sourcing, and build experience. This page in no way intends to replace the complete Reprap reference found at Reprap.org.


Given the open design, there are many decisions to make throughout the Reprap build process. I have tried to lay out this list below based on my personal Reprap project experience. The information below is also specific to the Prusa Mendel i2 Reprap design.

The following are the general categories of components for a reprap. Many of the suggested parts sources are eBay sellers, however they are all long-term auctions and all sources from US sellers with the exception of the StepStick drivers as they are not widely available. Any alternate sources/suggestions are much appreciated!


Current Parts Total $435


The Frame

The frame is comprised of the threaded rod joined together at all the proper angles by the plastic printed parts made by another printer. The frame also includes all of the washers, nuts, and screws to hold everything together. For the purposes of simplification, bearings have been put in the "movement" category.

PartDescriptionApprox PriceSource
Printed Parts Set A set of printed reprap parts from the git repo. $0 Thanks Tony!
Threaded/Smooth Rods M8 (8mm) Threaded rod and 8mm precision-ground smooth rod, used for the frame & to accept bearings $75 eBay
Hardware Kit All the nuts, bolts and washers necessary for assembly. Breakout here. $30 eBay


Movement

The parts surrounding movement are all of the bearings to which the print beds and extruder are mounted. Also in this category are the belts for moving the x & y axis, the pulleys that attach to the stepper motors to move those belts, and the "skate" bearings which allow the belt guides to rotate on the threaded rod. There are also two pieces of threaded rod that are attached to the two z-axis motors, which act as a lead screw to move the x-carriage up and down creating the z-axis.

PartDescriptionApprox PriceSource
LM8UU Linear Bearings (10) The bearings that slide onto the precision-ground rod $20 eBay
608 "Skate" Bearings (3) Used on the threaded rod as belt guides $10 eBay
2000mm T2.5 Belt To be cut into two pieces, used for movement on the x & y axis $25 eBay
16-tooth T2.5 Pulley (2) These attach to the shafts of the stepper motors and drive the belts $0 Included Above


Print Beds

The print beds are two plates that are mounted one of top of the other, then connected to a belt which pulls the plates back and forth on top of the smooth rods. This creates the y-axis. Mounted on top of these two print beds is a heated bed, which is simply a PCB covered in traces, and then usually some surface on top of the heated bed which accepts warm plastic well - like glass or kapton tape.

PartDescriptionApprox PriceSource
225mm x 225mm Print Top Plate The top plate on which the headed bed is mounted $0 Thanks Jared!
225mm x 140mm Print Bottom Plate Mounted on the y-axis bearings, y-axis belt connects here $0 Thanks Jared!
215mm x 215mm Heated Bed PCB with serpentine trace pattern which heats up, mounts to print top plate $20 eBay
225mm x 225mm Glass Piece of glass to clamp to heated bed PCB for final print surface 0$ at MakeLV


Electronics

Options abound for controlling a reprap, but our decision is to use an Arduino Mega with a shield called RAMPS. The RAMPS shield plugs into the female headers on the Arduino Mega and contains the MOSFET transistors and associated circuitry to satisfy the high current requirements of the motors, heated bed and hot end. In addition to the Mega and RAMPS shield, we will need four Pololu-compatible stepper motor drivers and five stepper motors in a NEMA 17 package. There are five motors and four drivers as the two z-axis motors use the same driver. The other drivers handle the x-axis, y-axis, and push the filament through the extruder. The endstops allow the system to reset it's position in 3D space.

PartDescriptionApprox PriceSource
NEMA 17 Stepper Motors (5) 1 x-axis, 1 y-axis, 2 z-axis, 1 extruder. 13.7Ncm of holding torque required. See the Reprap.org Motor List $50 eBay
Arduino Mega The brains behind the controls $25 eBay
RAMPS Shield A shield for the Mega that provides all the connections for the motors, extruder, bed, etc. Source is DIY kit w/pre-soldered SMD $50 eBay
Stepper Motor Drivers (4) These plug into the RAMPS shield to drive the stepper motors, A4988 StepStick/Pololu Compatible $50 eBay
Opto Endstop PCBs (3) The bare PCBs for the opto-switched end stops for each axis $10 Ultimachine
Opto Endstop Components (3) The components to be soldered to the endstop PCBs. A switch, resistors, LEDs, etc. Parts list here $0 Thanks Jared!


Extruder/Hotend

Our initial idea is to purchase a hotend/extruder kit. The printed parts to assemble the extruder are included in the previous line item under the Frame heading. The hardware comes with the hardware kit. We'll find anything else we need around the space, hopefully.

PartDescriptionApprox PriceSource
Makergear Hotend A complete hotend kit designed for a hinged extruder (our choice, instead of "Wade's") $80 Ultimachine
Hive76 Milled Bolt A custom-made bolt used for the pinch mechanism to feed plastic filament into the extruder $10 Ultimachine

[edit] Progress

The parts are coming in and I am starting some building.

The ramps board has been soldered together.

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