Building Rostock 3D printer (part 2 – prep work)

After taking a cursory look at the instruction manual, I got the impression that for me, the assembly problems would be in the initial prep work.  More on this in a few paragraphs…

Prep work consists in assembling the hot end, heating plate and power supply.

First, the hot end assembly.  Technically, it could have been done later but since it needs a drying time (24 hours), it should be dealt with first.

Assembly consists in inserting a couple of resistors in specially made pockets and cover them with RTV paste.  It also involves gluing a thermistor on this element using the same RTV paste.

The RTV paste is a heat conductor and it ensures the best transfer of the resistor’s heat to the heating element.   You want to make sure that there are no air bubbles in the paste… It should be paste through and through so that there is the least amount of heat dissipation as possible.  Not sure what the best way is for this.  The way I did it was to put a lot of paste in,  I also spun the resistors when I put them in… My hope is that this will break any air bubble formation… might be wrong on this.  (I’m looking in getting a thermometer to verify if I did a good job with this)

You can see on the following picture the two resistors (the leads) on the edges of the hot end.  The thermistor is glued in the middle.

This is where things get a little bit tougher… It involves soldering… I’m a software guy… 😦   That being said, there’s nothing quite complex here.  Once again, there’s a thermistor to glue in the middle of the plate.  There’s a resistor and a led too.  The only thing that was a little bit more difficult was the plate’s connector themselves.  The heating plate is quite good a dissipating heat so “tinning” it was a little bit more difficult.  On a  recommendation from a colleague, I preheated the plate a little bit (put it in the oven at low heat)…  It seems to have helped but I’m unsure if I would recommend doing this.  In any case, after this step, the heating looked as follows:

The power supply assembly was quite easy.  I think that SeeMeCNC was previously using an ATX power supply.  You had to cut a few wires from it.  The new power supply is quite nice.  It has a back panel that’s easy to wire in… and no connectors to remove.   The power supply is low profile and seems sturdy enough.  Quite happy with it.

Building Rostock 3D printer (part 1 – first thoughts)

I took my first step in building my 3D printer last week.  I am far from being a hardware guy, this is a personal challenge… it’s pushing me out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing…

Reminder to myself:  I’m going to take my time building this.  I’ll follow the instructions and don’t rush things…

So opening the box, I get this:

Four things can be seen here (from top to bottom and left to right):

  • Laser cut melamine sheets (skeleton for the printer)
  • Power supply box
  • Electronics parts (Rambo controller, etc)
  • Other parts (screws, bearings, etc).

I got everything out of the boxes, inventoried the components and put them in containers.  Everything seems to be there.  It’s a good way to start.

Note that there are a number of things you need to get prior to starting the assembly.  Amongst these, you need Kapton tape and RTV paste, both of which were quite hard to find in my neck of the woods.  These are not sold at my local “Home Depot”.  I was lucky enough to have a work colleague who had both of these.

The instructions provided by SeeMeCNC are quite good. The instruction manual (139 pages) is quite detailed and has a number of helpful links to checkpoint videos that allow you to ensure that you are not screwing things up.  They basically take you by the hand and guide you through the process.

Let’s start building!

Book Review: “Show your work: 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered”

Loved it! It’s a short book that can be summarized as “a manifesto for creative types”. The “be good enough, that they can’t ignore you” is simply not enough. You can’t stay in the consciousness of people if you only show the result of the creative process. You need to show how things get done. As the book states, people do care “how the sausage is made”. You need to participate!!

Highly recommend the book (4.5/5 stars)

Notes and comments:

  • Scenius: Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals—artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers—who make up an “ecology of talent.”
  • Creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds. (Take Leonardo, he was a great creator but never forget that he was in apprenticeship for years before striking out on his own).
  • The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn and make a commitment to learning it in front of others.
  • Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.
  • The only way to find your voice is to use it.
  • One day you’ll be dead. (I highlighted this, because first, it’s true, second start acting now!)
  • Become a documentarian of what you do. Start a work journal: Write your thoughts down in a notebook, or speak them into an audio recorder. Keep a scrapbook. Take a lot of photographs of your work at different stages in your process. Shoot video of you working. This isn’t about making art, it’s about simply keeping track of what’s going on around you. Take advantage of all the cheap, easy tools at your disposal—these days, most of us carry a fully functional multimedia studio around in our smartphones.
  • “Stock and flow” is an economic concept that writer Robin Sloan has adapted into a metaphor for media: “Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people you exist. Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.” (I love the idea of stock and flow)
  • A blog is an ideal machine for turning flow into stock: One little blog post is nothing on its own, but publish a thousand blog posts over a decade, and it turns into your life’s work.
  • Your website doesn’t have to look pretty; it just has to exist.
  • Whether you’re telling a finished or unfinished story, always keep your audience in mind. Speak to them directly in plain language. Value their time. Be brief. Learn to speak. Learn to write. Use spell-check. You’re never “keeping it real” with your lack of proofreading and punctuation, you’re keeping it unintelligible.

Building Rostock 3D printer (part 0 – off of bucket list!)

I’ve had this dream for about 3 years now.  I want a 3D printer!  Whenever my wife asks me “What do you want it for?”  I keep giving answers like:  “Ah, you’ll see…” or “It’s a secret…”.  The matter of fact though is that I don’t know really know what I want it for.  I do have a few ideas, but nothing concrete… and certainly not something that justifies spending that much money.  Here’s the thing though,  my dad bought an Apple IIe when I was a kid and I’m pretty sure he didn’t know what he was going to do with it either.  Ultimately, he found many reasons to use it, games, business, and even software development.  I’m pretty sure that he told my mom that this would be “good for the kids”.  Not sure he truly believed it but ultimately it did foster my interest in computers.

So why buy one now? I had put some conditions on me buying it.  The printer bought should:

  • Be of decent quality;
  • Be open source;
  • Cost less than $1000
  • Preferably be kit based

(The last condition I decided upon because I really want to understand the guts of the system.  A kit is the easiest way to truly “grok” how something works… it also decreases the overall price and therefore should allow for greater component quality)

In any case, those conditions were finally met with the Rostock Max V2 model.  It was voted by Make magazine as the best quality price 3D printer out there.  It is totally built from open source parts and on top of this can come either pre-assembled or as a kit.  The kit version of the system is quoted at $999.

So there you go.  Now, the building starts…

Here’s what it looks like now: