So after years of trying to build things with only a meager selection of tools, I have finally decided to start gathering (and building) the tools necessary for my own workshop. I am also in the process of getting all of my stuff out of storage and trying to finish up a few other projects, so I can't promise super frequent updates, but I will try to keep everyone up to date on major progress. Some of you may have noticed that there are a few open source projects going around that involve rapid prototyping. I have always had an interest in rapid prototyping and the various ways to go about it. You can categorize just about everything into 2 styles: Additive prototyping, and subtractive prototyping. This project is going to be based on the former. Some of the 3D printer groups out there are: RepRap and its cousin project MakerBot Fab@Home I have finally jumped on board and will be participating in building myself an FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printer based on the work of the RepRap group. The latest design is referred to as "Mendel" and is the second generation of their 3d printer. What a completed Mendel looks like One of the unique aspects about the RepRap group's efforts is that the machines are designed to print out their own components. They ultimately hope to be able to build a complete self replicating system but that is still a ways off. However the current design makes extensive use of components that are meant to be created using a rapid prototype machine. Now this does leave us with a chicken and egg situation, there are a couple ways to go about solving this problem. 1. Talk to a friend with a 3D printer or other rapid prototyping system and have them make the parts for you 2. Make your own through some other means (mill, Dremel, whittle, hammer and chisel, etc) 3. Purchase or otherwise acquire a set of parts made by one of the many small businesses that are growing around these communities. Lucky for me I am in the fortunate position of situation 1 so this makes my life much easier. The rest of the parts are pretty much off the shelf or easily sourced through online retailers. And so the build begins... Index of Updates: July 29, 2010 - Starting to Rapid Prototype the parts July 30, 2010 - Making progress with the printing and an explanation of some of the mechanics August 2, 2010 - Assembly of the X-axis August 19, 2010 - Assembly of portions of the Y-axis and Z-axis September 5, 2010 - Assembly of the frame September 10, 2010 - The Extruder September 20, 2010 - Finishing the Y-axis and adding the drive belts February 4, 2011 - Wiring up the electronics, and keeping them cool. February 5, 2011 - Wiring the extruder, and running the first few prints. February 12, 2011 - Building an enclosure for the printer. April 22, 2011 - Working on the enclosure some more, along with a few more prints August 7, 2011 - Back at it again. August 21, 2011 - Replication!