Generation 6 Electronics
Generation 6, or Gen6, can be described as a dedicated, Plug-&-Play, single board solution for FFF/FDM 3D Printers. It is designed to be professionally manufactured, with many small surface mount components, as opposed to Generation 7 which is designed to be printed on a Mendel(among other design goals).
"Generation 6" was chosen because it was the next name on the list, after Gen3, Gen4, Gen5... Generation 7 should, hopefully*, be the last use of this naming convention . If you prefer, you can call this the Mendel-parts.com electronics, or Mendel-parts Gen6, etc. Gen6 is printed on the PCB, so we are stuck with it.
*it is a wiki, after all, so keep your fingers crossed.
|FILE ID#||TYPE||DESCRIPTION||AVAILABLE FORMATS||CREATED/RESERVED BY|
|GEN6_FIRMWARE_v24082010||PDE H||GEN6 - Firmware version: August 24 2010||.zip||--Camiel 19:30, October 4, 2010 (UTC)|
|GEN6_BOM_v1_04102010||XLS ODS CSV||GEN6 - BOM in xls, ods, csv format||.zip||--Camiel 19:00, October 4, 2010 (UTC)|
|GEN6_COMPONENT_LAYOUT_13082010||GEN6 component_layout in PDF (version: 20100813)||--Camiel 19:45, October 4, 2010 (UTC)|
|GEN6_CIRCUIT||GEN6 Circuit in PDF (version: )||--Camiel 23:32, October 4, 2010 (UTC)|
|GEN6_EAGLE_FILES_v1||ZIP||GEN6 Eagle Files (.brd, .sch in a .zip) (version: 04102010)||.zip||--Camiel 23.30, October 4, 2010 (UTC)|
|GEN6_PIN_SPECIFICATIONS||GEN6 Pin specifications in PDF (version: )||--Camiel 13:44, October 23, 2010 (UTC)|
Version 1.0, Released October 4th, 2010, is the latest version.
- Camiel is the lead developer for these new electronics dedicated to Mendel, Post-Mendels and RepStraps. He's often in the IRC channel, if you need to ask a question.
- Buback is an early adopter and is maintaining this page. Feel free to add/delete, though.
Benefits of this Design
- These electronics are a single board solution, so you don't need all those cables and one thick sheet and 4 reprap parts less. However, the thick sheet does add a fair amount of rigidity.
- It has a standard USB connection (USB A>B cable needed)
- It uses micro-stepping (1/8) for quieter operation.
- It is cheaper than for example Makerbot's version of the RepRap Generation 3 electronics.
- It uses small standard Molex connectors for motors, heater, and optos.
- The pcb of the optos are integrated, so you only need the optos on cables with 5way Molex connectors
- on-board USB-RS232 convertor
- Integrated hardware for driving one extruder (stepper, heater and thermistor)
- RS485 bus connector with the possibility to link through the extruder step and dir signals
- Integrated hardware for driving H21LOB slotted optosensors
- High input voltage range: 12-24Vdc
- Use of standard connectors with easy and clean installation
- Debug LEDs for power, communication and heater output
- Reset button
- Dimensions 110x60mm
- Mounting grid: 100x50mm (4x M3)
- Input voltage 12-24Vdc
- On-board controller: ATmega 644 (Atmel Corp.)
- RS485 connector: RJ45
- Heat output: MOSFET output, 4A
- Thermistors input: 100K thermistor
Currently the only supplier is Mendel-parts.com, so instructions are based on their . If you want to make your own, you will, of course, need to load the bootloader and firmware onto the board before you can print.
Since this a single board solution, if anything blows or shorts you will be stuck with a semi-functional board.
- NEVER unplug anything while the board is powered up.
- Take precautions for static electricity.
- Handle the board delicately. don't touch any exposed metal on the board.
Treat it just like you would any electronic component in your computer. In fact, it would be good to enclose the electronics after you have it all set up, just like a computer case or power supply, to prevent accidents.
A modified PC Power supply will work fine. If you would prefer a power brick or 'wall wart' for the power supply 50W should be enough, but 60W is recommended.
The design uses a Euro-style plug and connector, so just strip the wire ends and screw them in place. The board has a + and - label on it, and it's a good idea to use a marker to draw a + and - on the connector plug as well. 0V should go in the - and the other wire in the +.
About the input voltage: 12-24Volts is possible, but the nichrome wire length needs to be changed also if input voltage is not 12V!
please make sure to double check (i.e. CHECK IT TWICE) power input + and - when you connect it to your board.
- One (1) USB A>B cable
Plug it into the board (B end), turn on the power, and plug the into the computer (A end). Windows should auto-detect the USB to serial interface and install the required drivers. If not, Download and install the drivers from here.
- Three (3) 5 wire Molex housing, 2.54 mm, friction ramp, polarized (2659 series, Molex part# 0022013057)
- Fifteen (15) Molex crimp terminals (2759 series, Molex part# 0008550101)
Gen6 currently uses the standard H21LOB optos. Header pinout is as follows:
- - Emitter Cathode
- - Emitter Anode
- - Detector Ground
- - Detector Vo
- - Detector Vcc
The firmware sees a missing endstop as a tripped endstop. If you want to test your steppers prior to installing the endstops you still need to plug the endstops into the Gen6 board. Without any endstops installed the stock firmware will refuse to move each axis in the direction that would be toward the endstop.
Heater and Thermistor
- One (1) 4 wire Molex housing, 2.54 mm, friction ramp, polarized (KK series, Molex part# 0022013047)
- Four (4) Molex crimp terminals (2759 series, Molex part# 0008550101)
Pinouts listed on the PCB:
- NTC (Brown)
- NTC (Black)
- Heat (Yellow)
- Heat (Clear or gray)
Pin 1 is furthest from the power connector and closest to the edge of the board, Pin 4 is closest to the power connector.
Stepper Motors for X, Y, Z Axes and Extruder
- Four (4) 4 wire molex housing, 2.54 mm, friction ramp, polarized (KK series, Molex part# 0022013047)
- Sixteen (16) Molex crimp terminals (2759 series, Molex part# 0008550101)
Wire lengths listed by [User:Camiel|Camiel] are as follows:
- Two (2) @ 40 cm (X & E)
- Two (2) @ 75 cm (Y & Z)
Pinouts listed on the PCB
NOTE If you are experiencing pauses (the print head pauses for multiple seconds) you might want to try increasing the baud rate to 38400 in the configuration.h file of the firmware.
The Gen6 boards come ready-to-print with slightly modified FiveD firmware already installed for a stock Mendel. However, if you need to customize the firmware to fit your reprap or repstrap, it is easy to do so.
- Download and install the Arduino software
- Download and install the Sanguino Addon
- Download the latest version of the Gen6 FiveD Firmware
- Make your changes
- Save your changes
- Compile, Fix compile errors (make sure you select Sanguino from the tools>boards dropdown)
- Plug in the Gen6 and power it up, wait for your computer to detect the board
- Select the proper COM port for the Gen6 in the Arduino software
- Upload the firmware
- Close the Arduino software
- Hit the reset button on the Gen6
Once you are familiar with this process, you can experiment with alternative firmwares if you wish.
The Generation 6 Electronics are developed together with our electronics partner: EJE Electronics.
Together we will also continue to improve the electronics and firmware in the future, we already have many ideas..
This development has been made possible also thanks to our customers who previously bought products from mendel-parts.com, thanks to all you, we are at this point now.
So a BIG THANKS to the whole community for helping us.. so we can help you in the future :).
The electronics are being produced in The Netherlands.
- October 4, 2010: The first GEN6 electronics shipped
- August 23, 2010: The first production has started
- August 18, 2010: Second video on youtube: video 2 of gen6 electronics in action and bit more zooming on electronics and opto's
- August 15, 2010: First video on youtube: video 1 of gen6 electronics in action
- August 14, 2010: We upgraded another Mendel (#1) now also to Gen6 electronics, because we couldn't hear our other machine with gen6 running because of the makerbot electronics on this one.. and for some more testing off course
- August 11, 2010: We upgraded one of our production Mendels (#3) to the gen6 electronics and are printing Mendel parts now with it.
(ps. its very quiet)
- August 05, 2010: First prints were printed successfully.
- July 15, 2010: First prototype has been successfully tested.
Q: Why did you develop the new electronics called "Generation 6 Electronics" ?
A: Well this is a funny answer.. back in April, when i started rolling out our webshop plans. I also wanted to have our own electronics. Because in a few months (i thought back then..) I wanted to be able to offer full machines. So I went to an electronics partner (he has his own micro electronics company) I knew from University here and asked if he could help me produce these Gen3 electronics for a good price. And well the short answer is: he refused, he told me it was way too complicated, and also expensive because of that.. and well he mentioned a lot of more negative things about them, but a few things i remembered: bad components placement, interference possibilities etc. So he didn't want to cooperate on producing that, only if i really, really insisted. So then we started talking about a solution.. and well, 3months later I was printing with the first Gen6 prototype.. (yes it amazed me too, how fast it all went..).
Q: Why are your new electronics named "Generation 6" ?
A: While developing these electronics, my electronics partner at a certain point started asking me for a name for these electronics, which was needed for the firmware. Me personal i didn't care what they were named.. lol, i just want good quality and good priced electronics that work properly. But it happened to be the same day one person from reprap-dev and the reprap forums asked me why i wasnt writing about our electronics development on the Generation 6 pages.. because apparently Gen4 and Gen5 existed.. (in development). So for me one and one was two...
There was a proposal that we start calling boards "The Amp", or "The Volt". This may not be a very good idea. --Sebastien Bailard 06:17, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Q: Why did you wait so long with publishing files etc?
A: Well two reasons here, I'm new to this wiki and well its bit more complicated then i thought.. and I didn't have much time lately. Other reason is also I'm personally investing a lot of money in the development of these electronics. And I need to get that investment out in the first production series, because this is open-source and anyone can reproduce. So we decided to wait with releasing files until we shipped the first GEN6 electronics, so we have a bit head start and hopefully get our investment out.. BTW: This also means if we sell enough and can start a 2nd batch.. prices can drop a bit...