The incomplete RepRap Prusa Mendel beginner's guide
The incomplete REPRAP beginner's guide is an attempt to gather in one document all the basic information about REPAP MENDEL PRUSA, that is available in the internet.
The reason of doing it, is that it is sometimes more practical to have some basic information gathered in one place, than trying to get fast and accurate answers, for issues that a newbie cannot even understand and express.
Mostly this work is a ‘copy&paste’ of documents and websites scattered in the internet, and irc dialogues that took place in the irc #reprap, which I had the chance to log.
Although it is focused on the Mendel Prusa model, I hope it may be useful for builders of other models.
Under no circumstances this document can be considered as complete.
By COS_ (Konstantinos Tziampazis). You can download the pdf here:https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B6agwEC__Vy7MDFiMjEwNDktMzM3NS00N2ZmLTg3NDUtM2JlZTc4OGE1Y2U3&hl=el
What is 3D printing?
…“3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material. 3D printers are generally faster, more affordable and easier to use than other additive manufacturing technologies. 3D printers offer product developers the ability to print parts and assemblies made of several materials with different mechanical and physical properties in a single build process. Advanced 3D printing technologies yield models that can serve as product prototypes.” (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/3D_printing)
…“A large number of competing technologies are available to do 3D printing. Their main differences are found in the way layers are built to create parts. Some methods use melting or softening material to produce the layers, e.g. selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM), while others lay liquid materials that are cured with different technologies. In the case of lamination systems, thin layers are cut to shape and joined together.” (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/3D_printing)
Reprap Mendel prusa is an FDM 3d printer. Here are some videos on how FDM works. You can find many more on youtube.
…“Industrial 3D printers are made by companies such as Objet Geometries, Stratasys, 3DSystems and Z-corp. The average price of such a printer is €10,000 or more.” (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/3D_printing)
I found these videos of commercial 3d printers:
Object260 connex http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbRlDBScDz4
Zcorp 3D Printer 650 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QP73uTJApw
What is reprap? … “RepRap is a free desktop 3D printer capable of printing plastic objects. Since many parts of RepRap are made from plastic and RepRap can print those parts, RepRap is a self-replicating machine - one that anyone can build given time and materials. It also means that - if you've got a RepRap - you can print lots of useful stuff, and you can print another RepRap for a friend... …RepRap is about making self-replicating machines, and making them freely available for the benefit of everyone……RepRap was the first of the low-cost 3D printers, and the RepRap Project started the open-source 3D printer revolution. It is described in the video on the right.” (http://objects.reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page)
… “RepRap is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. It is the practical self-copying 3D printer introduced in the video on the left - a self-replicating machine. This 3D printer builds the parts up in layers of plastic. This technology already exists, but the cheapest commercial machine would cost you about €30,000. And it isn't even designed so that it can make itself. So what the RepRap team are doing is to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about €350). That way it's accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world. Following the principles of the Free Software Movement we are distributing the RepRap machine at no cost to everyone under an open source license (the GNU General Public Licence). So, if you have a RepRap machine, you can use it to make another and give that one to a friend... …The RepRap project became widely known after a large press coverage in March 2005, though the idea goes back to a paper on the web written by Adrian Bowyer on 2 February 2004.” (http://objects.reprap.org/wiki/RepRapWiki:About)
Adrian Bowyer explains his 3D printer RepRap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px-g1NMvLug
There are various reprap models such as:
- Darwin (the father, where it all begun)
- Mendel (by Ed Sells, the successor)
- Huxley (by ErikDeBruijn, the smaller)
- Prusa (by Josef Prusa http://josefprusa.cz/pages/english, the faster&easier to build&print Mendel)
- Axis, Glider (Mendel-like from botmill http://botmill.com/ )
- Orca (mendel-like from mendel parts http://www.mendel-parts.com/ )
- Insert here if I miss any model
NOTE: you must have in mind that choosing a mendel-like model, may be hard to find specific parts when these will/may brake.
Ok, I want one
Well done! Before you make up your mind you need to make some research on the subject. After all you are a newbie …..( since you are reading this).
Before reading further, you must understand that reprap is an open source project that is under development, and requires some technical skills (from soldering to crafting). If you are excited with 3D printing only and NOT with building, I suggest you buy a pre-assembled, commercially sold machine and don’t bother reading the rest of the document concerning building and fine-tuning.
Remember …“it's generally suggested not to buy a full kit because you will have a hard time finding someone to repair the machine once it does break. All 3d printers eventually break. If you INSIST on buying an assembled machine, try: Mosaic  Makerbot ” (http://ietherpad.com/UaMN2zn4sn)
Also: UP! http://pp3dp.com/
For assembled-ready machines please read chapter 2.
It is a good idea to read this document BEFORE you even start searching in the internet. This can save you time from unnecessary or misleading information. After reading, you may be more focused on what you want and how you are going to find it.
1st stop is the website of reprap.org. Here, you will find almost anything, although some info may be obsolete, other may be up-to-date.
I suggest you read A LOT. You can use the glossary to familiarise yourself with new terms (http://objects.reprap.org/wiki/Glossary), select one of the ‘how to build’ pages (http://objects.reprap.org/wiki/RepRap_Options) just to get the taste of what awaits you…. Also there is a search engine within the website that you will find very useful, since the tons of info cannot be easily found through page browsing. For example type in the search field: object, extruder etc. I found it quite useful as a dictionary for unknown technical words (i.e. heated bed)
The machine I am going to focus is this : http://objects.reprap.org/wiki/File:Assembled-prusa-mendel.jpg
All the necessary information about building can be found here: http://objects.reprap.org/wiki/Prusa_Mendel_Assembly
Those with IRC clients, simply select the freenode server, then the #reprap channel.
In irc you will get help right away, by very experienced users. Just introduce yourself and ask your question. In irc, information is up-to-date, although sometimes you may find difficult to explain exactly what is the issue that you are experiencing. This can happen because of language barrier and lack of technical experience. But don’t worry, almost everybody is willing to help.
3rd stop is the reprap forum at http://forums.reprap.org/ Here, your question may have been already answered. Check this thoroughly.
You have 3 options:
- build one (buy all the parts from different dealers)
- buy one complete Mendel (or Mendel-like) kit
- buy a fully assembled Mendel
Category 3 usually applies to models of category 2 but the models are sold already assembled. However, I wouldn’t recommend it since they are delicate and heavy for shipping:
- Mendel-like Axis and Glider from botmill http://botmill.com/
- Mendel http://thefutureis3d.com/
- Skb-Kiparis ltd - Fully assembled 3D printer Gen X with new verticax X axis and new generation of electronics!
- ac123dc -stampanti reprap 3d in kit ,-- RepRap Prusa assembled and tested Italy based
- Greg Frost Mendel - Heated Bed, Machined Pulleys, Lm8uu Linear Bearings, removable glass bed, hinged accessible wades, all metal hotend.
- 3dStuffmaker cheap Kits and fully assembled/tested units and plastics. Shipping world-wide. Launch Sep/Oct 2011
- Mendbot Shop fully built calibrated reprap 3d printer, Metric Prusa, SAE Prusa, Mendel, Wade Extruder, almost complete kits, fully built plastruders.”
Category 2 is the playfield for the average amateur who does not know much about electronics, crafting, soldering, engineering, programming, or does not have easy access to all the parts needed to build a machine. It is for those who have fun building plastic kit models, or for those who have some experience with tools such as screwdrivers, multimeters, dremel, solders, etc. It is for the majority (like me) who want to build a printer fast and easy.
The recipe is easy: the kit comes in a big and heavy box, you spend some time building it (lot of fun for model kit builders), you spend some time calibrating it, you spend the rest of your time printing and sharing our knowledge in #reprap.
- BotMill - Full 3D printer kits with many free extras. Variety of colors, blue, rep, yellow, green, white, black +more!
- Skb-Kiparis ltd - Full kit of 3D printer Gen X with new verticax X axis and new generation of electronics!
- Kent's Strapper - risorsa italiana di stampanti reprap 3d in kit ,in versioni gia assemblate e pronte alla stampa,e kit separati di elettronica, plastica,meccanica ed estrusori
- eMAKER Huxley - Full kits available to pre-order on indiegogo campaign. Only a few days left and limited stocks.
- MakerGear - has been providing providing kits and accessories to the Reprap community since 2009. We offer high quality Prusa Mendel kits with all stainless steel fasteners, stainless threaded rod, precision ground stainless smooth rod, precision self-aligning bearings, heated bed PCB, high-quality printed ABS parts, RAMPS electronics, the field-tested and botter-approved MakerGear hot-end and more. 1000s of botters use gear from MakerGear!
- Mendel-parts.com - True reprapped printed full kits incl GEN6 electronics.
- ac123dc - RepRap Prusa assembled and tested Italy based
- 3dStuffmaker cheap Kits and fully assembled/tested units and plastics. Shipping world-wide. Launch Sep/Oct 2011 …..”
Category 1 is for the more experienced builders (ex-builders of category 2). Machines build that way cost considerably lower, about 50% less than category 2, but there is always the risk of finding parts with lower quality (like smooth rods that must be straight and very smooth). Nevertheless you have the overall quality control over each part, so you make your choices.
A reprap consists of several different types of parts:
- RP parts (repraped parts, that are used to mound the rods that make the frame, mound motors and x-y carriages). These are printed from another reprap
- Mechanical parts. Are the smooth rods (to slide the carriages) and threaded rods (to make the frame), nuts, washers, belts, bearings, springs etc.
- Electronics parts. The controllers of the motors. All these are connected to a main “controller” that reads the gcode from the computer and translates to motor moves. Today, the most popular electronics are Arduino with pololu shield (or RAMPS, http://reprap.org/wiki/Ramps ), Arduino with Sanguilolou shield (http://reprap.org/wiki/Sanguinololu )
- Electrical parts. Like cables, power supply, stepper motors, endstops, etc
- hot-end parts. This is the most tricky part to find/make. More info at http://reprap.org/wiki/DIY_Direct_hot_end
- The printer firmware. Sprinter by Kliment is the suggested FW for Ramps machines. It uploads to Adruino via the arduino control software
- The software. This includes A) the HOST software that connects the PC with the printer (repsnapper, or preferably Kliment’s pronterface), and B) the application to convert the solid model into a series of gcode instructions that your printer understands (replicatorG, or preferably skeinforge/SFACT-by Action68)
Here is a list of suppliers from the wiki page(prusa buyer's guide):
“……………….RepRapped Parts Kits Community • Kent's Strapper - risorsa italiana di stampanti reprap 3d in kit ,in versioni gia assemblate e pronte alla stampa,e kit separati di elettronica, plastica,meccanica ed estrusori • Support the community by buying printed parts from one of your fellow RepRap developers: Nice People Who Upload Files And Are Quite Keen On Selling You A Set Of Printed Parts. • You can also ask on IRC, or try the RepRap User Groups. • (Plastic Mendel Parts for Sale) RepRap Forum. Webshops • Lots of people sell RepRap parts on Ebay. • 2PrintBeta - Reprapped and casted parts for Mendel, Prusa and Huxley available. • Eckertech.com Printed parts and hobbed bolts. • eMAKERshop - Reprapped parts by reprappers for reprappers. • ac123dc -stampanti reprap 3d in kit ,-- RepRap Prusa assembled and tested Italy based • LulzBot - Prusa Mendel plastic, rods, RAMPS & Sanguinololu electronics, and more. • MakerGear has been providing providing kits and accessories to the Reprap community since 2009. We provide high quality Prusa Mendel and Mosaic kits. We also offer extruders, extruder parts, printed parts, laser cut parts, plastic filament and many other parts and accessories. 1000s of botters are using gear from MakerGear. • Mendel-Parts.com - Reprapped plastics, all kinds of color options. • MixShop International Shipping - Complete Prusa/Original Mendel Hardware Kit, RAMPS Electronics, Motors and more. • Mendbot Shop fully built calibrated reprap 3d printer, Metric Prusa, SAE Prusa, Mendel, Wade Extruder, almost complete kits, fully built plastruders. • Printed-Parts.com Blog about 3d printers and shop with Printed Parts of Mendel Prusa and more soon. • Red Wizard 3D. UK online shop specialising in Prusa Mendel hardware. • RepRap Ltd. This is Adrian Bowyer's family business selling reprapped parts for RepRaps. • RepRap-USA supplies ready-to-use Hotends, Heatbeds, and Gen6 electronics. We offer the trickiest RepRap parts at great prices to customers worldwide. • Thingfarm.org Prusa and Mendel Hardware Kits (UK and Europe) • Thingfarm North America Prusa and Mendel Hardware Kits (USA and Canada) • XYZ Printers Hardware kits, RP parts and electronics for your 3D printer • 3dStuffmaker cheap Kits and fully assembled/tested units and plastics. Shipping world-wide. Launch Sep/Oct 2011 • RepRapBCN - High quality parts in SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) for RepRap. We sell for all Europe, very good prices for Spain. • resco-research A new shop-on-line based in Italy. Hardware, consumables and more very soon. Electrical and mechanical kits and parts • REPRAPBCN - High quality parts in SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) and PLA for RepRap. We sell for all Europe, very good prices for Spain. • Kent's Strapper - Risorsa italiana di stampanti reprap 3d in kit ,in versioni gia assemblate e pronte alla stampa,e kit separati di elettronica, plastica,meccanica ed estrusori • R2C2 electronics -- complete solution, quality and fast electronics, a really new generation of electronics for RepRap 3D printers and others like RapMan. Professional made but also development/hack friendly :-) • 2PrintBeta seller of bearing, fastener, bars, belts, motors and more .. Germany • Paoparts mechanics kits, stepper motor, belts, bearing, fastener, electronics .. in France • RepRap Marketplace and Job Shop • German RepRap Foundation (GRRF) - seller of fully assembled kits for RepRap Generation 3 electronics, plastruder parts, stepper motors, plastics (ABS), mechanics kits and RepStrap kits. • Brupje - see items for sale - PLA, ABS, RAMPS, electronics • iPrint3D - seller of RepRap Generation 3 electronics • KD85.com - Suppliers of RepRap parts and materials in Europe. • MakerGear - Plastruders, Parts, Filament, Surfaces, Platforms, Printed Parts and More • Mendel-Parts.com - Gen6 Electronics, Full Hardware kits, bearings, belts, aluminum and plastic Thick/Thin sheets, Kapton tape&film, extruder parts, stepper motors, SLS printed parts, reprapped plastics on pre-order. • REPRAP CENTRAL -Pre-assembled RepRap Mendels, RepRap Mendel Kits, Makerbot Thing-O-Matics and Cupcakes - ABS and PLA filament also available in various colours. • MakerBot Industries - Generation 3 Electronics Mostly Assembled, plastruder kit, MakerBot Thing-O-Matic Kit, and CupCake CNC kit. • RepRap-Fab - seller of PRUSA and MENDEL reprapped plastics , and Extruder parts.(Germany) • RepRap Kit - seller of plastic filament, bearings, etc. (UK) • RepRap Source - seller of plastic filament, older generation PCBs, and mechanical parts. • RepRap Stores - Multiple vendors and RepRappers selling kits, parts and materials • RepRap Parts Lister - generates shopping lists for a couple different stores. Currently limited to the Gen 3 electronics. • Pololu - Provider of a alternative stepper driver, for more information visit Pololu_Electronics • UltiMachine - seller of electronics, mechanical parts, and printing materials. • Circatek.co.uk - Electronics Design Consultants. Supplies Reprap v1.2 Motherboards Worldwide. • Thingfarm.org - PRUSA and MENDEL Hardware Kits (UK and Europe) • Thingfarm North America PRUSA and MENDEL Hardware Kits (USA and Canada) • eMAKERshop - vitamins sold by reprappers for reprappers. • ThreadShop - Prusa Mendel SAE Hardware kit • Technobots - Over 5,500 electronic and mechanical components including bearings, stepper motors and Pololu controllers. Shipping from the UK to worldwide • XYZ Printers Hardware kits, RP parts and electronics for your 3D printer • Baltic Bolt Fasteners in Estonia. Generally single visit can get you all required nuts/bolts/washers/springs. • LulzBot - Prusa Mendel plastic, rods, RAMPS & Sanguinololu electronics, and more. • MixShop International Shipping (from Canada) - Prusa/Original Mendel Hardware Kits, RAMPS Electronics, Motors and more! Non-kit Parts Suppliers Stepper Motors • StepperMotor#Suppliers - Includes details on how to determine if a motor is suitable. • mouwy.com • 2PrintBeta - Germany Electrical • digikey US - (online) • digikey Canada - Canada (online) • Mouser - online • element-14 - (online) - Worldwide supplier of electronics, and Design Engineer Community. • HobbyTronics - UK, Worldwide (online) - for Pololu and Arduino products, possibly other components. Accept PayPal. Mechanical • McMaster-Carr - ships to US addresses only (online) - one stop supplier for all the non-RR mechanical parts of Mendel. o 1m Length of M8x1.25 Threaded Rod: Part# 98861A080 o 1m Length of 8mm Smooth 304 Stainless Steel Rod: Part# 1272T17 • Fastenal - Canada and US (stores/online) - supplies all non-RR mechanical parts except for the drive belts. o 1m Length of M8x1.25 Threaded Rod: Part# 47572 o 3' Length of Grade A2 8mm Steel Precision Drill Rod: Part# 0988746 • SDP/SI - Canada (online) - supplies non-RR mechanical parts including drive belts (unknown if they supply all non-RR parts or not). • MSC Industrial - US, Canada, Mexico (online) - good for nuts, bolts, threaded rod and washers, not much else • Small Parts - US, Canada, Mexico (online) - good for materials like PEEK and PTFE in small quantities • Bolt Depot US, maybe others - Metric bolts, nuts and washers. • VXB Bearings International Shipping - Bearings and Linear motion Bars(exact sizes needed for mendel) • Marleva France, Europe (online) - Bolts, nuts, washers, threaded rod, • Belting Online UK, maybe others - made to measure drive belts - width and length can be specified. • BearingBoys Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, UK, Guernsey, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Jersey, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Sweden - Bearings, FTPE, Timing belts. • Online Metals North America. - PEEK/PTFE and many types of metals cut to order. • MixShop International Shipping (from Canada) - Prusa/Original Mendel Hardware Kits, RAMPS Electronics, Motors and more!.........” (http://reprap.org/wiki/Prusa_Buyers_Guide)
Assuming that you have all the needed parts, it is time to start building….
Optionally, if you are making the WADE’s extruder, you will need this manual
Here are a series of instructions for Makergear Prusas. They are prusas with some parts modified for better. Makergear is also known for its good quality of hotends
Here are the videos of spacexula on a step-by-step building of a Prusa
Makergear Prusa (under the series “still extruding”).
The Sells Mendel
How to crimp without crimp gun (youtube) 1
How to crimp with crimp gun (youtube) 1
Here is a series of video tutorials on assembling a makergear hotend.Some steps are common for any hotend:
Some info from reprapwiki on Gen6
Arduino drivers, control application, and install instructions (you need those to connect arduino with your computer and upload the firmware) Download page
Installation: Step-by-step instructions for setting up the Arduino software and connecting it to an Arduino Uno, Mega2560, Duemilanove, Mega, or Diecimila.
- Pronterface host software that needs python to run, please read the instalation instructions carefully.
- Video tutorial on sfact & printrun from spacexula.
- pronterface compiled version for windows (my favourite).
- Pronterface info from reprapwiki
Repsnapper application, the all-in-one host initially written for Sells Mendel, manual and code for all available versions.
SFACT is already merged into Pronterface, you can also download SFACT.
Sprinter firmware, download it, unzip it, load it to arduino connection software, and then upload it. Remember to specify what arduino you have, from the ‘tools’ menu.
Josef Prusa’s calculator. You need this in order to insert correctly your microsteps in firmware.
Flickr account. You need one in order to show your prints and printing problems
Thingiverse, is the repository for 3d objects ready to print. You need it to download test pieces for your machine calibration. Also your main source for objects to print.
Create a folder in your hard disk named REPRAP or whatever you like, in order to keep there everything related to reprap; from software to tutorial videos and docs for future reference. Subfolders named software, objects, videotutorials, manuals, irclogs, etc keep everything organised.
You may not know, but your query may already have been answered in there just minutes before you ask. Always check the log thoroughly.
Reprap’s bot, kthx: http://bot.kthx.nl/bot/factoid
Pastebin.com, you need this to paste your problematic gcode instead inserting to irc reprap channel
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