First of all, I have been ill for a very long period, so excuse me for not updating our website frequent enough.

First 3D printed pieces – A wobbler engine (air powered)
In the meanwhile, I started using the K8200 3D printer. A good thing about a 3D printer is, that the print-jobs continue, even while I’m ill and laying in my bed. So, as a first small test-project, I created a wobbler engine. You can see in the pictures, that the prints are not perfect, but hey, it works 🙂

Next challenge – a second 3D printer
I also started building a second 3D printer. The Ecksbot from EckerTech (http://www.eckertech.com) is an opensource 3D printer.
You can find the Solidworks files in the EckerTech forum. I downloaded them, and did some modifications in Solidworks:
– I wanted the Z-axis motor to be bottom mounted instead of top mounted
– I only wanted one motor for the Z-axis, and connected both Z-rods with a T2.5 belt.
– I replaced all printed bearing parts, with “real” iron bearing parts.
– I created another carriage, so I could mount a standard heatbed with adjustment screws.
– I added a Sainsmart Ramps 1.4 controller, with graphical LCD
– I added the powersupply underneath the printer
– I added a RaspBerry Pi with Octopi
– I added LED-strips
– I replaced Y-axis clamps with stronger ones
Due to me beeeing ill all the time, this printer is not yet “up and running”, so stay tuned …
(Pictures and movies will probably be online before the end of april)

An even bigger challenge, a “large” locomotive
While browsing Thingiverse (http://www.thingiverse.com) , I stumbled upon STL-files for a “bigboy” locomotive. (an American steam locomotive, with 24 wheels and 4 cylinders, the biggest ever !) Once printed, this locomotive will be 6″ (about 1m80) long !
It did take Paul (original builder), from april 2013 till december 2013, to “print” this locomotive. I also started in april (2014), so I hope to get this locomotive finished before the end of 2014. (I’m printing it at 92%, so it’s exactly the same as 3 1/2″ scale)

And another small side project
While beeing ill, I couldn’t let the printer “stand still”, so before I started printing the BigBoy, I printed all parts for an hexapod. Everything is mounted, I only need to finish 2 things:
– “cleanup” the wiring, and hide some wires
– Write some software for it (based on opensource Phoenix code with Inverse Kinematics)
So stay tuned 🙂 Pictures and movies will probably be online before the end of april.

UPDATE May 1st – 2014
We started printing with the second printer 🙂
I’m impressed by the print-quality, accuracy and print-speed !
There are still some “lines” visible in the prints, but I’m still using standard threaded M8 rods for the Z-axis. (next week my trapezium spindles will be delivered, after installation I expect my 3D prints on this printer to be perfect !)
Also, last weekend, we visited Maker Faire in Mechelen (first time in Belgium, check http://www.makezine.com )
There was a company, named K85, that scanned people in 3D. They did scan Christel, but until today, we still did not receive any emails or files.
I wanted to print Christel in 3D, so I decided to 3D scan Christel myself. I still had an Xbox360 with Kinect sensor laying around somewhere. I bought “Skanect” (3D scanning software, available for Mac and Windows, and can be used with a variety of 3D scanner, including the Xbox Kinect sensor)
After installation, I played about 5 minutes with the software, and started scanning Christel as a “proof-of-concept”. This proof of concept turned out to be “usable”, and I decided to print it … You can see the result between the other things I printed on our second 3D printer 🙂
During my first test-runs on the printer, I also made a small movie, to proof that “it’s alive” 🙂 Note that the speed during this first test-run, is very low, and the printer was also not yet calibrated ! Also, it was directly connected to my MacBook, running repetier.
In the meanwhile, I also use Cura to create files for this printer. (you can store multiple printer profiles within Cura) The Ecksbot is now also controlled by a RaspBerry Pi, running OctoPrint. (with some custom hardware and software customization, to control LED lighting and fans etc … via OctoPrint menu)

UPDATE May 7th – 2014
– Today, I did take a picture of all parts already printed for the BigBoy locomotive.
(about 150 parts for the moment, still more then 450 to go !)
– I also did take 2 pictures of the current state of the hexapod, I hope to do some wiring next weekend.
– Christel scanned me with the kinect sensor / skanect software, and we printed “me” !
(notice, this is printed before the new trapezium spindles where installed !)
– STL files of RAPIRO came available on thingiverse. I do find this little fellow nice, but the price is a bit to high in my opinion. I started printing right away, after installing the new trapezium spindles (wow, what a difference in printing quality). I will use an Arduino Mini instead of the original PCB, and I will also write my own software 🙂

Click here to see a short movie of my 3D printed wobbler engine.

Click here to see a short movie of the first run of the Ecksbot.

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