After wandering all over, we finally all gathered in the workshop tonight to get back to work on the machine. There are several things going on that are fun and interesting, but we are having a bit of a problem with too many things going on (as usual) and the whole question as to the chicken and the egg!
We are developing one of the stepper extruders, quite a standard build, so as to have better control over the feedrate of filament. We hope to set this up with a Bowden feed so that the heavy motor does not need to be attached to the moving part of the system. Just the heater will be on the sled, and we are looking at making something like the plastruder Mk5 from MakerBot, which is all steel with a pair of heavy duty resistors creating heat at the business end. Photos will follow as we get closer to completion.
Now to control the stepper motor on the extruder we need another stepper control board, so C.H. has been putting one together. But we are looking at some new stepper controllers that a friend of his is developing and hope to try them out real soon now. Apparently they will be wonderful little SMD things and will be on sale (details to follow as more come to hand). All we need to do is have a circuit board to plug them into.
Which brings us to our other new ongoing project: a tiny milling machine to make circuit boards. Based upon the designs of makeyourbot, this should be a real humdinger, not only because of the chunky woodiness of it, but because we will be able to make our own one off complex circuit boards with it. Such as stepper controllers and arduino shields. But we need to have stepper controllers to do this and they are currently in the RunCNC electronics setup….
Here we reach chicken and egg cyclicity! Oh dear!!
There are a few other things going on, such as a nice little LCD and push button controlled heating pad for the platform to keep our objects warm and avoid too much warpage. Which is slowly coming together as we play with temperature sensors and all sorts of related silliness. Keep your eyes here: now that the summer vacancies are toning down, actions will be appearing. Huzzah!