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Offgrid 3D Printing - DIY Mashup

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Lookee at all of the interesting new toys what have arrived at my shack these last few days:

 

prusa-build.png

 

The Prusa i3 MK3S+ build kit is the star of this thread, obviously. It just arrived today, thankfully Fedex carried it all of the way from Prague, Czechoslovakia without crushing the box!

 

The 16" laptop is an old spare that I have held onto for several years. I wiped it and installed the latest Manjaro Linux operating system, added Freecad, Blender, Inkscape, Kicad, Prusaslicer, Virtual Box, GIMP and a few other supporting apps... So the old laptop is now dedicated solely to 3D parts design & production. Everything else in the photo is brand new and as yet, unopened.

 

The plan is to house the assembled Prusa i3 MK3S+ printer inside the assembled 24" x 24" x 24" 12U network cabinet. It will be ventilated by two 120mm Noctua fans (via a DIY PWM/FCU gizmo) and illuminated by dimmable china LED strip lights. The 12U metal network cabinet is a wall-mount unit that I intend to mount on a bench or a counter top of some sort. It has a locking tempered glass door with fan mounts/grills/vent louvers already stamped out.

 

The 240 watt, 110 volt supply, switch-mode 24v DC power supply included in the Prusa kit will be replaced by the 480 watt DC/DC converter shown in the photo. A 6 AWG welding cable run will provide 12 volts DC to the DC voltage converter from my solar power breaker box to power everything inside my workshop at once, including the laptop, a Raspberry Pi 4 Octoprint server and a video camera that I intend to add later on.

 

Thus far I have bought 2 spools of Prusament PETG filament, one is Prusa black & one is Prusa orange, for making custom parts that I will need to assemble this mashup of various components. I also have bought a spool of black Polymaker ASA filament for making gizmo enclosures along with a spool of Grey Ninjatek TPU filament for making gizmo button strips & gizmo enclosure gaskets. A spool of grey Prusament PLA is included with the kit as well, so I have 5 spools of filament to play with so far. I got my eye on another brand of PLA that I'll probably buy at some point too.

 

Now folks, I don't know anything about 3D printing! I have never, ever seen a Prusa i3 Mk3S+ before! I don't know anything about 3D parts design either! And I have never messed with any of the software that I gotta learn either! This is intended to be a "figure stuff out as I go" offgrid 3D printing workshop build thread, from start to finish. This project is destined to become riddled with humorous failures, but with all of y'alls assistance (& patience), just maybe.... our ATVHonda gizmo factory might get kickstarted soon! Lets have some fun with it! 🙂

 

 

 

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Heck yeah buddy! I have zero idea about 3D printing aswell. Sounds like a blast to learn it! Im sure with your computer ability you will be making all sorts of crazy things in no time!

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me too, i want to know how ya progress!!

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Anyone else remember a few years ago when 3D printing became affordable and the media was like "OMG! they're going to print guns!!"🙄

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19 minutes ago, 56Sierra said:

Anyone else remember a few years ago when 3D printing became affordable and the media was like "OMG! they're going to print guns!!"🙄

 

 

About 3 months ago now , they busted a guy with some 3D printer guns he made, there was a whole table full on the news video , he had bright yellow ones , light sky blue ones , long one and short ones , they looked like toys  LOL 

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4 minutes ago, Fishfiles said:

 

 

About 3 months ago now , they busted a guy with some 3D printer guns he made, there was a whole table full on the news video , he had bright yellow ones , light sky blue ones , long one and short ones , they looked like toys  LOL 

What parts did he make?  So far as I know you can't hang a spool of .030" MIG wire on your 3D printer and print out barrels or slides or hammers or sears....🤔

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1 minute ago, 56Sierra said:

What parts did he make?  So far as I know you can't hang a spool of .030" MIG wire on your 3D printer and print out barrels or slides or hammers or sears....🤔

 

 

I don't know , they didn't go into  details , I am going to look for the video of that news story 

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For some fiiles and ideas check out

 

Thingiverse.com

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@retro I'm a mechanical design engineer by trade and have access to Inventor, an autodesk 3d modeling software. We print stuff off at work for test fits before machining with stainless steel. If you need a part drawn, feel free to reach out.

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I'm retired now and the only technology my brain can withstand any more is staring at my depth finder, GPS, phone and this website.😁

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I’ve used SolidWorks before it allows you to custom design components. Hopefully that Prusa has a design software 

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6 hours ago, Fishfiles said:

 

 

I don't know , they didn't go into  details , I am going to look for the video of that news story 

Nothing that would hold up long, but what the media and left don't seem to understand is that anyone with 1/2 of a normal IQ can manufacture a firearm with crap from the hardware store. 

 

Will it be pretty?  Nope.  Will it be safe?  Probably not.  Will it go bang?  Yep.

 

You get a skilled guy with a lathe and a mill and he can make anything you want.

 

People who want gun control laws aren't logical or rational.  They don't think things through very much or they would realize criminals, by definition, ignore laws.

 

Of course, realistically, most people who want gun control really just want control.  Guns are just in the way.

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From what I have learned so far, Freecad (which is open-source) is a very good piece of software for creating and exporting 3D models. It is as good and in some comparisons, better than many commercial softwares. It's doubly attractive to me because it is available at zero cost and it runs great on Linux. Freecad has a steep learning curve, but they all do when the person is just starting out and doesn't know anything... such as myself. So I intend to stick with Freecad until I become capable with it. There are lots of tutorials on the 'net and lots of How-to vids on youtube too. I'll be leaning hard on them....

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Next up, @retro prints off TRX300 fender flares for everyone!

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7 hours ago, jeepwm69 said:

Next up, @retro prints off TRX300 fender flares for everyone!

And some sporty looking helmets.

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i downloaded free cad on mint, i got blender on lubuntu. they are different. in the functions they do..., for its all over, i might need i touch screen. should i get that smart.

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Yup, those two apps are very good.

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I am going to preface this build by mentioning my expectations prior to ordering this kit. Basically I had envisioned that I was buying a very expensive (way overpriced!) over-hyped adult plastic-fantastic toy. A simple bed-slinger 3D printer designed around rather crude & basic 1st generation technology in fact... I assumed that the parts would be cheap & chintzy like china crap, not be of high quality & precision made. I expected the parts fitness to be somewhat sloppy, figured that I would have to file, polish & tinker with every part to improve it's fit & function. I was expecting much less usable quality than what I found inside the box for my $800, that's for darn sure!

 

But man was I ever dead wrong in my visions! This kit is exceptionally well designed and executed! Every part is precision made, the fit & function of each shows how highly refined this machine has become over the years! All of the fasteners are quality stainless steel. The aluminum extrusions are perfectly straight, flat, square, smooth and cut to size precisely. Every drilled/tapped hole is located perfectly so that every part just fits, no matter how sloppy the assembling person's work habits may be... it's clear to me now that anyone who can operate a toaster & a coffee pot can probably build this kit successfully! I have not experienced quality & precision in any product in many years, this lil' bugger is done just right! Buy one, you won't be disappointed!

 

Anyway with all that said... yesterday it was still muddy outdoors from rain that we got the day before, so in the afternoon I opened the Prusa box and unpacked it. The open-source Prusa kit is very well packed and all of the parts are individually packaged and labelled (with pictures on each package of their contents) according to the order of the assembly steps. There is a printout included of the electrical tests that were done at the factory of each part, showing voltages, temps and time graphs. The build date for this kit was 4/22/01 and includes the signature of the person who tested & packed it.

 

Included are all of the tools required for assembly, a thick illustrated assembly manual, a thick 3D printing handbook, a tube of linear bearings grease with a cool looking printed bearing-injector cap (not using - I have synthetic grease for packing the bearings), a 1Kg (2.2 lb) spool of silver Prusa PLA filament, a smooth PEI print sheet (forgot to include in photos), a sheet of stickers, a glue stick, a page with links to online help & documentation/resources/Prusaprinters.org 3D models website, links to the .stl files for all of the printed plastic parts, a link to the latest version of the online assembly manual (includes user tips & comments for achieving each step - Cool idea and very helpful!), a cheat sheet illustrating the actual size of all screws, nuts, tools, small plastic parts etc., and a bag of Josef Prusa's fav snack, Haribo gummy bears, which are provided for celebrating completion of each assembly section (instruction included haha). 🙂

 

docs-tools.png

 

The Haribos, glue stick, grease & injector cap and spool of PLA filament. The bag of linear bearings is pictured so you can see how the grease cap injector works.

 

haribo-filament-grease-glue.png

 

So with the online assembly manual open on my laptop and the book copy open on my table, I began work on step one, the base X/Y frame, Z-axis frame and Y-axis assembly. I put the base & frame together but left all of the screws slightly loose so I could verify the base frame assembly was perfectly square and flat before tightening them up. Then I took the base & frame over to my buddies place so I could snug up each screw on the frame while it was clamped down on a machined flat and perfectly level surface (my buddies mill table) while holding a precision machinists square against the vertical frame section. Once every screw was snugged up I loosened the clamps and tightened all of the screws up, then laid the frame back down on the mill table to verify that the frame was still flat, level and perfectly square in every direction.

 

While completing that first step at my buddies place was when I realized that my prior expectations were definitely way off. I could have screwed that frame together on top of a rock pile and it would have turned out acceptably square and flat! The fit between relational parts on this lil' bugger is impressive!!!

 

So after my buddy and I shared a couple cold adult beverages I carried the completed base & frame back to my shack to put the Y-axis components together. Again I left all of the screws slightly loose until all of the Y-axis parts were in place and the drive belt was aligned and tension adjusted, then tightened them up while holding the machinists square against the vertical frame in several places to insure that the Y-axis bed was located level & moving parallel relative to the flat bottom of the base, and was moving perfectly square with the vertical frame section on all sides. Once every screw for the Y-axis parts were tight I rechecked my work and then popped another celebratory top. I'll save the Haribos for another celebration. 🙂

 

Here is the assembly following the completion of section #1 of the assembly manual:

 

Front view:

frame-y-axis-front.png

 

Rear view:

frame-y-axis-rear.png

 

Side view:

frame-y-axis-side.png

 

Bottom view:

frame-y-axis-bottom.png

 

It'll be a lil' while before I have time to continue the assembly. A few days at least.... got lots of work outdoors stacking up.

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Gee whiz retro do you ever sit still?  This is quite the project to take up but for sure gonna be fun as heck.  Boy sure alot of parts for our older Hondas that cannot be found anymore so there ya go, that will keep you busy....lol

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I had a bit of time after dinner last night before last light, so I completed two more quick n' easy assembly steps, the X & Z axis. Those steps went fast, it is beginning to look like a machine now. Next up is the extruder assembly.

 

z-x-axis.png

 

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Alright same happened tonight as last night, I had a couple hours of light remaining after dinner so I put the extruder assembly together. This is a real nice Bondtech direct drive extruder with Bondtech filament gears with a double-roller bearing idler. It has a Noctua hot-end fan, an E3D V6 hot-end, PINDA probe and a Prusa designed IR filament sensor.

 

Prusa uses the exact same machines that they sell to the public in their factory printer farm, to print all of the parts for every model sold. So the extruder housing parts in these photos are Prusa designed and were 3D printed by the factory printer farm on one of their 600+ Prusa printers. The quality of these printed parts is outstanding! It is so much easier to build this printer than I anticipated, because every part is a precision made one.

 

Here are a few pics of the extruder assembly.

 

e-axis-extruder0.png

 

e-axis-extruder1.png

 

e-axis-extruder2.png

 

 

 

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Dangit Retro, why do I get the feeling watching this thread is going to end up costing me money?

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9 hours ago, jeepwm69 said:

Dangit Retro, why do I get the feeling watching this thread is going to end up costing me money?

 

Yup, best y'all kill the messenger before he gets everyone addicted! 🙂

 

One of our old racing crew members provided the red pill that got me convinced that I NEED a 3D printer... About 3 years ago be began to design and he eventually built from scratch a 4' x 4' CNC plasma cutter table, using cheap $10 Arduino boards to control all of the stepper motors on his gizmo. I helped him with the software & laptops setups for the design & control side of it... I sent him two laptops loaded up and ready to go... his CNC cutter project turned out to be so accurate and precise that he not only uses it to cut custom parts and brackets out of sheets of steel plate, he also uses it to cut out vinyl decals and stickers that he designs on the laptop himself. He can do multicolor race car graphics wraps from scratch with it, it's pretty impressive!

 

Then he bought himself a cheap china 3D printer and improved it by adding a few mods. He then dreamed up a design for a 5 foot x 5 foot CNC milling/router/drilling machine and he used the cheap china 3D printer to make all of the parts that he designed to assemble his mill. He bought a high dollar control board this time along with high quality steppers and drive gears/belts. He finished the CNC mill project up the end of last month and it works great!

 

Now he is designing a custom CNC computer & controls linkages to adapt onto his old-school Bridgeport vertical Mill in his shop. After that project is done he is going to build his own CNC engine lathe!

 

After that he plans to build a boring & honing machine so he can do all of his motor rebuild machining in-house.

 

He tells me that he is addicted.... 🙂

 

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