Thursday, December 31, 2009

MakerBot body assembly

In november I ordered a MakerBot Cupcake printer, to have at least some results with a 3D Printer this year ;-) Last week the package arrived and this week I started assembling the MB body.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lost directions

Aaaaargh, finally found why the max stops didn't work, where they were dearly needed!
Escaped from Java Host to replicatorG and Eriks' 3D-to-5D script. Though building here sends all axis way beond the Max!
Anyhow, this is the code adjustment made in cartesian_dda.pde (svn #3252):
bool cartesian_dda::can_step(byte min_pin, byte max_pin, long current, long target, byte dir)
bool canStep = true; // 2009.08.27 JvO
//stop us if we're on target
if (target == current)
canStep = false;
//stop us if we're home and still going
if(min_pin >= 0)
if (read_switch(min_pin) && !dir)
canStep = false;
//stop us if we're at max and still going
if(max_pin >= 0)
if (read_switch(max_pin) && dir)
canStep = false;
// All OK - we can step
return canStep;
And next on the list is why the extruder stepper doesn't extrude. It does work in the stepperdriver test.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Infinite series and beyond

So I spent again too much time on the FiveD Gcode and Java Host. For some reason the FiveD does see the MIN stops but refuses to recognize the MAX. Debugging the code gives me no clue whatsoever. Yeah, disabled the max stops.

Aside from the Mac Java Host stil failing with "", the latest Java Host (compiled with NetBeans) does not communicate with the FiveD properly. Despite tweaking baudspeeds and what not. The first command is sent and the next read returns "o" or "k" but no "ok". Maybe this is related to the Java Serial stuff. But why does the very same environment work well with the old GCode / Java host combination?

It's time to give RepRap the Java Host a break. In the meantime things may mature. Chances are I get an idea for the solution. But right now the Mac Intel, Java, NetBeans, Arduino, C-code, G-code, Extrusion, Heater construction and so on is too much to chew. It spoils my temper. True though, I learned a lot.

So that's it for now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Arduino Serial monitor and carriage returns

Struggling to get the latest Java Host to talk to the firmware I checked the FiveD Gcode using Arduino's Serial Monitor. It failed the test and then I spent quite some time hours on this to learn that the Serial Monitor does not send the carriage return at the end of the line. Google turned up this Bitlash readme document. Bitlash being another project using the Arduino platform.
As a work-around, tweaked the firmware process_g_code:
// Get a command and process it
void get_and_do_command()
//read in characters if we got them.
if (Serial.available())
c =;
#ifdef JVO_CR_DOT
if(c == '\r' || c == '.')
if(c == '\r')
#end if
c = '\n';

Example of how you can test the firmware by entering the appropriate command, terminated by a dot, in the Arduino Serial Monitor:

M105. ; read the temperature
G1X10. ; position X
G0 X-99. ; X go home
G0 X-99. ; Y go home

See the RepRap wiki for more on G-Codes.
The minimum stops are seen now, for the maximum endstops I have yet to find out why these are not seen by the FW.
To conclude today with the reassuring (?) knowledge that the firmware seems to be ok so the Java Host is next in line.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nanotec stepperdriver breakout

Hm, the glorious extrusion turned out to be unsustainable. Unreliable at the best. Hence preparing for the last resort,the pinchwheel drive.
Now working on a small breakout board for the Nanotec microsteppercontroller.

For those interested, you can download the Eagle files (beta version) (If you don't use stripboard, remove the holes and move all top tracks cq wires to the bottom layer, or ripup and autoroute all over again).

Friday, July 17, 2009

And then there was Extrusion!

Extrusion, glorious extrusion. Ah, this is Extrusion in its purest form!
After assembly of the improved BfB heater nozzle, finally succeeded in usefull extrusion speed! And that with the BfB boltdrive. Renoirs' item led me to give the original drive another chance.

So now production begins. The wishlist off things to be RepRapped, after having printed the minimug of course:
- curtain hook
- kitchen mixer tap handle
- motorbike (Yamaha xj900s) choke handle
- steppercontroller board (for the future stepper-extruder) mount

Hm, it's becoming a flat minimug so rotate it prior to printing...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Digital Storage Oscilloscope on the iMac

Finally the DSO software is running on the iMac!
It is a Voltcraft (i.e. Hantek) model 2090 DSO. HantekDSO (Linux) software from Oleg Khudyakov.

Having KDE installed anyway, here is an example of what KDE looks like on the iMac.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Digital Storage Scope on OS X

A short preliminary publication :-) for the few who consider using a Digital Storage Oscilloscope on Mac OS X.

Syscompdesign has a simple DSO and OSS software that works on OS X. The 2MHz bandwith I consider too low for my use though.

In search for other suitable DSO's I found none other. What I did find was the HantekDSO package Oleg K is currently working on. This opens up the Hantek (Voltcraft and the like) DSO for use under Linux. In short, I managed to compile HantekDSO under OS X (10.5.7) and right now waiting for Hantek 2090 delivery to test the combination. If successfull I will followup and figure out how to create a MacPorts portfile.


With help of the Protospace FabLab I managed to cut an improved pinchwheel extruder from 8mm acrylic. Mounted the old BfB heater so it is ready to go, but for one gear, electronics and the steppermotor software... Anyway, Erik dB achieved promising results with this pinchwheel concept.
Pictures follow.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pinchwheelextruder out of stock :-(

First of all, thanks for your comments on the previous post. After some productive weeks I am now back to tinkering at the RepRap hardware.

Migrated to Leopard, which is a breeze unless you have a mount of X-windows apps to compile and test. which I do. Studied Tcl/Tk which may be of interest for a digital scope application ( I hope syscompdesign will soon launch a 20Mhz digital scope.) Made my first 3D drawing, yes it is but a drawer, watertight so it could be printed by ShapeWays. Furthermore an attempt for a lasercut Sumi-e brushstand. To begin with started drawing a basic one.

Anyway all this single-handed :-p and now back as I have both hands free again!

Wanted to order the Makerbot pinchwheel extruder but it's out of stock :-(
This is a somewhat compensated as I received today the BfB kit with a new heaterbarrel design. This in preparation of an attempt to get the BfB extruder to work.

At the instigation of ProtoSpace I ordered Nanotech microstepping boards for future refinement of the RR. In particular usefull with the BfB lasercut RR as this has quite a number of bolts and nuts to shake apart.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dem bones (not the song)

Yeah, just when things got interesting I broke my collarbone. Being an allweather biker for over twenty years I reckoned something like this could happen someday. That day was yesterday.
The pain is bearable, there's enough things to do to do BUT any tinkering. Which will not be possible the coming weeks...
Status 9 april, btw this is is a comminuted fracture

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The BfB kit (v2.0.1) has starshaped Z-Flanges. Material economics outweighed the construction requirements here. In my case the toothed belt realigns in continuous flip-flopping along the flange fingers and occasionally runs off from the gear.
I replaced these with full flanges cut from 5mm acrylic. With help of the FabLab and their Lasercutter. Now the belt runs much more smooth and does not roll off anymore.

Nozzle reconstruction

Took the heater barrel apart and reconstructed, now with help of the BfB tutorial video
The result is a slightly improved, not to say less worse, extrusion. Now without hand-force, it extrudes very slowly. That is no more than four odd millimeters per minute.
Think I leave the RR arest for a while until I have an idea how to improve extrusion. As the sun shines today, it's time to go out and play.

Similar report
Renoir's coach bolt solutio
Zach Hoeken's Pinchwheel Extruder prototype

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Foie gras

For some reason the current extrusion progress makes me think of force-fed geese and Pate foie gras.
Anyway, pulled the extruder apart to replace the PTFE insulator with a PEEK version. Realigned and now the extruder does extrude. Though very slow and only by hand-force helping the extruder feed :-(
So things are not allright yet. Looks very similar to the Detroit RepRap builders' experience.
Ordered a heater barrel set at BfB to give it another try.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Throw in the towel

Spent my RR Saturday on improving the heater barrel isolation using glasswool. Then lost quite some time on figuring out why the extruder motor would not work anymore. Finally backed out to Gcode_interpreter SVN version #2483. I suspect the preparations for stepper motor extruders to be the culprit so I will leave the code in development a while for what it is.

Anyway, I tried to get the extruder to work and did not succeed. Better isolation of the barrel only slightly helped in that a little more HDPE comes out of the nozzle now. Tweaking the thermistor lookup table (with and setting Beta to 6000 :-) to achieve higher temperatures which didn't help much either. Btw, the heater shouldn't get too hot for the PTFE insulator.

I conclude I did not build the heater barrel correctly. So, I mailed BfB for a new heater barrel kit :-( and for that matter, a second extruder for future (two material) use.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No extrusion (yet)

First extruder-test with ABS is not successful, same for HDPE. For some reason the feed stops when halfway the heater.
After cooling down, disassembled the heater and checked alignment. Due to the melted plastic no idea how to re-align again. Maybe the temperature gauged is incorrect. Heating up to 254 degrees Celsius extrudes some ten measly millimeters with the feed coming to a halt.

HydraRaptor on ABS
More ABS on HydraRaptor
RepRap thermoplast extruder testing

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Unknown huh?

I got these error messages from the Gcode_interpreter (one advantage of ReplicatorG over the Java Host is that it shows messages from the firmware):
Estimating build time...
Estimated build time is: 13 minutes
Running GCode...
Running warmup commands.
Unknown: E: 151
Running build.
Unknown: huh? G669
Unknown: E: 151
Unknown: huh? G669
Unknown: huh? G669

Checked the code to find that E: indicates a temperature error. Recompiled and ran the Gcode_interpreter in testmode to discover that my own adjustments for the extruder and motor settings conflicted with the EXTRUDER_0_TEMPERATURE_PIN. Now the temperature test reads plausible temperatures and the heater goes hot and cools down.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


And today downloaded the Eagle Lite (freeware) version to explore some of the electronics boards.


As an alternative to the Java Host, having this NullPointerException condition, installed ReplicatorG and, together with Skeinforge, managed to perform a testdrive of M3-nut.stl!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blew the DC Motor drive

Hm, not clear what caused this but the DC Motor board testresult is a fried voltage regulator :-(
Replaced the lightweight with a 7805 to find out it took the driver chip with it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

First contact

The cartesian framework, electronics, firmware and host are now fully connected.

My findings
GCode_interpreter, SVN version #2540
- despite the comments in parameters.h the optostops seem to be inverting so #define ENDSTOPS_INVERTING 1
- for reasons not yet clear the X direction was reversed, hence #define INVERT_X_DIR 1

Java Host, SVN #2539
- testdrive works (move, nudge and HOME positioning of X, Y and Z)
- demo print (the extruder is not yet connected) with m3.stl from RepRap parts results in the same Java Error as two weeks ago (with SVN #2452): Production exception: java.lang.NullPointerException. Printing to .gcode file results in Production exception: java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: -1

Analyzing this with the NetBeans IDE. Also see RR software forum entry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Electronics Assembly

Mounted the driver boards and Sanguino. First testdrive...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

QCad 2.0.5 on Intel iMac OS X 10.4

Looking for a program to view and edit .dxf files on the Mac I stumbled upon QCad from Ribbonsoft. Now I can view and edit the BfB lasercut components .dxf files.

Compile QCad
Although the QCad source is under GPL, only demo versions are availabale as binary. So, compiled QCad from source. Follows the list and some links I used to get QCad compiled under OS X 10.4.11 with gcc-4.0 (and using a MacPorts QT3 installation, present from previous MacPort installed sw)

### install QT3 package with MacPorts. I assume you are familiar with MacPorts and have it installed
$ ssh -l yourAdminUser localhost ## I use this to logon as admin from within a ordinary user terminal session
$ sudo port selfupdate
$ sudo port install qt3
### compile QCad
$ cd /opt/local
$ sudo mkdir qcad
$ sudo cp /Users/yourUserId/Desktop/QCad/qcad- .
$ tar xfz qcad-
$ rm qcad-

### to prevent "qmacstyle_mac.h: No such file or directory" error, applied patch manually (as patch raised errors) by commenting out (with vi) in src/main.cpp:
//#ifdef __APPLE__
//#ifdef __APPLE__
// QApplication::setStyle(new QMacStyle());

$ export QTDIR=/opt/local/lib/qt3 ## location of MacPorts QT3 install
$ export QMAKESPEC=/opt/local/lib/qt3/mkspecs/macx-g++
$ cd scripts
$ ./ notrans

Running QCad
Start the App from X11 window:
$ open /opt/local/qcad/qcad-

Or run it from a terminal window:
$ export DISPLAY=':0.0'
$ cd /opt/local/qcad/qcad-
$ open

AppleScript to launch QCad
Or create an Applescript, saved as application, to start QCad in X11:
-- Start QCad
-- 2009-02-07 New script
tell application "Finder"
--Launch X11 and bring to front
activate application "X11"

--String that will be executed by the do shell script command
--First set the display
set cmd to {}
set end of cmd to "export DISPLAY=':0.0'; "
set end of cmd to "cd " & the quoted form of "/opt/local/qcad/qcad-" & "; "
set end of cmd to "open; "
set theCommand to cmd as text
--display dialog ("shell command: " & theCommand)
with timeout of 1000000 seconds
do shell script theCommand
end timeout
end tell

Friday, February 6, 2009

Java Host

Now the Z-belt is put into place it is Java Time :-)
Compiled the current SVN version (#2452) and tried to save .gcode from M3-Nut.stl as sample. Results in "Production exception: java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: -1". To be continued...
Before trying to debug this part I will start integrating the electronics with the hardware.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


The clamped Z-belt

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Belted cartesian

Mounted the X and Y belts. Now summoning up some courage for the Z-belt split and join operation...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Java Host on OS X 10.4

Decided to dive into some Java tools as I could not get the Java Host SW running on OS X Tiger (10.4.11)
Follows a short list of the steps to get the Host SW compiled and running. Not yet 100%. The Console and 3D window show up though.

Tools used
. Netbeans IDE 6.1
. SVNX - to access the source code from the SVN repository
. Textwrangler - texteditor, handy for editing source-code

Creating the Project in Netbeans
1. install Import Eclipse plugin (select Eclips Project Importer in Tools> Plugin)
2. Import the RepRap Host sw (File> Import project> Eclipse project... and select the SVN folder in which you checked in or exported the code to)
3. Right-click RepRap project, select Properties and:
3.1 Add source /lib subdir to Sources
3.2 Add all .jar files in /lib to Libraries
3.3 Hint from to get Netbeans create a manifest file:
First, right click on the project and go into properties. Go to the run selection and add the main class. Click ok.
Right click on the project again and add an empty file with the name "".
Next, open the window menu and open the files window. Expand nbproject and open Add "" to the file. Now, build your project and it should work!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Extruder Excentricity

Noticed the eccentric gear before but now, started building the extruder, this looks unintentional :-)
Not found any one with similar issues in the RR blogs nor useful Google results.

This definitely won't drive the plasticfeed :-(
Sent BfB a mail and in the mean time, see how this part might be cut at the FabLab.

The extruder. The heater nozzle is to be built next.

The man holding the extruder, or that's how you feel after a good day's RR work :-)

Friday, January 30, 2009

X Carriage Assembly

Finished the X Carriage, again, today. Careful alignment, tooling and sanding did not suffice. Anyway, not in the middle of the night. Meticulous tooling, gauging and sanding did the job.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cartesian Baseframe

Cartesian baseframe completed today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spacers and Java Host

Very much satisfied with the excellent quality of the BfB kit. One, minor, flaw only. The 15mm m3 spacers are missing. Ordered these at the local hardware store.

In the mean time...
• fitting sliderbearings and sanding the X Carriage assembly
• struggling with Java to get the Host sw running on Intel iMac OS X 10.4 (Java 1.5 as well as Java 1.6 (using Soylatte16))

For the latter I'm finding out how to compile Java source stuff with Netbeans or Eclipse for that matter. Joined the Getting Java host software to run on Leopard thread (which reports the same problem I have) in the RepRap Software forum as well.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cleaned up my desk. This is the situtation Before :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bits from Bytes kit arrived!

The (Silver) BfBkit has arrived, so now I can start building the RepRaps' mechanics.

The laserpanel was quite mixed-up due to DHL handling combined with heavy iron rods packaged together with delicate laser cut parts. No parts damaged though.

I am impressed by the quality of the kit.

First filed the rod and threaded rod ends to round them off. Now started with assembly and very pleased with the excellent assembly instructions. The one thing that puzzled me, only short, were the two assembly versions (5mm and 1 5 mm) so i thought there was a panel missing :-)

The motor spacers took quit a search but these had changed shape from version 2.0.0 to 2.0.1. Also the Z-drive pulley flange is obsolete in v2.0.1.

Helpfull was the corner brackets alignment recommendation: