Rather than continuing to post here on my building progress, I’ve created a number of video blogs of my adventure. These 10 minute entries are available on YouTube, but sadly are very visual in nature. Do check them out to hear/see my progress. I’m catching up to the girls – who I think at last report were building the dinos (part of the plastic extruder). Been there, done that. By the time next week is done and spring break starts (and I head to SIGCSE).
Archive for February, 2010
We started some private discussion about what the user interface of the software portion should look like, how it should function, where the software should be stored (on a server or locally) and other logistical things. One of the objectives is to make the software as portable as possible across as many platforms as possible. This goal would probably be most easily achieved through a server-side software configuration that can be accessed via a web browser. This would also make our challenges with accessibility a bit easier as well, since any modern screen reader will be able to handle a web interface right out of the box. After all, the web is the future, right? Of course, this does have some security issues we have to keep in mind. For example, who will have access to this service, especially when it’s in its initial stages, and how can we control user access? The first idea that comes to my mind is that we could put this service behind a firewall of some kind, and allow only certain people access through the firewall. On the other hand, let’s say we go with the approach of storing the software locally. We may have some accessibility issues to address. Most screen readers communicate directly with operating system controls to provide the feedback that they do. I reported a while back on this blog about my findings with virtual box, something I didn’t have much success with on a count of it using QT. QT is useful because it makes it easy to make software more portable, but many screen readers will have trouble with it without some kind of modification, as they do not use standard operating system controls. These are some of the design issues we are considering, and obviously there are tradeoffs either way.
|From MakerBot Cupcake 3D Printer Assembly|
So the body of the printer was spray painted over the last few days. I tried this first indoors in the basement with very bad results – angry wife, smelly house, etc. Over the weekend I moved the operation outside and hit he body with at least two coats of gold paint. It’s not perfect, but good enough. I don’t have that much time to make it so utterly perfect that it is a work of art. I hope to start putting the body together soon (tonight…)
I don’t recall us having any trouble with the bearings falling out of the pulley wheel. Actually, we had the opposite problem, and had a hard time getting them in because they were so tight. As for a solution, you could glue down the bearing, although, keep in mind that the bearing/pulley assembly will be bolted down.
The opto endstops are soldered and just need some trimming with a pair of nippers that I don’t have. I’ve moved onto the insertion of the bearings into the pulley wheels (see http://wiki.makerbot.com/cupcake-cnc-0:cupcake-pulley-assembly). While most of this went smoothly, I am concerned that one of the bearings literally falls out of the wheel when the wheel is inverted and lightly shaken. I’m concerned that it needs to be glued. Did you folks encounter anything like this?
Given all of the snow, I finally took home the electronics kit for the 3D printer to work on while waiting out the blizzard(s). I did remember to get a soldering gun, as I know the first few steps involve soldering the OptoEndstop. Sadly, I went cheap with my soldering gun and bought a battery-powered gun which really only helped for the first board. It can’t really keep up with the soldering / heat demands needed to solder all of the resistors, plugs and the like, so I need to go spend some additional monies and get something based on real power.
The actually soldering took longer than I expected, but I didn’t have a vice or anything to hold the board in place. So, there’s something else to obtain. I think once I get a better gun and a vice, I’ll be able to get through all of the soldering in a few evenings. If I can dig out from the snow, I may try to run down to Home Depot and get each item so that I can continue to make progress ASAP.
Based on the Alleghany student’s photos, I’m looking forward to putting the body of the printer together. That looks like fun and something that seems to be a little easier than the soldering.
Photos from the OptoEndstops coming soon…