I have always wanted my own CNC mill but they can be very noisy and messy and since I live in a 1 bedroom apartment I thought buying one wouldn’t be the best Idea, at least until I move into a house :). So I thought the next best thing would be a 3D printer, they are very popular now and you can get RepRap kits for very reasonable prices.
I did some research and decided on the Prusa I3 kit from Makerfarm.com. The kit came quickly and assembly was relatively painless and took a couple evenings. Overall I am happy with the kit I feel it is good value for the money but I might do a more detailed review of the kit later.
After some tuning of the machine and tweaking parameters in Slic3r I am able to get some pretty decent results. Right now I am using Black PLA for my filament but I will probably try ABS when I need to buy more plastic.
So far I have made a few useful things. Here is the solder spool holder I designed in Solidworks and printed with my 3D printer, it turned out pretty good, a little rough around the edges.
Here is a pencil/tool holder for my work bench, the surface finish is a bit bumpy so I might have to do a but more tuning but overall came out well.
Here is a quick video of it printing my solder spool holder
There are a few improvements I want to make to the machine. I want to make a better spool holder for the plastic filament, right now I have something thrown together with leftover pieces from my quadcopter stand. I want to do a better job of the wire management, right now the wires are just zap strapped together so it’s not a total rats nest of wires but I know I can do a better job if I sped some time on it. I also want to get a raspberry Pi and use that as a print server to run it and store the G-Code files; right now I have to slice the files on my laptop, transfer the files to an SD card and then plug the SD card in the machine and print. My idea is to have a Raspberry PI with a WiFi dongle plugged into the RepRap controller and have it running Pronterface of Octoprint and transfer files through FTP over WiFi. I’ll do a blog post about that when I get that all setup.
Anyway that’s all for now.