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Buildlog Title: Liberty4Ever's Hadron Build

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Builder: Liberty4Ever
Member Since: 2012-05-30
reader comment Comment from: Randolph on Monday, July 16th 2012 - 10:45 PM
I want to make sure everyone sees the note I added to my original question about MakerGear part quality. I am having crow for dinner tonight.
They did reply in a timely manner and graciously offered to send replacement parts.
Customer service does not get any better that that.
Thank you MakerGear.
Randolph
reader comment Comment from: Randolph on Monday, July 16th 2012 - 9:55 PM
Liberty4Ever wrote:The printed parts I received from MakerGear were about what I expected. They were typical printed part quality, which is to say that they were acceptable to sell to people who are building a 3D printer (a sympathetic market) but they aren't pretty enough to meet the expectations of the general buying public.

If the QU-BD extruders are good... want to buy an assembled MakerGear extruder? :D


LOL!
No thanks. I already have one of those.
I also have 2 QU-BD extruders on the way (eventually).
So. If my MakerGear Plastruder with less than perfect plastic parts works the way it is, I need to not complain. OK.
If I am able to print better parts, I can always replace them later.
Thanks for the answer.

Monday, July 16th 2012 - 9:04 PM

The printed parts I received from MakerGear were about what I expected. They were typical printed part quality, which is to say that they were acceptable to sell to people who are building a 3D printer (a sympathetic market) but they aren't pretty enough to meet the expectations of the general buying public.

I had a slightly undersized hole or two, but not too bad. It wasn't enough to slow me down in the assembly process. I think most printed parts err on the small side on the holes, because they can always be reamed to fit. An oversized printed teardrop shaped hole (hard to print a circle in the vertical plane without support material so the tops are steeple shaped) are not functional, but a little undersized can be expanded a bit.

The nut pockets were slightly oversized on my printed parts, but not so large that the nuts would spin.

All of my MakerGear extruder went together well. I haven't printed anything with it yet.

That being said, I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of the four QU-BD extruders that I ordered via KickStarter. They were much less expensive than the MakerGear extruder kit, and the QU-BD extruders that I bought will arrive completely assembled. The QU-BD extruders also use no 3D printed parts and no laser cut plywood as the MakerGear extruder kit does. But then again, I haven't printed anything with the QU-BD extruders yet, and I'm not entirely sure that anyone else has either. They do look nice, but the proof is in the pudding. We'll see, hopefully soon.

If the QU-BD extruders are good... want to buy an assembled MakerGear extruder? :D

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reader comment Comment from: Randolph on Monday, July 16th 2012 - 8:30 PM
Liberty4Ever wrote:.
.
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I FINALLY BUILT SOMETHING

The MakerGear Plastruder kit arrived this morning.



I got the same parts first. I am curious to know what kind of quality you found on the white, printed plastic parts? With the great reputation of MakerGear, I expected nice parts. While the metal parts looked great, the plastic parts sucked. There were small voids in the surface, a lot of stringing, and the holes were not all consistent; some being too tight for the screws to drop in. Also, the receptacles for the nuts for the spring adjuster bolts were over sized and one just lets the nut spin instead of holding it for adjustment of the spring tension.
I also had to trim the receptacle for the geared motor before it would fit flush.
I would not have posted this info here except that I emailed MakerGear the same info and haven't gotten an answer from them.
I would just like to know if this lack of printed plastic part quality is normal or if I got the "Monday morning hangover" parts.
Thanks.

Edited 7-16-12
To be totally fair to MakerGear, I HAVE to add this note since I did get a reply today from them. I was just being impatient and now I am embarrassed.
Here is Karen's reply to my inquiry:
Hi Randolph,

Thank you for your recent orders and I apologize for the delay in getting back to you.

I'm sorry to hear that you ran into issues with the printed parts in your Stepper Plastruder Kit.

Because you had to clean up the parts to get them to work for you, it's difficult for us to now determine exactly what went wrong. We'll get some replacement printed parts (that are representative of what we normally ship) out to you tomorrow.

Thank you,
Karen

Thursday, June 28th 2012 - 10:53 AM

I've been wrapping up the last of the mechanical issues on my Hadron build. It's taking a little longer because I've been coloring outside the lines a bit. I designed the cable track routing yesterday and assembled the three Igus cable tracks, and I should be installing them today and running a lot of wires.

I'm making daily McMaster-Carr orders, trying to push this build to the finish line. That wouldn't be necessary if I had a good inventory of metric hardware. I have a Lowe's and a Home Depot a mile from my house, but I still prefer to place McMaster-Carr orders for most things. It seems to fit my work pattern - design a subsystem, order the parts that will arrive tomorrow, and then assemble the parts I designed yesterday that arrived in the brown truck today. Many days, to get a minimum order, I add metric hardware to help me finally build a metric fastener inventory. That's significantly increasing the cost.

After an initial flurry of activity and most of a Hadron emerging from a big box-o-parts, there hasn't been much apparent progress lately. I've spent a lot of time staring at the Hadron and scratching my head. I don't have fancy store bought 3D CAD software, so I do a lot of this the old fashioned way... in the real world. The parts don't turn red when there's an interference fit, but you can still tell. :)

Not only hasn't there been much visible progress, it actually looks like I'm going backwards. I have all of the major assemblies apart again to install the limit switches and a couple of other last minute additions like the Igus cable track. I knew the limit switches needed to be installed as I was doing the initial assembly, but I was impatient to see the big parts together and working, and didn't want all of those loose wires getting in the way. With more confidence in the eventual outcome and more experience, my next Hadron will go together a lot faster. I hope to make a series of videos to document the next build, after I know what I'm doing. A lot of people prefer to build from videos rather than reading a set of instructions.

I've taken several pictures of my first Hadron build to document it and illustrate some areas that I thought could use some additional explanation. I'll post those soon, with some comments that will hopefully help those building their first Hadron.

If you're building now and you're in a hurry for the big tip - install all limit switches as you go and wire them with long leads that you can route to the electronics later, and tie the wires into loops to manage the wiring mess as you're finishing the mechanical assembly. There's no point in putting it all together and then taking it back apart later to add limit switches when you know you're going to be needing them.

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Tuesday, June 26th 2012 - 6:37 PM

I've been putting off a post to this build log until I have a few more nagging little things done. I still need to make the Delrin nut plates for the Z axis before the mechanical assembly is truly finished. I did most of the assembly last Saturday. I've been spending a lot of time since then planning the electrical installation... where to mount the power supply, where to run the wires, nagging little details about the limit switches, etc.

I'm placing daily orders with McMaster-Carr. This is starting to get expensive! :roll:

I did buy some nice Igus cable track to tidy up the wiring to the three axes of motion. My goal is to avoid the springs used as flexible wiring conduit, and I'm definitely going to avoid that rat's nest of wires appearance that seems common in the RepRap world. One foot of the Igus track arrived today and the other three will arrive tomorrow. The one foot section is almost enough for one 8" axis of motion, but it was enough for me to see that it's going to make for a nice installation, other than the bend extending out past the outline of the Hadron when the Z and X axes are all the way up or all the way to the right. I'll park the Hadron with the build platform to the back, the extruder to the left and the gantry most of the way down when I want to take it someplace. I've already promised four different on-site 3D printing Show & Tell trips, including a company that a friend owns. He has a $30K Dimension 3D printer for engineering prototypes.

This will all be better with pictures, so I'll make a big picture laden post in a day or two, after the mechanical stuff is essentially finished, and before I do too much of the electrical wiring. I have a lot of tips and tricks to share, so if you haven't built yet, get ready to take notes. :)

The mechanical assembly had a lot of OOPS moments and a lot of rework and a fair amount of head scratching, but no major catastrophes. If the controls work goes as well as the mechanical assembly, I should be getting started with 3D printing soon! I expect a decent learning curve experimenting with various printing parameters, but much less than there would be if I wasn't standing on the shoulders of the 3D printer hackers who came before me.

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reader comment Comment from: kwando on Tuesday, June 26th 2012 - 2:26 AM
Looks like you're making some good progress here.

Looking forward to some build pics.

Sunday, June 17th 2012 - 5:55 AM

Misumi finally shipped the order I placed on June 6th. I'm two UPS days away, so my order is at the UPS hub here in town, but I won't have it for assembly this weekend. Probably just as well. My wife was sick in bed until 7:00 PM on Saturday. In the cause of domestic tranquility, I didn't drag out the chop saw to cut the MakerSlide. Cutting aluminum makes a helluva noise. Today is Father's Day, and I'm traveling to visit my dad. I wasn't able to get a Hadron kit, so I didn't get pre-cut MakerSlide rail, so I'll cut that on Monday as part of the big assembly.

I pre-assembled what I could without the Misumi order, which was a decent amount. I organized the new metric hardware. I had a few boxes here and there, but got more serious about metric hardware organizing with the ORD Bot. I prefer metric, but being in the USA, I always worked with imperial fasteners, and I have a lot invested in that (money and precious space for organizers). It's dumb that there are two incompatible sets of fasteners when one would do. I guess it could be worse. There could be three or five competing systems, aka Techno-Babel.

I'm anxious to get going on the Hadron build in earnest. I coil bound the online Hadron info. Again, huge thanks to Bart for all of the prints and documentation.

I never built a RepRap or any of the other 3D printers, but the ORD bots go together fairly fast. Someone should make a business of selling pre-assembled and tested ORD Bots for those who want to print but don't want to build. As 3D printing moves more mainstream, that will be a growth business.

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Wednesday, June 13th 2012 - 6:31 PM

My BuildLog.net order just arrived, including some of the more ORDish looking parts. Looking good! Building soon!

Thanks Bart!

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Wednesday, June 13th 2012 - 1:36 PM

Parts Arrival Update:

The last of my Hadron parts should be here soon. My second order from the BuildLog.net store will be arriving by USPS today,

I'm waiting for the Lava heated build platform. I paid on 31MAY12, and I received a ship notification on 9JUN12 from PayPal. When I go to the Canada Post site, it looks like the shipping label has been printed but Canada Post is still waiting to receive the package, or at least that's what that status would mean for the USPS. Not really sure how it works with Canada Post. I know international first class mail going the other direction takes 1-3 weeks, so I'm not getting too bent out of shape. The build plate is one of the last things I'll need, and I have a MK1 heated build platform if needed. I have lots of spare parts after my Hadron scavenger hunt.

I am still a bit put off by Misumi holding my order for a week for no good reason. I placed the order on 7JUN12 and it's scheduled to ship 14JUN12. :x



PanelMax User Interface Assembly - False Start

I spent some time yesterday assembling the PanelMax user interface (LCD, rotary encoder with click select, and SD card). I'm trying to do as much as I can before the imminent arrival of the last of the Hadron mechanical parts.

Instructions: http://tommyc-reprap.blogspot.com/2012/03/panelmax-tutorial.html

Kit: http://ebayitem.com/150831327805

Pre-Assembled: http://ebayitem.com/150825235072

I bought the kit version, although the fully assembled version apparently requires some soldering to the RAMPS board as well.

I have one gripe about the PanelMax kit. I have over $600 worth of very nice terminal crimpers but not the fairly common crimpers required by the two types of crimped pins in the kit. The instructions advise the familiar "mangle and solder" approach, which I hate. It's the very antithesis of that feeling you get when using a high quality professional tool. But I mangled and crimped, under my very nice Luxu Wave lighted magnifier, because I'm an older guy with old guy vision. It was slow going, and trying to determine the design intent from the non-native English instruction (not bad by Chenglish standards) was tedious. About halfway through, I was getting a big mess of ribbon cable, so I decided to read ahead and see how this project ended. It was obvious that a lot of that ribbon cable ended at the Arduino stack controller, and I knew I wanted to have the user interface in a more convenient location than the back of the printer, next to the controller. I thought about all of that ribbon cable and realized that this project ends in a RepRap Ratsnest.

Time to reboot.

I decided to put the PanelMax user interface aside. My new plan is to build the Hadron, take a good look at it under the light of a new moon, and decide where I want the user interface. I expect it'll be somewhere on the front, up out of the way but reachable. Part of that decision will be based on where the other wires are routed. I'll try to pick a place with a short wire run to the controller, because the SD card uses SPI and while it can work up to about ten feet, shorter is better and will result in higher usable data rates. I'll unsolder the ribbon cables and use one piece of twisted pair 14+ conductor cable in their place, or at most two pieces of cable. I'll route the wiring internal to the ORD Bot if possible, or possibly under some T-slot cover in an unused slot. I'm not going to have a gangly mess of ribbon cables.

In retrospect, I wouldn't buy the PanelMax kit. There wasn't enough benefit to the kit, and the kitted parts and instructions seemed to get in the way more than they helped. I have a very well stocked electronics bench, and I'd greatly prefer to buy the LCD, rotary encoder and SD card and use my own 1.8K resistor, heat shrink, and DEFINITELY my own insulation displacement connectors for PCB headers instead of the fragile crimp connectors that I had to solder.

I did a little research last night. I haven't tested these components, but I'll probably place an order for this stuff for my future ORD Bot builds. Note that I'm planning to buy enough for three ORD Bot user interfaces. I think it's likely this won't be my only ORD Bot. The prices listed below are for three parts each, and the eBay prices include shipping. Note that the cost for three user interfaces is about the same as one PanelMax kit, if we ignore the cost for the SR131-IG-ND gray Serpac plastic enclosures. The PanelMax kit doesn't include an enclosure. There are Thingiverse files so you could print plastic enclosures for a couple of non-ORD 3D printers. I think the Serpac enclosure with a custom reverse printed front panel will look nice. I'll probably work in the Hadron logo on the front panel. :)

Digi-Key
3 @ P12336-ND ENCODER ROTARY 12MM 20PPR W/S $5.61
3 @ 226-4092-ND KNOB BLK/MATTE .50"DIA 6MM SHAFT $13.38
3 @ SR131-IG-ND BOX 4.38X3.25X1.50 GRAY $15.60

eBay
3 @ 4X20 backlit blue HD44780 based LCD $38.20
3 @ SD Card Reader with Card Detect $9.00

It would be best to get an SD card with card detect, so the controller could sense the SD card was detected, read the SD card, and present the new file information. It looks like most of the $3.00 (free shipping) SD card readers on eBay don't have this feature. The signal is sometimes called SW (for switch). The PanelMax kit had a red wire soldered to a connector pin to implement this feature. If you don't have the card detect signal to let Marlin know you inserted the SD card, you can select REFRESH from the LCD menu and it'll read the SD card manually.

The SD card needs 3.3 volts. Most 3D printers get that by running 5V through three series diodes, each of which will have a forward voltage drop of .6V.

I didn't include a reset button in my above shopping list, but it's required to gain control over runaway firmware. I have some small push button switches that are intended for PCB mounting. They work well to make a poor man's membrane switch with an appropriate flexible graphic overlay.

I ordered the stuff from Digi-Key so I can finish the user interface. I ordered enough to make a total of four user interfaces, although I still need to get the card readers and LCDs from eBay.

Here's some good info that should help if you want to roll your own LCD and SD card interface.
http://www.justblair.co.uk/Personal/attaching-a-lcd-display-and-rotary-encoder-to-a-ramps-controlled-reprap-printer.html

You'll need some experience with electronics to succeed, but probably no more than trying to wire the PanelMax kit, IMO.

On the plus side, my new Hakko FX-888 soldering station performed like a champ. That's one nice tool, and for $80 (Amazon and other online dealers) it's a great value.

EDIT TO ADD: I ordered three LCDs and three SD card readers from eBay, so it looks like I'm planning of having four ORD Bots! I'm still gripped with obsessions of a small part production Hadron printing four identical parts at the same time. I expect one of the other three user interface packages will go on that, maybe in August if all goes well with the first Hadron. The Digi-Key order arrived so I have everything I need for the neater wiring version of the PanelMax kit.

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Tuesday, June 12th 2012 - 1:56 AM

We have a winner!

They're ready to go. As soon as I get your USPS mailing address, out they go! If you want USPS tracking, include an email address for the automated shipping notification. Thanks for playing!

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reader comment Comment from: dalewheat on Tuesday, June 12th 2012 - 1:43 AM
"I'll take it!"

or

"I will take them!"

or whatever is appropriate :D

Thanks! Those will look super-sweet on my Hadron.


Dale

Tuesday, June 12th 2012 - 1:23 AM

I'm still wishing I could have gotten in on one of the Hadron kits, but my scavenger hunt for parts is finally nearing an end. I have a couple of more orders, one en route and the Misumi order will be shipping in a couple of days. I thought they'd ship fast like McMaster-Carr, but they're sitting on my little order for a week for no good reason. After the last of the stuff arrives soon, I'll be ready to start building. Happy times!

I got the PanelMax LCD user interface with SD card reader kit last week, and I've been dragging my feet getting started on it. I upgraded my Weller-Unger solder-desolder station to a new Hakko FX-888 soldering station, and it arrived today, so maybe tonight I'll break it in on the PanelMax kit.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/150817571264

I'm still doing little tasks in preparation for the assembly. I cut some Hadron feet on the laser today, from .25" thick black acrylic so they'll need 3 mm longer screws to install them.

Image

It's a crummy scan. They actually look much better in real life. The engraving is crisp and not at all fuzzy like the image. There is probably some interference between the scanner's 150 DPI scan rate and whatever raster scan rate I used on the laser.

Anyway, I need three and I cut three extra as giveaways. The first person to post "I'LL TAKE IT!" in this thread gets three free Hadron feet. Just PM me your name and address and I'll mail them to you. Sorry, but this offer is only available to US postal addresses.

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Sunday, June 3rd 2012 - 12:46 AM

.
.
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I FINALLY BUILT SOMETHING

It seems that I've been reading websites and watching YouTube videos and ordering parts for a couple of weeks, in some sort of manic fugue state, and now I finally get to build something.

The MakerGear Plastruder kit arrived this morning.

Image

Not shown in the picture was the very nice piece of fancy Ghiardelli chocolate that I fed to my wife... 'cause if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. She wants me to order more parts from MakerGear.

I ordered the MakerGear Plastruder mostly because I had read good stuff about them online. I ordered it assembled, but that only gets the hot end assembled, for $190 delivered at the time of this post. You'll still need to insert the idler pulley bearing into the 3D printed housing, attach the geared stepper motor, and the hot end. There was no instruction sheet. There was a parts check list, and at the bottom of that page it referred the builder to instructions on the MakerGear website.

http://www.makergear.com/pages/stepper-plastruder-instructions

The step for assembling the idler pulley assembly was reasonably well documented although vague and a bit confusing in places. After that, it branched to several different pages depending on which Plastruder version you buy (Sells Mendel, Prusa, Cupcake, etc.). I bought the Prusa, as it looked simplest, and thus best suited to mounting on a Hadron. It also had the fewest laser cut plywood, which seems out of place on an ORD Bot, even if it is the most cost effective thermal insulator that can withstand these temperatures.

What passes for instructions for the final assembly of each Plastruder version was pretty much a couple of pictures, and an implied "make it look like this". It's not the Space Shuttle. Wordy instructions might have slowed down the anally retentive who fear missing an important step, but I do wish the pictures were a bit better, and I think a few more words would have been a good thing.

Anyway, this looks right to me.

Image

I did have a pile of spare parts, though.

Image

The pile on the right are parts that I would have needed to build the hot end that I bought pre-assembled. The pile on the left are just mystery parts, although the instructions on the website did mention that the spring was a spare part.

Oh well, it's a lot better to have extra parts rather than not enough parts.

The assembled MakerGear Plastruder is 18.0 ounces, including the small fan. MakerBot claims their new $199 StepStruder MK7 extruder is .8 pounds ( 13 ounces).

http://store.makerbot.com/stepstruder-mk7-complete.html

Image

I'd like to shave 5 ounces off the carriage. Less mass equates to faster acceleration and deceleration. For fine resolution printing with a lot of layers and a small nozzle (my goal), being able to zip that print head around could save hours on a large print job. I bought really beefy 2.0 amp NEMA 17 stepper motors, so I expect to get good acceleration of the extrusion head, but less mass sounds better to me. I also think the StepStruder Mk7 looks more integrated and refined and less homebrew. I like homebrew, but ironically, I like it better when it doesn't look homebrew. The StepStruder looks more like it belongs on an ORD Bot, IMO.

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reader comment Comment from: loopingz on Thursday, May 31st 2012 - 1:30 PM
Nice post, I wish you good luck to put it all straight together and working!

Thursday, May 31st 2012 - 8:20 AM

I should have waited until I had an image that looked vaguely like a Hadron ORD Bot to start my build log, but I needed to get some of this obsession documented.

Briefly, I've been keeping an eye on the affordable end of 3D printing for years. Every few months, I'd take another peek. Nope. Still crummy print quality. That was OK for those who were doing it as a hobby, but I wanted to make real parts that weren't stringy and ripply, and blobby.

Finally! The ORD Bot! Thank you Bart! It was the 3D printer I had been wanting. Unfortunately, my timing stinks and I missed the leading edge of this wave. No nice Hadron kit for me. I've been struggling to source the parts. Even with the very nice BOM (thanks again Bart!) there is much to learn and many electronic parts and accessory hardware bits to find that aren't listed on the scavenger hunt shopping list.

Another unfortunate artifact of my late arrival was the disjointed order in which I'm stumbling upon the information. I've kept tabs on the 3D print quality and the general principles for years, but none of the gritty details. This is my first 3D printer, and there is MUCH to learn. I've spent a lot of time reading websites and watching YouTube videos, but my education is very random. I'm learning a lot of intricate specifics before learning a lot of the basics. It's a bit like walking in on a movie that's been playing for 55 minutes, walking out five minutes later, finding the book that was the basis for the movie and reading the last chapter, then watching the edited-for-TV version of the movie at 2:00 AM while repeatedly nodding off on the couch.

After a couple of weeks, I finally stumbled upon Bart's 37 page build log (http://www.buildlog.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1035) and I'll be reading that from start to finish after I get a few hours of sleep. It was a bit discouraging to read Bart say in the initial post, "The basic prototype was designed, fabricated and assembled in about 4-6 hours over 6 days." I have 5-6 times as many hours invested over a bit more than a week, and all I have to show for it is a few parts in a box with a lot more on the way, but no actual building. :(

The hardware, software and firmware are developing very rapidly, so this project is an exercise in hitting a fast moving target. On average, Slic3r has a new release more often than I change underwear. I shouldn't complain about fast free upgrades to open source software. The frantic pace does contribute to some inefficiency though. I bought a Mk 1 heated build platform and then saw the very nice looking Lava heated build platform in ORD Bot blue, so I ordered one of those tonight. I'll either sell the Mk 1 on eBay as a new unused part, or I'll keep it as a spare. Similarly, I'd like a fully integrated ORDuino controller, but I already bought the Arduino & RAMPS stack, and I'm a bit reluctant to buy into a brand new controller at this point. With all I need to learn, I'm trying my best to stay on the path and not go off blazing any new trails.

As interesting as a Hadron would be as a hobby, I don't need a hobby. I have plenty of hobbies that I'm ignoring. I'm running a small business and simultaneously retrofitting a 10X24 Clausing lathe in my basement for CNC, and retrofitting a mid 1980's vintage Powermatic gantry router (two 15 HP routers, a 7.5 HP radial arm saw and two air drills over a 4'X8' bed) for modern CNC control. Both are LinuxCNC projects, and I'm learning LinuxCNC as I go. So, I basically have three concurrent projects. :ugeek:

My ultimate goal for the ORD Bot is to run production parts for my home based internet business. The business model is predicated upon low overhead and efficient manufacturing, to offer value to the customer in niche markets. I have ideas for products that I'd like to have injection molded, but the $3500 to $6500 cost for an aluminum quick mold and the cost of the minimum initial run would have a lengthy payback period. My business model is a natural for 3D printing. If I can run an average of ten parts a day (about 1.5 ounces each), I could be initially profitable and my cash flows would stay well in the black.

Most people want a 3D printer to print little one-off designs or prototypes, but I want to develop additive machining short run production in the hobby end of the market. I think that has huge potential for many small businesses. I expect inexpensive 3D printing to be a transformational technology. I also expect to benefit by iterating 3-5 prototypes in a day for new designs, but my primary focus is on fairly continuous short run production. I expect to need a second Hadron very soon. Being able to debug the 3D printing process for each part as I'm making changes to the prototypes and then go into production on the same machine offers huge quality benefits and time savings compared to starting over with a different manufacturing technique after the final prototype design is approved.

I initially thought about scaling up the Hadron for a larger build area to accommodate short run production, but I don't think that would help me much, at least for the parts I plan on making. In fact, a better strategy might be the smaller Quantum 3D printer with a new & improved continuous build platform that would allow each part to cool and then eject it so a new part could be built. That may be one of the contributions I make to the open source 3D printing community.

I'm also very interested in the surface finish of the printed parts. I don't expect the finish of injection molded parts, but I plan on selling these parts so looks are important. I've manually finished black Delrin with a random orbital sander and produced a very nice velvet matte finish that was fingerprint resistant. I'd like to achieve a similar result if possible with the 3D printed parts. The first thing I'll try is aqueous tumbling with tiny stainless pins. This produces a gorgeous polish on brass. It might reduce the layered effect on 3D printed parts and result in a more uniform surface finish. If not, I'll experiment with abrasive tumbling. I have both rotating drum and vibrating bowl tumblers. Other possibilities for improving the surface finish without substantially altering the dimensions include IR and hot air to reflow the outer surface. Whatever I develop for improving the surface finish will be production friendly. Tossing 50-100 parts in a drum and tumbling four hours is acceptable. Hand sanding is not.

I bought most of the parts to build a benchtop injection molding machine but never got around to it. I may finish that project, not as an injection molding machine, but rather as a filament maker. I can buy ABS resin in pellets, as used by injection molders, for about 33 cents a pound in reasonably small quantities. That's about a third of the cost of ABS filament, so there is some cost savings there. I might be tempted to pursue that project... AFTER my 3D printer is debugged and making good parts and lots of them.

I'm about to be inundated by Hadron parts. I promise that my future build log posts will be much more technical and much less philosophical.

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