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. 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.
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.
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
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.