Posts Tagged M2

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip

We rode the Feeder Canal trail during a recent bike vacation in exotic Glens Falls NY:

Feeder Canal Park Trail - Branches

Feeder Canal Park Trail – Branches

The numerous downed branches along the trail and countless twigs on the trail came from a brush-clearing operation:

Feeder Canal Park Trail - Brush Clearing

Feeder Canal Park Trail – Brush Clearing

As luck would have it, a twig snagged between my front tire and fender, snapping the clips holding the fender in place:


Tour Easy front fender mount breakage

Tour Easy front fender mount breakage

Should it not be obvious, each ferrule formerly had two parallel jaws (on the left) gripping the fender, with the tiny screw digging into the fender. I affixed the fender to the broken clips with copious amounts of duct tape and we continued the mission.

It should be obvious why those ferrules are not suitable for 3D printing.

However, with the recent rear fender clip serving as inspiration, this didn’t take long:

Tour Easy - Front Fender Clip - Slic3r

Tour Easy – Front Fender Clip – Slic3r

The front fender fits a 20 inch wheel and is somewhat wider and flatter than the rear fender (I think they bent the same plastic strip around a smaller mandrel), so I did a quick copy-and-paste hack job on the OpenSCAD source code, rather than trying to parameterize the daylights out of the previous model.

The posts around the wire stays are 6 diameters deep and reamed to fit; the stays won’t be flopping around even without fiddly mechanical hardware retaining them. The holes extend about halfway into those posts to mimic the dimensions of the original ferrules.

All of us can predict where the next break will occur, right? That’s OK: I want this to break, instead of wrecking the fender, so the only question is how much abuse those simple joints can withstand. The printing orientation wraps the perimeter threads from the posts around the clip, making it about a strong as it can be.

The ferrules should splay outward by a few degrees to match the angle from the fender to the fork eyelets, but that’s in the nature of fine tuning.

The arch accommodates a strip of double-sided foam tape holding the clip in place along the fender curve, with those cute little hooks capturing the fender to keep the tape in compression:

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip - installed

Tour Easy Front Fender Clip – installed

I really must get some black foam tape …

The picture shows the fender sitting well away from the tire, due to the upper fender mount bending in response to the splash flap snagging on curbs and random debris; the wire stays didn’t seat completely into the posts.

The extender I made during the cracked fork episode remained perfectly straight, though:

Tour Easy - new fork - fender extender

Tour Easy – new fork – fender extender

So I re-bent the upper fender mount (not the extender!) to its original angle, thereby moving the bottom of the fender much closer to the tire. Now the stays seat fully, the clip holds the fender firmly in place with no rattles, and it’s all good.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:






Microscope 60 LED Ring Light Adapter

The Barbie-themed microscope light I built from an angel eye LED ring worked fine for the last six years (!), but a much brighter ring with 60 aimed 5 mm LEDs for $17 delivered from a US seller caught my eye:

Microscope 60 LED ring light - in use

Microscope 60 LED ring light – in use

Although this ring looks much more professional, it didn’t quite fit the microscope, being designed for a round snout rather than a squarish one. This snout has a 47-ish mm threaded ring intended for filters & suchlike, so I built an adapter between that and the 60 mm ID of the LED ring:

Microscope 60 LED Ring Light Adapter - top - Slic3r

Microscope 60 LED Ring Light Adapter – top – Slic3r

The ring came with three long knurled screws which I replaced with much tidier M3 socket-head screws going into those holes:

Microscope 60 LED ring light - assembled - top

Microscope 60 LED ring light – assembled – top

The part going into the snout threads is deliberately (honest!) a bit small, so I could wrap it with soft tape for a good friction fit. The Barbie Ring didn’t weigh anything and I wound up using squares of double-sticky foam tape; it could come to that for this ring, too.

The adapter features a taper on the bottom for no particularly good reason, as the field-of-view tapers inward, not outward:

Microscope 60 LED Ring Light Adapter - bottom - Slicer

Microscope 60 LED Ring Light Adapter – bottom – Slicer

Seen from the bug’s POV, it’s a rather impressive spectacle:

Microscope 60 LED ring light - assembled - bottom

Microscope 60 LED ring light – assembled – bottom

The control box sports a power switch and a brightness knob. Come to find out the ring is actually too bright at full throttle; a nice problem to have.

That was easy!

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:




Cylindrical Cell Adapters

An octet of Eneloop AAA cells arrived, I wanted to measure their as-delivered charge (the package says “Factory Charged With SOLAR ENERGY”, so you know it’s good), and discovered I’d given away my AAA cell holders. You can actually get inter-series adapters on eBay, but what’s the fun in that? Plus, I didn’t want to delay gratification for a month; you know how it is.


AAA to AA Adapter - top - Slic3r

AAA to AA Adapter – top – Slic3r

It’s basically an AA-size sleeve that fits over the AAA cell, with a lathe-turned brass post conducting juice from the + terminal of the inner cell outward:

AAA to AA Adapter - parts

AAA to AA Adapter – parts

Not much to look at when it’s assembled:

AAA to AA Adapter - assembled

AAA to AA Adapter – assembled

The AAA cell fits deliberately loose, because this goes into a metal clip holding everything firmly in place for the battery tester:

AAA to AA Adapter - in use

AAA to AA Adapter – in use

The source code tabulates the sizes of several cylindrical cells, exactly zero other pairs of which have been tested; I expect most won’t work correctly. In particular, the table entries should include the contact button OD and thickness for each cell, so that I can turn out the proper terminal for each pair of cells. If I ever need a different adapter, I’ll beat some cooperation out of that, too.

Discovered I needed an adapter after breakfast, started testing cells after lunch. Life is good!

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

The original doodle:

AAA to AA Adapter - sketch

AAA to AA Adapter – sketch


3D Printer Design Conversation: Part 5

The final installment of musings about building a large-format 3D printer …

(Continued from yesterday)

Perhaps they saw your blog post?

The old-old (original) high-resistance Kysan motor costs something like $45 and, apart from minor cosmetic differences, looks /exactly/ the same as the old-new low-resistance motor. If you were picking motors and didn’t quite understand why you needed a low-resistance winding, which would you pick? Hence, my insistence on knowing the requirements before plunking down your money.

To be fair, I didn’t understand that problem until the Thing-O-Matic rubbed my nose in it. With all four motors. Vigorously.

So, yeah, I think I had a part in that.

comes back to the same numbers over and over

The new-new leadscrews have something like half the pitch of the old-new and old-old threads; I don’t recall the number offhand. In any event, that gives you twice the number of motor steps per millimeter of motion and roughly twice the lifting force. This is pretty much all good, even though it may reduce the maximum Z axis speed (depends on your settings & suchlike).

When it moves upward by, say, 5 mm and downward by 5 mm, you’re measuring position repeatability. That level of repeatability is pretty much a given (for the M2, anyhow), but it doesn’t involve stiction & suchlike.

Can you move the platform up by 0.01 mm, then down by 0.01 mm, and measure 0.01 mm change after each motion?

Do larger increments track equally well in both directions?

Move upward a few millimeters, then step downward by 0.01 mm per step. Does the measurement increase by 0.01 mm after each step?

Repeat that by moving downward, then upward in 0.01 mm increments.

If the platform moves without backlash & stiction in both directions with those increments, it’s a definite improvement.

I wish I knew more
everything you learned is burned into your head forever

The way to learn more is exactly what you’re doing.

Two things I learned a long time ago:

1. Whenever you have two numbers, divide them and ask whether the ratio makes sense.

2. Whenever you don’t understand a problem, do any part of it you do understand, then look at it again.

Also, write everything down. When you come back later, you won’t remember quite how you got those results.

Which is precisely why I have a blog. I search with Google ( microstepping) and /wham/ I get a quick refresher on what I was thinking. That’s why I keep link-whoring URLs: that’s my memory out there!

You’ll sometimes find scans of my scrawled notes & doodles. They won’t mean anything to you, but they remind me what I do to get the answers in that blog post.

modern controllers utilize much higher voltage and current bursts

More or less. Microstepping drivers apply a relatively high voltage, far in excess of what the winding can tolerate as a DC voltage, then regulate the current to a value that produces the appropriate waveform.

This may be helpful:

The mass of the bed APPEARS to be cancelling out any magnetic or mechanical stiction.

That can’t be true in both directions: the gravity vector points downward and the results aren’t symmetric. I think you’re reading noise. If the sequences of motions I described don’t produce the results I described, then you’re /definitely/ measuring noise.

From back in the Thing-O-Matic days:

E3D hot end setups vs MakerGear’s?

No opinion.

I’d want that groovemount post in an all-metal socket, though, rather than the traditional plastic, to get solid positioning and tolerance control. Makergear has the right idea with the aluminum V4 heater block mount.

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3D Printer Design Conversation: Part 4

Continued musings about building a large-format 3D printer …

(Continued from yesterday)

taking your challenge and am starting by cloning the M2

That gives you an existence theorem: you know exactly what you want to end up with.

AFAICT, few of the M2’s parts bear standardized numbers you can simply order from a reputable seller. Makergear knows what it’s buying (obviously!), but they’re under no obligation to help out: you must reverse engineer the requirements, find a suitable part, find a supplier, then buy one item.

Let me know how that works out for cost & performance; “cost” should include a nonzero value for your time and “performance” should have numbers you can verify. I (obviously) think the build will be a dead loss on both counts (*), but good data will be interesting.

(*) Albeit useful for educational purposes, which I’ve used to justify many absurd projectst!

How the heck do you read out the current (estimated, obviously) X Y Z position absolute to the machine coordinates?

Perhaps M114 or M117?

My overall list may be helpful, although the RepRap Marlin reference has more detail on their command set:

The LinuxCNC (and, perhaps, Machinekit) G-Code languages give you access to built-in variables and extend G-Code into a true scripting language. Marlin evolved differently and doesn’t support that sort of thing.

G-Code is pretty much a write-only language, but you can do some interesting things:

I use the gcmc compiler whenever I can for actual CNC machining:

Works for me, anyhow, although I don’t do much CNC these days.

move my nozzle up .01 at a time

Stiction / microstep errors / command resolution prevent that:

The only way to measure the nozzle position is to measure a finished part with a known height, because any variation comes from the first layer offset. That’s if you have Z=0 at the platform, of course, rather than whatever offset you get by defining Z=0 at some random height based on jamming business cards / feeler gages / special Japanese rolling papers under the snout. [ptui & similar remarks]

For example:

You need numbers. Lots of numbers. [grin]

strip basic tools out of the control interface

Yet another reason I don’t use S3D: that “Simplify” thing gets in the way of my obsessive need for control.

(Continues tomorrow)

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3D Printer Design Conversation: Part 3

More musings in response to questions about building a large-format 3D printer.

(Continued from yesterday)

make a direct clone of the M2. No thinking required.

The present-day M2 has survived four years of rather fierce Darwininan winnowing, so it’s a much better thought-out product than, ahem, you may think just by looking at it.

To build a one-off duplicate, you’ll spend as much money collecting the parts as you would to just buy another M2 and start printing.

Should you buy cheap parts to save money, without considering the requirements, you’ll get, say, the same Z-axis motor Makergear used on the original M2, the complete faceplant of Thing-O-Matic electronics, or crap from eBay described as being kinda-sorta what you want.

Sometimes crap from eBay can be educational, of course:

I encourage thinking, particularly with numbers, because it leads to understanding, rather than being surprised by the results.

increase the rigidity of the X and Y axis

In round numbers, deflection varies as the fourth power of length: enlarge a frame member by 50% and it becomes five times bendier. If your design simply scales up the frame, it won’t hold the tolerances required to produce a good object.

If you add more mass (“stiffening”) to the Y axis, then the Z axis motor (probably) can’t accelerate the new load upward with the original firmware settings and the Y axis motor may have trouble, too. Perhaps you should measure the as-built torque to support your design:

Reduce the acceleration and lower the print speed? Use bigger motors (if you can find a Z motor with the correct leadscrew) and lose vertical space? Make the frame taller and lose stiffness? Use two Z motors (like the RepRap Mendels) and get overconstrained vertical guides? Try building a kinematic slide and lose positioning accuracy? Your choice!

If your intent is to print more parts at once, buy more M2 printers, which will not only be cheaper, but also give you more throughput, lower the cost of inevitable failures, good redundancy, and generally produce better results. Some of the folks on the forum run a dozen M2s building production parts; they’re not looking for bigger print volumes to wreck more parts at once.

Conversely, if your intent is to learn how to build a printer, then, by all means, think about the design, run the numbers, collect the parts, then proceed. It sounds like a great project with plenty of opportunity for learning; don’t let me discourage you from proceeding!

However, I’ll be singularly unhelpful with specific advice, because I’m not the guy building the printer. You must think carefully about what you want to achieve, figure out how to get there, and make it happen.

To a large extent, searching my blog with appropriate keywords will tell you exactly what I think about 3D printing, generally with numbers to back up the conclusions. Get out your calculator, fire up your pencil, and get started!

(Continues tomorrow)

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3D Printer Design Conversation: Part 2

Wherein I continue dumping my responses to a large-format 3D printer project …

(Continued from yesterday)

What do you mean by 12 hour mean time to failure

In round numbers, the cries of anguish on the M2 forum seem to increase as parts require more than a dozen hours from start to finish; while you can print things that require 48 hours, that’s not the way to bet. There are more ways for things to go wrong than for them to go right, given the rather rickety collection of software & firmware making everything happen, plus the gummy nature of squeezing hot plastic into precise heaps.

Most of the time, it works fine.

much cheaper hardened polished rod system that the taz 6 uses?

Unless they’re doing something non-obvious to make a kinematic assembly, two rods on four hard mounts with four one-degree-of-freedom slides will be severely overconstrained and, I expect, a continuing hunk o’ trouble:

FWIW, linear slides don’t eliminate the need for a rigid and well-aligned frame. Even the slab atop an M2 can deform by more than 0.1 mm under belt tension, which is enough to wreck the nozzle-to-platform alignment across the length of the X axis.

“Arduino-class firmware (Marlin, et. al.) is a dead end” Why is that?

Marlin is a dead end: they’re trying to jam hard real time motor control, soft real time command parsing, and non real time UI control into an 8 bit microcontroller teleported from the mid 90s. AVR microncontrollers worked really well up through the Cupcake and have held back printer design & performance ever since.

Which inexpensive all in one board would you go with

Machinekit on a Beaglebone seems to be the least awful of the current alternatives, but I haven’t examined the field recently enough to have a valid opinion. You’ll find plenty of proprietary “solutions” out there, none of which I’d be interested in.

Am I wrong?

I think so, but, then, I may be wrong, too. [grin]

It’s incredibly easy to slap together a bunch of parts that look like they should become a 3D printer. It’s remarkably difficult to engineer a reliable, stable, accurate device that actually produces dependable results.

Mooching design cues and parts from here & there doesn’t get you to the goal; if it did, Kickstarter wouldn’t be a graveyard of cheap 3D printer projects.

design a very rigid system for cheap

If it’s for your personal satisfaction, have at it, but a one-off large-format printer won’t be any cheaper than, say, a Taz 6. Some diligent searching will uncover any number of homebrew printer projects along the lines of what you’re considering; learning from their mistakes will certainly be edifying.

Anything is possible, but if you want to end up with a state of the art machine, you must begin with numbers showing how & why it actually meets the requirements. 3D printing now operates at accuracies, speeds, and controls comparable to CNC machines, with corresponding structural demands. There’s a reason high-end CNC machines aren’t made of sheet metal and don’t use 8 bit microcontrollers.

You might want to start at the beginning of my blog and read through my adventures with the Thing-O-Matic, which will explain why I’m such a curmudgeon …

(Continues tomorrow)

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