Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Work Day

Hey you WOOFers! Don't forget about our Friday work days! Brandon Bowman will be in the room from noon onwards, so come on down, and check out the progress on Big Red!

See you there!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Big Red's Hot End

As the Seafair Milk Carton Derby approaches, work on Big Red is accelerating. Seafair's Milk Carton Derby is an event we participate in every year to highlight some of the potential benefits of additive manufacturing/3D printing. Participants in the derby traditionally collect used milk jugs or cartons and use them as flotation for rafts or boats. For the last two years, WOOF has participated by collecting milk jugs, grinding them up and using them as raw materials for 3D printing a boat on Big Red, our largest 3D printer.

I'd like to present different aspects of Big Red as the event approaches. Today, we'll take a look at the hot end/extruder. This is a great improvement over last years design in functionality and ease of use. First, the basics of the extruder:
The motor on the end is a 12V wiper motor, which spins an auger inside the steel pipe, driving the plastic down to the end of the extruder.
The heating element is wrapped around an aluminum pipe, with some insulation and another aluminum pipe on the outside.

The most significant improvement so far has been the modular heating assembly that we can pull off easily when changing which recycled material we will be printing with. We use the same heating element for PLA (compostable silverware) or HDPE (milk jugs), but switch out the steel pipe and auger.
The extruder tip is simply a pipe cap that we drilled a hole in. Actual hole size may vary.
And that's the hot end/extruder fully assembled.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Engineering Discovery Days Success!

A big "Thank you" to all volunteers that helped us out during Engineering Discovery Days. The work room was packed pretty much all day on Friday. We couldn't have introduced that many children, parents, and teachers to the wonders of additive manufacturing without the help we received from our volunteers.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Open Workroom Cancelled Tomorrow

Hi WOOFers,

As mentioned in our last post, tomorrow April 25th is Engineering Discovery Days. Because we will have hundreds of kids coming into our space to see our awesome projects we will not have our regularly scheduled open workroom. If you have pressing questions for us you can come in after the event ends at 4, but since we need to keep the space clean for Saturday we can't let anyone work on projects. 

If you are so inclined, you may come in during the event and help us out. If you know all about 3DP then you can help us present to the kids. If you're still a 3DP novice then come on in and listen to our veteran members so you too can become a 3DP guru.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Engineering Discovery Days

We'll be introducing thousands of children 3D printing/additive manufacturing and our projects on Friday and Saturday, April 24th and 25th. The workroom will be open and needs volunteers from 9:00AM until 2:00PM on both days. It was a great event last year, and we ended up being one of the most popular stops. We are in need of volunteers, so please contact your officers and let us know if you can make it for any amount of time.
Engineering Discovery Days 2013 (Photo Courtesy: Bethany Weeks)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PAWS-On-Science Event

Hey you WOOFers,

This Saturday will be the PAWS-On-Science event! We're going to be sharing a booth with the UW Garbology team, and will be discussing our work in sustainability at UW. We're going to be focusing on Big Red, and how we've taken material from the waste stream and have used it in printing.

We will also be talking about 3D Printing in general. We'll have a couple printers there, making things!

This is a great opportunity to teach some kids about 3D printing, and get them excited about the technology! All WOOF members are welcome to register: This is also a great way for YOU to learn about printing. We guarantee that by the end of the day, you'll be an expert at talking about these printers!

The event is from 10AM to 6PM this Saturday, April 5th. It's not required to attend the entire session! We'll be heading down for setup at around  8:30 - 9AM.

The venue will be the Pacific Science Center:
200 2nd Ave N
Seattle, Washington, 98109

Here's the link to register

Fill out your information as needed. The "Title of Booth/Group Name" is WOOF and UW Garbology. On the second page, hit "no" for "Does your activity require access to water". You can also leave all the check boxes on the 3rd page blank, since we don't need to register for any training sessions.

Please send an email if you do register, so we can get a tally of how many people we can expect!

See you there!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A few announcements over spring break...

Hey all you WOOFers! Hope you've been enjoying your spring break!

WOOF is staying busy...

Ulticrater kits have "shipped", and there's been a lot of progress on them already! If you ordered a kit, get excited -- these are looking great.

Big Red's finally moving about and oozing plastic! We're having some trouble with our stepper drivers overheating, but we've got a plan for that.

And lastly, our Replicator's new parts came in. It's printing beautifully again, so if there's a model you've been itching to make real, now's the time!

Just like any other Friday, WOOF will be open from noon to five tomorrow (3/28). Come on in -- there's a ton of projects to work on!

P.S. We're still looking for volunteers to talk about 3D Printing to people at the Pacific Science Center! Email to get some details, and stay tuned for a blog post on it soon.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Announcement You've Been Waiting For

Hi all,

Drum roll please... The Ulticrater kits will be ready by mid-afternoon on Friday, MAR 14 (happy Pi Day)! There's a bit of final machining on Friday morning but after that the kits will be fully aggregated.

13 kits ready to go
You are free to pick up your kit any time you want as long as the room is open. We're always here noon-5 on Fridays. 

If you're taking your kit home to build it on your own time then you'll need to get access to the documentation. We will have our rough draft done by the last day of finals. It's in a google doc so to get access you will email me and I'll share it with you. I'd advise double checking that you have access to the required tools before you start assembly at home so you avoid hitting any stopping blocks. I'll post that list in the next 24 hours.

If you're building your kit on campus then you will need to sign up for an assembly time. By 2 pm Friday we will have a sign up sheet posted on the WOOF room door. Space is limited for each session so be sure to sign up as early as you can. The first build session will be offered on the Friday of finals week. There will be more offered throughout spring break including Saturdays.

Remember that there are two types of build sessions: supervised and guided. If you feel comfortable building your bot from the documentation but want someone available to answer questions, then you will attend a supervised session. If you'd rather have us explain each step to you, you do it, then we explain the next step, then you do it, etc...,you will sign up for a guided build session.

One last thing: the officers have decided to have a pizza party during the first week of spring quarter if we get a high completion rate of the Ulticraters. It will actually be a Printing Pizza Party, because printers, pizza, parties, and alliteration are all awesome. If all that isn't enough motivation to get your printer done then I don't know what is. I'd personally love to see all the Ulticraters in the same place printing at the same time (the pizza will be a bonus).

I'm very excited because this is shaping up to be our best club build to date. I'm looking forward to having a 100% completion rate before spring quarter begins.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Big Red Updates

Hey everyone,

We've been kind of quiet about Big Red lately... The work being done on it is relatively "boring", and we didn't want to dull the excitement of the Ulticrater announcement.

Last year Big Red's electronics were completely fried due to a mishap with the Z-Axis. We took this as a blessing in disguise, as it forced us to move away from the closed source (and awful) DynaTorch software.

We've had some great minds work on the overhaul, and all of the work is finally nearing fruition. 

Now the devil is in the details. The last few weeks have been in cable management and safety concerns. Tedious and boring, but very important (since once we start printing, no one will want to stop to fix some wiring!)

Look at that cable chain!
We're hoping to really wrap things up this Friday. If you need a break from studying for finals, come down to WOOF, and help us out! We'll be doing everything from securing wires with zip-ties to soldering endstops, to overall safety checks, so all skill levels are welcome!

See you there!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Another Update

Hi all,

To keep all you fine folks up to date with our progress I wanted to let you know we're still chugging away at preparing the kits. Big thanks to those who helped distribute parts into the kits last week. There is a better than 50% chance that the kits will be ready by the end of business Friday (7 MAR). Here are the bullet points of our current state:

  • We have made a determination that we will include power supplies with all the kits. You can thank the club's newest friend, Steve Weidner, for our ability to do so.
  • The last of the ordered parts should arrive by the end of the week. There's only one order we think might not arrive on time, but I'm working on a workaround in case it is delayed.
  • We're making headway on the documentation. Those of you who chose to build your printer on your own should have great assembly instructions. Thanks to Mark 13 and Rose for all their work on it so far.
  • We're still working on machining the various parts. Thanks to shopmaster Eamon for helping us in this department.
  • Printed parts are printing. Thanks to Prof. Ganter for giving us use of the bots in his lab. It's been a printing party all weekend!

    Running 5 bots simultaneously is harder than you might think, but makes you feel super productive.
Thanks to those of you who responded to my email survey last week (sent on 21 FEB). If you didn't receive the email please reach out to me so I can get it to you. If you did receive it and haven't responded yet please dig through your inbox and respond. We are using the responses to establish build seminars for the kits. In the next few days we'll have scheduled time slots you can sign up for to come in and build your bot. Our goal is 100% completion by the time spring quarter starts.

Until next time, Don't Forget to be Awesome.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ulticrater Kits Progress

Hi WOOFers,

We reached a big milestone today. We received the hardware, motors, and electronics for the Ulticrater kits. This means we will will be fabricating like crazy over the next weeks to get the kits in your hands on schedule. 

Also, within the next few days we'll be emailing you a short survey about scheduling build sessions. We'll use that information to maximize the number of completed kits in the shortest possible time. Please respond to that email expediently when you receive it.

Don't forget to be awesome.


Here's what 17 future printers look like

Friday, February 14, 2014

Saturday hours

Jeff and his Kiloprint team will be working in the WOOF room tomorrow (Saturday, 2/15) from noon to 3PM.

Stop by and see their progress, or come in and work on your own project!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ulticrater Kits: It begins!

We just got 23 rolls of filament in the WOOF room!

WOW! Such filament!

Printed parts are coming soon! Stay tuned...

Friday, February 7, 2014

A few quick announcements

We met our minimum order quota for the Ulticrater kits! This past week we've been busy ordering parts and organizing our efforts to get them into your hands. Right now our best estimate for delivery is the Friday before the last week of classes (March 7).

Also, we may have found a cheap source for power supplies. So if you were planning on buying a power supply for your Ulticrater then hold off until we know for certain whether we will include one.

The kiloprint team will be in this Saturday to work on frame design. Come in if you want to be involved!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ulticrater Ordering Deadline

The Ulticrater ordering deadline has been pushed back to January 31st. Last chance to place an order. We'll be available to take your orders from 12:00 until 5:00 PM on Friday in the WOOF workroom (MEB G045).

Hope to see some of you in the introductory meeting tonight in MEB 259 at 5:00PM.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Come One Come All Meeting

This Friday, January 24th at 4:30PM, we'll be holding an introductory meeting for those that are interested in joining the club and/or ordering a kit to build their own Ulticrater, or just interested in learning more about 3D printing in general.

The meeting is in the Mechanical Engineering Building (MEB) 219. If you cannot attend but are still interested, leave a comment.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ulticrater Kit

To all 3D printing enthusiasts at the UW,

It is time for WOOF to offer another printer kit. This time around we will be selling Ulticrater kits, designed by one of our veteran members, Mark. If you haven’t seen the Ulticrater yet, check it out

How to get a kit
We will be accepting orders over the next two weeks from Monday, January 13th to Friday, January 24th.

The cost for WOOF members will be $400. 
The cost for nonmembers will be $420.

The kit includes all the parts to assemble a fully functioning printer as well as a starter roll of 1.75mm PLA filament of your choice in color.

Payments can only be made to our club treasurer Brittany. She will only be accepting checks or money orders for payment. Through the 24th she will be in our club room (MEB G045) to accept orders on Mondays from 1pm to 2pm, Tuesdays from 6:30pm to 7:30pm, Wednesdays from 1pm to 2pm, Thursdays from 4pm to 5pm, and Fridays from 1pm to 5pm.

In order to offer this amazing printer, at this amazing price, WE MUST ORDER IN BULK. This means we need at least 20 orders by January 24th at 5pm. So tell your friends and other UW students to get one so we can make our minimum quota!

After you’ve ordered
After the 24th – assuming we have made our minimum order quota – we will order the various parts and begin aggregating the kits. From our experience with previous club builds this stage will probably take anywhere from 3-6 weeks.

As soon as the kits are ready you will be notified. At that time you can pick up your kit or come in during our open workroom times and get in-person guidance for assembly.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment on this post (I will check and reply every 24 hours for the next two weeks)  or come to our work room (MEB G045)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Introducing the Ulticrater

Hi WOOFers,

My name is Mark I am one of the officers of WOOF. One of WOOF's purposes is to encourage and enable our members to build 3D printers. In keeping with that goal I'd like to introduce my original design: The Ulticrater. I hope to inspire other WOOF members to also build their own 3D printer, whether it's an existing or original design. Either way it's a very rewarding accomplishment.

I have been working since the beginning of last summer to develop this printer. What started as an attempt to utilize a bunch of leftover parts from other projects to build a cheap printer eventually evolved into something that I'm proud to have my name attached to. My perpetual cycle of design, build, test, repeat has made this a slow road, but a rewarding one. 

The Ulticrater. Pardon my photography skills which leave much to be desired.
The most outstanding feature of the machine is the milk crate frame. From the beginning I recognized the benefit of having a sturdy frame with minimal assembly required. To me the milk crate was the perfect choice. Other than cutting out some ribbing from the sides and drilling a few mounting holes every milk crate is already an Ulticrater frame. The milk crate makes for a compact printer that can be easily transported. I also love how much the milk crate gives it a hipster-hacker look. The only real drawback is an inherently limited build volume. I did what I could to maximize it and it ended up being about 170x155x175mm (not bad considering that most Repraps are no more than 200x200x150mm).

I could go on and on about the printer but I think pictures are much better than words in this case.

My very first test print from about a week ago. 200 microns (medium resolution). One of the things I like about this model is how it demonstrates why a cooling fan is necessary on small layers. This print isn't bad though considering I hadn't installed said cooling fan yet.

Octopus at 200 microns. The dark spots are from a leaky nozzle. It's a relatively simple fix but I was too engrossed with testing the printer to care at the time.

Finished printing a spool holder by Brandon B. This print showed me I still need to dial in my retraction settings. Bowden extruders can be tricky to calibrate, but I wasn't far off. This is the same model printed on three different printers, each at 200 microns. Left: my Clonedel's inaugural print. It had some issues. I don't wanna talk about it. Middle: printed on a Flashforge Creator. Came out beautifully. Right: printed by the Ulticrater. Clearly the quality is on par with the Creator (ignoring the leaky nozzle). 

Doing a watertightness test. Jeff 2 and I decided to test our printers by printing some vessels and watch for leaks. My print is on the right. It was a single shell thick and didn't even know the meaning of the word leak.

I have a few videos of printing that were too big for Blogger to post. Follow the links to my Youtube channel where I've posted them:

Printing a comparison part

Fast printing test

The features of the Ulticrater were either prescribed from the beginning or evolved from the design process. Since it was my design and I wasn't under a tight delivery schedule I was able to incorporate lots of awesome features.

  • Machine Design
    • Balances ease of assembly, performance, and cost.
    • Built into a sturdy, compact frame (perfect for fitting in dorm rooms).
    • Little dependency on the features of milk crates which vary from crate to crate.
    • Requires no special setup/teardown procedure for transportation. I have literally unplugged the machine then carried it around by one of the crate's handles.
    • Parts designed to be printed at low resolution with minimal support (for cost effectiveness).
    • Fully reprapable.
  • Extrusion
    • J-Head hot end with active cooling, a proven design.
    • Two piece extruder with auto-tensioning pinch wheel for reliability and quick filament changes.
    • Side mounted spool holder means you never have to turn bot around or awkwardly reach around it to change filament. It also fits all popular spool sizes.
  • Electronics
    • Popular RAMPS 1.4 electronics.
    • Single z-axis motor simplifies z movement and reduces motor count.
    • Heated build platform with three point leveling system.
    • Hall Effect endstops means the bot doesn't rely on a collision to determine when it has reached home.
    • LCD interface with SD card reader for printing without connected computer.
  • Motion
    • Bowden extruder with H-Bot gantry results in low inertia (enabling high tool speeds and reduced vibration).
    • Linear bearings for smooth gantry motion.
    • A belt tensioning system that doesn't rely on zip ties.
    • Machined timing pulleys and GT2 belts for increased precision (10 micron resolution in X-Y).
  • Assembly
    • Time to assemble bot is less than time to print parts (first time assemblers may take longer). This also gives it a Fibonacci property (ask me if you really want to know what that means).
    • Requires only simple modifications of milk crate.
    • All parts are designed for bolt together or press fit assembly.
For the next few weeks I'll be in the WOOF room during open workroom times (noon-5 on Fridays) to show off the Ulticrater to anybody who wants to see it in action.

Finally, I'd like to give special thanks to Brandon B. for cutting dozens of 1/4" rods and suggesting the name Ulticrater, Matthew S. for making me consider an H-bot gantry, and Jeff 2 for being a sounding board during the design revision process and encouraging me to set a final delivery deadline. Extra thanks to the WOOFers in the workroom who had to put up with my project consuming table space for the months of development.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Big Red Wiring Update

Big Red's wiring for the axis motors is nearing completion. If you want to help out, learn about wiring, or just observe, we should be getting Big Red moving this Friday, January 9th.