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.