Building a Prusa Mendel and new SumoORE PCBs

Well, with the Ottawa robot games over and done with this year, I’ve been able to turn my attention to the 3D printer that I’ve been ordering parts for. As previously posted, this thing has been on the backburner since February when I picked up a set of printed parts. I had been thinking about one for even longer but never got started.

Seeing the quality of the printed parts coming out of the UP! printer that Paul over at MakerEngineering has raised my interest level. Now, I don’t have $3k to throw at a printer sadly so I’m building a Prusa Mendel instead. The do-it-yourself reprap print quality has been slowly climbing (recent print by Josef Prusa) and I think it is good enough that I’ll be able to make use of the parts in future robots. As well as let the kids go crazy making stuff. 😉

I’m about 2 hours into my build so far. I’ve got the basic frame of the printer built up. Next step is to cut out some wood plates for the y-axis on the bottom and then I can start bolting more on. My hot-end for extruding the plastic is still a week or two away (assuming it doesn’t get caught up in the strike) so I still have time.

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I also received a 2nd batch of SumoORE boards. The first batch is all built up now so I figured it was time to run a second set. I removed a couple of headers around the DC/DC charge pump and LiFEPO4 charger that ended up not being necessary as well as cleaned up the silkscreen.

This batch from Seeedstudio is fantastic quality. Its definitely hit or miss over there with iTead and Seeed. I’m starting to figure out how to easily tell between the crap PCB manufacturer and the good one though. The crap one turns the through holes on headers and stuff into hexagons instead of a true circle. The good one has beautiful round circles there instead. I can now pick up a PCB and tell within seconds whether I need to visually inspect the entire thing with my microscope before soldering.. 😉  Too bad there wasn’t some way of specifying which sub-contractor that iTead or Seeed was using to build boards.

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