Its been a while since the last post on this blog… summer is always slow. Some work on my Robomagellan robot but its still in pieces.
My prusa 3D printer keeps chugging along. Its basically design and print at this point without much messing around. Each different colour that I have needs a little tuning when I first use it but aside that that, its plug and play. One of my sons has started playing chess with his friends at school and wanted a chess set of his own. Perfect thing to do on the 3D printer this weekend.
We started off with the Minimalistic set by mfussi on Thingiverse. Its a pretty easy set to print and nice and fast also.
Once that was done, I started looking for something which is a little more distinct. I came across a tiki chess set on Tinkercad by Whystler. Very cool looking but not overly printable. I split the pawn out and printed it to see. Came out pretty nice. The rook prints ok also, but the other models will need a few tweaks to eliminate the overhangs as well as some extra material to beef them up a bit.
I had a Makibox on order for the kids to have their own printer to play with but that project has been stretching on a bit longer than I’d like. I’d guess that they still have quite a few months left so I bailed out for the time being and ordered up a Printrbot Jr. for them instead. Roughly the same build size but limited to PLA only. I think that might end up being the preferred material for them anyhow and not having a heated build plate will make it a little safer for them to use anyhow.
Looking forward to getting our hands on that. Its a very neat looking printer. In fact, it picked up an award at the MakerFaire in New York this past weekend.
Also been doing some PCBs. I tested out the 4-layer PCBs that iTeadstudio has. Its much more expensive ($99 versus $35) but there are times when 4-layers instead of two kicks butt. The design I did (dual motor controller) only needed a portion of the 10cm x 10cm board though and I didn’t want any of that expensive space to go to waste so I panelized 3 other designs onto it. Two of the designs were my own (a STM32 LCD dev board and a STM32 servo controller) and the third was an IMU designed by a co-worker.
Cutting out the panels was a breeze with my Taig CNC. I’m going to start panelizing more of my designs I think.
On the subject of PCBs, I’ve really been wanting some way to get my hands on cheap stencils for spreading out solder paste and then reflowing PCBs. Its so much easier to do. Stencils cost around $50 ($25 + shipping) from Pololu which is ok, but expensive when you are experimenting. It doesn’t take too many of those to end up paying for a cheap 40W Chinese laser. So I took the plunge this weekend and ordered up a K40-III 40W laser. Of course my order coincided with a week long vacation in China, so it likely won’t get shipped out until next week sadly. Hopefully it makes it here in one piece and I don’t have to spend too much time realigning mirrors, etc….