Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tantillus instructions

I have done my best to get the instructions for Tantillus up to a point where most of you will be able to complete your builds. If you find anything that does not make sense or you feel there should be a specific picture please let me know. Knowing the machine as well as I do I have a hard time knowing which parts need better explaining. I will be adding more videos and tutorials in the coming weeks. Build Guide

A few notes to supporters of the Indiegogo campaign.

1) All the hardware and complete kits include two Bowden tubes. One is 1/4" x 1/8" which has an inside diameter of 3.06mm. The other is 1/4" x 3/16" which has an inside diameter of 4.7mm. Although the 3.06mm i.d. tubing is the proper tubing for the machine it can be too small for Chinese made filament which is 3mm +/- 0.1mm. If you plan on using high end filament that measures 2.8 or 2.9 +/- 0.1mm you should use the 3.06mm i.d. tubing as it allows you to change filament on the fly by inserting one piece after another. If you are using cheaper filament that has the possibility to go over 3mm use the 4.7mm i.d. tubing and be aware that you can not change filament on the fly because they try and pass each other in the tube and cause a jam.

2) I've included extra of the smaller size nuts as I know how easy it is to lose them.

3) I some how forgot to include two size Allen keys required to assemble the deluxe complete kits, 7/64" and 3/32" . I am more than willing to send these to everyone that ordered but I am not sure any of you will want to wait. Please let me know what you would like me to do. The 7/64" is for the carriage assembly which can be tightened via the nuts and the extruder idler which can also be tightened via the nuts and only needs to be hand tight. The 3/32" is for the LCD, Arduino and Z-coupler and is requied to tighten the Z-coupler.

4) If you have not been contacted about shipping or pick up or you are waiting for a response that just never seems to come please contact me. There are a couple of you that I have tried contacting on multiple occasions and have not gotten a response. This is most likely due to a spam filter. For guaranteed contact you can use the RepRap forums mail system as it is does not filter the content.

5) If you ordered a Hardware kit for the fully printed case you will find that it is missing the bolts that hold the corners together. They are also missing the washers used to adjust the force of the upper stiffeners. It is 8 nuts and bolts and 16 washers that are missing. If you are willing to wait I am more than willing to send them to you. If you are in a hurry to assemble your machine it will most likely be easier to get them locally. Please let me know what you would like me to do.

I would like to thank everyone that contributed to the Indiegogo campaign for their patience and understanding. This has been a real learning experience and far more work than I could have ever anticipated. After filling almost 2000 bags and 150 boxes with parts and soldering almost 700 connections I have finally reached the end and all of you get to enjoy your new printer. I will be away from the 16th until the 22nd and will have limited internet access to give support. Please bare with me during this time and I will do my best to help everyone as quickly as possible.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tantillus parts are starting to arrive

Parts have been arriving all week to fill the Indiegogo Tantillus campaign(s).

All the RAMPS boards have arrived.
Some of the stepsticks have been backordered but that should not effect the orders going out on schedule.

Most of the Motors have arrived and the rest should be here at the beginning of next week.

All of the SDramps boards have arrived.

All of the 4gb micro SDcards have arrived.

All of the Arduino mega 2560's have arrived.

All of the fans have arrived.

All of the white on blue 1602 LCD screens have arrived.

The professionally made cables arrived and I will be soldering them to their respective components for easy plug and play assembly.

All of the bearings have arrived (not all shown).

The professionally cut glass build plates arrived with all the edges ground so there is nothing sharp to cut yourself on.

Most of the nuts and bolts have arrived and the rest should be in on Monday so I can finish sorting out the kits.

There have been a few delays getting some of the components due to back orders of supposedly in-stock items like the powers supplies. I have been assured that they are being shipped priority express at the beginning of next week. The few metric parts in the kit (M3 x 10 and 8mm drill rods) have also proven hard to get here in Canada in the quantities required and are the last of the hardware components to arrive. We should still be on schedule to have all of the orders from the first Indiegogo campaign shipped by the end of the month. The ones from the Maker Faire extension should only be a short time later.

I will be contacting everyone in the next week to arrange shipping now that I can properly weigh and measure the kits. If you have purchased a hardware only kit and not informed me of which kit you would like (laser cut or printed case) please contact me as soon as possible so we can be sure to get you the correct length smooth rods and the bolts for the printed case.

I will be trying to give you more updates over the next two weeks now that things are here and we are in the final stages of production.

Thanks again to everyone that contributed.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tantillus quality

I have been working hard to create profiles for slic3r that allow you to print almost any object at high resolution with ease. This means setting up reasonable speeds to allow almost any geometry to print successfully without the intervention of the user to tweak settings based on the model. This includes sane retract lengths and speeds to allow small parts to print without lumps or ooze which was not always easy with a bowden cable type machine. This issue is far less of an issue today as it was 1 year ago due to the developments in hotend design and software (firmware and slicing). The J-head hotend used on Tantillus requires a lot of pressure to extrude which allows us to use retract to simply lower the pressure enough that it is below the pressure required to print but still high enough that we do not have lag when we begin to print again after retraction. The first few profiles are almost complete and will be posted soon but I thought I would share with you some of the results.

All of the following were printed at 100 micron layers (default 150) and have had no post processing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cable drive

I just wanted to quickly let you know a little more about the cable drive. I know some people are unsure of its abilities so let me put those worries to rest.

The reason I went this route was to create a system that does not require special belts that are unavailable in the retail world for the most part. I also wanted to eliminate the problems found with belt driven systems like backlash from the rubber compressing or bumps from the teeth going over the idler pulley. This lead me to a cable drive system like found on a plotter or scanner. Growing up in the marine world I was familiar with roll-on roll-off winches and hoists so I knew the system could apply a lot of force and would not slip.

A lot of people have asked how it works and I have tried to explain in the instructions on but it will only be clear once I make the videos during the assembly of the machines from the Indiegogo campaign. I will try and explain it here as well.

The two rods with the drive gears on them have holes drilled at each end to allow the cable to pass through them. The cable is then wrapped 5 times on either side of the hole in opposite directions to allow it to roll-on and roll-off but only up until the fixed point where the hole is drilled. This fixed point is what makes the system solid and prevents any slippage. We are only actually un-wrapping the cable 2 wraps in either direction and the other three on each side are to further give traction to the cable and creates an offset in the two lines that allow the cable to pass by the X/Y end. We then need to wrap the cable around the rod on the opposite side (idler side) 7-10 times to get the offset on that side as well so it lines up correctly. Then one of the cables goes through the X/Y end and through a loop in the other end of the cable and back through the X/Y end. This allows you to simply pull the end of the cable and it cinches tight. You only have to tighten the one bolt in the X/Y end to secure it. This makes it easy to align the bars as you just undo the one bolt and move the X/Y end which has the cable running through it and then re-tighten the bolt when square.

The cable I have chosen to supply with the kits on Idiegogo is a braided high test fishing line from "Power Pro" and is made of 100% spectra fibre. I did some testing with wire rope and it should work but I have not done enough testing to make any solid conclusions as it may fatigue over time. But for those of you wishing to try it is usually called stainless leader line and is sold in some fishing stores.

The spectra fibre is incredibly strong, but why should you believe me. This is what the manufacture Honeywell says about the fibre.

"Pound-for-pound, it is 15 times stronger than steel, more durable than polyester and has a specific strength that is 40 percent greater than aramid fiber. Polyethylene is a remarkably durable plastic, and scientists at Honeywell have captured the tremendous natural strength in the molecular backbone of this everyday plastic to create one of the world's strongest and lightest fibers.

It also exhibits high resistance to chemicals, water, and ultraviolet light. It has excellent vibration damping, flex fatigue and internal fiber-friction characteristics, and Spectra fiber's low dielectric constant makes it virtually transparent to radar.

Spectra fiber is used in numerous high-performance applications, including police and military ballistic-resistant vests, helmets and armored vehicles, as well as sailcloth, fishing lines, marine cordage, lifting slings, and cut-resistant gloves and apparel. Honeywell also converts Spectra fiber into the Spectra Shield family of specialty composites for armor and other applications."

These properties have lead to Tantillus having no detectable backlash and very accurate steps per mm. Giving Tantillus amazing layer alignment as seen here.

Note:These photos were taken with a microscope and are of 0.2mm layers and 0.25mm.

All of this results in a system that has surpassed my own expectations and hopefully yours.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Better late than never.

I would like to start off by apologizing for the lack of updates over the past 2 months. I was planning on being at this point a long time ago. But as with most projects there have been hurdles to overcome.

To be able to spend the amount of time I would like in the development of RepRap related designs and stuff to be printed I have decided to open a store to sell Tantillus parts, kits and machines. To kick things off I've decided to go with an Indiegogo flexible funding campaign with perks from $15 to $2000.

On to the update......

 Introducing the Laser cut acrylic edition of Tantillus. It uses the exact same axis parts and electronics as the fully printed version. The hardware requirements are less than that of the Printed version as the Laser cut case does not require any bolts to assemble. It measures 10mm wider and deeper than the printed version while standing the same height. It has additional cutouts for a 16 x 2 LCD, rotary encoder and barrel connector for the power. It has mounting holes for Arduino mega based electronics (RAMPS) as well as Sanguinololu.
After building a few wooden machines cnc'd by Derek at ArmyOfEvilRobots and making hundreds of small revisions to make assembly easier and reduce vitamins I was finally ready to have the first Acrylic case cut. This is the version available through the Indiegogo campaign and being released to the community.

In addition to designing, building and testing I have also been busy building a dedicated website for Tantillus with what is (will be) the best documented instructions in the RepRap community. I have also created a custom branch of Marlin just for Tantillus with many special features like: Automatic fan control, LCD backlight control, Better support for 16 x 2 LCD, "Easy load" for loading and unloading the filament on bowden cable machines from the LCD as well as many other features.

I have decided to release the files under the GPLv3 in the true spirit of opensource and the RepRap project. To do so I have created a Github repo for Tantillus and uploaded the printable case files for those of you who would like to get a head start on printing the case. The rest of the files will be released (including source files) the day the Indiegogo campaign ends.

For the rest of the details please see the Indiegogo campaign and

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tantillus progress update and videos

It turns out my year of communication errors have been caused by a faulty Arduino mega 1280 (official Arduino) all along, but it was still capable of running Teacup despite its issues. Thanks to the kindness of fellow RepRapper John Biehler who loaned me an Arduino mega 2560 I am back at development and tuning.

After connecting Johns Arduino I proceeded to try printing the large Yoda I had fail time and time again using my 1280 and Marlin. To my surprise it made it far past the point at which it had been failing when I realized I did not have enough filament to finish. Expecting to have a communication error and not wanting to waste new filament I started inserting short lengths of various PLA I had lying around into the extruder one after another. The result was a large rainbow yoda.
I then proceeded to load more filament into the machine and started the print over.
The results were far better than I was expecting for such an early print and very little calibration. I am attributing this to the quality of code being produced by Slic3r and the look-a-head in marlin.

It was now time to see how fast I could go without losing quality. I used Le_garages Grotux and printed it with four perimeters and various speeds until I found the sweet spot of between 80 and 125mm/s for print moves.
 I quickly found the need for a fan so I designed a simple fan mount to hold a 40mm fan to the side of the machine. Here it is printing at 80mm/s perimeter with 200mm/s travel speed. It has a bit of ooze still at this point in the tuning.
As you can see from the following picture it is almost impossible to print small parts at these speeds without a fan or cooling (first one). The second one is with the fan added. The third and fourth are the combined results of the fan and Slic3rs brand new cool feature.
 I also decided to try and tune the advance feature in Marlin with very poor results. The picture shows the average result whenever the advance K is set enough to deal with the hysteresis. (edit: these were done at 200mm/s)
Instead of wasting plastic printing more cubes or toys to tune the retract and acceleration I decided to use Prusa parts.
So far the results are far exceeding my expectations and I will be moving on to the Beta testing stage now with John Biehler being the first to print the Beta 0.1 in ABS on his Thing-o-matic. 


Monday, February 20, 2012

First prints

After redesigning the carriage and building a new hotend I was off and printing. As usual I started with Teacup and every print finished but the machine was noisy at the speeds I want to print at. The results were not exactly what I wanted either, but none the less still good.
The first three cubes are printed with the old hotend and Teacup. The next two and Yoda were printed with the new hotend and Teacup. I then decide to make the switch to Marlin which resulted in excellent quality prints and the machine sounded much better. But as you can see I could not complete a single build because of the communication errors. I posted a thread on the RepRap forum about it but no one has responded yet. While waiting to find a solution to the serial error I decided to try hooking up my DIY sd card reader (card slot and schematic) which went terribly wrong. The first symptom appeared when the temp would read 266 so I swapped the hotend and bed thermistors in the firmware and was getting good readings again. But the Y axis and Z axis only moved at about 10% of the speed requested and only move half the distance. I have removed the SDreader and checked all the connection points and there are no shorts or loose connections so it looks like my arduino mega is done. This is going to set the project back until I can sell another set of Prusa parts to raise the money to continue.

Here's a video of the fourth print it ever did. First with the new hotend.

Hopefully it won't be to long before I can continue development.

Friday, February 17, 2012

First signs of life

It's late so I will make this short. The motors arrived today and I spent the evening wiring Tantillus up with the R.A.M.P.S. 1.2 from my RepStrap Huxley. The gears on the X and Y are a little noisy because of the textured surface of the prints but I believe they will quite down as soon as they wear in a little more. The video is of test routine I wrote to break in the gears a little and is running at 150mm/s. I ran it for about 10 minutes before I got bored and tired. The only issue I found while trying to print was the fact I printed the carriage in PLA and have no cooling on the hotend. I will be redesigning it and print it out of ABS. Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, February 13, 2012

In the meantime.

I am just waiting for the motors to arrive and thought I would give you a short video showing the movement of the axis (by hand). I should have the motors by the end of this week / beginning of next and will upload a proper video (in focus and lit). And hopefully the first videos of it printing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sneak peek of my new portable mini printer, Tantillus.

 Just a quick update as some of you may have already seen via John Biehlers Blog I have been working on a mini Ultimaker style printer with the goal of making a truly portable printer. This came about after taking my Prusa on holidays and finding it too big to travel with and not required for most things you would print on the go.

A few notes on its design and construction.

Outer dimensions:
 200mm x 200mm x 300mm (225mm x 225mm x 300mm with reinforcements brackets installed, see picture)

Build Area:
102mm x 102mm x 120mm (100mm x 100mm x 110 usable)

LM8uu linear bearings on all axis (currently using Triffid Hunters printable LM8uu's for testing with excellent results).
Fully printed case (12 main sections, 12 connectors, 14 axis parts, 5 optional reinforcements, 3 piece custom extruder).
It can print all of its own parts.
Designed to use J-head hotend (eventually).
Internally mounted extruder with bowden cable.
External power supply to allow for battery operated use.
Uses low cost wire rope (fishing wire) or High test Braided fishing line instead of costly belts (It wraps 5 times around the rod and then goes through a hole and wraps an additional 5 times resulting in no slip). This is a roll on roll off system with a fixed anchor in the middle.

Planned additions:
Extension panels to allow it to expand itself by 100mm in any or all directions (incomplete as of yet).
The ability to daisy chain two machines together to mass produce parts while only using one set of electronics (both machines would produce the same parts at the same time).

Vitamin list:
11- 608 bearings
10 - LM8uu's or 8 - LM8uu's & 4 - LM8Suu's
2m - 8mm smooth rod
250mm - 6mm threaded rod (1/4" threaded rod) and two nuts
60 - Socket head screws (Allen head)
4 - Nema 17's ( Nema 11's / Nema 14's should also work as it takes very little torque)
Your favorite electronics.

Thanks go to John for his beautiful picture.

It now has a name "Tantillus"

Update 2:
RepRap wiki page created.