Writing a new DIY book
This has been a project over a year in the making, and mostly a labor of love. I first got interested in RepRap 3D printers when I was working at the Pueblo City-County Library District. They had a couple MakerBot 3D printers, which are good but expensive. I was intrigued by the idea of making lower cost but decent printers using mostly off the shelf parts. The concept of a RepRap printer is cool because it incorporates 3D printed parts to make the 3D printer. In theory, one goal of the RepRap movement is to create machines that are capable of self replication with as few extraneous special part as possible.
My printer uses low-cost electrical conduit and beaded chain to form the structure, the linear motion components, and the power drive system. It's cool because you can buy most of the mechanics at a local hardware store, and there is not much to go wrong during assembly.
The Ready RepRap is intended for use in classrooms, libraries, or teaching groups. It can be built using only hand tools at a table, and only costs about $200 in parts. It is also relatively easy to print. It takes a total of 15 hours to print the parts, which compares well to some of the most minimal print designs out there.
My design is a delta type system, which has three vertical tracks for movement. Deltas have a lot going for them: Tall print volume for minimal structure, strength because three motors operate together, and also iterative design - design one leg, and just copy it three times.
I explored the idea of designing my own extruder machine for pushing the filament, and my own hotend for melting and depositing the filament. In the end, at least for this project, I opted to purchase ready made parts.
Now that the printer is finalized and up and running, I'm focusing on the next task: Making the Book. I am going to publish the material as a hybrid of totally open-source and pay-to-read. It can be tricky to strike a balance that appeals to the DIY community, but also lets me continue doing what I do in the world of tech design.
These are the materials I will release for free as open-source:
- Firmware configureations -> Github
- 3D Models to print -> Github, Thingiverse, Tinkercad
- Parts Lists -> RepRap.org
- Basic Instructions -> RepRap.org
- Video Instructions Webinar -> YouTube
- Notes & Updates -> RepRap.org and Github
This is the only thing I will be selling:
- The full step-by-step illustrated awesome book -> Amazon.com & IdeaPropulsionSystems.com
Since the writing, publishing, and marketing phase is now before me, I am considering putting together a crowdfunding campaign to help make it happen. If you are an educator or a maker or are interested in making this project a reality, please stay tuned!
Some video from an earlier prototype this past year: