Sunday, February 13, 2011

The idea

The main idea with this machine and what will set it apart from others is that it is basically a universal cartesian prototyping machine. All modules on the machine run on basic G-code and several of them attach to other modules. For example the Router not only routes but can do light milling with the speed turned down and a fixture plate slipped into the base. Putting the 3D scanning bed in the base, attaching the camera, turning the laser on and running certain code allows it to scan in 3D with David 3D scanner software. Putting a stencil cutter fixture in the router collet allows it to cut vinyl or paper, etc. On one end of the machine the rapid prototyping module rests while not in use but can be used in the same envelope for printing, pick and place operations etc. The other reason for separating the Rep Rap based prototyper is that it has been designed for lightness and speed while the larger module is designed for cutting at slower speeds ( still pretty fast) in heavier materials up to and including light iron and steel.

I bought a lot of parts on Ebay over the last year and generally saved for other material. I decided to lease the space with my wife and kids and sort of split it up between clean and dirty areas. We had to frame out space into a large existing multilevel warehouse. 

We scored big time in other ways by leasing the space. The owner of the building co-owns a hair blending company that makes custom blends for brooms, brushes, etc. and happened to be getting rid of some old machines. These machines contained a plethura of 80/20 aluminum, PLC's, linear motion components, motors, gears, pneumatic devices and controls etc. I was able to augment and drastically improve the machine by using these materials.

Here are some photos of the raw material

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