When we started the school term, we had just finished a new Prusa Mendel.   After the students saw the Prusa, it seemed that everyone wanted to make one.   As part of our RepRap breeding program, I set a goal of 10 Mendels over the course of a ten-week school term (seemed like one a week would be reasonable based on last spring term’s success).   However, we ran into some electrical / control issues in debugging our first Prusa and time in the term kept ticking, ticking, ticking into the future.

A year ago, I had thought about creating a set of molds to cast the plastic parts for a Classic Mendel.  I concluded that there were too many parts and consequently too many molds (which would exhaust our budget for the RepRap Breeding project).

The Prusa Mendel, however, has way fewer parts.    Fewer enough to try the experiment.  I took all last week outside of class to  redesign Prusa parts for mold production.  Most of the parts required only minor modifications, but several parts, such as the X-Carriage assembly, required redesign.  All modified parts were placed on mold plates to allow for the production of silicon RTV molds.   Makers will have to have a drill press available, as all holes will need to be drilled (their locations are clearly marked).

As soon as each mold plate was printed on one of our 3D powder printers, two students (Scott  Tandoi and Travis Nicholes) worked to make the molds.   They also started to produce molded parts for their own Mendels.

I came into the lab one morning last week and there was a Prusa frame completed to the point of mounting Y-motors and Y-Carriage.  Our first Clonedel.  Much lab excitement.

We are quite sure that we can produce ALL of the plastic parts for a complete Prusa in under 30 minutes.

We consider these molds to be in alpha status.   We are still checking things out.  Once we are good to go, we expect to release our working STL files of the mold plates to the community at large (hopefully, within a week).

The STL form files are now up see the following article.

40 Comments on Prusa Mendel and the Clonedels

  1. Spacexula says:

    I love your design changes for casting. could you upload the design files for your changes somewhere? preferably as a branch off the Prusa Github?

  2. ganter says:

    Neil, Our intent is to make all the files available. We are open to suggestions. Prehaps thing-iverse?

  3. Josef Prusa says:

    Yep do a fork on github :-)

    However Im still not fan of molded parts :-( I think it reduces the drive which printing of parts gives to community.

  4. ganter says:

    Josef, We completely understand the mission of RepRap. We have known Adrian for over 15+ years. The idea of RepRap is amazing! The community’s mods and your mods in specific have provided for a simpler Mendel. We have a slightly different mission than RepRap. We would like to get as many Mendels into our students hands as possible. It is about time to make. Our students REALLY get the idea of RP but they are not very patient sometimes.

  5. [...] grounbreaking research/hacking team at The University of Washington’s Solheim lab have begun cloning RepRaps. The RepRap project is a project that aims to make an open source [...]

  6. Josef Prusa says:

    Thing is, that selling parts kinda supports the further development. Someone sells parts makes some money on that and he can invest them back.

    Now with these printable masters, and I must say they look nice, there will be pile of “fotons” making moulded parts which will take the price down even more and it will slow down the development. Im just saying :-/

  7. [...] of the time. He states that all of the plastic parts for a complete Prusa can be produced in under 30 minutes. You’ll still have to finish some parts with a drill press, but to have all the parts ready in [...]

  8. [...] of the time. He states that all of the plastic parts for a complete Prusa can be produced in under 30 minutes. You’ll still have to finish some parts with a drill press, but to have all the parts ready in [...]

  9. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicholas C Lewis, Metrix Create:Space. Metrix Create:Space said: Clonedels! – http://open3dp.me.washington.e.....clonedels/ [...]

  10. Marco Andrade says:

    Hi there,

    Amazing work! Will you be posting to this blog once the parts are available for purchase? As you can tell I’m a bit anxious.. :Op Again, very cool!

    Regards,

    Marco

  11. admin says:

    Marco, We won’t be selling anything soon but I’m sure someone will make molds and start selling parts. Last night on the #reprap IRC channel, someone was talking about selling molds.

  12. Marco Andrade says:

    Thanks!

  13. admin says:

    Josef, people will sell parts (the money will still support what it supports). One of my students makes nice money on selling parts on Ebay. The market will adjust and time will march on. Adrian started this socialistic experiment and everyone is open to play. The distributed design aspect will also continue. Perhaps people will even start selling molds on Ebay too (for $50 a set). We know someone is working on electronics which are at least $100 less than current street price.

    Since, I’ve been watching things have not slowed down. According to Erik D., we are still in exponential growth (I see it the same way). We are a long way from a RepRap in every house!

  14. [...] of the time. He states that all of the plastic parts for a complete Prusa can be produced in under 30 minutes. You’ll still have to finish some parts with a drill press, but to have all the parts ready in [...]

  15. [...] of the time. He states that all of the plastic parts for a complete Prusa can be produced in under 30 minutes. You’ll still have to finish some parts with a drill press, but to have all the parts ready in [...]

  16. Larry James says:

    the comments are what are really interesting… are molds a step backward or forwards? it may be hard to say. universities themselves are a kind of weird socialist/capitalist system (supported by gov, corporate interests, and their own structure) … sometimes I wonder if a design needs to have certain covenant rules added to them. otherwise [insert any large corporate entity here] could mass produce and open source design and take over by just throwing capitol at it. it may be good for getting a printer in everyone home but bad for small business and individuals. it’ll probably sort itself out, but interesting non-the-less. we’ll probably see a large entrenched company jump on board soon. its just all to tempting for them to not to with it being the future of things and all. “we live in interesting times…”.

  17. Bryan says:

    I think molds will do far more good than harm. For every user that slacks off on developing his reprap due to lack of financial incentive, there is the potential for far more new users in the gene pool due to the reduced cost of entry. This is especially true of the college scene where large groups can get up and running in far less time than if they were to try to print parts locally. In the absence of cheap/quick parts, groups like this one might not even get started. It’s a win for reprap overall.

  18. admin says:

    Bryan, you get it! We agree!

  19. Bryan says:

    What are you using for casting material, and about what would the materials cost be per Prusa set?

  20. Bryan says:

    Also there is already a RepRap loaner program. Imagine a reprap mold loaner program. Large groups up and running in quick succession using the same set of molds!

  21. Davorak says:

    “hing is, that selling parts kinda supports the further development. Someone sells parts makes some money on that and he can invest them back.

    Now with these printable masters, and I must say they look nice, there will be pile of “fotons” making moulded parts which will take the price down even more and it will slow down the development. Im just saying :-/”-Josef

    I think people will just have to move on to printing experimental additions rather then basic parts. This also has the added benefit of rewarding innovation rather then through put.

  22. admin says:

    Bryan, you can use anything from polyester resin (i.e. fiberglass resin), to polyurethane, to vinyl ester resin, to epoxy, to aluminum filled epoxy. Each has different characteristics – smell/sink factor, color/look, feel, tensile strength, etc. We are currently trying to use polyurethane as it is reasonable in cost ($80 for 2 gallons) and quite low in toxicity (check the MSDS). If some parts need
    different properties, then we will adjust. The Wade’s gears might be an issue we’ll just need to see. Also, color is available including neon and UV glow!

  23. Schmilerbanger says:

    To whine that an advancement in manufacturing “will take the price down even more and it will slow down the development.” is a bunch of crap. That’s talking like a Communist.

    *Competition* is what advances development. This has been proven time and time again. prusajr, you yourself benefited by producing a superior product to the original Mendel. Start running, you have some catching up to do.

  24. [...] set of white RepRap parts were created in molds, instead of being printed by another RepRap. [Mark A. Ganter] of the University of Washington [...]

  25. [...] set of white RepRap parts were created in molds, instead of being printed by another RepRap. [Mark A. Ganter] of the University of Washington [...]

  26. [...] set of white RepRap parts were created in molds, instead of being printed by another RepRap. [Mark A. Ganter] of the University of Washington [...]

  27. [...] Prusa Mendel and the Clonedels [...]

  28. [...] last but certainly not least we have a Mendel clone based on molded plastics from my own school, the University of Washington (okay I’m not in the ME department but I [...]

  29. Jens says:

    In response to 22) can you recommend any materials for mould and for casting? I’m in the UK, so I’ll have to look for different brands anyway, but it would be nice to have a starting point that I don’t go totally into the wrong direction with too soft or too brittle materials.

  30. admin says:

    Jens,

    We have been using and training students using Smooth-On products (for over 10 years) as they are reasonable safe and affordable. We are using Ooomoo 30 which is a thin 1:1 mix ratio silicone RTV. It has been mixed with a filler to reduce the cost (it is about $170 for two buckets of one gallon). A drawback in using filled Silicone RTV is the molds have a shorter useful life (generally less than one year) but in the RP/AM world things tend to change quickly. We’re on our third set of designs for molded parts. {there are ways to recycle old molds into new molds to reduce costs further.}

    For polyurethane, we are using either Smooth-Cast 300/305 or 325/326. It is again a 1:1 mix ratio polyurethane. Over the last few years the polymer industry has been working very hard on producing products that are 1:1 mix ratios by volume (because it helps people be successful with their products).

    This is a comment taken from the Hack-A-Day post on Clonedels and has information on European polymer brands.

    “If you are going to work with silicones or urethanes, this link is highly relevant and extremely useful:

    http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/guerrilla_cnc1.shtml

    Posted at 9:21 am on Feb 18th, 2011 by CutThroughStuffGuy”

  31. [...] Thing-o-matic, one UP!, one Mendel, and one MENDEL XL. Come see what were working on like casting Clonedels and building custom CNC machines like the Mantis. Last month we got our CCCKC CNC operational! ! If [...]

  32. 3d visualisering says:

    I have been testing a 3-D printer at my work last week. Ours is like a CNC machine that writes its own programs based on drawings done in AutoDesk Inventor. That one prints in plastic. Architectural Drafting has one that prints things out of ceramic. Not quite sure how that one works though.

  33. Jens says:

    It’s probably a silly question, but what is the design behind the bushings? Are they a variation of the felt bushings, and are there any photos or documentation how they’re used?

  34. ganter says:

    Jens, we are working to make the info available. A plastic bushing is inserted into each cast holder. If you live in
    the states, you can order them from Lowe’s. The part number is #880442 (nylon spacer 0.45×0.325×27/64). The
    nylon spacers are 2 for $0.92. Sometimes Lowe’s has them in stock at each store in the special nuts/washer/etc
    drawer section.

  35. Jens says:

    I see… I didn’t find a direct match in the UK, so I’ll try something else.

  36. ganter says:

    Jens, strangely, we prefer this bushing for the 8 mm smooth rod. Basically, any nylon bushing with an 8 mm inside diameter should work.

    Perhaps:
    http://www.componentforce.co.u.....lon-bushes

  37. Jens says:

    ganter, I was going to try a bunch of spacers with a bigger outer diameter and a replacement holder. What do you think about cutting the bushings from nylon bar and drilling a hole?

  38. ganter says:

    Jens, that would be perfect substitute. You might try a bigger diameter PTFE and not even use the holder. Just hot melt glue or epoxy the
    bushing to the clonedel parts.

  39. [...] upcoming set of Reprap Prusa 3D printers that we’re going to make at Ace Monster Toys. “Clonedel” is what people have been calling the Reprap printers where the pieces normally made from [...]

  40. [...] of the time. He states that all of the plastic parts for a complete Prusa can be produced in under 30 minutes. You’ll still have to finish some parts with a drill press, but to have all the parts ready in [...]

Leave a Reply

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux