Sunday, January 29, 2012

RepRap Adventures: Printable Bicycle Parts

I am currently building up a bicycle with parts I'm buying off the internet.  While parts shopping, I decided to see what kind of parts I can 3d print.  This will allow me to both test out some RepRap part strength, and also to save a little money.  I'm sure the parts I create will not be as good as most parts available, but maybe I will be able to figure out some creative ways to use my 3d printer.  Today, I will show you my first step.  The main purpose of this is to be sure that the dimensional variation of 3d printed parts will fit with the more precise machined metal parts of a bicycle.

The bike.

I decided to make a lower bearing race for my headset first.  The frame I am building, a 17" Fuji Suncrest, came with most of a Ritchey headset.  The lower race was not part of the package, so I decided draw one to fit the specs.  This is a good test of part fitment because it mates with metal parts in every direction, it fits around the steering tube, on top of the fork crown and has a sealed bearing pushing down around the top.

This file is available at Thingiverse.

Quick Rhino Drawing

a quick print

It fits well around the bottom
And fits the bearing perfectly.
This is only a small part, and as of now it is completely untested, but it does show promise.  Dimensionally, it is very good, the surface finish is a little rough compared to other bike parts.  I think that there are many bicycle bits that could be printed, I'm going to continue this quest and see what is possible.  There will probably be some great failures when testing begins, I'll be sure to document any magnificent crashes.  It will be an adventure of grand proportions! Maybe...  

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

RepRap Calibration

Today I spent some time calibrating my RepRap, its was an interesting experience.  The computer that I use to run Pronterface and my RepRap is my retired Car-Puter which controlled the sound in my Ford Expedition for years.  Now the computer seems very underpowered with its Via 1ghz integrated motherboard.  Most of the calibration parts were no problem, but when Skeining more complicated models,  Skeinforge tends to eat up all of my computer's cpu and memory resources and  then crash.  As soon as I figure out how to get everything run from my MBP, I will.  I've been having problems with Python on my Mac.  Oh well, I'll devote a few more Saturdays to it.  Check out these pictures and the short video of my machine printing a calibration block.

The thin wall test took a few tries

anyone else like Bassnectar?

The 20mm block took a few tries also, this weird raft actually worked well.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Now that I'm in Connecticut working regular hours, I've had some time to finish up my RepRap.  I'm going to finish calibrating this weekend, and most likely try to print some new designs I've been working on.  Until then, here's a picture of it after it finished its first calibration print... which looks gross.

From New Stuff

And here it is printing a bottle opener I downloaded from Thingiverse.

From New Stuff

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