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Project Help and Ideas » Prototype board and smart devices

March 06, 2013
by BStory
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This is done a lot. Still, it's such a practical solution, especially if you like to move your projects around. I got my inspiration from Ben Heck(search youTube for Ben Heck developement board).

This board is basically the nerdKit solidified into a pcb, with an 8 pin socket for attinys. The 6 pin header is for serial programming. The MOSI, MISO, SCK, and RST on both sockets share this header. GNDs are tied together and +V are tied together. There is 3 pin header for using a crystal in the 28 pin socket; center pin in nc. Only 1 MCU should be used at a time or something bad will probably happen. The two 5 slot headers on either side of the reset button are GND and V+. The soldering took forever, probably because I'm a little bit OCD. I decided that an external power supply, switch, voltage reg, indicator LEDs etc. can be put in when/if I need it.

The box was designed with Autodesk Inventor Student Edition, and printed on my RepRap. The pcb slides in slots I made with a sawsall blade when printing them in didn't work right. I made dimples with my solder iron to help to pinch the pcb in the slot. It holds in pretty firm but I'm sure in a year or two, the board will work the slots open and I'll have to jab em with my solder iron again.

I ordered 10 attinys on eBaby. For a long time, I've really wanted to experiment with some of the fuse settings and still have an mcu to play with at the end of it. I in fact still have 6 working attinys to play with, the remainder will need a high voltage programmer or fuse resetter. :P

I think there is serious potential to using these cheap 8 pin devices for all sorts of things. It enables dumb devices to become smart devices. How about as an I2C controller, for cheaper than an I2C controller? Suddenly every external device can have a 2 wire interface. I also like the idea of having a device network where each of the individual devices such as led arrays, LCDs, sensors, real time clock, etc. can be calibrated or otherwise accessed in real time through a serial port or even the internet. What do you guys think?

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March 06, 2013
by pcbolt
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Hi BStory -

You're right about this being done a lot and about the chips having serious potential. What you might have been missing is the great deal of interest in your RepRap machine. I hadn't heard of it before and after a quick search found a video of that puppy in action. Got a bunch of questions for you: How did you like using it? Would you recommend it? Did you buy a kit or get plans from the web? When are you going to post a video of it in action? How long did it take to make your enclosure?

Sorry about not answering your original question...it's just that your 3d printer made me curious.

March 06, 2013
by BStory
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I love it. If I need a gear, bracket, box, whatever, I can design it(if someone hasn't already) and print it. That box was something I was thinking about for a few days. It took 30 minutes of design, and 30 minutes to print. Yes I would recommend that 3d printer to anyone who likes to build things. It's easy to put together but I had a hard time getting the first layer to stick to the bed. It took a long time to get past that. It can take a long time to research all of the ins and outs of 3d printing and building them. Im still learning it and I've been running it for a couple of year.

Approx Cost: Threaded and smooth rod precut: $40. Steppers x 5: $20 used Sanguinololu Control board and stepper drivers: $100 eBay Heated bed pcb: $30 eBay Glass for smooth print surface: free at local glass shop Reprap printed parts, nuts, bolts, screws, springs, bearings, linear bearings, acrilic pieces, belts: $200 eBay J head Hotend: $50

Cheaper if you cut your own rods, have access to a printer to print parts, have a milling attachment on a reprap to mill a Gen7 control board and heated bed pcbs. Plus as the scene has grown and saturated the market with so many basement shops, it's now much cheaper to source parts. China is even getting involved.

There are commercialized fully completr printers born from the reprap project (Makerbot) for those who have more money than time and want a "works out of the box" solution. I prefer the open source designs.

I've been thinking about printing a Printrbot. It's a Kickstarter funded printer with a much simpler design.

I have had plans to make some videos esp about what i have learned but I never end up doing it. I'll try harder.

March 06, 2013
by pcbolt
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Thanks BStory.

I had a chance to watch more videos on YouTube and there is a growing community involved in the RepRap project. One guy had a video like what you described...a "what I would have done differently" type demo. There is another that mentioned an award ($20K and $80K) going to the first team who could make a completely replicating machine...including the circuit boards. That would be amazing... a 3D circuit board printer.

March 07, 2013
by Ralphxyz
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BStory, I have a high voltage programmer (Atmel Dragon).

If you want to mail me your chips I'll reset the fuses.

rhulslander gmail

I have a 3D printer coming at the end of March.

So I want to make friends with other 3D printing folks cause I'm going to need a lot of help :-)

I do not have the patience to put a printer together.

Ralph

March 09, 2013
by BStory
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Yeah pcbolt, there is some good incentive to innovation in the 3d printing community. I see people experimenting with extruding solder to make pcbs. It doesn't seem promising to me. I think a cake froster would be a pretty straight forward mod. Something I've been working on is cutting copper foil tape like this here. I'd like to slap a circuit on a piece of glass.

I designed and printed this to do the job on my printer. The best feature is that it is the same distance from my build platform as my extruder so I don't have to adjust the z-axis when I swap tools. It says untested but I have tested it and it doesn't work well. It tips when it moves. I need a way to hold the blade down against what I'm cutting but not tilt when the moving. I'm thinking mount in on a slide rail or something. I wish I could find a picture of how the vinyl cutting machines do it.

Wow Ralph that printer looks nice, really nice. With milling option too. And they claim they will release the source files when it ships. Open source FTW! Mine is the Prusa RepRap and it works well enough for crud I print out of it. I upgraded to Marlin firmware a few months ago so I am a fairly familiar with it if you need help configuring any of your settings. In the pictures above you can see how I'm extruding too much plastic and it bubbles up. I lost my calibration when I re-flashed. I have it fixed now. I would be more than happy to help in any way. Thanks for offering your flashing services I may have to consider sending those chips too you. On the other hand I almost think I want an excuse to build that fuse re-setter I linked the other day.

March 10, 2013
by Ralphxyz
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Wow Bstory that cutting copper foil tape is cool.

I am not sure how your CraftKutz would be a cutter. I would think there would need to be a blade at the tip not a point.

But cutting foil for a pcb is definitely cool.

One of the things I have been wondering about doing is milling PCBs.

I was also wondering if there was a conductive filament for the 3D printer.

I suppose using solder is theoretically possible.

I have devoted the last month to a crash course in learning 3D printing, from scratch.

My printer "should" ship at the end of March so I have a 2 -3 weeks to finish my studies.

I am using Sketchup Pro for my 3D cad, which of course I had to learn.

I have had trouble figuring out the "tool chain" as there were so many different programs and then some of the programs had a thousand options. It was making my head swim.

I have it down to using Sketchup for my model and then checking it with the NetFabb Cloud and then making my Gcode with Slic3r.

My printer uses Marlin, which I have also been looking into.

Luckily there is a forum dedicated to the RPM so I will be haunting that.

Ralph

March 10, 2013
by BStory
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Actually the blade holder is made for a vinyl cutting machine, I ordered it from ebay. It uses blades that pivot in the housing. My 3d drawing of the blade isn't accurate. I didn't care so much because that part of the model is only to see the scale.

These guys are experimenting with conductive plastic. Silver didn't work well I guess because the fine angularity of it but they report good results with carbon aside from the higher resistance.

Yeah the tool chain was the hardest for me to figure out. There's just so many ways to go. I use Inventor Student addition because it is fully functional and free for students. It supports kinematics so I could build fully functioning mechanics. I also use Slicer to layer my models. I use Pronterface to interface with the printer, it integrates Slicer in the program. I'm not really familiar with Python so I use the precompiled Windows version. A mac version is there too.

My process goes Open Inventor for 3d Design -> Export to .stl -> Open Pronterface, turn on my heaters -> verify or change my slicing settings -> open .stl file -> print.

March 10, 2013
by Ralphxyz
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I have tried looking at Pronterface but it left me confused.

You are not using any gcode? You are printing directly from .stl?

Wheww I got two more weeks to figure this out.

I was hoping I'd be able to upload the gcode Slic3r made directly to Marlin.

Now re: the blade how about if you used a round/curved blade?

Then the tipping would not really matter.

Or possible something even better would be to use a wheel like a glass cutter.

Ralph

March 10, 2013
by BStory
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No it converts the .stl to gcode first. When I open the .stl file in Pronterface, what I mean is I open the .stl file then Pronterface sends the file to Slic3r to be sliced and output to gcode which Pronterface then opens and feed to the printer.

The gcode is serial fed to the printer one line at a time. This is handled by Pronterface. However, if you connect an SD card interface to your printer you can eliminate the computer connection. Pronterface is basically a serial interface with buttons added to do common tasks like move the axis around manually, set temperatures, turn on/off heaters. Basically macros that just send gcode to the printer. Using serial connection(wired or wireless), or SD card are the only ways I know of to get the gcode to the printer and an interfacing software seems the easiest way.

The thing about a curved blade is that there is more surface area touching the material, so tighter turns wouldn't work as well. The way the holder works is that the blade length can be adjusted and ideally it should only protrude from the housing the thickness of whatever is being cut. So the flat nose of the housing drags on the material and the blade cuts through.

See the blade is barely sticking out. The blade is a 45 degree angle.

Vinyl Cutter Blade

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