Sunday, 21 May 2017

Gerty - My Wanhao i3 3D Printer

I've been wanting to get into 3D printing for some time.  But all the machines I liked were silly money.  Some of the other UK R2 builders had bought the £300 Wanhao i3, most but not all were positive reviews, all had niggles, but when James got one and printed me a few parts, I knew i had to take the plunge.

I've had it a few weeks now, so I thought I'd share my almost finished machine. :) 

After some research, I found there were lots of easy upgrades for the i3.  Printer arrived and James had printed me a cooling fan duct, and a Z brace.  So we added all the upgrades we had and started printing some other upgrades i had bookmarked on Thingiverse.

I ended up trying quite a few parts in the end.  But these were those that have made the final machine. :)

Wanhao Duplicator I3

Colin's amazing 6mm ali bed:

Glass bed bought with the printer.

MicroSwiss Hot end, plus extruder arm and plate.  

Flexible Z couplers:

6 feet and Z brace (i used M6 adjustable feet and printed nuts to fit the cavities)

45mm long beaings x4 for the Y axis:

Y axis adjustable belt tension and end plate:

Y stepper mount and end plate:

With my own Y stepper bracket for better cooling and rigidity:

Y axis belt clip:
Plus a 2mm spacer below the bed to align the belt.

Y axis end stop mount:

Y drag chain, 10x10mm:

Y drag chain mounts for Colin's bed (I also extended the bed wiring):

X carriage wire management (i cut this bit to fit):

X axis belt tensioner

Spacer for x end stop

Diii Cooler 30mm (i also made a 1.6mm spacer to get it sat right)

Upgraded 50mm fan on blower:

Upgraded 40mm fan on cooler:

4 spring cups

4 thumb-wheels for bed levelling

Z extension end Plates:

Z extension braces:

Bearing roller spool holder.

Ikea £6 LED strip light, hacked, mounted with 3 brackets:

OctoPrint on a Raspberry Pi with Pi camera, with Plugins for TouchUI, Detailed Progress, Full screen Webcam and Cylon theme.  Currently on Pi2 and 1.3 cam, but due to upgrade to Pi3 and 2.0 cam.

Camera mount for Colin's bed:

Massive thanks to all that their parts shared on Thingiverse, some really great designs. It seems solid and smooth, a very different machine to the stock offering, and Im able to run it pretty fast without too much impact on the parts. :) 

I did all this in stages, realigning and testing as i went, tweaking settings and sometimes going in circles.  I also made a few adjustments to the firmware:
Speeds and accelerations:  All X to 800, all Y to 700 and Jerk to 7.  
PID nozzle temperature control (after setting up Octoprint on the Pi).

I am going to put this into a sever rack cabinet eventually.  The Pi will be mounted outside the enclosure.  I also plan to do the mosfet upgrade and fit an 80mm fan to the CPU.  There are also a few calibration and settings changes i will do while i have the CPU open.  

Id also like to have the cam wires in the y drag chain, and connectors for the bed under the carriage for easier maintenance, but that can wait. :)  

I've barely scratched the surface of working with this machine or the software (Simplify3D), and already it is out performing my expectations.  There is a lot to learn to really get the most from the prints, both in settings and in the design of the parts for the medium, so i know the parts will continue to improve. :)  For approx £450 total, I'm amazed.  I am tempted to redo all the upgrades as a single set of parts, make them work together a little better, but for now I'm very happy. :)

Really tempted to get a 2nd one. ;)   

Friday, 14 October 2016

R2-2E Finished Dome

The render is a big help, but it needed life.  And i had imagined a few of the details differently.  I polished the HP cowls, and painted the silver door, as well as colouring the rear PSI panel.

I spent a long time choosing the paint, and im really happy with the contrast.  Should be a very bold droid. :)

After painting all the panels and the dome stripe, i finished assembly using 3m 9088 double sided tape.  That stuff is a joy to use, and i should be able to strip the dome if i ever need to.

BHD Carbon Hydro Hinges Mk1

I had been pondering an uber hinge for some time.  I loved X2's hinges, they have been brilliant, and i knew i could improve on them for Juice.  I wanted to make sure of the following things:
1.  Easy Mounting
2.  No play in the hinge pivot
3.  No play in the connection to servo
4.  Cannot hit the outer dome when fully open
5.  Uses full range of the servo
6.  Sits perfectly when closed
7.  All 9 will fit in a dome

So i started playing with hardware.  Eventually i found my setup for the pivot.  2 flange bearings press into a dome base, and an Axle bolt attaches the arms, offset by 1mm spacer washers.

A plate is added on top of the dome base and is bolted to the dome.  The servo is attached to the plate using high density 1mm double sided tape.  The connection from servo to hinge is done using an arm extension and plastic ball ends with ali standoffs all connected using grub screws.

Aluminium standoffs support the structure, and then the arms of the hinges screw to a foot that is simply attached to the outer door using 3M 9088 tape.

With all the hardware working, i then turned to Cubify to model it.  The servos have approx 110 degrees of range.  I did a few test CNC layered bases to make sure it all worked, then added the dome curves and it was ready for the final version.

Then to Shapeways to print them.

This is the final prototype before receiving the carbon.

Next up was the mounting.  The hinges need a small offset from the opening, i chose 1.5mm, and made a jig, to allow me to mark the centre, clamp the jig in place and drill the holes. :D  Easy.  I did all 9 holes, and countersunk them for M3 bolts in less than 90mins. :D     

(This step wasn't needed, but i couldn't resist and i didn't have the carbon)

Felix sorted the carbon cutting, and i spent a few hrs cleaning them up.  But they turned out great.

The installed hinges are brilliant, like no other R2 hinge ive played with.  So smooth and solid.  And the Savox servos i chose are FAST!!!!  The pics below show the dome finished.  I will update that in another post.

I will try and get the sketches sorted and get it flapping from X2's master, once im happy i will either share or run them in some form.  

Dome Connector

I needed a way of retaining the dome, but allowing easy removal.  For both BHD and X2 i managed to get the dome electronics to connect with the removal of the dome.  I hated fishing for wires and connecting after docking.  So Juice needed similar.

I am using a 12 channel slip ring this time.  Just for 12v (5 lines), Gnd (5 lines) and I2C pair.  So 15pin connectors would be fine.  In addition X2 used magnets to retain the dome and steel studs to align it.  And i hoped to do the same for Juice.

So i removed a section of the dome base ring, to allow the connector to be close to the rockler, and mounted a bracket to hold the dome end connector.  Then an arm to the inner rockler to house the droid end connector and support the wire and any additional connectors from the slip ring.

James made me some beautiful steel studs to mount to the rockler.  These were 13mm diameter, and M5 thread in the bottom, 5 of 13.3mm and 1 of 23.3mm.  The holes in the dome base were opened to 14mm, and magnets were suspended on carbon plates using more ali standoffs of 15mm and 25mm.

(early version of arm and studs)

(Finished version)

The dome lifts off really nicely and the dome is aligned by the pegs, so the connector clicks on beautifully. :)  I may redo one of the pegs, so there are 2 long ones, just to be extra safe.

This still leaves the bottom of the rockler available for the dome drive gear. :D

HP Mechs & BHD Shelf

These are based on the concepts i used on X2 and BHD.  A a very simple mech, just up and down, and cant be twisted.  But this time i wanted to make it a little more of a complete part.

I ended up with a plate that mounts to 4 25mm M3 5mm diameter standoffs and has a slot on the back and a spot for the servo. :)  The 2 steel M4 standoffs connect to a CNC bent bracket that connects to the ballend, it also has holes for a cable tie to retain the LED lead.  It uses the full 90 degrees of the servo and should do the job just fine. :D

I added 4 little pads of felt to the back of the rear cowl, this takes out the slop and stops them from making too much noise.

With that done, i moved on to do the electronics (putting off the hinges).  I eventually decided to follow a similar path for this.  I simply used more standoffs and mounted a 2nd level to the rear logics.  Then to home the servo board i added a daughter board that is connected by 2 bent 2mm ali brackets, this position will keep all the wires close to the dome and should help keep it neat.

The plates are all now 2mm carbon fibre.  This is the final assembly:

R2-2E Starts Here

Having decided on #3, I had to come up with a plan for a scheme.  I haven't done R2-D2 and keep thinking i should.  But it is just so BORING!  So after a lot of browsing and looking at all the cannon astromechs, i decided there was room for a few more, and that i would do my own.

I chose the black and orange X-Wing from TFA as my inspiration, and did a very lose colouring in job.  Then the CG legend that is Paul J Wiz Johnson worked his magic and this is what he will look like.

He quickly got referred to as 'Juice' and i think that name will stick.  But R2-2E is the chosen name.

I am amazed at the difference in the club.  It only took a few weeks to get EVERYTHING for a dome.  Brilliant. :)  So with all the bits in hand i couldn't resist starting. :)

I attacked the base assembly in the following order.
1.  Removed panels and prepped both layers of the dome.
2.  Clamped the domes together to get best alignment and fitted the front and rear HP to lock the dome.
3.  Fit Radar Eye.
4.  Clamp in HP pie then fit top HP.
5.  Fit logics, moving slightly to make the outer spacing of the panels work.
6.  Fit PSI holders, again aligning the outer panels.
7.  Fit Dome Bumps.

I soon got to a point where i could do little more without some bits.  For this droid, im aiming to only buy cosmetic parts via runs, and to make the rest myself, always looking at things fresh, and taking what ive seen and learnt into account.  Also im fed up with cheap servos, i hope that by using Savox servos will make him last a lot longer. (Although, 4 years of Twitching on BHD with 4 fails from 17 servos and all recent, isnt too bad really.)

I needed to design the following parts:
1.  HP Mechs - Single axis anti twist.
2.  Hinges - Fit to the dome, using a lot of the concepts used on X2.
3.  Electronics mount.
4.  Slip ring connector / Electronics docking.
5.  Dome fastening of some kind.  Studs, or similar to keep the dome on.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Droid 3

Well, after a lot of soul searching, I've decided to start droid 3.  I had planned a few upgrades for BHD, and it was becoming such a big job that it seemed like more fun to start again.

So the upgrades that i had planned were; Brushless hub drive using Kevin Holme's setup and Fredrik's Tyres.  Batteries in the boxes, and isolated legs, just signals needed.  Brushless dome drive and a few other trick bits.  With all the drives on order, I looked at the 24v upgrades needed, and it is a MAJOR job, so not really an option on BHD.  But at least I will soon be able to set up a test rig and see how these new drives perform.

Here is my box so far:

Plus a new style R2 Rockler. :)

So why do a 3rd?
1.  I've not done R2-D2 yet.
2.  I now have access to CNC and other tools to make it a very different project.
3.  I'd love another crack at 2-3-2 on a lighter droid.
4.  The new brushless options need testing.
5.  This is a chance to really finish off the hobby i love, applying all ive learnt. :)

What will it include?
Ali Dome, Eye, Logics and HPs
Styrene legs and body with ali subframe
9 dome doors as per BHD with carbon custom hinges
3 HPs Chld-proof Single Axis motion with custom carbon mounts
Teeces Lights
2-3-2 with room for body gadgets.
Brushless hubs, with Omni wheels centre
Main batteries in Battery boxes
Brushless Dome drive
Utility arms
5 body doors
Volume Octo knobs
Click off dome
Click off body unit
Louder audio running at higher voltage, will need bigger speakers

This time i will not be focusing on removable legs.  Fixed and lighter, will have to change the car in a year or 2. :)

I have been tinkering with the ideas for some new carbon fibre dome hinges for the 300mm dome, and droid 3 is the perfect excuse.  These will be based on the X2's hinges, they have been amazing so far. :)  I hope to use black M3 hardware, black Ali standoffs and push rod ends.  Fingers crossed they end up looking as good as they work. :)  But then  realized I couldn't do those without a dome!

This is what I have so far.  Not much to see and in red not black, but you get what I'm gong for. :)

So after nearly a week of trying to talk myself out of it, I ordered a 300mm hydro dome.  And Radar eye, and Logics, and 1 more HP to match the 2 I had bought for R6.  Just dome bumps and i can really get cracking.  I'm so weak when it comes to R2. :(

I MUST resist buying more for the body or legs just yet.  Dome and core first, then I can add the rest later.

Having received the hubs, I stripped them ready for welding the clutches, and turning down.  Jobs for a pro.  :)  Thanks James. :)

But game on. Cant wait to get cracking. :D

Need to get BHD on 4.0, X2's batteres swapped and the tracks retested, and both droids serviced for CE3, then a little more work on BHD 4.0 before then, but should be a fun summer. :)