My RepRap based 3D printer

This post will catch my readers up to speed on my 3D Printer project.   It’s design is loosely based on the current RepRap Mendel and Prusa Mendel 3D Printer Designs.  My goal was to build as much of my 3d printer from what I had on hand.  I started this project back in May of 2011.  I’ve been working on it in my spare time and having my CNC Mill do 95% of the manufacturing of components for this project.  It’s been a good way for me to build CNC programming experience as well as test out the capabilities of my CNC milling machine (based on the popular RF-45 model Mill Drill) to determine Gen 2 upgrades needed to the CNC Mill.

My Reprap project is partially inspired by the fact that I had a prototype Objet Alaris 3D printer for evaluation for work for 9 months prior to their launching of that product.  It was mostly product testing and a bit of debugging for Objet but it gave me a full taste of having 3D printer access all the time.  I still have and use many of the components I printed out for the house, my zacbuilt engine driven TIG welder, and of course in the Datsun  and Mustang.   3d Printing, also often refered to as rapid prototyping, is the greatest thing to come along since the advent of CNC machining for the fabricator.   It’s often faster to design a part virtually and just print it out then to try and make it by any other means.  It’s a great way to test out crazy ideas, various styling changes, and tactile features of a design.

Reprap Gen6 electronics      reprap CNC machined Stepstruder plastistruder

My RepRap 3D printer will be driven by Gen 6 electronics.  This SMT board drives all three axis, and the stepstruder (aka plastic extruder printing head as shown in the right pic above) all in a small low power package.  My first go at acquiring a Gen 6 board did not go so well and I ended up returning it.  The board had numerous poorly soldered joints and one chip was floating off board at 20 degrees with several pins in the air.  I since decided to finish the mechanical before reacquiring another Gen 6 board.  By the time I’m ready to fire it up there might even be a better next Gen board design available.

I think I’ll close this post here,  I’ll share more about this project over the coming days to get caught up on where I am to date so I can move forward with the next steps.

 

 

CX500 Cafe Racer Project Day 1

 

After the first evening of working on this project I’ve got the back half of the bike somewhat torn apart. I’ve got a solid plan as to where the electronic components will go up under the seat pan.  I’ve been looking at tail lights and I believe I’ve found one I like enough to “settle on” for now.  It’s an all in one LED unit with a license plate mount and led plate lights.

 

     

  The red line in the above photos shows where I plan to cut off the rear seat frame.   I plan to fabricate a new seat mount to weld in place before I make the cut and finish off the end of the upper frame.   The more I toy with the design in my mind the more I feel like I will either scallop the fuel tank at the back, or possibly fabricate a new tank entirely.

 

In other exciting news, I got the ugly factory air box off.  The carbs weren’t drained when she was stored and the fuel varnished inside. They are coming out and apart.  How much of a rebuild I do will be determined after I tear into them and investigate their condition.   The right hand carb has the float stuck down and the fuel comes out at a good clip when she runs.

 

Chainsaw milling by Zac

zac built Alaskan sawmill

 

I’ve always dreamed of a sawmill of my very own.  Given the retail price of hardwoods these days I decided it was time to do something about that dream.   A bit of reading, some research,  a raid of the metal stock racks in the shop, and about 2 hrs later I had my very own Alaskan style mini sawmill.   I have a few chainsaws, but the 450 Husqvarna is the one I decided to put this on for now.   I based my design roughly off the Graberg International small log sawmill. I had considered buying one, but in this economy money is tight and the total cost to make mine was 6.95 (for the bolts). Everything else I had as scrap, scrounged from something or left over stock already payed for by some other project.

Alaskain Sawmill on which I based my zac built sawmill design  Home built Alaskain sawmill

 

Side by side showing the commercial Alaskan Sawmill on the left and the Zac built sawmill on the right

Milling downed trees into lumber has become one of my favorite past times.  Partially because I know I’ll use the wood for some project down the road, and partially because I feel happy knowing I’m turning trees grown on the property into valuable and useful material.   My first few boards were not great as you can see below.

First boards milled with my zac built alaskain sawmill

The number one thing I learned early on is that it’s all about sealing the end grain on the log as soon as you cut them.  Some of the maple I cut up checked faster then I could put down the saw and brush on the sealant.  More on my end grain sealant of choice in a future post.

The Start of the Honda CX-500 Cafe Racer project

As it happens, a friend suckered me into this project with an IM link to this page on a 1978 honda cx500 cafe racer build.  We both were very excited by the article at the time.  This was about a month ago, since then I’ve done a great deal of research, reading and a bit of Craigslist hunting.  I finally came across the right bike for my winter build a cafe racer project.  I went and met with the owner, Aaron last night and came home with my project donor bike, 1979 CX-500.   The bike runs well but needs some brake work on the mechanical side.  I’m sure there will be some surprises along the way but for now, I’m really happy with my purchase.

 

Honda CX500 pre Cafe Racer Build       Honda CX500 pre Cafe Racer Build unmodified