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Rapman 3.0.0

I am building a Rapman v3.0.0 Replicating Rapid Prototyper machine from a kit. The basic concept of the reprap is a computer-controlled machine capable of manufacturing most of its own parts. The Rapman 3.0.0 is an adaptation of the Darwin reprap, nearly the same design but built from inexpensive laser-cut sheet-acrylic plastic parts. Before this, I was trying to build my own unique design of reprap but that didn't work out so well.

If you're building one of your own, I have the following tips:

Note: I wasn't keeping any real log of my activities before Oct. 1st and didn't have access to a real camera then either.

Oct 1, 2009: The machine is finally taking shape. It no longer looks like a pile of disarticulated, skeletal machine parts, but a proper framework of some sort.

It's interesting. Before the corner pieces were used as bracings it was difficult to imagine what they could be used for, but suddenly the odd holes and grooves they're swiss-cheesed with appear useful and functional. I could not put all the grub nuts in place unfortunately -- they are in spots an octopus would have difficulty getting to at this point. As a result some corners are reinforced more than others. All corners have at least one, and I hope it's enough.

By the end of the day, I have four of the ten reinforcing crossbars attached. They're sure putting a lot of strain on the acrylic, but nothing's cracking. Here's to hoping.

More images of the day: z-axis drive belt, structural corner-piece, linear bearing, corner of a reinforcing strut, z-motor assembly with belt, closeup of z-axis worm drive.

Oct 2, 2009: Attaching all the remaining reinforcement crossbars. I imagine now is the time when your precision, or lack of thereof, in setting up your corner blocks makes or breaks you(and the plastic). I seem to have done all right, I think. Some of the bars need to be put under some tension, but they all fit without enough force to crack or dislodge anything.

The z-axis motor is getting easier and easier to turn the more reinforcement struts I attach. They're not just for show, it seems.

With the reinforcing bars all in place, I can attach the x-axis motor and the slide that follows it on the other side. Seems odd to not have to calibrate it the way I did for every other bar, but I guess whether they're straight matters more than how man millimeters they stick out of the ends.

Both slides are now attached together with the rods. I had to take it apart to get the extra bearing on the correct side, oops. Also, it didn't slide freely until I loosened the grip on one of the bearings. They don't need to hold onto them all that strongly, only just enough.

Oct. 3, 2009: There wasn't too much to attaching the x-axis slider except looking carefully to see which two bolts are the extra-long ones.

Attaching the z-axis bed. The instructions say to only get the four corners roughly level, but I didn't see any point in being less than precise. I removed the Z-axis drive belt and moved the corners manually until they were all the same distance from the supporting blocks below them.

When I started attaching the Y-axis belts, I did it wrong. You see how the belt is tilted down there? The upper and lower parts should be parallel but since I'd clamped the belt below both blocks instead of between them, it was clamped too low. They should be clamped like this. Too bad, though -- it's easier to tighten the belts when you do it wrong!

The x-axis belt is confusing to attach. The animations in the pdf at this point are becoming too crowded and resource-heavy to be useful, and the overview picture doesn't even show the x-belt! Skip to the next section to see how you do it instead. I nearly cut it too short, too. I had to stretch it over the second idler bearing after securing it.

Here's the machine with all belts attached properly.

Here's something important to note about the belts.

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