Thursday, June 30, 2011

RRWT #2 - McLean, VA

Hot off the heels of the first RRWT, working in conjunction with the Northern Virginia RepRap Users Group (NoVA RRUG), Palantir Technologies and VaMakers, I am happy to announce the registration opening of the second stop in the RRWT, McLean, VA!

I would like to take this moment to thank Jason Kohles, of Palantir Technologies for allowing us to gain access to his company's superb facilitiy, and Travis Good for organizing the bulk of this event. Thank you gentlemen for all your planning! Not only is this increasing the population of RepRap's worldwide, but it also helps in establishing a larger community of 3D printers in the NoVA region, but also promotes the Maker mentality through the region (shout out goes to the recent hackerspace, ReverseSpace!).

So where is this event specifically? Here is where:
Palantir Technologies

1660 International Drive
8th Floor
McLean, VA 22102

A few pics of the facilities here:

YES! WOW INDEED! The workspace is absolutely awesome! That being the bottom most photo. All condiments will be moved from the tables (right, Jason?)

So onto the more interesting tidbits. How much will this course cost? If you sign up early (before July 8th), the cost of this course is $1,000, after that date prices will be $1,200 up until the week of the event.

What does you kit include:

- RP Parts
- LM8UU Bearings
- HW bits and rods
- Electronics
- Motors
-12V 30A PSU
- 1# of PLA
- MakerGear Hot end
- Hands on instruction and guidance
- Machined couplings

I learned a lot from the first  build class and have made some improvements to the design. This new machine is going to be AWESOME! (in case you haven't noticed, I like to use the word "Awesome!" a lot, bear with me)

When is this all happening? 
Mark you calendars, the dates are July 22 - July 24th

5 hours for Friday the 22nd of July
12 hours for Saturday/Sunday the 23rd and 24th of July

That's all for a ~30 hour build session (Thanks, Travis)! I'll post more details and send them out to folks as they get registered. On that note, registration will be open later this evening. Please include all information I ask of you when registering. The nature of the facility we will be using has some security procedures we must follow in order to be on site (it'll just consist of your name, you address and phone number...stuff you would have already given me anyways).

Feel free to ask me any questions at all. I know specifics might be lacking, but feel free to look at the previous post for a gist of how things will work and tools you might need. The itinerary is the same, we just made improvements to the kit and are working out of a new location.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Well, the title pretty much sums it up. 100% print rate! All printers were extruding by the end of the event and participants left with their RepRaps in hand and heads held high.

In one weekend, we increase the RepRap population by a whole 1%! Ok, maybe thats an exaggerationg, but a nice addition to the community nonetheless.

This was the first of now/soon to be many build classes across the eastern shore of the U.S. From my knowledge, this was the first of any "official" RepRap Build Class. I am now in talks for a build class in the VA/MD area for the weekend of July 24th and talks have also begun for a build event in Philledalphia in August and Washington, DC for September.

Seems like I might have lit a match in a room full of RepRap gas. I have been approached by many folks throughout the US in hopes of securing a build event in their city. People are coming out of the wood works and want RepRap 3D pritners in their homes! THIS IS AWESOME!

Thanks again to Stever Kelly, Jordan Miller, and Chris Thompson and most importantly my UNCLE! Together we are one super, awesome, bad ass team of RepRappers. Really appreciate the time and dedication you put into the build class.

And thank you all the folks that participate as students, thank you for making this event a huge success and I hope you enjoy your 3D printers in your home.

Time lapse video!

Keep your eyes peeled, "RRWT Coming to a Town Near You SOON!"

To All Students of the RRWT Baltimore: Join the Google Group! Facebook Group! IRC Channel! Whatever else you find that is RepRap or 3D printer related.

I'll post pics later, this is already way over due.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Well, I guess extending the deadline for the build class registration was a success after all. The class is completely sold out. Unfortunately I had turned away some instructors due to the original outlook for the class sing up. I might be able to scrounge together a few of the local experts to lend a hand, but the crew I got so far is more than enough.

Those of you that registered for the class have been getting a flurry of emails from me these past couple of days, but in case you lost it, here it is again:

Alright folks,

The time is nearly upon us! Within a weeks time, you will be sitting
comfortably at your home desktop/laptop and be printing away with your
very own RepRap Prusa Mendel 3D printer.

So, let's run through all the fine details.

I would like each of you to try and install these various software
components yourself first. PLEASE READ THE readme files in each of the
following software packages, they are very helpful and well
documented! (it is OK if you do not know how to install the software,
we will help you come class time):

- Sprinter Firmware: this is the firmware that will be loaded onto
your RAMPS (the electronics that will be running your machine). You
can find the file here, For
Windows and Mac OSX, download the zip extension. Those of you on
Linux, the tar extension. Save it a convenient place. Feel free to
read any of the provided documentation. If you are curious enough to
try and fiddle with it before hand, just don't save any of your

- Repsnapper: this software allows you to interface with the RepRap
machine (to do such things as set temps, load gcode, manual movements,
etc.). You can find details on Repsnapper and instruction on how to
install here,

- Pronterface: this is as a secondary option for a way to interface
with your printer, it is very NEW, but has been received by the
community with much success. You can download and install with files
from here, It a nice clean and
simple GUI and has native SD card support for the SD add ons you can
purchase at the class if you wish too (the SD add on can be purchased
from me at a later time or at the class).

- Skeinforge 41: this is the piece of software that allows you to take
a 3D model/STL and slice it into gcode which you then feed to your
printer. The latest version can be found at the top of the list of
this link, (You want to 2011-04-27

Again, please remember to read the README files with each of the
packages. They are well documented and easy to follow. And again, if
you do not wish to try and install any of the packages in fear of
____________ (insert something tragic), that is fine as well. We will
help you come class time.

Tentative Work flow (nothing has really changed from my first email):

Friday (5PM - 10PM):
- Introduction to the Prusa Mendel : overview of the machine via
YouTube video courtesy of community member OhmEye
- Introduction of build instructors
- Overview of instruction manuals (find the PDF manual here,
- Building of the main body and frame assembly ( I aim to have the
majority of the printer assembled and squared off the first day, but
it is OK if we don't).

NOTE: we will progress as a group, we will only move one when everyone
is at the same point. If someone seems to be struggling and an
instructor is not present, feel free to step in if you can help them.
It's all about community folks!

Saturday (10AM - 10PM):
- Finish up body/frame construction
- Attaching X/Y-axis
- Catchup Time
- Extruder attachment
- Electronics Wiring/PCB
- Software downloading and uploading/Computer Prep
- Overview of SF and begin test printing

Sunday (10AM - 10PM):
- Printer Tweaking
- Catchup Time
- CELEBRATING your completion of your RepRap!
(Time allowing, a brief overview of design programs to create your 3D
designs and places where to get things to print!)

***Food breaks are present, pretty much will happen when everyone
starts getting grouchy/faint/onset of nausea, etc.***

TOOLS NEEDED (there have been some recent additions):

- at least 2 of 13mm wrenches, pretty much for your M8 nuts. At least
two if you are working in a group, if your solo, 2 will do.
- Calipers: digital would be nice, but any will do
- Pliers
- M3 and M4 hex keys
- Your own multimeter, we do have a few in the lab so if you don't
have one already, it's OK.
- A good attitude! I just added that to be cheesy.
- In reality, if you have a tool bag or an idea of a tool that I have
not mentioned, feel free to bring it along. The tools I listed should

Ok, sorry for the really long email. PLEASE read through it a million
times! And ask me LOTS of questions. There will be a test first thing
come class day. So study HARD ( I MEAN IT!)!

Until next time,
- Andy