Initial thoughts on the RepRap project

Spent most of today working on the Mendel and thought I would record my first impression of this project. With some of the parts already assembled for us we started to finish off the bigger components such as the y-axis tray and the x-axis rod guides. I was really surprised by how well everything fitted despite that a lot of the parts were warped and had irregular holes for the bolts. I think the reason for this was the sheer number of steel hardware that the Mendel used to hold the printed pieces together. This allowed adjustments to be made as the parts mated and gave you decent alignment and respectable fit. Of course, I have a feeling that the large number of adjustments will make actually printing more difficult due to the number of geometrical parameters that could be adjusted and must be accounted for. Time will tell. I also think there are a lot of hardware that is overkill such as washers. Most of the washers are just barely bigger than the bolt heads they are seated to. I think a hard plastic substitute (instead of metal) would work just as well in this case and would save weight and cost. Plastic also give you the option of printing the parts by a future RepRap (current printers cannot deal with the harder plastics and tighter resolutions required for small washers).


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