First batch has been shipped out the only one needing to be shipped is mikes.
There have been reports of critical damage to 3 out of 12 units. People that have critical damage to there unit I will be getting to you shortly to replace what is broken.
There are also some people that have reported some chipping of the paint. please let me know the severity of the issue and I will see what I can to fix it. However everyone please be very careful with the paint as it scratches easily. eventually I want the units to be powder coated with pla colored in the Multistruder.
I will be back home Thursday to continue work on the project. I'm going to start working on the next batch and working on reinforcing the flat rate shipping box. and finding suitable padding that will keep the contents as safe as possible from the stuff moving around the inside and protecting the box from the outside.
While on vacation in Oregon I had the opportunity to meet up with some of the great guys at proto plant in Vancouver Washington. The makers of the Proto-Pasta brand. We spent some time shooting the shit talking about filament making and diy filament extruders.
I brought back some important wisdom from the meeting. the number 1 thing being to DRY YOUR STOCK BEFORE EXTRUDING. I had a issue of the filament that was made being very brittle and not able to flex without breaking. This was because of the high content of moisture of .21% (should be .030%) and this moisture was found in a Ziploc pellet bag that I never even opened. and 2 being that the longer you have the plastic heated before extrusion the more brittle the plastic becomes.
They had a similar setup to what I envisioned for the multistruder. except their setup is a lot longer run out to allow the filament to cool before getting to the sizing drums for a 1 1/2 foot per second extrusion rate (90 feet per minute 30 times the extrusion rate of the multistruder). They used drums with force sensor to size the filament and drums to pull the filament to size and spoolers that keep up with the pulling drums.
assembly, electrical , and extrusion tips and tricks videos are posted on my youtube channel. The Green Engineers Youtube
bellow you can check out some picture of stuff thought the week
Multistruder kickstarter Early Bird Batch Shipped 6/30/2016. 12 units have been dropped off today at 3:30 at USPS and should be arriving at most locations 7/2/2016 and some at 7/3/2016. Any questions you have now or when your receive your shipment please contact me.
the 13th unit (unit number 1 also the unit you have seen in the extrusion tips video) it requires some more work but will be shipped at the start of next week either Tuesday or Wednesday. Sorry Mike Langford but your unit will be loaded with the the newest updated software that i develop over the weekend while i am on vacation in Oregon. if you have any questions Mike please get contact me.
For people that are on the next batch 2 the survey will be out to you guys pretty soon and as of now i am working on batch number 2.
Again thank you backers for your patience. extrusion tips video is on my youtube and assembly video is coming soon.
i currently have 10 units in boxes waiting for labels. just 3 more units left. box are shceduled for late thursday pickup.
All early bird backers check your address to make sure it is up to date.
boxes come in at about 16 pounds
Going to be making a assembly video aswell as extrusion tips for the standard die (because no one asked for aggressive die) tommarow.
i have found that the analog thermocouples are not very exact out of the box so they are going to need to be calibrated. thus next week i plan on making adjustments in the code to allow for the calibration. calibration will probably be handled using ice water.
also please subscribe to my youtube channel for more videos thanks.
any pictures will be posted bellow.
today marks the start of the 27th week of fulfillment.
wrapping up first shipment getting all the necessary things as i plan on having everything in its box and postage printed.
However i have the last choice for backers here. I have discovered 2 options as far as DIE types 1 being Standard style and 2 being Advanced/Aggressive style. I will outline them below.
Standard die is a style that alot of other filament makers use. This is found by using the perfect extrusion temperature for a given height above the floor where the filament expansion and stretch are equal. This means that you have a hole that is drilled that is exactly the same size as the filament you want to make. So if you want 1.75 the die hole is 1.75.
Pros: filament is extruded at a lower temperature and thus you have less of a chance to have issues with the filament breaking because of excessive heat. From my testing it doesn't even need a cooling fan in most situations.
filament tends to make a larger loop and this allows filament from last loop to cool down before next loop laps over the last loop. Because we are dealing with 3d printer filament thermoplastics that are designed to stick to itself when hot you want your filament to cool to keep the filament from sticking together rather than becoming just a large molten mess.
Cons: extrusion is slightly slower because of lower flow rate you are looking at 3 feet or less extrusion rate which is still faster than pretty much all 3d printers anyways and other extrusion makers.
Advanced/Aggressive (now going to be called Aggressive) this is a die that is drilled (about .2mm) over size for your filament to allow for stretching to size and to maximum extrusion speed of 3+ feet per minute. However this die has a lot of cons and only one real pro and that is extrusion speed. Thus this die is for the dedicated moders.
Pros: Extrusion speed 3 feet +
Cons: Filament has a higher chance of stretching and breaking. So a lot of moding to keep the filament from breaking and special placement of the cooling fan and calibration of extrusion heat.
Filament will try to shape to the over size hole like the standard die. so if you have a 1.95 aggresive die to stretch to 1.75 filament will try to shape to 1.95 if your settings are off.
Filament will create tight about 1 inch loops that will do a loop in about 5 seconds or less this is before filament has chance to cool thus unless you make really good use of the cooling fan/ other fans the filament will fuse to each other and become a solid chunk of plastic and be inseparable into filament loops. (pretty much useless unless you remelt)
Filament is really tight in 1 inch loops that will be very difficult to put on a spool and will try to snap if you try to flex it to much
Might be more cons but this is all i know as of now
From the above statements i have chosen to have the Standard Die as well the standard (it being a more dependable option). however the Aggressive die is available as i have the bits for both styles for both 1.75 and 3.00mm. that being said i will assume that you want a standard die and not the advanced IF YOU DO WANT AGGRESSIVE GET IN TOUCH WITH ME OVER KICKSTARTER. send me a private message using the same account you backed with and i will put that perticular die in your kit and if you dont send me a message i will just assume you want standard and put that one in your kit. IF YOU WANT TO SWITCH DIES THAT OPTION WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE ON MY STORE AT A LATER DATE (also a get another die to switch between 1.75 or 3.00mm)
PLEASE ONLY EARLY BIRD BACKERS SEND ME A MESSAGE the other backers will have this added to your survey when it is sent out.
Other news being that i have modified a few things to make them work. one being the fan shrouds. I also figured out how i am going to do shipments etc. also ALL UNITS HAVE BEEN TESTED AND WORK so i am very excited to rap up this first batch. i have also noticed that the analog thermocouple amplifiers will need some calibrating but are more reliable than the digital amps and are less susceptible to noise which i found is a huge problem for the digital amps. So i will be adding some calibration stuff into the software for the temp. You will probably have to use a cup of ice water and boiling water to calibrate. Few more things need to be cleaned up before batch one goes out then next batch starts as well as continual support of all machines that get sent out to early birds.
So to all early bird backers that want the Aggressive die please send me a message on kickstarter before friday the 24th. and check out pics bellow and more vids coming soon on youtube.
Today marks the 26th week of kickstarter fulfillment.
have all units built and have now checking them to make sure that all the electronics work.
i have received the analog thermocouple amps a day after last weeks post. they are working great however they dont really seem to be calibrated that great even with cold junction compensation. i will need to be able to remedy that or just add a offset in the interface were you calibrate it to your ambient room temp or icewater etc.
i have done more filament making and it brings up other questions. I found 2 different ways of extruding one is when you get the temperature just right and the filament matches the size of the die and it makes LARGE circles as it extrudes and thus 95% of the filament is +- 0.10mm of the die size.
the second way is to oversize the die and heat the filament to the point where it stretches as it comes out. this will cause the filament to stretch to size and create SMALL circles as it coils on table/floor. however in practice this seems flawed as the filament is so hot that it sticks to the previous loop of filament bonding it together. while the previous method would cause the filament to be cooled enough to were it wouldn't bond to the previous loop. this extrusion type is also +- 0.10mm of desired size however the filament will try to return to the die size so you will see the filament more + than - your desired filament size.
i will do one more week of testing and should be ready to drill and send out units by end of this fulfillment week.
check out pictures bellow. also i have more videos to come of the multistruder extruding plastic i will be posting them on my youtube and embedding them at the beginning of this entry when i post them.
today is the start of the 25th week of fulfillment
Just got in the Arduino Megas all 13 have been swapped out for the unos that have been currently built. all 13 are assembled and now just need to be wired. I am still waiting for the analog themocouple amplifiers.
Ran the extruder again and this time got conflicting results to before. now i am getting the same size extrusion as the hole drilled (2.00mm) +- .10mm or so. This would would mean that the amount the filament expands and stretches is the same and leaves you with the same size filament as the hole that is drilled. Further experimentation is needed before i drill the holes.
However from the last run i have got some gorgeous footage of the extruder going about 3 feet per minute (doing a 1 inch diameter loop in 5 seconds) with good 2.00mm filament. video should be posted down bellow then posted on youtube later.
I unfortunately had a accident in the shop while cutting off the cutting edge of the feed augers to be a constant screw. I sustained a large cut on my index finger on my right hand (right handed). The auger was ripped out of my hand by the saw i was using and the end cut me as it was ripped out of my hand. I had to go to the ER and get 5 stitches. So took that day off and have been slowly getting back working and such since the incident saturday. As i was not really able to use my right hand which is my dominant hand.
Sunday i showed The Multistruder project at the San Jose Tech Shop open house and got a lot of praise for the design by other members, faculty, and other attendees
Waiting on the thermocouples to come in before final testing begins then the units can be dissembled and thrown into a box and shipped out. Then the other work begins on a youtube/documentation series on how to assemble them as well as best practices and hopefully weekly updates on the software ("MOS") as it right now is just a stable version with BASIC functionality.
check out pics and extruder video bellow. and i will add a picture of my finger last if you are squeamish skip that one (no blood just the stitches).
today marks the start of the 24th week of fulfillment.
ran the new extruder for the first time. Learning how the extruder wants to be setup and as assumed when you are extruding the filament you want to SOFTEN the plastic not MELT it.Thus you are shaping it at its softening temperature by pushing it through a die. if you melt the plastic the diameter becomes almost impossible to control. However if you soften the filament will contour to the die hole as it comes out and will expand as it is really hot. It will also stretch a little but not considerably before it cools to a pliable state. While in the pliable and still soft state this is when the filament must be shaped to be put onto a spool or when it coils itself up on the floor. Knowing this now you will probably not need the fan that much as it will harden to quickly and hold the shape of a straight line before it has a chance to coil and hold the coil shape as it cools back down to room temperature.
The die i was using was drilled to about 2 mm and i was getting 2.5-2.6 mm filament when softening and .75 to 1.25mm when i was melting the filament. so that is a .6mm size expansion when softening. i am going to continue to study how undersized i should go in order to get perfect 3.0mm filament and 1.75mm filament. I should have the desired drill sizes by the end of this week.
after going though quite a bit of practice plastic from the above dimensions the extrusion was mainly 85% -.125 average case (it really didnt expand past 2.6). this is pretty good for only using the extruder for 2 days.
I now know that going with a 2 amp only power supply to a motor that can take 10 amps was a really good decision. The 2 amp to the motor causes it to stall ALOT of the time but it will only stall if one of these conditions are wrong 1. being you filled the hopper up to much 2. temp too low 3. temp too high. Bellow i put at story of what could happen if a larger power supply was used.
In order to try high amp no control performance i put on a 10 amp power supply as it was stalling alot and condition number 3 of the temp being too high was present. What i could guess happened was 1 of 2 things either the heat spread up the pipe and melted the plastic to the auger and to the side wall of the pipe and this basically "gummed" the auger up to the pipe by melted plastic. 2. the molten plastic bellow was basically a liquid and as you push solid pellets in there is pressure buildup but no extrusion because it is a liquid and not a semi solid. the molten plastic would also insulate the pellets inside and the pressure built up as nothing was able to extrude. whichever of these 2 causes (im 80% positive it was the second) the motor over torqued to about 400kg.cm at 10 amps and stalled in 1 second of stalling it ripped the gear reduction train apart. tearing teeth on two gears off and bending others. And this is why the motor is allowed to stall at low power to prevent damage of electronics or motor. and if it stalls it is because something is wrong.
Also i have the first stable beta version of the software ("MOS" Multistruder OS). It has all the basic basic features you need to start out. I haven't really gotten into using the true power of the micro controller YET. It has the features of: turning on and off extruder/heater, setting temperature and that is about it.
I opened the expansion module bundle on my website store for The Dimensional Control and Spooler/Direct drive early adopter pre order. with this pre order you get both the dimensional control and the spooler OR the direct drive for $50 bucks %50 off the final retail price. these will ship after the international units ship. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND these modules as they will give your multistruder the best possible filament output. (this turns the multistruder into what i dub the FilaFactory). this price will go up to $100 after i ship the international backers multistruder.
Also this week i am putting together the rest of the units as i am waiting for the new arduino megas to replace the unos to come in. So after i get the megas i will just need to bolt them in slap the screw terminal on and we are ready to go. I am also going to need to finish some printing.
I am now done with school for the summer until like late august. so i am back to full time on the project.
Make sure to check out the pre order expansion modules. Picture are bellow. I included some pictures of the blown motor and a perfect 1.75mm filament segment. the rest are 2.55 or so.
Today marks the 23rd week of fulfillment. Bay Area Maker Faire 2016 was last weekend so some news from the show.
Assembled the first 3 units to show you a good idea of what a assembled unit looks like.
First beta run of the code.
One issue remaining with the electronics. the thermo couple amplifier does not want to read the thermo couple but it reads its local reference temperatures so it must be just a library issue. but everything else works flawlessly.
Upgrade to Arduino Mega was successful after some tinkering of the libraries. The mega barley fits inside of the case as the mega is 4 inches in length and the case is 4 inches wide. This greatly increase the expand ability of the system. i will be upgrading all units to now be standard with a arduino mega.
check out pictures bellow.
today starts the 22nd week of fulfilment. big week again getting ready for maker fair.
Built 3 units for show. Unit 1,2,3 i will be taking a 2 1.75mm, and 1 3.00mm
found some issues with units that have to be drilled extra
build a few wood plates for stands for the show
experimenting with a possible upgrade from arduino uno to arduino mega. to increase the upgradability of the units.
check out pictures bellow.
Tuesday started the 21st week of kickstarter fulfilment.
wired a test electronics board and drew a wiring schematic for it
welded the nuts to the motor mounts
painted the motor mounts and the motor to auger couplers
cut all of the metal augers to work in the machine
bought 20 lbs of 4043D Natureworks PLA Ingeo resin to test all machines and for maker fiare.
NOTE:!!!!! i bought those 20 lbs of resin for 35 dollars (50 after shipping). if you were to buy filament it would cost you around 35 dollars for that type of resin for a 1 kg spool (~2.2 lbs). so for what it would cost most people to normally buy 1 spool (2.2 lbs) you could make 9 out of the best PLA resin on the market using the Multistruder (basically a $315 value for $35, now that's savings).
Maker Faire Bay Area is next week. I am going to be a exhibitor at the faire to promote the Multistruder and the filament maker technology in general. I am going to be taking around 4 Kickstarter backer units to test. The event is from Thursday setup to Sunday. So hopefully i can bring a new set of 4 units each day to test so that the week after (which is summer for me no more school) i can throw them into a flat rate shipping box and send them out for your use.
check out pictures bellow.
Yesterday marked the start of the 20th week of fulfilment. A huge week this week.
Finished 85% of all painting and it has a very good florescent green color I was looking for. check out picture bellow for a look at the painted units.
all electronics boards have been laid out and are ready for wiring
this week I need to paint the other 15% which includes the coupler and the motor mounts.
speaking of the motor mounts all I have to do is weld the nuts on, drill the holes in the extruder caps, then use a torch to get all the galvanized coating off were the heater band is going to be, then I will try to clean out the extruder.
after that all units will be ready for basic electronics testing that all electronics are not DOA
Then comes the long process of optimizing and adding features to the basic running code. however that process happens after I send out the units and get feedback
Check out pictures bellow.
Tuesday marked the first day of the 19th week of kickstarter fulfillment. Not a crazy productive week.
Just doing small things to setup for laying out the electronics.
Planning on painting this Friday. I decided on just shooting engine enamel and the green i get is the green i get. This method of painting is not very environmentally friendly (because of the VOC and paint being solvent based) but i am out of time to experiment on these early units and need something quick. For the paint i am going to use transtar 2 in 1 primer, dupli - color engine enamel and ceramic (for green color and possibly for temp coating the pipe ), and transtar jamin clear for clear.
the main thing i did this week is ground down all the pins on the electronics boards to allow the double back tape to have more surface area to grab onto the electronics.'
pictures bellow if i have any from this week.
ok i have taken everything apart (removed everything from the frame). I can now get a better look of what i have to work with. I have
2 ~11.25 inch chromed rods
4 8 inch chromed rods
1 9 inch lead screw with brass nut
6 LM8UU linear bearings
4 NEMA 17 motors
various bearings for belts
2 NEMA 17 pullies
2 GT2 belts
1 hobbed pully
1 100 watt power supply
1 printr board
that's about all the useful things i have from the carcass
check pics below
a printer i bought long ago that i never really had any success with. It was my first 3d printer and it was a kit i bought for 200 dollars about 2 years ago. I always wanted to upgrade it but never got around to it well now is the time. check out pictures of it below.
This marks the 18th week of fulfillment. Another big week this week.
I am still experimenting with coatings deciding between green engine enamel, plasti dip, and powder coating. I can still not get plasti dip to lay down without tiger stripping. But the green engine enamel is a little dark and not as light of a color as I would like so this week I will try white as a primer to make the top coat lighter. I also experimented with clearing primer. I will also try powder coating this week and see what kind of finish I could get out of that and analyze how much difficulty it adds with re assembly.
I also layed out the electronics onto the printed electronics bracket and everything fits well, all the holes line up and the hole of the cover lines up with the TFT Touchscreen. The issue with the electronics assembly is that in order to use the double back tape the pins on the back of the board will need to be ground flat without causing a cold joint. The double back tape Is also holding very well and should create a great bond for a very long time.
I just got in the shipment of the assembly wires. 1 set is Male to Male wires and the other set is Female to Female wires. The wires are 6 inches or so in total length and have 10 different colors.
I experimented with sand blasting the units to clean off the slag and the rust. It takes me about 20 minutes per unit to sand blast each unit.
Started welding the 2" pipe to the pipe clamps to where you needed to only use 1 pipe clamp to take the units apart. So now each pipe is associated with each unit.
I am finishing up printing the electronic covers.
Check out pictures bellow.
Today marks the start of the 17th week of fulfilment. This week I got 95% of the stands done all I need to do is install the shims on the 1/4 inch plate and to weld nuts onto the motor mounts. I also might have found a suitable durable coating. I was thinking about using Plasti Dip to make a powder coat type of finish. I know that that type of coating is not very eco friendly because it has VOC and a non biodegradable surface but it is good coating to use with the time constraints I have. Later on I would like to use a biodegradable plant based thermoplastic and use it as a powder coating material. Testing should happen this week and I have about another 2 weeks from today to finish printing the covers.
As a limited edition version of the units I decided to paint them a florescent green and have black 3d printed parts. These colors are Kickstarters 2 theme colors I think this would be nice for my Kickstarter early backers edition.
My spray job of the Plasti dip didn't come out that great because i have ever shot something this thick of paint and first time shooting plasti dip. however you can get an idea of a color over the top of bare steel sanded with 180.
Check pictures bellow.
today marks the start of the 16th week of fulfillment. Big week this last week. The stands are now "standing" on their own. everything physical is about 90% done. i am ordering the wires to assemble today i will get it next week and i will be laying out all the electronics boards with the double back tape. I will also begin printing the covers this week. So as of right now the thing limiting the time is the printing of the covers because they take about 2 hours to print and i can only reserve the printer at tech shop 3 times a week for 4 hours a slot. So that's 6 a week and i need to print 13 or more so that is 3 weeks from now. Hopefully i will have everything laid out and even prepped for paint this weekend and then wire and test next weekend and paint if i haven't already. And hopefully ship at the end of that 3rd week from now.
Check out pictures below.
The picture of the cover is just a rough prototype the final version will be alot cleaner.
Today starts the 15th week of kickstarter fulfillment. During this week i am on spring break so i will be working on this project 80% of the time. I assembled the metal for the stands earlier this week and now i will assemble the multistruders into the stands so i can adjust the motor mounts to make sure that the augers go straight though the pipe. Then i need to drill holes for the adapters so you can add another foot extension to the distance the multistruder is from the ground. Then i need to weld a "foot" onto that stand.
For the electronics i need to get some 3M double back tape and a lot of wires i need to wire together the units. Then i will begin testing the units and coming up with a easy solution to paint the units that is environmentally friendly (low voc and water soluble) (hopefully).
i ran out of hatchbox filament to make the electronics housing out of and just my luck amazon just temporary ran out of inventory so hopefully i find some hatchbox or some other filament soon so i can print this weekend. In the meantime i will be printing prototypes to check the fit of the cover tell it is right then by that time i should have the filament.
check pictures below.
Yesterday's starts the first day of the 14th week of fulfillment. This week i am finishing up the electronic boards and i drilled all the holes in the large 4 x 12 mounting plate. The wholes need to be tapped then they are ready to go. I prototyped out the design for the leg of the stand and it is probably not going to be adjustable or removable. soon i will get all wires and bolts in for assembly and testing then i will either ship them when they clear testing or dissemble and paint them then send them (depending if i decide to paint them or not).
According to KickStarter i have received all of the surveys for the February backers. Coming up with my spring break from school so i will be working on pushing them out as asap during spring break.
Check Photos Bellow.
today marks the start of the 13th week of fulfillment. i sent out surveys for early bird backers requesting the nozzle diameter you want so make sure that you answer that survey if you are a early bird backer asap. I recently got some machined couplers in that are good to go i will get the rest in shortly. I also finished a prototype of the stand to get a idea of what it would look like after assembly. Those should be getting put together this weekend. I also plan on finishing the motor mounting plates this weekend as well. This week i started 3d printing the electronics housing plate. This is the final 3d printing part that is required to test the units. I should be finished printing all of them by mid next week. and should be starting on the printing the electronics cover that should take another 2 weeks. By the end of those 2 weeks everything should be getting buttoned up and ready to send out. That is depending if i decide to paint all the metal or not
Check out the pictures bellow.
this marks the start of the twelfth week of fulfillment. This week i am still 3d printing a lot of stuff and i started fabricating the motor mount brackets. This coming weekend i will start assembling the stand and i will start to print the electronics housings/cover tomorrow. Then we should be coming onto testing in 2 weeks or so. i will be sending out the survey for your desired nozzle diameter through Kickstarter as well as other information on any other things that you need to operate your Multistruder. so be looking for that survey as i will need it to be completed as soon as possible.
Check pictures below
today marks the start of the 11th week of fulfillment. An update on the last weeks post. My motor supplier came through and got the motors to me yesterday 10 days earlier than they planned. So much thanks to my motor supplier. I also received the final necessary parts required to run the machines in on Monday as well. So now I just need to finish the 3d printed parts and fabricate the metal parts as well as test the units before sending them out.
Check pictures below.