Friday, April 22, 2011

Mendel Printed Parts Arrived

The printed parts for the Prusa Mendel arrived today, and as you can see, I'm very happy about it. It was very quick in arriving, and they came packed in a ziplock, surrounded by the air-bag wrap you get from Amazon, and everything seemed to be in ship shape. I'd received the parts list and assembly instructions specific to this printing of the parts via email from the eBay seller. This is important because the project is constantly changing and you need the instructions that go with the parts being sold. I was sure to check the parts I received against the parts listed in the assembly instructions to ensure I had everything.

Overall the quality of the parts were satisfactory. Some were better than others, and all had a glossy, corrugated surface on one side, probably from the heated bed on the manufacturer's Thing-o-matic printer. 

The side opposite of the glossy finish was the expected pattern of extruded plastic, criss-crossing the surface. The burrs and flash that appears on the part was also expected and I'm sure will be easy to clean up when I get started.

This apparently is a tricky part for the Thing-o-matic. The glossy "bottom" of this part has some apparent defects and while this bothered my wife, who thinks this part wasn't very well made, I'm not so concerned. She's probably right that I wouldn't want to stress it very much for fear it will break, but that's likely true of most of the parts. I will want to print extra parts as soon as I get it running so that if something does go wrong I can repair it quickly without having to buy a part off someone online. Also, the large hole on this particular piece is especially messy. I'm not sure what the issue is there, but it's probably not a big deal. I might dab some glue in there to firm up the filaments and then ream the hole.

The gears are especially important, and I imagine somewhat difficult to get right. This one is really quite nicely done I think, but the smaller gears are a little less well defined in the teeth area, and vary from the diagram in the instructions in that the hole where the tension screw goes, so the gear can grip the motor shaft is not complete on the outside. The part of the hole on the inside edge of the slot for the nut that threads the screw is complete, so it should be fine, but perhaps I might try printing better small gears and replace them immediately when I get the chance.

Some pieces were printed very close together, and come stuck together. Again, not an issue, but the smallest part shown here might cause me a bit of trouble if I'm not very careful. They are quite firmly stuck together. 

I won't have time this weekend to get the hardware, but that's the next step and I'll hit Lowes on Monday.

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