RepRap Builder

Tools


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Tools

Constructing a RepRap does not require a workshop loaded with sophisticated tools. Basically a spanner or two, maybe three, would do.
Nevertheless, in order to obtain a RepRap that manufactures 'things' with high precision, it is essential to work precisely and that will require specific tools.
In the tables below I have listed the tools that I have used for my project, including the level of necessity (is it essential or is it just handy), the type of use (for what is it used) and (if a available) a reference to a picture of that tool (in case you are a total nitwit on tools).

Please note that photos on this site do not inevitably depict the tools that are in my possession. The photos have been chosen because of their availability and by courtesy of the companies that manufacture, import or sell these tools.

Measuring equiment


Tool
Level of Necessity
Type of Use
Picture
Calipers, digital
Essential
Measuring
Calibration
Image 1
Level, digital
torpedo model
Handy
Calibration
Image 2
Plumb line
Essential
Calibration
--
Level, spirit
torpedo model
Essential
Calibration
--
Multimeter
digital
Handy
Fault finding
Image 3
Temperature meter
laser, digital
Handy
Calibration
Image 4
Power supply tester
Handy
Testing
Image 5
Ruler, steel
Essential
Measuring
Calibration
Image 6

Remarks:
  1. Digital calipers are an essential tool for constructing a RepRap. For arriving at an accuracy of 0.01 mm calipers are essential for precise calibration of smooth rods (parallelity), for exactly calibrating X, Y, Z travel distances, for exactly measuring extruded lenghths of filament in the extruder calibration process and for levelling the heat bed.
  1. A digital level (in my case a Digi-Pas DWL-200 as depicted) is in my opinion an essential tool. Of course the job of levelling can be done with a traditional spirit level and a plumb line (that is why it has been marked as "essential" and the Digi-Pas as "handy"). Spirit levels are difficult to find in lengths of 100 mm and that size is essential to fit onto the RepRap when levelling. The advantages of a digital level are numerous: it is easier to read a display than to read the position of a bubble (parallax error); the base of the level is strongly magnetic and therefore you do not need to hold the level in position when adjusting; it has an accuracy of 0.1 degree at 0 and 90 degrees (0.2 degree at all other angles); it can easily be recalibrated; it also has an alternate zero. The latter is the most important advantage because it means that the Z-axis can be calibrated at 90.0 degrees against the Y-axis while the Y-axis itself is not level. When a plumb line is used (the recommended method in the RepRap manuals) it will first be necessary to level the RepRap accurately (by adding thin shims under the feet stands) before using the plumb line. With a digital level with alternate zero it is not necessary to level the RepRap. The same applies when levelling the surface of the heat bed against the supporting smooth rods.
  1. A plumb line is the recommended tool for levelling in the vertical plane. Even when you use a digital level a plumb line still comes in handy for quickly positioning an item underneath a higher object.
  1. A torpedo spirit level is the recommended tool for levelling in the horizontal and vertical plane. However, it is difficult to find one with a maximum length of 100 mm, which is the only size that will fit onto the frame of the RepRap. The smallest size commercially available is 200 mm: too long!!
  1. A digital multimeter also comes in handy for fault finding in circuits but also for setting the stepper motors at the correct current and for measuring the resistance of the heat bed (to prevent blowing up your electronic circuit). You might prefer to buy one with an integrated temperature measuring capability and then you will have no need for the next tool.
  1. A digital laser temperature meter is required for measuring the temperature of the heat bed and the extruder during calibration. This will enable to find the correction factor for inserting into the firmware when the actual measured temperature deviates from the set (nominal) temperature. Please note that your temperature meter should have a range from minimally 0 to 250 degrees centigrade.
  1. A power supply tester is not essential for the project. It permits, however, to test correct functionning of the AT computer power supply that we have used to power the RepRap. In case of a short circuit in the RAMPS electronic circuit shield, e.g. when the resistance of the heat bed is too low (normal resistance is 1.1Ω to 1.2Ω, yielding a current of over 10 Amps), the power supply will automatically cut out because of overload. The power supply tester now can be used to determine whether cutting out is due to a defect in the power supply or in the RepRap electronics, especially when you have kept intact the original wiring of the AT computer power supply for easy and fast connection to the power supply tester.
  1. A steel ruler with a maximum length of 200 mm and a zero starting at the edge (i.e. no offset!) is essential for positioning the smooth rods.


Hand tools

Tool
Level of Necessity
Type of Use
Picture
Spanners
Sizes 7 and 13 mm
Essential
Mounting nuts
and bolts
Image 7
Sockets
Size 5.5 and 7 mm
Essential
Mounting nuts
and bolts
Image 8
Wrench 1/4"
for sockets
Essential
Mounting nuts
and bolts
Image 9
Reamer 8 mm
Essential
Enlarging holes
Image 10
Drilling machine
Drill/screw driver
Handy
Drilling purposes
Image 11
Drill chuck
Essential
Handling drill bits Image 12
Drill bits
Essential
Drilling holes,
reaming holes
Image 13
Ceramic screw driver
Essential
Trimming
potmeters
Image 14
Soldering iron, e.g.
Dremel Versatip
Essential
Handy
Soldering
connections
Image 15
Allen hex keys
Essential
Mounting belt gears
Image 16
Disc cutter
Essential
Cutting rods
Image 17
Screw drivers
Essential
Mounting items
Image 18
Cutting pliers
Essential
Cutting wiring
Image 19
Thread cutting die
Handy
Reworking thread
Image 20

Remarks:

  1. Spanner in metric sizes 7 and 13 mm are required for mounting nuts and bolts in the sizes M4 and M8. A spanner in metric size 5.5 mm for mounting M3 nuts and bolts could not be found. For this size a socket was applied.
  1. Sockets in metric sizes 5.5 and 7 mm are required for nuts and bolts in the sizes M3 and M4.
  1. A 1/4" wrench is used for operating the sockets.
  1. A reamer or dorn, size 8 mm, is essential to enlarge the holes in the plastic printed parts for the RepRap. Enlarging holes can also be done with an 8 mm drill bit but drill bits make less precise and not exactly round holes. A tight fit in the plastic parts is required for the smooth rods as well as for the threaded rods to prevent play, which would cause inaccuracy in printing.
  1. A small size cordless drill/screw driver comes handy for drilling holes. However, a bench drill machine is preferred.
  1. A drill chuck is required for holding drill bits and the 8 mm reamer when reaming holes. This is done by hand and never in a machine. It may be tempting to ream 3 and 4 mm holes high speed with a drill bit in a hand operated drill machine, but it will ruin your plastic RepRap part.
  1. A set of drill bits ranging from 1 to 10 mm in 0.5 mm steps is essential for drilling holes and for reaming 3 and 4 mm holes.
  1. A ceramic screw driver is required for trimming the potmeters on the stepper motor circuit boards to the correct current.
  1. For soldering connections any soldering iron would do. However, I recommend the Dremel Versatip set because it is more than a butane gas operated soldering iron. Additional  tips in the set will enable you to cut, form and glue the ABS plastic from the RepRap plastic parts when broken, whereas the hot air blowing tip and the deflector tip are very useful for applying crimp wrap insulation.
  1. Allen hex keys are necessary for attaching the belt gears to the axis of the stepper motors and for adjusting filament pressure of the extruder.  For ease of operation it is advised to apply hex bolts for the extruder pressure and for height adjustment of the heated bed.
  1. A disc metal cutter is required to cut the smooth and threaded rods to the required lengths.
  1. A set of fine screw drivers is essential for mounting fine screws.
  1. Cutting pliers are required for cutting wiring.
  1. For reworking M8 threads after cutting rods it will be handy to use an M8 thread cutting die, but a fine triangular thread file will do too. In photo 20 you will see a typical hexagonal shaped thread cutting die for reworking threads. A hexagonal shaped die can be used with just your hands. However, when you have a tradional round thread cutting die you will also need a thread stock to operate the die.

Workshop equipment


Tool
Level of Necessity
Type of Use
Picture
Bench top pillar drill
Essential Drilling
Image 21
Bench grinder
Essential Grinding
Image 22

Remarks:

  1. A bench top pillar drill is required for drilling holes, which are 90 degrees vertical to the horizontal plane. In particular for constructing the heat bed platform this will create a better fitting heat bed assembly.
  1. A bench grinder is required for grinding metal jigs or guides to the exact dimensions. In my project I have used the obsolete (replaced, because wrong material) smooth rods to fabricate exact guides for mounting the triangles in the RepRap frame as well as for mounting the threaded rods that keep these triangles at an exact (and similar) distances. The bench grinder is also required for bevelling the ends of the cutted rods (especially for the smooth rods that will hold linear bearings) and for sharpening tools.


Photo Section



digital calipersdigital levelDigital Multimeter
Image 1: Digital calipers                 Image 2: Digi-Pas DWL-200 digital level                 Image 3: Digital multimeter


Digital laser temperature meterpower supply testersteel ruler
Image 4: Digital Laser Temperature Meter    Image 5: Power Supply Tester                  Image 6: Steel ruler                                          


spannersocketwrench
Image 7: Spanner 7 mm              Image 8: Socket 7mm              Image 9: Wrench set


reamer
screw driver drilldrill chuck
Image 10: Reamer 8mm                         Image 11: Cordless drill screwdriver                   Image 12: Drill chuck

Drill bit
Ceramic Screw DriverDremel Versatip
Image 13: Drill bit          Image 14: Ceramic screw driver              Image 15: Dremel Versatip 2000-6


Allen hex keysCircular metal cutterScrew driver set
Image 16: Allen hex key set          Image 17: Disc metal cutter                          Image 18: Fine screwdriver set

Cutting pliersThread cutting die
                    Image 19: Cutting Pliers                                          Image 20: Thread cutting die

bench pillar drill
bench grinder
          Image 21: Bench top pillar drill                                    Image 22: Bench grinder





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Last Updated on: Mon Nov 10 21:21:18 2014