Monday 4 July 2011

eMaker Reprap Master Class event in Bath (UK) 1st-3rd July 2011

The build weekend started on Friday night around 6:00PM with a great introduction by Adrian Bowyer to RepRap and the highly impressive community team that Jean-Marc had managed to bring together for us. –
Dr Adrian Bowyer, Dr Andrew Dent, Josef Prusa, Kliment Yanev, Ruben Lubbes, Rhys Jones and Sally Bowyer.

People had travelled from all over the UK and Europe to be at the event with everyone having an interesting reason to own a Reprap. Among these included the desperate need to print a Moustache ring and the desire to experiment with automatic PCB wiring; some just wanted a cool 3D printer or to meet up with the RepRap team.

We all started with the mechanical frame build using the Wiki and visual instructions, marching ahead with excitement and enthusiasm all the way till 11:30pm with only a quick break for lots of great Pizza and beer. 

Most of the frame construction was now finished. Jean-Marc and a few others stayed up until the early hours preparing parts for the next day (thank you all for doing that).

As Ruben has organized many of these events around Europe the Master Class was a very slick setup but I was very pleased to see it also evolved and adapted to live design improvements as we built the machines and found better ways to do things, the Wiki was live updated as we went along to reflect this.

Ruben and others brought many interesting printed objects including the amazing
Geared Heart by Emmett
Inspired by the  Broken heart by Greg frost (Geared)

And a lovely printed ceramic pot from Unfold even a working printed spinning wheel by Kliment (sorry I didn’t get a photo, but it was really nice). See it and read about it on Kliment's website here

We had a streaming live video of us to add to the excitement along with various comments on IRC keeping us all amused, many of them early on were about ‘girls’ actually being at the event.

Adrian gave an informative and amusing demonstration of successful pulley casting with resin using a silicon block and a jig that allowed trapped captive nuts to be placed inside the cast pulleys.

End of Friday night.
Saturday was electronics build-up and machine wiring, for many this sounded the most daunting but the Sanguinololu (V1.2) electronics although a little fiddly as the PCB is small and packed together it all built-up quickly and worked really well (I’m totally convinced now by this little setup), anyone who has used RAMPS and thinks this is a lesser design, think again.

We had drop-in visits during the day from other Reprappers and suppliers of the components we had used over the weekend, this again was great to discuss ideas and design improvements with them first hand.

After a very good night out on Saturday we all started slightly later on the Sunday for the heated bed build and electronics commissioning, this all went well. Kliment setup the firmware and tested all our electronics.

We slowed down slightly with wiring, especially all the wire crimping but stayed on-track of the build plan.
Jo helping this printer - print.
All the team provided constant help and advice to anyone not quite sure what to do next. It does not take long to realise that all the advice you absorb at one of these get-togethers would take months to get online. 

Participation takes thought and concentration making for a very intense, exciting and satisfying weekend, I can’t speak for anyone else but I was shattered at the end of it but elated to have an ‘official’ and working machine to take home with me. I believe building and servicing a Prusa Mendel is well within the means of most people and immediate good results were not hard to achieve thanks to the effort Josef & Kliment put into setting up Skeinforge, printrun (pronterface) and the Sprinter firmware for us.

Not my machine, but a nice looking pig print.

By Sunday afternoon all the machines got to the point where they could print (most opted for a nice pig cookie cutter
I printed my favourite calibration object – the Hollow pyramid Originally I had sticky X and Y axis causing some slipping on the axis while printing, I turned up the motor drive currents to compensate and it was better but still skipping.
This turned out to be oxide or unclean rods, a quick clean and silicon lube made the much better. I added heatsinks to the Pololu boards (very kindly supplied by Ruben).
The Pololu’s were still running too hot and sometimes thermal-tripping so causing skipping and miss printing.

Adrian measured my driver chips at over 85 degrees C with an IR thermometer (this was too hot) so we turned it back down and due to the now clean X and Y smooth rods it now made a pretty good print of the hollow Pyramid.

It’s clear from the many conversations we all shared that great and interesting things are set to happen in the RepRap community in the coming months, stay tuned, and get involved and if you ever get the chance to meet up with other Reprappers or go on a Reprap Master Class anywhere in the world make sure you DO IT!

Many thanks to Jean-Marc, all the RepRap team and everyone who attended and visited us over the weekend, we all made new friends and I think we managed to push RepRap even further forwards.

And a special thank you to Clare and Andrew for helping transport all my stuff and nice new printer back to my car at the end.

I'm sorry if I have forgotten anyone or anything, if I don’t write something right now about the Master Class I’ll never be able to pull myself away from my new printer J It’s already printing it’s first upgrade – Printable Ball Bearing Upgrade by GregFrost

And finally if you have not yet tried out Kliment’s printrun, check it out, it’s really great.



  1. I have to say it was a really good MasterClass and a real pleasure to be there on Saturday.

    It was great share knowledge with you all.

    AKA ParCan

  2. Being able to attend those masterclasses is almost enough to tempt me back to the UK after 10 years in New Zealand. But on reflection I think I'll stay here since there is so much help on the wiki and forums, but its nice to see how you put these events together

  3. Gary, why don't you arrange one in NZ? You seem to have a critical mass of reprappers there now. We (organizers of events so far) would be happy to help you with everything we can. Only argument is which island you do it on.

  4. Fantastic to meet you and chat over the weekend. Glad you (and the machine!) got back ok. Thanks for this great review of the event. I look forward to catching up with you soon.


  5. Nice report, shame to have missed the event! I'm building a Prusa the (slow) read-along way and can concur - it's taking months, not weeks. With so many variations, most of my time is spent on researching the latest/best option.

    BTW, the "Sanguinololu (V1.2)" blogger link is broken.

    Is anyone in Europe selling the Sanguinololu V1.2 or later boards? (I'd prefer to avoid paying import duty + handling fees on stuff sourced from outside the EU.)

  6. Thanks, I fixed the link above.

    Here is a direct one -

    I'm sure Kliment would be happy to sell you a Sanguinololu V1.2 and he has a very nice SD card add-on module for it so you don't need the PC running as you print.

  7. Good review - it was an awesome weekend

    I haven't had a chance to have a go at tuning mine, having to go straight from the course to work for a few days. Sigh

    Did you manage to get good prints without the skipping problems people seemed to be getting? Is it just a acase of cooling the stepper drivers and lubricating the rods...


  8. Hi Keith,

    I had to get back to work also, but have stayed up late just to get a few prints done.

    Yes the cooling of the stepper drivers and I used some PTFE oil on all the rods and bushings, things are very smooth now.

    I have printed 6 things a few times at 50mm/sec and I'm starting to play around with the Skeinforge settings Kliment did for us, so in a few days I should know how far you can push a Sanguinololu and a Prusa.

    I also have the SD card interface printing, that's nice, I have all my sliced Gcode on a 2GB card so you can just select and print easily.

    And it's so quiet, just a whisper compared to my

  9. I did the SF settings :-P


  10. Sorry Jo, I didn’t know that, it all got hectic when we all started printing on the last day.

    I’m still very new to Skeinforge, but I really like that you can slow down small build layers to a minimum time taken I had not used that before, this worked really well on the pyramid and made the point very nice doing it slowly just at the top. This was the ‘cool’ setting if anyone wants to play with it.

    I have now enabled ‘bottom’ as I had one part that zoomed up on the z axis at the start as the Gcode was trying to print 1m up!

    The ‘Temperature’ is enabled in SF; I have always had that switched off before. I’m not sure if it’s related but if I leave it switched on when I use the SD card to print, the hot-end temperature seems to drop down slowly by about 15 degrees from what it was originally set during the print, you can kick it back up to temperature in the program but it drifts down again.
    I also noticed the hot-bed temperature rises to ~80 Degrees from the set 65.


  11. Oops, the Heart that Ruben had was actually by emmett but his was inspired by Greg's one - here is the link

    It's one thing I'm going to try printing at the weekend.

  12. Skeinforge settings? Ahh - I'm not sure I got those - how would I get them? Or know if I haven't got them...

  13. Thanks RichRap!
    I just sent Kliment an email.

    Is this Kliment's spinning wheel you mentioned:
    I like the use of its herringbone gear for axial positioning!

    What hotend did you all use?

    I'm finding a few commercially available hotends - my prefered solution - but little in the way of results based evidence of which (currently) performs best.

  14. Hi Keith - if you click on the top left corner in the pronterface (print I think), then Skeinforge settings, skeinforge should load up and show a profile. If it's not called bathmendel or mendelbath then try to change it, if it's not listed you don't have it.
    I can e-mail it to you later if you don't have it.

  15. Hi Hairykiwi,

    That's it, and thanks for the link it's nice to see it again.

    We used Hot-ends supplied by Alex (AKA ParCan)
    He sells them on eBay - search for this - RepRap Universal Nozzle / Hot End: Complete

  16. Thanks again RichRap.

    Feel free to update your post with the spinning wheel link - if you think it may help others find it easier :-)

    All the best,

  17. RichRap - no i don't have the bath profile.. an email of it would be fabulous. (

  18. I completely missed the fact that the "girls" (that's me with the curls) were causing amusement, was much too excited by having something fun to build to get onto IRC! Is it unusual to have many women at the event? I counted two building and two helping, which seems like a fair ratio to me ...

  19. Hi Keith,

    I have e-mailed it over, let me know how you get on with printing. I am getting skipping again with printing bigger things, especially circles so I'm trying to find out what the problem is. It's not mechanical.

  20. Can you send a copy of the SF profile to me too please? max underscore allan at hotmail dot com (not much point trying to obscure it, I can't get much more spam than I already do...)

    I think I need to write some sort of help file of my own for SF. Helpful tips like : Turn off "Raft" if you've got a heated bed. And if you have, turn off "Chamber" and add "M140 S60" to your start.gcode.
    I'd like to see the help pages rewritten without using any of the value label text in the description.
    e.g. Current help says stuff like :
    Exflunginator ratio : Sets the ratio of the exflunginator.
    Should be rewritten as "Sets the speed of the flunge head in milli-parsecs per nano-fortnight. Higher values and excessive flunging will result in a fatter output."

  21. Hi Max,

    I have e-mailed it over. I know what you mean about the Skeinforge settings, I'm still finding out what things really do and I often find myself looking back at my own blog to remember what a setting does!

    Oh, and you do need raft if you have a heated bed to slow down the first print layer (to help it stick), you just don't print the raft bit.


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