Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Mini - MendelMAX - #30DoC days 11,12 & 13

I'm getting a little behind Blogging my 30 days of creativity ( #30DoC ) updates, but it has still been going on.

Believe it or not, I do work full time, so getting any time for RepRap is actually extremely tricky, and the daily updates have been getting later and later, so I'm going to blog a few days at a time until the end of the month if I can actually manage to stick it out that long!

One thing this has taught me is that I really enjoy writing up my ideas, developments and adventures with RepRap, but I prefer to do it after a good long session of work rather than every day...

That said, I do think it's pushing me to get around to starting all the many things I have had on my RepRap list for so long. I may not get them finished or even working, but a start is better than nothing, so I'll continue to blog ideas as I think of them and hopefully take a few of them all the way to complete solutions or working prototypes. I also think it may help as I have had so many comments, suggestions and people contacting me with similar ideas, that it's convinced me that a few smaller updates are better than one big one  when the project's finished - let me know what you think?

Mini - MendelMAX -

Recently I have had a need for a smaller machine, that's rock solid, and prints mainly smaller parts with a finer nozzle and 1.75mm filament, so I decided to build up the parts into a mini sized MendelMax (as I had initially planned many months ago, when I built up my first MAX)

Mini MendelMAX - small but great. - progress so far after 3 evenings building up.

It's not all wired up and without electronics or power at the moment.

I printed this set of parts last month, but didn't get around to deciding on a build for them, it's based on the MendelMAX V1.5 and some excellent derivatives I'll talk about below.

The lower vertex sections are the integrated design by Jib there is even a triple height version now!

The Awesome printed Y axis is by tommyc - LM8UU Y carriage for MendelMAX, and I love this design.

I disassembled my earlier frame made of green PLA-V1 MendelMAX parts and replaced them with shiny new Gold and black parts. All the black parts including the Y carriage and Quick-Fit X are made with RepRapsource ABS, all the other parts are printed with Faberdashery PLA.

I'm planning for this to print in both PLA and ABS, so I have made my own smaller heated bed with resistors and PCB Material.

I will be using the little quick-fit  'Huxley sized' extruder on this machine.

The new MendelMAX Y mentioner is really handy, as you can make your belt a little tighter just with a quick turn of the screw on the front.

The lower Motor mounts work very well, and just make the machine even easier to assemble.

For the Z Axis I decided to stick with theM6 threaded rods, they work so much better than M8, this machine will not be doing very high printing, but it will be doing very low layer heights, so M6 being 1mm pitch is a good choice.

The only thing I'm changing is by using an M6 studding connector instead of two M6 nuts, I think this should give me a little more stability, and a little more friction to deal with.

The only other mechanical change I made was to add some little PTFE end-caps to the threaded rod ends, this helps stop them wobbling around and reduces noise.

I also wanted a small printer robust enough to carry around to events and meetings, this should do the trick, it's going to be bomb-proof.

I'll let you know how the rest of the build goes, and also how well it prints.

Thanks for looking.



  1. Hi Rich,
    Nice little machine. I like the gold/black colour combination.
    Q1: Are the x-ends you chose to use designed to take the smaller M6 nut or did you have to modify them?
    Q2: Do you cut the aluminium yourself? How do you ensure a square cut? Chop-saw? Band-saw?

    1. Hi Ivor,

      The X ends are modified original Prusa V1 (non-push-fit) but with the M8 nut trap modified to be a M6, I will clean up the Sketchup file and upload it as some point soon.

      I have cut a few sections of Aluminium with a chop-saw but I prefer to get it cut to order - KJN here in the UK do not charge for cut to length sections, and they offer excellent service and good costs for extrusion and other bits. Just £2.90 / Meter -

  2. Wow I like this alot, now I'm confused. What to build as the first child of my prusa.. The foldarap or a mini mendelmax....

    I still have time to think about it as my life is still quite busy and my current machine is still refucing decent prints ;)

    A post with only a teaser picture is also nice after a creative day.

    1. I would say build a full sized MendelMAX 1.5 first, you will be very impressed, then decide if you need a mini machine, and take a look at tantillus -

      Or look at Mendel90, another very solid machine -

  3. Hi Rich,
    Thanks for doing this 30 days of creativity, I have really enjoyed reading it all! Is there a particular reason why you printed part in ABS and the other in PLA? I mostly have printed in ABS but was thinking about transitioning to PLA because I saw all the nice things you did with it. Is it a bad idea to print a whole mendel kit in PLA?

    Thanks again!

    1. Glad you're enjoying it. I have machines printed in all PLA, (My british mendel is all PLA) but I tend to always make the extruder body's in ABS and recently all my quick-fit x carriages are printed in ABS. The X carriage prints vertically so it's friendly for ABS printing and does not warp. Other than that everything else is usually printed in PLA.
      With the Mini MendelMAX I could have printed the frame parts in PLA, but I wanted a black/gold contrast. The Y carriage does not get hot, so this is fine in PLA, another MendelMax has the Y carriage in PLA, and that's working well.

      Some things work better in PLA than ABS - the motor couplers, any and all gears - you should give PLA a try it's a very nice material to print with.

  4. Man that mini Mendel max is a beauty! I'd love to see a video of it printing.

    1. I hope to have it printing soon, I'm building up the electronics at the moment, and need to test the heated bed tonight.
      I'll do some video's when it's all up and running.

  5. Another great looking machine! Can you tell me what hot ends you are using? I want to upgrade my old .4 j-head with an oozing issue to a 1.75 for better control. I think you talked me into doing a mendelmax.

  6. Hello, It's Adrian's mini extruder hot-end -

    Let me know how you get on with the MendelMax build.



  7. I've recently learnt a lot about 3D printing in the last couple of weeks and it's got me thinking about people who will print guns and weapons with them. Especially when home-made machines can print metals and alloys. I love the technology and I want it to flourish into every home.

    However, the problem is, most governments in western countries will not want everyone to have the ability to print their own guns. This will certainly lead to some kind of legislation which will mean the installation of software that detects what is being printed and if it's on the 3D printing banned list, the machine won't print it.
    This has MASSIVE wider-implications that will eventually lead to corporations having their intellectual property included in the banned item list. Not only will this seriously limit 3D printing as a technology for every home, it will eventually fail as a concept because every invention will be added to that list too. It will mean 3D printing is only viable for designers and engineers, killing any potential it has and handing power back to corporations.

    Btw, if you think they won't be able to add software that can detect what your printing to stop you from printing guns, switch on your regular ink/laser printer at home and try to print yourself some currency. EVERY commercial 2D printer sold is programmed to detect money being printed and it won't let you do it.

    Now, obviously, I don't want everyone printing their own guns and to be honest I very much doubt it would happen that much anyway. Sure, people will do it but these are the same people that could probably get a gun somewhere else if they really wanted to. The point I'm trying to make is, we MUST make sure that no limits are put on 3D printing because when this happens, it effectively kills the technology as I have already explained. This 3D printing technology has enormous potential that could literally change society and end the destructiveness of mass production and remove the concept of controlled obsolescence from consumerism. I think the wider-implication ADVANTAGES of this technology far outweigh the wider-implication disadvantages.

    We should all pay very close attention to this issue because it's super important. We must all fight to stop governments from placing limits on 3D printing. I pretty much guarantee most of the giant corporations who manufacture physical products on a mass scale will be lobbying government for strict legislation when 3D printing becomes more mainstream. I would even put money on it that the blocking software has already been written. This is something we should all be passionate about, we MUST make sure this never happens if we want 3D printing to change the world for the better.

    Sorry this is so long, and sort of off topic (but still relevant). Its an important issue and I hope most owners of 3D printers feel the same.

    Cool blog btw.

  8. Rich,

    Hate to bring up an old post. Did you ever release the sketchup file? I would love a little machine like this.