We spend quite a bit of time in the lab just trying various things to see if they work or how they work.   If you check you’ll see that a large part of the scientific method is testing a hypothesis.  Sometimes, we test products if they are related to RP/RM especially to let our students know about their performance.

As a result of the buzz on the net, we ordered a MakerBot.   We waited.  We waited.  Finally it arrived.   A team of three students assembled it
(in about 20 hours) but blew out a board trying to debug it.   We gave our new friends at Metrix Create Space a call and asked if we could buy/borrow/beg a driver board to replace the blow out.   They said “Yes” and further offered to  help with the commissioning too!

This weekend our MakerBot got a big work out as we had the College of Engineering Open House (now called Discovery Days).  Belinda — one of the team members designed a “give away part”  which was a little W.    Belinda started making hundreds of the little W’s.   The MakerBot ran almost non-stop for three days.   All-in-all, it was a great performance.


{photo compliments of Matt Westervelt @ MetrixCreateSpace}

As with all good things,  you just want more!   Matt at Metrix has been showing off his Mendel for over a month now.   A Mendel is version 2 of the RepRap project.   One of the goals of the RepRap project is  “develop/design a machine that can build a copy of itself”.   A Mendel is different from the MakerBot in that it is not a kit but rather it is “open architecture and open source”.    You must collect all of the items necessary and build it yourself.   Again, we have a team of 2.25 people working on the project (two students Markus, Nick and part of two professors).


{photo compliments of Matt Westervelt @ MetrixCreateSpace}

Our Mendel which is known as O’Blue had its plastic parts built on a Stratasys Dimension 768BST machine.   Thus, the parts look great and have amazing surface finish.


{photo compliments of Matt Westervelt @ MetrixCreateSpace}

Sshh, it’s resting after it’s first workout.    We hope to be building more Mendels.

7 Comments on From MakerBots to RepRap Mendels

  1. […] Open3DP (Open 3D Printing). by Bre Pettis | Categories: MakerBot in the Wild | Enjoyed this article? Subscribe to the […]

    • admin says:

      Bre, thanks for checking in. Some of our current fun, Belinda is working turning natural ABS to purple ABS! Stay tuned.

  2. You’ll be relieved to know tat next time you build a hundred parts you may be using an automated build surface.

  3. admin says:

    Best advice => find a local create space or make space. Go there, introduce yourself, and make friends. Ask someone with a MakerBot to show you to drive the MakerBot (if your nice, they might even let you drive). You may need MakerBot or Mendel help (it’s not like you can call a MB or Mendel repair shop, YET?)

    MakerBot = it’s a kit, easy to put together (think Lego-like) maybe 16-24 hrs. I think there are 4 solder joints to make. Build space is 3x3x4 inches (100 x 100 x 130 mm). With the heated build plate, I’ve seen MB’s produce amazingly good parts (almost as good as a premium FDM). Note: if you are going to put any finish on the wood, do it as the very 1st activity!

    Mendel = it’s not a kit, you must order all of the stock, electronics, motors, etc. You will need to fabricate the “plastic parts” or purchase or beg someone to make them, etc. You will use 100’s of nuts and washers (I think we used about 300 M4 washers). Build space is 8 x 8 x 5.5 inches (200 x 200 x 140). This is very close to the build space of the premium FDM system. The Mendel is still evolving (sometimes while your building it). We would guess it is 50-100 hours to get one up and working. Again, I’ve seen Mendels produce amazingly good parts (almost as good as a premium FDM). Mendels can use MB electronics.

    Thus, a boot strap process. You could buy a Makerbot. Put it together. Fabricate all of the Mendel parts. Build the Mendel (while your building, keep making more Mendel parts). Move the electronics over to the Mendel. This is a more costly process but you WILL learn many things via this path.

  4. From MakerBots to RepRap Mendels « Open3DP (Open 3D Printing)…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  5. […] three Classic RepRap Mendels by a team of 2.5 people over ten weeks.  One of the three  (called O’Blue) stayed in our lab.   We’ve had quite a bit of fun and frustration experimenting with […]

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