I finally replaced the broken bearing mount on my Davinci 3D printer. I tried to print a large plastic bolt and nut but the results were not good. The shape of both were oval rather than round. This indicated the broken bearing mount was affecting the operation. XYZprinting had sent me a replacement bearing mount a few blog posts ago but I held off replacing it until necessary and this was it.
I couldn't find any instructions or videos explaining how to do it so I made a video myself for anybody that may have to do the same. I posted it on my YouTube Channel so anybody can follow along. There may be a better way to do it but what I did worked pretty well.
There is a replacement bearing mount that thinigverse user bret4 designed and posted on Thingiverse here. I can now print a few of these so I have backups for the future. I'm sure I'll break another at some point in the future. My printer doesn't spend much time idle. I'm always finding something to print.
For my latest YouTube Channel Video / 3D Printed Project, I created a replacement flag for my Rubbermaid mailbox. This mailbox is super strong and has lasted a long time but the flag design is the weak point. It can break-off easily especially when snow gets deep on top and someone tries to clear it off, often breaking the flag.
So I put TinkerCad to work and designed a replacement. I got the dimensions from the shaded outline left from the sunlight on the box. I designed it to snap in place but be tight enough to hold any position. Check out the details in the video below.
Overall the design worked great. I actually made three prototypes. Each worked fine but I made minor improvements to end up with the one in the video. These things are hard to find so I may make them available for purchase somewhere for those that don't have a 3D printer. The .stl file is available at my Thingiverse page.
I've been doing a lot of 3D printing lately but in the background I'm working on new books. One of them is an update to my Beginner's Guide to Embedded C Programming series. In the first series, I used MPLAB, HI-TECH C Compiler, PICkit 2 programmer and a PIC16F690. All those have been replaced. MPLAB X, XC8 Compiler, PICkit 3 programmer and the PIC16F1xxx family of enhanced mid-range devices. Something else changed recently which has me delaying my book, MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC).
MCC was in beta for a while but is now released and already on version 2.1, and it is awesome. With a few clicks of the mouse you can build a whole project of code (see it in the video below). Each peripheral is reduced to a set of check boxes or drop down menus. I/O can be configured with a GUI version of the chip. Even the main.c file can be generated. And the best part.....
.....all the code generated includes a library of functions for each peripheral written in XC8 code. Even I/O has its own set of functions such as:
And these are just the I/O functions for the RB0 pin. And the function code is open source so you can see how its done. Great for learning.
It does the same for SPI, I2C, Timers, etc. You could take a module like the CHIPINO with fixed pinouts, install a PIC16F1936 (instead of PIC16F886), setup all the peripherals and connections to the I/O and then build the code. You'll have a main.c file with configurations set and ready for your custom code along with a library of functions for all the peripherals in the device.
You basically just created your own Arduino style module from a CHIPINO. And you have debug capability through the PICkit 3, full access to the configuration to run slower speeds or faster speeds. And when you are done, unplug the PIC16F1936 and do it again for some other blank 28 pin PIC with different features. And because you don't need a custom bootloader device, you can use any PIC supported by MCC. And that list is growing with each release.
So stay tuned for more as I work this into my new series of books. Writing C code for PICs just got so easy. I cannot say that enough.
How irritating is that picture above? Could this be our experience if the cable and phone companies are allowed to separate the internet into a two speed system? The idea that the internet should be equal access for all is the idea behind Net Neutrality. We support the cause today as its another:
John Oliver Explains Net Neutrality
My Canon MG3520 printer is a great paper printer but the tray to catch completed prints is way to short. It only measures 5 1/4" fully extended. This leaves all my prints on the floor and if there are no page numbers, I'm left with a puzzle to figure out how to put them back together in proper order.
So I decided to improve the design and make a new paper tray to collect the prints. I removed the original tray and measure the width and the thickness of the rails. Then I used TinkerCad to create a much bigger tray. I extended it to about 7" which was just slightly smaller than the max size my Davinci 1.0 printer could handle. I slid the new tray in place and problem solved. Check out the video below from my YouTube Channel for the step by step instructions.
I continue to find uses for my 3D printer. It's so handy to have in the shop. I can work on my books or electronics projects while it prints my latest design. Bigger jobs that take time, I can run at night and in the morning they are ready to use. I'm seriously thinking about getting a second one because I have more print ideas than I have time to print.
The file for this print is on my Thingiverse page: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:455476
I released a new video on my YouTube channel for those setting up a home lab and who may want a little help choosing a PIC Programmer. I actually go back to the first hobbyist PIC programmer called the PICSTART 16B1 and then take the viewer through some of the most popular PIC programmers in history to get us to where we are today.
By no means did I cover every design, just the highlights from my years of experience. There are still many designs out there so it can be confusing but in the end I recommend sticking with the official PICkit programmers, though building your own like my PK2 is fun and you can learn a lot.
The video is short but hopefully viewers like it enough to subscribe and let me know they are watching and hoping for more. I plan to release future videos in three categories; 3D print projects, beginner electronic projects and tips for the home lab. Check it out and let me know your ideas for what you'd like to see in a future video.
When I first bought my Davinci 1.0 3D printer, I actually wondered if I would find enough stuff to print to justify the purchase. I've owned it for about 4 months and the thing has been running non-stop and I have a backlog of projects to print. I have some designs that I print for resale and it's helping to fund a potential 2nd 3D printer. I need the extra capacity so I can print my own designs while I print designs for other people. One of the latest prints for hire was a Solder Roll Bracket that mounted to a pegboard wall. One of our sponsors, gamersoption.com, needed 8 of these built-up for their ever expanding production line of XBOX and PlayStation Custom Modded Controllers.
They sent me a starting design, which was created in TinkerCad, which was a simple L Bracket with a post sticking out to hold the solder roll. From there I went to work modifying it to fit the pegboard wall that was at the back of their assembly work benches. I added a triangular strengthening support and also posts to line up with the holes in the pegboard. A hole was added to the original L bracket so they could install a screw and nut. One prototype run and the design was proven to work great.
I then when to work printing a batch of them, eight to be exact. The design was agreed to be open sourced so you can get it at Thingiverse. I produced a YouTube video showing how the design was done so if you get a chance, check it out above or at this YouTube link.
I just posted another 3D Printer Project on my YouTube Channel. This time I created a box that holds a breadboard with space underneath for storing components. The box is shaped like an 8-pin Microcontroller. I used a thingiverse design from user tetralite who created an actual size 8-pin microcontroller 3D print design. So I took the design and made it much larger to fit a breadboard on top.
The breadboard is held up by four posts underneath but also has lots of empty space inside the microchip body. This allows you to store components inside. In fact it fits all the components I used in my book "Programming PICs in BASIC" which uses an 8-pin Microcontroller.
I used TinkerCad for the modifications and then printed the design on my Davinci 1.0 printer. The design had a lot of support material to be removed but it came out very solid and smooth with a little clean-up. I also used a raft as the base to try and prevent any warpage which seemed to work well. You can see the full project description in the video below.
This started out as just a fun project that grew bigger as I thought about it. At first I only recessed the breadboard into the top of the chip but then realized all that plastic under it could be hollowed out for storage. I released the .stl file on Thingiverse for anybody to build. Check it out and let me know if you build one too.
The replacement bearing holder for my Davinci 3D printer arrived today. THE replacement, not set of replacements, THE replacement. I received ONE plastic replacement because I showed them a picture of ONE broken bracket. The cost of sending the bracket under warranty through Fedex Ground would not have cost much more to send me a pair or a full set of four. I guess I made the mistake of assuming they would send me a set not just one.
I hope I don't find another broken one or even break one when I take it apart. The problem here was I can't easily get to the left side bracket to see if it was cracked. I tried to get my camera in there to take a picture but even that was tough. So I won't know until I take it apart. And if its broke, I'll be waiting another week for a replacement. There are numerous posts about these breaking on various forums so I know this isn't a rare issue. And many people reported getting full sets of brackets.
Honestly, to go through all the work of packing and shipping a replacement sub $0.50 piece of plastic, would it have hurt to send at least two?
I do appreciate the follow-up support for the Davinci warranty. They have replaced everything I showed as failed so far including my extruder which I posted about prior. From now on though, I suggest you make sure you spell out everything that is wrong before making a request for replacement. I know I will.
There are 3D print files of an improved bracket on Thingiverse so I may print a few of those out before I tear it apart so I have enough parts to put it back together.
XYZprinting, if you are listening, thanks for the replacement but in the future at least send a pair or a full set of four.
There is an independent forum for Davinci 3D printer users to share ideas. While on the forum I saw they were discussing broken bearing mounts for the Y-axis shaft. So I looked at mine and discovered I had the same issue. The back right bearing mount was cracked at the bottom as seen in the picture below.
I haven't seen any issues from it but I do note that small holes don't seem to print well. I'm not sure if this broken mount has anything to do with it but I want fix it so I can find out. I sent an email request to the support team at XYZprinting and since they were very responsive with the broken extruder, I'm hoping this can be fixed as well. One forum member said they sent him 4 new brackets. I just sent the email request today so we'll see how fast they respond.
One of the forum members (bret4) created a replacement and posted it on Thingiverse. Now this makes the most sense because I can 3D print a replacement before the bearing mount completely comes apart. Why XYZprinting doesn't have the plastic parts as 3D print files for customers to download is beyond me. I hope they eventually do so because then, when this thing is out of warranty, I'll be able to print replacement parts easily.
Some people prefer the Thingiverse mount because its stronger but I'd still like to have a good set of originals to work with. If you have a Davinci 3D printer and have already replaced the bearing mount, comment below how the replacement process went. It looks like it's going to be a pain to replace and some have mentioned on the forum that you have to get the Y axis perfectly square to the X axis or your prints will be off. That makes a lot of sense but also sounds like a very sensitive procedure. I'd prefer to have picture supported directions or YouTube video on how to replace them. If not I may end up creating that.