Hey guys/gals I am currently incredibly frustrated.....

Hey guys/gals

I am currently incredibly frustrated… not surprising perhaps, after all, I’m a fuddy duddy… getting ready to retire and looking for something to learn/do.

3D printing seemed like a logical choice, but gad… it’s not exactly nailed down. I had almost settled on a kit… after all, I’m good at electronics, computer control etc. but the sheer amount of “maybe” answers is driving me nuts. In fact, I was going to order a reprap kit… fine, it’s not perfect, but it’s a great start… or is it?

I found another kit that seemed to answer my desires, but when I looked at the contents… bah, nope… 5mm threaded rods and basic 5mm nuts ain’t gonna cut it. Ramps 1.4… it’s old hat, where is the Rumba stuff? And it’s almost at my MAX available funds.

I’ve found cheaper kits that including 8mm ACME Z rods, but not this kit. On the other hand, the kit that got me excited had an almost 12" x 12" x 12" build area… heated and a frame that would make enclosing it for ABS or (enter choice of filament here) a cinch. But… the 5mm threaded rod and bog standard nuts, ramps 1.4… the need to download and install the firmware, cuz it wasn’t done… fergetit

Fast forward to my next line of thought… I am a structural kind of guy. What I want is to make “needed” parts for something else. I don’t give a flying fig about art… the Rolling Pin Dept. might disagree, but for me… I need function, not looks. So… being trained many years ago to draft stuff in 3D on paper, I gave 3D cad a shot… bah! I can’t figger it out! It’s crap… I mean, I could design something in my mind, put it on traditional paper and be done in an hour… CAD takes at least 10 times the amount of time… Sure, I can dupe the part as many times as I like if I’ve got an .stl, but honestly… 10 times the amount of time???

So there I are… frustrated… I’d really like to get into this “realm”, but I need a guiding hand… someone who knows where I come from and where I need to go to “see the light”.

Anyone got any suggestions?

Design a heated bed digital controller. With on/off , temp up/down controls and LCD temp numbers. That would be cool, to take the load off the board.

A) Acme rods mean nothing if they’re imperial measurements.
B) Rumba? Really? Garbage. RAMPS 1.4 isn’t the problem, the microcontroller is. The Rumba still uses the same garbage microcontroller. There’s a new RAMPS 1.4 motherboard coming out soon called the Re-ARM from Panucatt - same RAMPS 1.4 flavor you love, all the smoothieboard goodness that’s good FOR you!
C) 5mm threaded rod isn’t as bad as a lot of people claim. It’s quite sufficient, these things even with threaded rod are far past the accuracy that we can deposit plastic.
D) Try OnShape, it’s very solidworks-ish and quick once you’ve learned it. I can easily bang out a part far faster in OnShape than I ever could on paper.

Once you’ve used a cad program and get used to it you’ll see that it’s much more efficient then hand drafting. My suggestion would be download sketchup (it’s free) and try to learn how to use it for a while. It’s super basic and simple, that way you could get a feel for cad before you move to a more in depth program. Always good to have a good foundation before moving to the next phase.

@Casey_Hoke , sketchup is such garbage though. no native STL support, it regularly flips faces/normals and produces unprintable/unsliceable geometry. I’d recommend staying away from Sketchup. If you must have the push/pull functionality, at least go with something like DesignSpark Mechanical.

Find a real life friend that’s already into it.

:slight_smile: you have to start. Simple as that. Whatever you settle with is going to be superseded anyway so better to get something that’s a recognised and well documented standard so the community will be rich with advice and support. As for learning cad/cam, know them feels, I’m personally very strong in 3d designing so making to the mm designs for 3d printing is trivial but me and a buddy are building a CNC router so I now have to learn cam tool chaining and I’m completely lost, so I’m starting small, I’m fine with 2d design/digital drafting so I’m slowly learning how to take that through to a 2.5d tool path. Baffling but required reading.

The elephant is consumed by small bites, one at a time.

First of all, thanks for the suggestions!

Second… I wish I could get sketchup to work for me… I can’t seem to do it.

Third, online CAD programs are great, until they die and are no longer available. I’m going to give freecad a shot after dorking around with openSCAD which drove me around the bend.

Forth: I ONLY use Linux for an OS, no MS or Apple software. I gave up on closed source software waaay back in the 90s, if I remember correctly… MS would crash every few days, Linux would only crash when someone broke into our computer room and stole the ram out of the computer at the University. Since then, I’ve used open source… at this point in my life, no matter how close it is to the end, I see no reason to change.

Seriously, I just want to wrap my head around this stuff. I used to run a fully automated, Low Earth Orbit Satellite Gateway system, with auto tracking antennas, and automated computer controls, that I built by myself, but this CAD stuff really throws me for a loop. I’m sure it’s the same problem I had in school when I missed an important day about ohms law… nothing made sense until I finally figured out Ohms law… then everything made sense.

I’m also perplexed by the multitude options in controller boards… Ramps, Rumba… etc. I thought Rumba was the latest iteration?

I mean no disrespect to anyone here as I’m more than happy to learn from the young’uns. I’ve been lazy, I’ve settled into my (about to end) job, and I’ve not kept up with the latest developments.

I do have a local gent that I can prod for information, but I honestly don’t feel I should do so, unless absolutely necessary, as I don’t much care for being bothered about stuff I know, that nobody else seems to be bothered with learning.

I will look at the options listed above, no worries there. As for accuracy of ACME vs Threaded rod etc., remember… just because something is more than accurate enough by itself, does not mean it does not ADD to the inaccuracies! Every little thing is another addition to the chain of devices we use… It may only add 0.1% to the chain, but if you have ten items each adding 0.1% of inaccuracies, all of a sudden you have 1% which may very well be too much.

Naturally, if the ONLY item in the chain adds 0.1%, it might well be overlooked, as it doesn’t matter… The important part is to keep track of it all!

@Mr_Bonce so true, I was at that point with CNC and so frustrated with the complexity of a set of points that I wrote my own, http://millcrum.com

@ThantiK sketch up does however let you quickly get used to a few different tools and the movement etc is similar to more useful programs

An old project manager of mine said once: Cheaper, better, faster - pick one. (not 2, much less 3)

Honestly, as a starting printer - especially if you do not have a specific driving business case and are just looking to explore the hobby, that reprap-prusa-i3 from http://electronicgeek.ca/ looks like a great place to start. (free shipping this month). With our dollar still struggling to climb out of the toilet, it might be the best bang for your buck - Canadian supplier to boot.

The trade off at that price is the other 2 axis. 5mm rods / ACME vs metric… all that doesn’t matter < $400. Fast? It will be a few days of assembly, before it’s printing and maybe a few more calibrating. But that’s half the fun right?

@Andre_Courchesne1 How’s the build/review coming? You’ve had it up and running for a few weeks now.

As for the CAD part of the chain - focus on the manufacturing first. Print stuff from thingiverse, youmagine, etc. As you need to tweak/design things explore the CAD tools.

Thanks all, especially @Alex_Wiebe , a few videos on Freecad sort of eased my worries… I’ll get it… eventually!

While I kind of got carried away with my lust for shiny things, starting with an inexpensive unit such as the one Alex linked to is probably a wise choice… Tomorrow, more new things will have come to light and todays dream machine may well be tomorrows beater, no matter how much I spend on it.

I’ll go back to lurking now…


Christian aka

Kaptain “Ooooh… Shiny…” Zero

@Andrew_Hodel oooh another to add to the bookmark list! Cheers :slight_smile:

If you were ever a coder in your past, consider OpenScad or it’s cousin OpenJSCAD. I came up as a coder, and the thought of expressing my designs in declarative programming terms appealed to me, and I was right—it was an easy point of entry for me.

@Robert_Wales definitely agree, also its another way to view the important things which might help with overall comprehension

@Chris_Setla_kaptain ​, I suggested OnShape simply because they do export STEP as far as I’m aware, and they have a lot of powerful integrations as well as being usable on Linux. FreeCAD is great too, as long as you’re willing to deal with typical developer-centered UX that were all familiar with in Linux programs.

@Nathan_Walkner , you shouldn’t have to run your file through an external tool just to fix it!

@Nathan_Walkner , DesignSpark Mechanical. Powered by Spaceclaim, can work on STLs natively. Free. Not open source. But also OnShape. Also free. Again, not open source. FreeCAD, free AND open source. – all of them rather easy to use (though FreeCAD leaves a little to be desired)

DesignSpark Mechanical even has the whole push/pull functionality that made SketchUp popular.

Wings3D is great.