Awesome August Hack-a-thon

Awesome August is here! The physics class I’m teaching at Rutgers is done and I don’t start teaching high school again until September. I’ve left open these next two weeks for personal projects. In other words; it’s time to get my Makerbot on!

My goal is to spend as much time a possible investigating several areas of interest.

Wax extrusion. I think just putting jeweler’s wax through the extruder will work just fine. Can be used in casting solid netal objects.

Support material. The wax might be the way to go here.

Smaller diameter feed stock. This can lead to a less a massive extruder head.

Y-axis conveyor belt mechanism.

Sheetmetal Makerbot. Lasercut wood works well for a kit, but not for a consumor product shipping tens of thousands of units. The Makerbot will have to be more similar to computers abd printers; sheetmetal and molded plastic. I bought an eighteen inch bending break to build a prototype. Life would be easier if I had access to a CNC plasma cutter, but I’ll make it work.

-= Non-Makerbot Projects =-
Build a UV light exposure chamber for use with the photoresist method of PCB fabrication.

Build eye covers for the stereo microscope at NYC Resistor. Probably print on the Makerbot.

Put a dimmer switch in the light machine instead of the potentiometer.

Build Craig’s juke box.

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2 thoughts on “Awesome August Hack-a-thon

  1. Posting this here so others can see it:

    Found this wax wire: http://www.progresstool.com/cat_waxes_wires4.cfm

    10 gauge is ~3mm, so it’s almost the same size as the plastic. AFAICS, until two toolheads are supported, the support material will have to be printed before the final material.

    I like your idea of using a wax Makerbot part for casting via the lost wax process.

    Another benefit of wax is overhangs of any degree can be printed in smaller sections and combined after printing. Having a registration hole that a rod threads through will ease lining them up. Since wax is so malleable and sculptable, most imperfections can be cleaned up prior to casting.

    And prior to casting, a plaster mold can be made of the final wax piece/pattern for repeated use of the design.

    1. I’m pretty sure that’s the exact wax I purchased. Yesterday (17 August 2009) I did an initial test and it looks like I won’t be able to extrude the same was as with plastic. The wax filament appears to be too weak to push wax through the nozzle. I’ll have to monkey around with the temperature settings some more. Let me know if you have any ideas on the wax extruder.

      There are many benefits to a wax extruder. I really hope I succeed in making one this month.

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