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Part 12 - Next Steps and Enhancements

So there she blows....'almost' production ready. I'm not in any hurry to finish and say the machine actually is production ready as I've had so much fun building it, and lets be honest - devices like this are a labour of love, and will always need some tinkering and refining. But <sigh> I guess I'm getting very close to the end of the build process now, and will start to use it for making useful stuff.

The first things to attack are a proper holding plate for my illuminated power flip-switch, and the power socket - I hope to start to learn some Sketch-Up skills to make this. 

Next up, is the Z axis height - the machine is only capable of building objects up to about 9cm heigh before the X carriage starts to run into the Z couplings - I have a few ideas about how to fix this and gain another couple of centimetres in build height - also I've seen that some people have had the same idea, for example this Z-hieght gainer by Vestro.

I'll also need to change the extruder at some point as the gears are already showing signs of wear, and I'm not sure how long they will last. I may try to print them in ABS instead of PLA as this should handle the temperatures built up by friction a lot better. 

A control panel is also on the way, to allow porttable, PC-less printing - I've already got the kit on order from my friends at Think3dPrint3d, along with a replacement ATMega 1284p microprocessor to replace the current 644p, which will allow me to install bigger and better firmware.

I just hope I don't get too distracted by the multiple extrusion head RepRapPro Mendel thats also waiting for me to assemble it...although I've made a conscious decision not to build that beast until the multiple extrusion heads are actually available. Adrian Bowyer (yeah, I'm name dropping ;) )kindly replied to my enquiry stating that this would likely be towards the end of August, which is perfect timing for me as I'll be able to bring it back from the UK along with the rest of the Mendel kit.