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Echovoice Reprap Project

Echovoice RepRap

About RepRap

Imagine a world where you can not only design anything you want in 3D on a computer, but you can take that 3D image and print it instantly right at home in a couple hours. That's what we are currently building.

Here are my running totals for time and money spent working on the project, I will keep updating this until the project is completed.

Total Amount of Money Spent Total Amount of Hours Spent
$1290.29 47.0 hours

Last updated May 25th 2010.

From RepRap.org

Reprap Logo

 is a free desktop 3D printer capable of printing plastic objects. Since many parts of RepRap are made from plastic and RepRap can print those parts, RepRap can be considered a self-replicating machine - one that anyone can build given time and materials. It also means that - if you've got a RepRap - you can print lots of useful stuff, and you can print another RepRap for a friend...

Reprap.org is a community project, which means you are welcome to edit most pages on this site, or better yet, create new pages of your own. Our community portal and New Development pages have more information on how to get involved. Use the links below and on the left to explore the site contents. You'll find some content translated into other languages, but the primary documentation language is English.

RepRap from Adrian Bowyer on Vimeo.


To start off, I am a current student at Arizona Statue University, and in a year from now I will have my BSE in Aerospace Engineering, with a concentration in aeronautics. This project is unrelated to ASU and this is the only credit they will receive. I have sponsored this entire project with my own personal money and hope that my research will help others in the reprap community worldwide. If you have any questions or comments you can reach me at mike.reprap@echovoice.com

This is currently a work in progress and I will update it until I am done with the project.

04/20/2010 - 05/05/2010

My first goal was to research and study the reprap design and get a better understanding of how the machine worked. I spent several weeks at this step so I could understand what I was getting myself into. I suggest you read the entire reprap wiki and check out the forums. Some of the users have some very interesting blog's which were a great tool when trying to understand the project.

05/07/2010 - 05/15/2010

The biggest challenge so far has been ordering all the parts, its crazy how much work it actually was. Also I would like to point out it is quite a bit more expensive than the what the wiki states so have double that amount in funds before proceeding. Because I made so many orders from all over the world, I am going to post a picture of each item as I receive it. I am also going to post a running total for parts as I receive them. So we can see how much this thing has actually cost me. I am also going to post where I got it and how long it took to arrive and how well it was packed.

Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$0.00* 20 hours**

*I am going to update the money spent when each package arrives, makes it easier for me to keep track of the money spent on what parts.
** Crazy I know but I spent a lot of time reading the entire wiki, studying the different types of designs out there and watching the huge amount of videos posted on the web, I really suggest you do the same thing if your going to build a reprap, I will try to include as much detail as I can while I work on the project but I wont repeat most of the information that can be found in the wiki, so read it!


My first package arrived!! This was a large electronics order from Makerbot Industries.
My Order was placed on 05/09/2010 and arrived today 05/12/2010.

Item Sku Qty Subtotal
Opto Endstop v2.1 PCB tv449 6 $5.70
Temperature Sensor v2.0 Kit tv263 1 $5.75
100K Thermistor tv61 1 $5.00
H21LOB tv94 6 $5.70
RepRap Motherboard v1.2 tv439 1 $59.00
Extruder Controller v2.2 MP431 1 $50.00
Blue ABS Plastic 1lb MP663 1 $15.00
Subtotal $146.15
Shipping & Handling $11.55
Tax $0.00
Grand Total $157.70

Here are pictures of everything received:

This is the RepRap motherboard.

This is the RepRap extruder controller.

This is the 1lb of Blue ABS plastic, I thought it would be smart to pick some up at the same time, I really like the color.

This is the Opto Endstop PCB, unfortunately they were out of fully assembled ones or even just a kit. Not a problem because I have plenty of LED's and resistors that this and the optical switch is all i really need to make this work.

These are the optical switches used to detect end and home positions. I purchased 6 PCBs and 6 optical switches.

This is the temperature sensor kit. Nothing too special a couple resistors, led and a thermistor.

UPDATE: on May 17th I noticed that i never received the 100K thermistor I ordered, I used Makerbot's contact form and they quickly got back to me. They said they would send it out asap.

UPDATE 2: On May 19th I received a tracking number from them so its in the mail!! Great customer service from Makerbot.

UPDATE 3: On May 21st the package arrived with the thermistor in the box, I really like these guys.

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$157.70 0.5 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$157.70 20.5 hours


The next couple purchases arrived today!! Lets find out what I received:

The first package was heavy, it was the 3 stepper motors I won off eBay.

Below you will find the description of the 3 steppers that I copied from the eBay posting.

Qty (3) Reprap Mendel Stepper Motors NEMA17 75 oz/in

These are NEW steppers that meet all specs for Mendel II reprap with 5mm D Shaft 7/8" long. These are the larger motors with extra holding torque to minimize heat and maximize speed. These motors are NEMA 17.

I won the auction at $46.00 with $15 shipping and handling on May 12th. 5 days shipping is not bad at all and they were packed fine, nothing fancy but as long at they work Ill be very satisfied.

NOTICE: The mendel requires an additional stepper motor for the extruder.
I already have one with more than enough torque left over from my Disney Project I worked on earlier this year, Interested in what I did? Go Here:


The other package that arrived today was another ebay purchase I made.

My Reprap Machined Extruder Parts Kit

The heater barrel, thermal barrier and nozzle.

Below you will find the description of the kit that I copied from the eBay posting.

The PEEK thermal barrier has been drilled through to 3.5mm and the nozzle end has been drilled and threaded for the M6x1 brass heater barrel.  The opposing side has a starting taper in order to ease the initial feeding of the plastic filament.  The outside has been grooved in order to assist in the installation of the PEEK in it's holder.  The total length, of the thermal insulator, is 35mm.

The heater barrel is 50mm long and has been machined out of M6x1 threaded brass rod.  The ends have been turned down to 4.5mm in order to allow the barrel to extend, internally, over the ends of the threads.

The nozzle is 14mm long and is made out of 7/16" brass hex rod.  It has been drilled and tapped to M6x1 and the orifice may be drilled to your specification.  Current orifice sizes are 0.30mm, 0.35mm, 0.40mm, 0.50mm, 0.60mm, 0.70mm, 0.80mm, 0.90mm, or 1.00mm.  If you do not specify a size, I will drill it out to the standard size of 0.50mm.  Please note that 0.30mm sizes are considered experimental.

I won the auction at $21.50 with $1.50 shipping and handling on May 14th. 3 days shipping is very good for eBay stuff!!

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$84.00 0.5 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$241.70 21 hours


Two more packages arrived today. Lets find out what I received:

The first time I ordered from Makerbot they were sold out of the stepper controllers and I had to wait until they came back in stock. WARNING: The Makerbot inventory email alert doesn't work at all. I was reading on the reprap forum somewhere that this was true and just decided to check and bam they were back in stock. So I ordered 3 of them, here are the pictures of what the kits look like and what they contain.

Stepper controller kit, fully assembled and included the ribbon cable, damn I wish I would have known, I ordered some already, along with the ends! O well no harm having extra (cheap) parts.

Item Sku Qty Subtotal
Stepper Driver v2.3 mp647 3 $105.00
Subtotal $105.00
Shipping & Handling $7.55
Tax $0.00
Grand Total $112.55

Makerbot Industries does a really good job of packaging and the shipping time is very good. I placed my order on May 13 and it arrived today the 18th. 5 day turn around is good and they provide tracking numbers which is nice so I don't forget to check the front door and leave stuff out overnight.

The other package that arrived today is from AllElectronics. I love these guys because they have really really good prices. They do have a website that needs work but I have found my way around it no problem and i am sure if you are reading this your the type of person who wont either. I placed my order on May 14th, it was shipped same day and arrived today! Here is a copy of the invoice.

Item Sku Qty Subtotal
WHITE LED, 5MM LED-115 10 $0.65
Subtotal $30.25
Shipping & Handling $7.00
Tax $0.00
Grand Total $37.25

So I must have been a very tired when I placed this order, I ordered 100 feet of 10 wire ribbon cable from these guys, never mind the fact that the Makerbot kit already included some! I have a feeling that the makerbot cables are too short and I will use this instead, but I can guarantee that this 100 feet will last me quite some time.

I noticed that a couple times we use these in the project, I bought 4 different sizes to play with, I doubt we will use all 4 but we will see.

These are the 10 pin connectors for the ribbon cable, I bought 10 of these for when I screw up and have to remake a cable.

White LED's, I love when electronics light up white or blue, I am going to use these to replace any of the LED's of the same size I encounter, you can skip this step if you are following along and building your own. However I would leave the cost in there because I have boxes of resistors I will use later that you might have to purchase.

The packaging was very nice, all electronics were separated in individual bags and placed in the middle of a big box filled with foam peanuts, my dogs favorite thing to make a mess of. They even included the spindle for the 100 feet of cable, possibly because of how much I ordered. Overall very satisfied.

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$149.80 0.5 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$391.50 21.5 hours


Nothing came in the mail today but I am going to go over the other parts you will need to order or purchase locally in order to finish the project. Unfortunately I will probably miss something and have to run off to the store several times during the project, so please read the entire project details before proceeding to make sure you have everything need to complete it.

This is the USB to TTL converter I will use to program the motherboard and extruder as well as use in the finished project to communicate the Gcode directly to the reprap. Sparkfun has this part for $14.95 here: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=718

While your on sparkfun go ahead and order several pin headers and if you are like me and makerbot didn't have assembled opto switches you will need as many ethernet jacks as you will have opto switches, 6 in my case. Also on sparkfun go ahead and order the same number of the 3 different resistors you need to complete the opto switches. This should run you about $35 with shipping total from sparkfun.

The next purchase was locally at Frys Electronics, ill get around to posting pictures later because I forgot to take them at the time of writing this.

Again I am not going to modify the makerbot electronics to make this as simple as possible so you will need some ethernet cable. I got 50' of yellow CAT6 for $10.44, your also going to need to pickup some ends to crimp so get those at the same time. It cost me $4.99 for a pack of 20 of them. Next I picked up a small 230watt computer power supply. It was only $19.99 and should work great, it has a nice quite fan to keep it cool and includes all the necessary plugs to power the motherboard and stepper drivers. You also need to pick up some molex adapters for the stepper motor connections. They only had ones with 6 pins and we only need 4, a quick cut with my wire cutters and I was able to cleanly chop 2 pin holes off. If you don't have any you should pick up some shrink wrap for your cables. If you don't have any solder for the opto pcbs get that. The last thing I picked up was a bunch of wire 18 gauge wire to wire everything up. I also have a feeling I will have to extend some of the power cables from the power supply in order to place the PSU in a nice clean location.

Frys Electronics total came to with tax $49.20.

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$84.20 1 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$475.70 22.5 hours


Two more packages came today but they are quite small so I don't think its anything major.

This is the Kapton tape we need to use for the extruder nozzle. I also ordered a couple kapton sheets to play with for bed material. I have read it works great for heated beds and I eventually want to make one! I bought 100' of tape and 3 sheets, it cost $12.14 and only took 3 days to arrive.

This is the Nichrome wire I also purchased from eBay. Its 40 feet of 30ga bare Nichrome wire. It has a resistance of 6.63 ohm/ft so I really only need about a foot but I am sure I will screw up and need more, 40 tries should do it. I am going the cheaper route initially and not getting insulated wire. Its WAYYY more expensive and I feel confident I can use the kapton tape to prevent a short. It cost $6.00 and arrived in 2 days.

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$18.14 0.5 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$493.84 23.0 hours


Alright its time to start building this thing! I am going to start working with the electronics because they are complete now.

First part is the USB to serial adapter for programming and communicating with the motherboard during normal operation. I am going to use the smallest strip board I got from AllElectronics. Using the headers from Sparkfun I created a nice little board like the wiki describes. Using the nice excess of ribbon cable I accidentally bought I created the cable and attached it to the strip board.

Note, the pictures above show the the pins on the wrong side of the strip board in this picture, they should be put on the other side of the board, you can see I flipped them below in the completed version.

This is the USB to serial converter from Sparkfun, its really nice because it has TX and RX LED's. They are kind of small so and if I have time I am going to wire up some bigger and brighter ones and maybe a white power led, we will see.

I am not usually a fan of mini USB connectors and cables but it looks really good and I was able to hide all the wires under the board. On the other hand I am a fan of this rainbow colored ribbon cable, it looks really cool.

This is the other end of the cable of the ribbon cable with the 6 pin connector attached. You can see the where the cable is attached to the motherboard. This connection is used to program the board and used as a permanent connection to the computer for sending gcode to the machine. I put some nice shrink wrap over the cable but I don't think that was a smart idea because the cable needs to bend more when placed on the machine, we will see how it works out in the end.

Programming time!!! Ok so I have been working with arduinos for a long time now so if you have never used one then you might have to do some additional reading on this process. Its not hard at all and there are plenty of tutorials on how to do it. To program the boards read the reprap wiki, it was easy for me to follow with no issues what so ever. I was able to use my windows vista x64 machine to do this without an issue. I downloaded the latest reprap package from sourceforge and used the firmware inside that package.

Here are pictures of the motherboard and extruder being programmed, you can see that the TX and RX LED's are flashing like crazy during programming.

The programming goes quite quickly and is done in less than 30 seconds for each.

These are all the parts needed to build the opto switches. Like I said before I am going with the RJ45 connectors because I love ethernet cable and it allows zero modification to the makerbot parts. I am using the nice white LED's for the opto switches because I like the color a lot better than the red or green ones typically used. I want to save the green and red LED's for the TX and RX indicators. Anyway's here is the opto switch assembled and tested.

Above you can see the opto switch in action, if its wired up correctly the led will light up when an object is placed in the path of the optical sensor. If you are behind in your reading these are used to tell the machine when it has reached its home and maximum position for either of the 3 axis. I made all 6 of these but I am sure you only need 3 for the home position but I would like to do this thing correctly so I have made 6 for home and maximum positions for each of the 3 axis.

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$0.00 3.5 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$493.84 26.5 hours


Good news and bad news. Today is a big day, my hardware kits have arrived, which is really good because I have been waiting a while for them. Bad news, the hardware kit box was damaged. Here are the pictures of how the wonderful delivery person left it at my front door.

This is the once straight tube that contains all my hardware. The biggest problem with this is the rods are inside the tube and need to stay as straight as possible.

Lucky for me the rods were on both sides of the bend, they are all still very straight and should work fine. The person selling the hardware kits has been very cool about the whole process. The first time he sent me the kits they were so damaged in shipping UPS sent back the pieces and gave him a refund, which really delayed my delivery.

I purchased the two kits on May 9th for $190.00 each plus $20 shipping. I think I forgot to mention that I bought two, I am planning on building a second reprap right after I get the first one working and then play with modifications and such. Anyway's I purchased two kits and thanks to the wonderful job of UPS it took 2 weeks to receive the kits.

These kits can be found on the reprap forum and I highly recommend purchasing them. They are very complete and will help reduce the amount of shopping required to obtain all the parts necessary to build this thing. Here is a picture of a kit spread across the floor.

Here is a list of parts the kit includes:

 Bolts, Nuts, Washers
54 - M3 Cap Screw 20mm 
5 - M3 Cap Screw 25mm 
20 - M3 Nut 
38 - M3 Nylok 
105 - M3 Washer 
28 - M4 Nut 
130 - M4 Nylok 
460 - M4 Washer 
40 - M4 Cap Screw 16mm 
2 - M4 Cap Screw 20mm 
20 - M5 mudguard washer 
105 - M8 Nut 
105 - M8 Washer 
120 - M4 Cap Screw x 40mm 


2 - 5/T5/990 
1 - 5/T5/1380 


M8 steel zinc plated  threaded rod 
- 2 x 440mm 
- 6 x 370mm 
- 4 x 294mm 
- 2 x 355mm 
- 2 x 418mm 
- 2 x 330mm 

M8 smooth rod 
- 2 x 495mm 
- 2 x 406mm 
- 2 x 330mm 


2 - 8mm x 22mm x 7mm 
48 - 4mm x 13mm x 5mm

I next wanted too start working on the extruder. Here is the barrel, nozzle and thermal barrier. In this picture I have wrapped a thin layer of Kapton tape on the barrel to prevent Nichrome from shorting out on the brass thread.

The next picture shows the Nichrome wire and crimp and how to attach it to a piece of ribbon cable to power it. Then using some heat shrink I covered the crimp. The entire procedure is documented well in the reprap wiki, so I wont go over the details on how to do that.

You will notice I am using the other part of the ribbon cable from the USB to serial adapter cable. It works out great because I need 4 wires, 2 for the Nichrome wire and 2 for the thermistor.

Next I started wrapping the Nichrome wire, this was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and it took me a while to get it right.

Here is the nozzle extruding the blue abs, it is being hand pushed through the thermal barrier. It didn't take long to heat up but because I don't have the thermistor connected I have no idea what temperature it got up to. I am sure we will get to that soon.

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$210.00 1.5 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$703.84 24.5 hours


So today is the big day that the plastic parts arrived. They cost me a lot of money and actually came from the UK. They were made by nophead00, who is very active in the reprap community and runs a very nice blog with lots of detail and photos, it makes for a really good read. Anyway here is what I received:

Below you will find the description of the plastics kit that I copied from the eBay posting.

A complete set of Mendel extruded parts including Adrian's geared NEMA17 extruder. The small ones were printed with 0.375mm natural ABS on HydraRaptor. The larger parts were printed by HydraRaptor / Mendel using 0.4375 / 0.5mm white ABS.

All the parts were printed on a heated bed and most are completely flat. A few are a little warped but all guaranteed fit for purpose. All the holes are reamed to the correct size.

The pulleys are my own design with grub screws and captive nut which are included.

I would like to give him 5 stars for the excellent quality of the parts and the speedy shipping.

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$473.58 0.5 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$1177.42 25 hours


All I have to say is WOW. I really kicked some reprap ass today! I was able to complete a good portion of the build with no problems and in a reasonable timeframe.

The following are pictures of me building the unit, step by step, exactly from the wiki. So far the wiki has been very easy to follow and has just enough detail on what to do at each step along the way.

Warning: The wiki directions are not "lego style" instructions so please be aware you will need to think about what you need to do before you actually do it. They give you a list of the parts and then a picture or two of the assembled part, that's it!

I am going to lay all the parts required at each step out, take a picture and then take a picture or 2 of the completed part.



Idler Bracket

Vertical Bearing 180

Vertical Bearing 360

Motor Bracket

Final X-AXIS Assembly


Leadscrew Base

Leadscrew Base with Optoswitch

Motor Bracket




Motor Bracket

Idler Bracket

And here is where I will stop for today. Looking at the next step it requires the acrylic thin sheets I ordered off eBay. Those should be here tomorrow and I will resume then.

Overall the build has been quite easy and not much to it. I hope these pictures help while your assembling it, don't forget to read the wiki, there are several notes and hints along the way and pay attention because some of the computer renders are incorrect.

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$0.00 10.5 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$1177.42 35.5 hours


Time to finish the build. I don't plan on stopping until its completely built. I stuck with the exact order from the wiki so you should do the same.

The acrylics have arrived and I now have 99% of everything to complete the build. I ordered the plates from eBay from a guy in the UK. Shipping was reasonable and came relatively fast, after I paid extra for faster delivery. The stepper motor plate was broken in half, I think this is because the packaging job was very poor, he only use a couple sheet of bubble wrap and a thin cardboard box. However I contacted him and he is sending me a replacement for free, so if it arrives in one piece everything worked out great in the end. The parts with shipping was quite expensive and I recommend you use wood or if you have a friend with a laser have him cut the parts for you. With shipping is cost me $112.87 for the thin sheets. Anyway's here is the rest of the build, again I will take a picture off the parts required at each step and then a picture or two of the completed part/assembly.


Y Bearing 360

Y Bearing 180


Circuit Boards

Top Circuits

Bottom Circuits


Frame Sides

Frame Ends

Install the X-Axis

Fitting the Bottom Circuits

Installing the Y-Axis

Installing the Bed

Fitting the Top Circuits

Amount of Money Today Amount of Hours Today
$112.87 11.5 hours

Total Amount of Money Spent Thus Far Total Amount of Hours Spent Thus Far
$1290.29 47.0 hours

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