Latest round of e-bay auctions finished.

By the time you’re reading this, my latest round of e-bay auctions will have completed. I’m going to try and have more posted up on Tuesday for 5 day auctions, but there are no guarantees that it will be ready in time. Eventually I have my old CCI Phantom paintball marker set, my Warhammer 40k Tau Army, a Metroid Prime steelbook collection for the Nintendo Wii… lots of good stuff still to come.

Right now I’m over half paid for on the 3D printer, but I’d like to really hit the full amount by the 15th of July when I make my next payment on that credit card. I think it’s an achievable goal for sure.

As auctions go live, I’ll post the links here
Tau Army Auction, ends July 5th

More 3D modelling for the printer

Oh, I really can’t wait to have this thing running. Yes, it’s going to be a lot of work to get going properly, but here’s another example of the utility of having the ability to 3D model and also having a 3D printer.

3-7 switch cover

This is a cover to fit on top of the cabinet switches inside a System 3-7 cabinet. It may work with System 9-11 as well… I just don’t remember what the internal switch mountings look like in those machines. The original piece is just some fish-paper, which is a non conductive cardboard type material, and is often missing or damaged. Given how people like to store a lot of bulky stuff inside a machine, I was thinking something stronger would be more suitable. This piece has 2mm thick walls to it, a cutout in the back for the wires to enter, and theoretically would be a drop-in fit. I’ll know for sure once the printer is running. I’m just having too much fun conceptualizing now and am at the moment very happy I am going in this direction.

In repair news, I’ve been working on a Hyperball driver board all evening, one of three from a single customer. All of them have solenoid circuit issues to them and he suspects that some stray AC voltage in the cabinet was the initial cause. So far he’s already replaced the PIA, I’m in the process of replacing all of the logic circuits between the PIA and transistors, and I suspect all 9 solenoid circuits (Hyperball has a different driver board) are also going to need new driver and pre-driver transistors. Ouch! On the good side, the board is clean and responding well to my soldering iron.

Getting ready for the Rostock

It is still a few weeks until the Rostock Max V2 3D printer kit arrives here, but it doesn’t mean I can’t start getting ready for its arrival. I didn’t order this monster just to print some trinkets, I intend on making products for sale. So I’ve downloaded a copy of FreeCAD and decided to just jump in with both feet.

FreeCAD is an open source CAD program focused on engineering type modelling, which is different than something like Blender which is focused on animation and more organic shapes. Both seem to have strong followings and appear to be excellent pieces of software, FreeCAD was the one that appears best suited to my needs and limited budget. Many people will likely ask why I didn’t use Sketchup, and that’s a valid question. The main reason is that on a quick glance it appears I would need Sketchup Pro for commercial use, and the license is outside my budget right now. FreeCAD is open source and not license limited to home use like the basic Sketchup package is.

After following along with a couple of tutorials on youtube, of which I highly recommend those by bejant000, I opted to go straight for one of the items I am thinking of selling. This is a photo of an original part, which is a ball trough cover to a Sankyo Comet II pachinko machine. This part is commonly lost, and the machines don’t function without them. I’ve since found out that somebody does do reproductions of this part…. but it’s not like I need to make 10,000 of them in a single run. That’s the point of a 3D printer! If I need 3, I make 3. If I don’t need one, I don’t make one. So there’s no risk here by offering it for sale, I’ll just make them to order. Anyway, enough rambling, here’s the photo of an original that I have as well as images of the 3D models.


comet 2 spring cover

comet 2 trough cover

Doesn’t seem too bad for a first attempt, does it? These are as close as I can get to exact duplicates, except for a small angled twist on the underside supports on the main piece. But we are talking about a non-critical spot measuring 1.5mm x 1mm x .5mm. I even managed to get in the wedge shape on the original part, which was there for making the part easier to release during injection molding. Not bad for the first two pieces I’ve ever 3D modeled.

Now I just need a printer.

Well, that didn’t take long….

Spammers have invaded the blog again, and have filled my moderation queue with garbage. I’ve upped the comment rules to now require registration as a user in order to comment. We will see how well that works, but I stand ready to shut down the comments completely again if needed.


New product category, Wire!

Another category just popped up on the website today, wiring! I have access to a lot of wire, in a few different styles, so opted to add it to the shopping cart. The ones I have also look like they may come in quite useful when I start building my 3D printer and this may be helpful to other builders of the same printer. So why not make it available?

There’s four new selections in there, all of them are 22 gauge stranded wire.
22/2 shielded
22/4 unshielded
22/2/2/1(?) shielded/unshielded (2 conductors unshielded, 2 shielded with ground.)
22/6/1 shielded (6 conductors, with ground)

Prices are pretty reasonable I think, but subject for a few short term changes as I hammer down market rates for these. I don’t want to overcharge, but at the same time don’t want to give it away either.

3D printer, the choice is made

Well, I have debated it for a while, and have made my decision on the 3D printer I will be buying. The final choice is the Rostok Max V2 from SeeMeCNC.

It really came down to not finding any particularly perfect printer, but this was the best compromise when looking at the three front runners in my previous post. So lets run down what brought me to this decision.

Very large print size for the price.
The ability to print ABS, and easily work with PLA as well with minor changes.
The included heated bed and LCD display.
Option to add multiple extruders.
Two years of production, so early adopter problems will be largely addressed, and a deep history to draw from.
Low mass delta head design, which offers higher potential speed.

Wood framed design. Functional, but not my favorite. I’d prefer metal of some type.
Bowden tube design. They have a reputation for being finicky, but necessary for the delta arm format.
3 week lead time. I don’t like to wait.
Big. It’s going to really hog up desk space.

Now, this is going to be a big project, out of all honesty. Kit based 3D printers have a reputation for being difficult to get dialed in and running properly, with a lot of trial and error needed. Things seem much more matured in designs than when I first looked into RepRap, so I am confident this is all within my abilities, but it’s still a big gamble for about $1200 after shipping and accessories.

I’ve also only funded about 1/3 of it so far. So I’ll be advertising my e-bay page a lot over the next few weeks until I have the money saved up to cover the bill. I really want to order it. But I also don’t want to go into debt any further than I already am with this business. Time to raid the garage again tomorrow and get some fresh auctions going.

The order has been placed at this point, my initial batch of e-bay sales has exceeded expectations and I have plenty more to start selling. I shouldn’t have any problem covering the cost of the printer within the next month or so. The are currently advertising a 3 week shipping time-frame, so I’ll update more when it arrives. In the meantime I will start looking into the software, as I do want to make my own designs and not just a bunch of trinkets from thingiverse.

More website update notifications

I have begun the process of transferring the product descriptions from the old ‘boards’ page, and putting them into the descriptions on the new shopping cart. As a product gets updated I am removing the link to the old product pages from the ‘boards’ page. Those product pages are still there for now, they just have no active links to get to them unless you already have the URL.

The easy ones are already done, now I am moving on to the trickier pieces. This is going to be a hit or miss project, and I will work on it time permitting, but I do hope to be done with it by the end of June.

Slowly getting there.

I’ve also uploaded new images for the system 3-7 and system 9-11 wiring harness schematics for the switch matrix tester. The old ones were a bit hard to follow and had a couple mistakes to them. The WPC/WPC-S/WPC-95 versions are not yet completed, but I’ll get those updated as soon as I get a chance. I think the new versions are a lot easier to follow. They are prettier at least. This should address the questions I have been getting on the wiring. Eventually I want to update the lamp tester harness schematics as well, but those will be further away as I haven’t received any complaints about those, and believe they are technically correct.

Deciding on a new toy, 3D printing

With all the little things I’ve been making, you wouldn’t believe how often I wish I had a small plastic widgit of some type. It could be an alignment jig for parts, a spacer between the PCB and battery holder in my flipper opto tester, replacement switch extensions for Starblade… all sorts of little things. So I am now in the market for a 3D printer to realize some of these things.

And then things get difficult. . .

There’s a lot of options on the market in price range and capability. Yet I do not thing the technology is matured quite as far as manufacturers are advertising it, particularly on the lower priced models. I think we are still a couple generations from the point it is openly viable for the consumer market, but still very advanced from when I had looked into it a few years ago during the early RepRap days. It is, however, sufficiently matured for me to dive in finally. I’ve been looking at a lot of different models, originally with an open mind and unclear budget, and have narrowed it down to a couple of different models. I have a bit of time to decide while I accumulate funding through some e-bay auctions.

The current front runner is the PrintrBot Simple Metal Kit.
A great price point, with a solid feature set, and a print envelope that covers the sizes I want to build. I purposely am steering toward the kit both because I love building stuff, but also so I can get my hands dirty and learn how it works. I am going into this with the assumption that any 3D printer will be maintenance intensive, so I might as well know where all the parts are and how they go together. It comes with auto leveling, a 150x150x150 print envelope, and is fairly well supported as an open source device. The only significant drawback is that it can’t print ABS without modification. So I am using this as my benchmark piece, and rating any other choices in comparison to this model.

The lower budget option is the Printrbot Simple Makers Kit
This is a lower priced variation of the Simple Metal. Wooden framed, not as beefy hardware, smaller print envelope, but otherwise very similar layout and feature set. The wooden frame is an interesting thing, and I am sure is perfectly fine, but it is a downgrade from the metal frame of the Simple Metal. But the current version offers all the fancy features, and it seems that Printrbot is more supportive of updating older wood models to the current status. I was originally favoring this model, but have steered away from it in recent days.

The last option is my higher end choice, the Rostock Max V2
This is a very different system from most other 3D printers, being known as a delta head. Compared to the Printrbots, it gives a massively larger print envelope, runs ABS plus other filament types, and really offers every feature I think I could use except for dual heads. I’m honestly not worried about dual heads yet, but would be nice to be able to add them later if I wanted to. The only thing is, can I justify double the price of the Simple Metal? Triple the price of the Simple Wood? If I have a good string of sales on e-bay, maybe. I would like to hit this point for sure. I also would really need to come up with some good product ideas to justify the cost. Though it would increase the options of what I could build due to the size and filament options.

So there is my conundrum right now. How can you guys help? A couple ways

1. Info! If you’ve used the above models, I’d love feedback on any of them.

2. Buy Stuff! Either via e-bay, or the new store front, funding is what brings these things into the realm of possible. I am not going further into debt for this, but still want to make it happen.

Drop Target Sliders Sold Out

The last of the original run on drop target slider boards has now been sold. For the time being, please visit Marco Specialties to order them, I sent a fair sized shipment to there in March. I do plan on having more made, I just don’t know when in the project list this is going to be.

Now selling bare tester boards

Due to popular demand, and having more shopping cart space available now as well, I’ve decided to make the bare boards for most of my testers available as separate pieces. The only ones I did not make available were the bench display unit and flipper opto tester. The bench display is a more complex unit and has some pretty specific part requirements with the LED blocks used, and the flipper opto tester also has that specific 9v battery holder on it. That, and I have to clear out some inventory on them as well.

There are a couple requirements that come along with these. First is that I don’t provide much by way of support. I’ll probably put some parts lists on the product pages, but no assembly instructions will be provided, nor any additional support outside what I already have for the regular assembled testers. There are also no returns or exchanges on these.

So look for the new ‘bare boards’ section in the storefront, and pick up some deals if you feel technically inclined.