The bottom line under all the Junk

So the Junkstrap is working “good enough” now – after all that “Chuggington die-cast” locomotive garage for my daughter took more than 9 hours to print and it worked. (This repRap is not called the “Ultra MegaMax Dominator” – where you would call a 39h print adequate to prove reliability.)

What is the conclusion?

Well, that it is time to send this build into retirement of course.

Like the RoStrap before this machine had the potential to re-build itself. It had, however, the wrong material loaded. Colorfabb nGen prints really good, but it is rather flexible stuff. Irrelevant for benchmarks and tests, good for printing a stamp, not so good for printing mechanical parts.

I did print some of those nevertheless – this hinge for exmaple. But more complex and robust shapes (like this helix fan duct, and also the orange Maker Faire Robot above BTW) still were a job for the EPR PET in the Sumpod.

IMHO the JunkStrap was good enough for the way I made it: a one-off, hacked together from what was there printer, made to keep the old parts in use and with the mechanics “design” completely shot from the hip.

It was fun to build and try out everything (if it would work at all) and after it really printed I could even experiment with the toolchain iamwil described here, to turn the band logos of Tongue and Unru into 3D objects for some of my friends.

As I had used Inkscape before on an OpenFixture, to get it ordered from Formulor, using the Inkscape-OpenSCAD-DXF-Export extension was a piece of cake. (Just the Tongue-stamp itself was not that useful later…)

But there were still the design flaws in the Z lift and although I gave it a try, it could not be fixed as easily as on those chinese Mendel90 / Prusa Mendel clones.

So I would have to rip everything apart anyway, while my colleagues flawlessly print with their Creality CR-10s and Prusa i3s (one honestly ordered a Mk3 just a few months after getting the ColorPrint upgrade for his Mk2!!) and to get moderately better I would have to order some mechanical parts from china. Let me just thi…NO.

As incredible as it sounds: those DIY printer kits can now undercut 99,- EUR (when the Geeetechs, Tronxys, iMakers, Anets and so on are “Flash Sold” at Gearbest), and that is half the price of already incredibly cheap Monoprice Select Mini!

That is a completely different situation compared to 2013, when I started to care about the Reprap community project. You don’t get the stepper motors or a DIY controller board for a hundred dough and struggle to remain under 600,- at all, like then. Nowadays you can’t justify to buy the alumium profiles for the frame of a HyperCube, because you would still need bearings, pulleys, belts, PSU, controller and so on in addition to that 3030 and 2020 extrusion and Shenzhen Tronxy Technology Co., LTD. will throw their top-of-the-range model at you for less than 300,-!

To cut a long story short: there is a box from asia on it’s way to me, so I will start over, correcting someone else’s design flaws instead of my own ones this year. 😉

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