Stepper Plastruder Update

October 26, 2010

Information relating to status of the Stepper Plastruder (formerly the Compact Plastruder) is available on the MakerGear Google Group.

We're using a 13:1 geared stepper (a 5:1 gear box is shown in the photo) on the stepper plastruders. These motors are workhorses and I'm really appreciating the flexibility vs. the constant speed of the DC motors. Switching to a stepper plastruder is like going from a one-gear bicycle to a 21-speed. Want to print fast? Up the RPMs and it will put out a lot of plastic - a lot more than the constant speed DC plastruders. Want to print really slowly? Turn down the RPMs and get a very controlled trickle. Want to print fast but slow down for the delicate parts? You can do it. Get the results you want! And, the more you put into it the more you'll get out of it :)

A beta version of ReplicatorG  with support for 5D firmware is now available (though I havn't tried it yet). I'm currently using the v1.8 gen 3 extruder controller firmware to run my stepper extruders. Though it is an older version it's been totally reliable and delivering great results. I was hoping to get the v2 extruder controller firmware updated before the stepper extruders are released but I don't think I'll be able to get to it in time. Therefore...

To the first person who posts the v2 extruder controller firmware with support for an external stepper driver (gen3, pololu, etc), I'll send you a super nice and MakerChick approved 5:1 geared stepper motor with drive pulley. This is the type of motor I used to print the cat and it has the power to drive either 3mm or 1.75mm filament!! To win, post a working (read: I can just use it, no debugging required) version of the latest v2 extruder controller firmware to the MakerGear Google Group. It'd be nice if it were pin compatible with v1.8 stepper enabled firmware (but not essential). If you have any questions or just want to discuss it - look for me on IRC (post a comment or question and I'll see it), post on the MakerGear Google Group, send me a tweet, or you can just drop me an email.

Clarification (since I've been accused of having unrelated information in adjacent sentences in the above paragraph):  the stepper mod needs to be to the v2 firmware that works with RepG. I modded the v1.8 version of this firmware. What needs to happen now is that the v2 firmware needs to support an external stepper driver.

Also, we'll have another batch of Stepper Plastruders available for pre-order in a few days...

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