I’m building a RepRap Mendel because one bot just isn’t enough.
The brains of my new bot will be a RepRap Arduino Mego Pololu Shield (RAMPS) because it’s a design that manages to be small, powerful, and line-replaceable. The biggest plus I can think of over the Makerbot electronics is that RAMPS fits the same functions into a much smaller package. That’s not entirely fair, because the MBI Gen 4 electronics are designed to be more flexible in potential applications than RAMPS, but I’m not looking for flexible at the moment. The biggest plus over the RepRap Generation 6 electronics is that the most important pieces are easily replaceable.
[update: I can confirm that this build works for running steppers from the Repsnapper control panel, but I'm still waiting for endstops, so I haven't tested that function yet.]
[update: I can confirm this build works for running steppers, using min and max endstops, and sensing/controlling the extruder temperature. I don't have a heated build platform, or a build cooling fan, so I can't test those features.]
- Get out two 4.7K resistors and seven 100K resistors.
- Solder them into place.
- Get out the
10nF100nF capacitor and LED.
- Solder them into place. The LED’s polarity is not marked on the board, but the RepRap wiki instructions say the short lead goes closer to the bottom of the board.
- Get out several double stacked headers.
- Cut them into seven 2X3 units.
- Place them in their respective locations.
- Use tape to hold them in place. Now solder them drama free.
- Get some single headers.
- Cut off a single 1X4 unit.
- Place it in the T1-T0 location. Use the tape trick to solder it in place.
- Get out four 1X16 female headers.
- Place them in the appropriate locations.
- Use a couple long strips of headers to keep the female connectors aligned and in place while you solder them.
- Get out the power terminals.
- Also, the little push button switch.
- Solder them in place. Be generous with the solder.
- Get out the Arduino Mega and associated headers.
- Cut one 2X18, one 1X6 and 5 1×8 units (it doesn’t matter if some of them are made out of multiple pieces).
- Insert the headers into their respective locations on the Arduino Mega board.
- Put the RAMPS shield down on top so that it seats nicely.
- After you’ve soldered all the headers in place, they’ll be perfectly lined up with the Arduino Mega.
- Get out one 100uF capacitor and two 10uF capacitors.
- Solder them in place. The polarity is marked on the board.
- Get out the three N-channel mosfets.
- Solder them in place. The proper orientation is marked on the board (a thick white line).
- Get out the fuse and diode.
- You have to install the fuse, but the diode is optional. According to the RepRap wiki the diode connects the RAMPS power terminal to the Arduino mega board. Without the diode you can theoretically run 35v through the steppers (more torque). With the diode you are limited to the 12v the Arduino is happy with (theoretically 20v, but don’t push it).
- Make yourself four 1×4 header units.
- Insert them in the appropriate locations next to the female headers.
- Grab four Pololu break out board kits and make two 1×8 header units. Hopefully you don’t end up with 3 out of 4 kits containing 1×15 strips of headers instead of 1×16 (like I got). But, if you do, you should be able to make up the difference with some scraps from the RAMPS kit.
- Insert the eight 1×8 header units into the 1×16 female headers on the RAMPS shield.
- Set the four Pololu breakout boards on top. Now you can solder everything together with the correct alignment.
- Remove the four stepper drivers and get out twelve jumpers.
- Install three jumpers underneath each stepper driver for 1/16th stepping (default).