Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Collecting building materials

Africa is a tough country... especially if you are looking for speciality items like the robotics we need for a RepRap.

First Hurdle: Stepper motors.  I have a couple, but all of them have very low step resolution. All but two, and one has an inconvenient sized and pitched timer belt pulley forged onto the shaft...

In the end I had to go to down-town Johannesburg (Mantech electronics) to get decent steppers.  Not even the mainstream electronics suppliers in Midrand had anything useful to me.

Second Hurdle: Open ended timing belt.  For Morgan's POC I need a single timingbelt of around 3 meter length. Almost impossible to find apparently.  Finally found a company in Kempton park that could cut me a piece.

Third Hurdle: Electronics!  Even though I could make all the boards I need here, the cost of building it in small scale would be more just in materials than importing manufactured boards from Europe or USA.

Going to start with Arduino Mega that I managed to source from the local Arduino agent, and prototype electronics.  Now I am just waiting for delivery.
I am terribly excited about this platform.  I programmed since an early age, and used to program for DOS and microprocessors in C and C++.  Cannot wait to be able to dust off my C knowledge again.  Morgan depends on it.

Tomorrow morning I will start building the frame, and hopefully I'll get some work in progress pictures as I go along.

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