Fistful of polargraphs

The Polargraph factory (my living room) is in full swing today.  I had a bit of downtime when my 3d printer decided to start acting the goat, but I stripped down the heated print bed and rebuilt it, and it’s going gangbusters again.  I’m printing in ABS.  It doesn’t look that nice, but it’ll be better at taking the heat that these more powerful stepper drivers can pump into the motors.

I’m hoping to have this first handful of PolargraphSD kits on their way to their owners during next week, and at that point I’ll take a little stock to figure out how much they really cost all-in.  The boards themselves are really cheap, but they use all SMT (surface mount) components and I know a lot of folk are wary of that – so will probably offer an assembled shield as part of an upgraded vitamins kit.  I’m getting the hang of it.  Don’t know what all the fuss was about!

Also, doing lots of drawings.  These micro-stepping step-stick drivers are wonderfully civilised, so quiet and gentle.  I miss the L293D’s singing a little though.

2 thoughts on “Fistful of polargraphs

  1. hi sandy!
    really excited to see the SD kits getting to the next stage.

    i’m very interested in getting this in the near future, or, getting the vitamin kit next week. i’m still tossing up the $$$ vs product at the moment and i would love to know the final price of the SD soon!

    regards from australia

    • Hello! I’m excited too. All the hardware stuff is done – just gotta sort the code out now!

      PolargraphSD vitamins kit will consist of all the pieces you’d find in the regular vitamins kit, but instead of an Adafruit motorshield to assemble there’ll be a polarshield with motor drivers, ready assembled. And an LCD with the SD card reader attached. I’m afraid to say that none of it is very cheap – the drivers alone cost more than an adafruit motorshield, so it’ll be about £100 for the SD vitamins kit.

      I’m saying this to make the point that if all you want is printing from SD card, then you can do it much more cheaply (if less tidily) with a setup like on, or The benefit of the polarshield is it rolls up a physical interface, an SD card reader and an XBee port into one board. The more powerful drivers were just a by-product.

      Bare shield kit will consist of an assembled polarshield, with a range of connectors, but no motor drivers, for something like £22.

      Full shield kit will consist of an assembled polarshield plus drivers, and be about £38. Add a LCD/SD card reader for another £10.

      I would love to push the prices down over the longer term, but if previous rounds have been anything to go on, I will have entirely miscalculated the investment required (in particular on non-scalable things like time) and the opposite will probably happen.

      If people are particularly interested in any particular combination of hardware, then I’m happy to put something together too – I don’t really know what is most useful for you folks – please let me know.

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