Why NOT to buy a clonedel

For the uninitiated, a clonedel is a set of molds with which you can cast a reprap with polyester resin. It made a big splash in the reprap circles when it first came out, but Clonedels have really died off in popularity since then. I know why. It seems like a great idea. It can theoretically produce an entire set in an hour or so, and the material cost is significantly cheaper as well.

Unfortunately, clonedel is only a good idea in theory. I bought my clonedel set for $50 when printed prusa kits were $80-$120. Then I had to drill all of the pieces out, sand pieces flat, cut off the mold lines, and deal with missing pieces in my kit. Oh, I also forgot to mention that my parts ended up coming in a fruity flavored assortment of colors that looks pretty hideous.

The thing that really put me over the edge is that the parts just aren’t strong enough. My x-axis motor mount is now flexible enough that the motor shaft isn’t perpendicular to the belt, and my prusa hasn’t printed a single thing yet! In the top view you can see how far off the belt is deflected, and the side view is just for fun. Is there anyone out there who can print me both x axis parts? Pretty please? Those are the only two big parts that I haven’t replaced, and There is no way I can print their replacements with the belt constantly slipping off of the motor.

After a fair bit of thinking, I have changed my stance on how people should build their first reprap. Unless you have a strong community around you. I really think that a kit is the best idea for your first machine. Provided you buy it from a reputable vendor (I like makergear) then you should get all of the parts you need and support to help you get it together. Then feel free to self source your second one!

2 Responses to Why NOT to buy a clonedel

  1. You might be able to use your extra build platforms from your MakerBot grab bags to stiffen up the parts, unless you had other uses for them. Hope it goes well.

  2. I ended up using a heat gun to soften the piece, and then tweak it into shape. It will be the first thing to print once the machine gets running though…