Whilst building my Prusa Mendel I started playing with Google SketchUp, and when I came across a model of the Mendel it inspired me to set myself a goal of interpreting the Prusa build steps in the same style as a Lego or Meccano instruction manual. This was also partly prompted by the call to arms in the reprap.org Community Portal to produce documentation that lowers the (already quite low) barrier to entry even further.
The front page
The original instructions on the wiki are already clear and easy to follow, so the text from each step is simply copied verbatim. This document is deemed to be a supplement to them, and perhaps will help people with less, or no, mechanical background grasp what is involved in building a reprap, or stop a few mistakes from being made during a build (as I did - embarrassingly having to rebuild the front rods a couple of times due to misreading the diagram - which, of course, now seem clear with hindsight :)) Regardless, I had fun putting it together and learnt a but about SketchUp (and the Mendel) in the process.
A sample of the content
The guide is available in PDF format and in several sizes from the start page: Prusa Mendel Visual Instructions. The document was put together in Microsoft Publisher and this, together with the SketchUp model I created, is available as a github project for people to fork and use as they wish. There is also an issue tracker to take bugs and suggestions.
Robert H. Morrison
Great job on your Prusa Mendel Visual Instructions.
Donald E King
Your visual instruction manual is GREAT.
I've ordered a Prusa Mendel kit from MakerGear which I expect to receive about the middle of April (2011), so your instruction manual comes at just the right time for me.
One comment: The bottom corner printed connections don' have feet in the illustrations.
One question: What rods or other parts, if any, need to be oiled or greased?
Hi Donald, glad you like the guide, I hope it's useful when your kit arrives. It's a lot of fun putting it together!
The earlier Mendel design had bottom vertices without feet, and when I started building the SketchUp model I used vertices from an older version - hence the lack of feet in the guide. If I get a chance to update the pictures with footed vertices I will do, just to avoid confusion.
And re: greased rods - the smooth rods I received were "pre-greased" a little, and so far they seem to be running for me ok - but it's still early days with my Mendel. And just tonight I had to drop some lubricant on the Z threaded rods because they had started to creak and squeak! The real problem is that one of them is slightly wobbly, so I have to do some work on it - but the lube got rid of the annoying noise :) For info, I used a very low viscous lubricant that's usually used on skateboards and such (thanks to my skateboarder wife, it was lying around!) and this seemed to work well.
Hope it helps,. Good luck on the build!
Thanks for the amazing guide. It helps a lot to have all the visuals to go with the text. I'm on "Part 2", trying to do one part every night. I'll take notes as I go through the build if there are any improvements to be made. Is there any chance you could convert the .pub to an open format? I forked your git repo so I could just make changes and send pull requests, but I don't have any way to edit the .pub. I guess I'll just create issues on github.
Thanks Brad - I'm glad it helps.
I agree that the Publisher format isn't very useful in an "open" project, it was, however, something I could use quickly. I will see if it can convert to something a bit more open-friendly when I next get a chance. And there are also plans to put the whole thing into the wiki - I just have to work out how not to overload the instructions page and keep the layout looking good :)
I recommend looking through the existing issues that people have raised - as some of these should be worked back into the Prusa instructions and could save you a couple of (minor) headaches. And of course feel free to raise whatever ideas and issues on github yourself!