Let's Make Robots!

Anyone with a CNC mill taking paying/exchange jobs?

I'm looking around to see if anyone's got a 3-axis CNC mill they'd concider doing a job on? I'm trying to address the lack of parts for making the current RepRap "Mendel".

 I've been using silicone moulds and PU fast-casts for a couple of years, so if I can get someone to make a single version of each part on a mill (without undercuts/crossways holes) I can make multi-part moulds to cast replicas.

 There's 41 parts, so I'd probably be looking at £800 to over £1.5k at even a small engineering company by my estimates. Way out of possibility without getting a bank loan, atm. I could build a CNC mill for about £450 myself, but I'd be scraping the bottom of my barrel, including using credit cards.

The parts would only need doing in something solid. Plastic or even a dense wood. I can fix up surface appearence later.

 So I'm looking for someone who could do this for me either for a lot less than the CNC mill build cost (since if I went that route, it would cost more but I'd have a CNC mill and the parts at the end of it), or in exchange for a full set of Mendel parts in reinforced PU a couple of months later.

I've got mixable PU dyes if custom colour would sweeten the deal. :)

 

I hope this is in a suitable area of the forum.

 

EDIT:

Spent the last 24 hours pawing over the STL files. The design is flexible enough I can probably modify a lot of the parts to be hand made. There's still 7 though which may be too complex because of very specific angles involved.

  • x-carriage-lower_1off
  • x-carriage-upper_1off
  • y-bearing-360-inner_2off
  • y-bearing-360-outer-left_1off
  • y-bearing-360-outer-right_1off
  • z-leadscrew-base_2off

..from: http://objects.reprap.org/wiki/Mendel_solid_model_files

I'm also in England if that affects any offers.

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I'd be willing to give it a go.  Is there a place where I can see the parts that need to be made?
I've added a link to the files on the ad, and noted the 7 real troublemakers. I only need a "top-down" version of them, so a 3-axis set to ignore any undercuts should do fine.

Search term "reprap mendel batch" in google found me these links.  I'd assume you might have already tried something like that, but I figured I'd mention it just in case. 

http://dev.forums.reprap.org/read.php?94,32017,32017
http://dev.forums.reprap.org/read.php?94,29553,29553
http://dev.forums.reprap.org/read.php?94,31355,31355
http://cgi.ebay.com/Reprap-Mendel-Parts---Cupcake-CNC-Printed-(81-Parts)_W0QQitemZ220545564278QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20100130?IMSfp=TL100130142018r24154

Unfortunately, while I have a CNC, the 3D CAD work is a little beyond me.  Right now it's also beyond the abilities of my machine, but I aim to change that with an upgrade in the near future.

This is probably dumb of me, but if I were looking at a RepRap, I'd wonder if I could build some of the structural parts with Polymorph/Shapelock plastic, then build replacement parts ASAP with the machine.  (polymorph is new to me so I don't yet know better than to try this).
EDIT: my suggestion is dumb, because you don't plan to build the machine, you plan to make copies to fill a market for which there is insufficient supply.  oops.

Hope this helps!
-John

Later Edit: Two hobbyist groups that might be able to help are http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Fireballcnc/ and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bluumax/.  Fireball V90 CNC group are hobbyists with sturdy equipment who might be willing to do some work if you post in the right place.  Bluumax (Shawn) is interested in building a RepStrap machine, so your offer of cast parts and payment might be an incentive.

Also, Wooden Mendel: http://dev.forums.reprap.org/read.php?151,28813,28813

PS: If I had the capability and the CAD drawings, I would definitely fabricate the parts, but I just can't do it yet.

Thankyou for the links anyway. And I'm looking to build my own RepRap in addition to selling on the parts. If I'm going to be making the parts from scratch anyway and already have the gear to duplicate them, it'd seem a waste not to. :)

I'll give those groups a look!

41 pieces means a lot of work to be done for a small machine like mine, that translates in lot of investment in time, power and probably design too, to get the molds done. 

How much are you willing to pay assuming I could do the molds using most likely mdf as the material?

Later edit: After having a look at the Mendel parts I think some of them are doable on my 3 axis machine but for the more complex ones work has to be done to have them split in simpler parts. 

You might be better off with some comercial service, because while making the parts themselves it is possible unig a CNC and some work, doing molds for them is really serious work and I really don't have any expertise on this ...

Well I've spent the last 24hrs going a bit OCD on the design, and think there's a key 7 that are the problem. I've listed them in the original post. Unfortunatly I think they're probably the most complex of the lot.
Have you looked at eMachine Shop? They specialize in this sort of thing. A lot of people here are working on Reprap clones and CNC machines, so who knows :)

Ah, thanks for that! Looks like they do international shipping too!

Seems the software crashes when I try to import the designs though.Sounds like the software should be capable of working with 3D designs, but importing them doesn't seem to work very well. Too many points I think. Completely maxed out my CPU trying. Will try contacting them directly.