3D Printer

Jun 2013 23

3D Printer - part 4

Progress continues on my 3d printer. This week I have been continuing to work on the Z axis. With the rails and bearings ready I needed needed to make something to connect the threaded rod to carriage. I decided to use my tried-and-tested method of casting a white-metal block directly around the threaded rod.

To do that, I fixed up my previous mold and found some white metal. I melted it on the stove (thanks for the tip sis!) and poured it into my mold, tapping it a few times to get rid of any bubbles. Then I pushed a block of wood down on the top and waited for it to cool. I destroyed the mold to remove my item, but never mind. I don't anticipate needing to make any more for a while. I gave it a quick clean with a file and used my drill on grunty-mode to remove the threaded rod. I gave it a zap with CRC and drove the rod through a few dozen times to clean out the thread. Here is the finished block:

I threaded it on to the rod and wondered how I was ...

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Jun 2013 20

3D Printer - part 3

Just a quick update: my stepper motors have arrived!

Of course now I realise that there was quite a bit I could've done without the stepper motors :)

I've wired up limit switches for both the X and Z axes:

And I've made bearing blocks for the Z axis, seen here with the motor on the wrong side. I have also made up the brackets and support for the Z axis.

A quick test fit of the various bits to see how it all fits together:

Now I need a 5-to-8mm shaft coupling (although as I've learnt I am capable of making them myself) for the Z axis leadscrew, and a 2 sets of linear bearings for Y axis. I ordered the bearings nearly a month ago, but they must be taking the scenic route to get here as they still haven't arrived. In the meantime there is plenty I can do, e.g. wiring the whole thing up.

Still, exciting progress :-)

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Jun 2013 16

3D Printer - part 2

Progress on my 3D printer continues.

I chopped out all the MDF pieces in about an hour — it helps having a complete set of plans and dimensions, and a good drop saw! I printed out some NEMA 17 stepper motor drilling templates and taped them to the wood. It's then a quick punch-drill operation and I have all the holes in the right place to mount a stepper motor.

I soon had a good pile of bits, ready to start assembly. I started with the base by gluing on the foot/stabilisers.

The X axis motor bracket and supports followed soon after. At the end of the day I was left with this collection of components and assemblies:

This weekend I tacked the printer bed. I recut the printer bed to give me a slightly larger working area and cut the linear rails to length. Working on a sheet of ex-scanner glass,  I mixed up some 5 minute epoxy and glued the first end into position.

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Jun 2013 10

A 3D printer - part 1

Now that one machine is working well, it's time to make another. While idly browsing the wide wide world of web recently, I came across the Printrbot Simple, which is a remarkably simple and compact 3D printer. Now I've wanted a 3d printer for some time, however they have always required a lot of components, many of them specialised and difficult to get a hold of.

The Printrbot Simple however uses laser cut wood for the bulk of it, and nothing too complex for the rest.

So after studying it for a while, I set about making one.

A 3d printer is a printer that extrudes melted plastic to build up solid objects, layer by layer. The quality is acceptable, although not nearly good enough for model making. However a 3d printer really shines through for fabricating components for other machines: brackets, mounts, supports, etc. Items that would require lots of tedious measuring, cutting, drilling, milling, sawing, glueing, and so forth can instead be quickly designed on the ...

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