Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The next big project

The little walking robot I bring to conventions wasn't well-prepared for GenCon 2012.  Leading up to the convention, I was mostly working on a completely new project instead.  My experience with the Makerbot Thingomatic at work has convinced me that I need to have a 3D printer of my own for home use.  Rather than buying a commercial kit, I'm building one from scratch of my own design.

I have spent months researching the design.  Initially, I was going to build a Pursa Mendel, with some modifications to use some scrap aluminum I have on hand to replace some of the threaded rods.  I wasn't happy with the way the design was looking, and kept trying to figure out ways to redesign it for faster speed and better rigidity.  For a while I was looking at building something more similar to a Ultimaker printer, but I wasn't happy with the overall mechanical complexity instead.  Then I came across the Rostock Delta 3D printer design, and fell in love.

My printer will be based on the Rostock design, but with a few key variations.  I'll be using Makerslide rail and V-groove bearings instead of smooth rod and linear bearings.  In theory, Makerslide should make the frame more rigid, and has a hollow channel through the center that can be used to route wires.  I will also be making a number of changes to the overall design, to accommodate found materials I'll be using, and to make the overall design cleaner and more compact.

Parts I have gathered so far include:

An Arduino MEGA 2560 controller, courtesy of the Sparkfun 2012 Free Day
A 480W PC power supply, recycled from my wife's old computer
A pile of V-groove roller bearings from a local scrap yard
Heated Bed and Borosilicate glass plate from Lulzbot
Drive belts and pulleys also from Lulzbot
Ramps DIY Complete kit with extra limit switches from Ultimachine
SDcard reader from dfrobot.com
A single 2000mm Makerslide rail from Inventibles (sadly out of stock now)
MK7 drive gear from Makerbot
4 drive motors from Phidgets
Ten 625 bearings, polyamide tape, a 20x4 LCD, and a click encoder from Ebay
Some PTFE tubing, and a whole lot of nut, screws, and washers from Mcmaster
A Mini J-head, custom-machined for 1.75mm filament, from Hotends.com
Lots of scrap metal, plywood, hardware, tubing, wiring, and other bits from local suppliers and my scrap pile.

So far, all I have is a pile of parts gradually taking over the living room.  I hope to being actual assembly of the mechanical and electrical parts later this week, and to have the printer working a few weeks after that.

1 comment:

  1. A makerslide-based printer? So, the ORD bot?