From need to product in less than one hour
When people find out that I have a 3D printer the question that I am often asked is ‘why do you own one?’. Usually I tell them that it started as a hobby and to be able to make my own cases for my electronics projects (I have never been very good at buying a box and making it look good by drilling out holes etc!). However over the couple of years I have now owned a 3D Printer for I have evolved that thought. It was personified yesterday while I was cleaning my desk at home…
Yes, I am untidy! My desk often looks like an explosion at some weird combination engineering, computer and plastics factory. On the odd occasion even I get miffed and have a tidy up. While I was cleaning I kept finding SD cards. Having got loads for my camera and RapsberryPi, I needed a way to store them tidily and I turned to the ‘net. Sure I could have brought any number of card cases, but then I looked over at my Huxley which I was sure was bouncing there shouting “USE ME YOU IMBECILE!”. So I hit up Thingiverse and found a parametric SD card holder. Perfect for my needs. I got the Huxley up and running while I carried on cleaning. 30 minutes later it was printed and I was able to store my cards nice and neatly.
So now when I am asked why I own a 3D printer I’ll tell them that story. After all it would have cost me much more to buy a holder that probably wouldn’t have fitted my needs so well and it would have taken me days to receive it. As it stands the print cost me about £1 and took no more than an hour from investigation to final product.
Parametric SD Card Holder
Simple but very effective
At the school I work at we have a RRP Mendel. I was trying to print some students work but it kept failing. Eventually I discovered that the problem was down to curling from some overhangs on one piece. As the part had 45degree angle and only 5mm thick, the printer was catching on the curled ands and eventually cause the printer to miss some steps. I needed a way of cooling the plastic faster.
I then found an 80mm computer case fan that was being recycled. As I needed to get the part printed I simply cable-tied the fan onto the smooth rods of the X-Axis. Amazingly these are about 80mm apart and the fan fitted beautifully behind the X-Axis endstop. Now I was able to get the print to finish and have a great look as well.
Now that payday has been and gone I have been able to order a few more parts for the printer. Currently the steppers have actually turned up and are installed. I had also managed to get the frog for the Y Axis laser cut with the DSF logo etched into it.
At the moment printing on my Huxley are the Z Axis couplers, pulleys for the X and Y motors and the clamps for the Y axis. I have the belt for the X and Y so once the print has finished I can hopefully get the Y axis installed and ready to go. The electronics have been ordered and should be here is 3-4 days, the psu should be with me tomorrow so once the electronics turn up I’ll get it installed and get the printer moving.
Well the main structural build is complete. All of the printed parts have been made and fitted with all the axis together. It now is starting to look like a 3D Printer! All the axis move as expected. Now I have to wait until I get money for the steppers, electronics, hotends and power supply.
Above are pictures of the printer. The first being the real build thus far and the second a 3D render of the current design.
On a side note, while I was waiting for the X Axis parts to print I designed a logo for the printer let me know what you think of it.
Finally got the stainless rod and having installed the Y and Z axis. Printing out the rest of the parts for the printer ready for when I can afford to buy the steppers and electronics.
I have also made a handle for the top to enable ease of carrying.
(Missing the new frame braces)
So the build has begun. I have so far managed to get the basic frame made. I have had to add some extra reinforcement to the frame as it had too much movement in it. I am now only waiting on the 8mm smooth bar so that I can complete the major frame build. After that I will be getting the steppers, but that will have to wait until next payday unfortunately.
For some time I have wanted to design my own printer. Partly so that it will be able to do what I want and secondly for the challenge. Obviously it is much easier these days given the number of designs out there. For my design I had several things that it must be capable of:
- More than one extruder
- Use as many of the same vitamins as possible
- Be simple to construct with the minimum of tools
- Use as many printable parts as possible
- No Bowden tube
Now I am not above thinking that some of those ideals may have to be altered but so far, in the planning stage, I think I have hit all of them.
So taking each point in turn:
It currently has space for two extruders – I wanted at least two so that I can leverage Slic3r’s ability to have one extruder for the shell and another for infill. That way I can use Faberdashery’s great colours for the shell and a cheap bulk black or white for the infill. The current extruder/hotend design means that only around 50mm of Y axis is lost when using both extruders.
Each axis uses the same linear bearings, all the printed framework attaches using M4 bolts, bearings used in the belt idlers as used in the extruders and so on. I want to not have a BoM as long as your arm and be able to order from only a few places. Personally I think this is the ideal that will change as the build progresses.
The tools that I think will be needed are screwdrivers, allen (hex) key, wire cutters and a wrench. Again this will probably change as the build progresses.
All structural support parts are printed, only the obvious items aren’t (frame, smooth rods, threaded rod etc).
No Bowden tube for the extruders are used. The current design is for a direct drive extruder – the hobbed bolt is directly attached to the stepper – which reduces the size of the extruder and reduces the need for large gears. The actual reason for no Bowden tubes is purely down to I want to print flex-polyester and I haven’t been able to get it to work through my current Huxley’s Bowden. I am considering having one direct drive extruder and maybe replace the second with a Bowden system to reduce carriage weight. This would also allow for another hotend to be potentially added.
So there is my design. I have put the files up on Thingiverse and have ordered (and received) the extrusion for the frame. I am currently printing out the main frame components to begin building.