Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another 3d FDM Printer

What's this? Another 3d FDM Printer? Well, basically yes... A little explanation is in order. When I first got my MakerBot Thing-O-Matic a few years back, I decided to create a RepRap Prusa Mendal machine . Unfortunately, the project never got finished and I had moved on to other things. The half-assembled frame and pieces sat in a box for a few years, but was always on my mind (I hate un-finished projects)

Lately, I've been waiting on some 80/20 1" aluminum extrusion and parts to arrive for my 3d UV DLP printer rebuild (yes, that's happening too). However, the itch to build something has been strong, so I decided to un-box my Prusa Mendal (Iteration 1) and finish it. 

Well, after reading about the numerous shortcomings of the iteration 1 Prusa design, I decided a complete rebuild was in order. Using the iteration 3 (I) design as a starting point, I made some modifications to the design, including the addition of a baseboard instead of threaded rod for the Y axis. I went ahead and designed some new y-rod holders, new endstops, a new 5mm to 3/16 coupler, Y motor mount, as well as a few other parts. 

Amazingly, I completed 90% of the build in 1 day (about 8 hours), including build the wood base, painting, and assembling. The second day (2 hrs), I wired it up. The 3rd day (last night) I attached the extruder, did some cable management, and set up the new Sprinter firmware steps per mm. 
The only remaining issues are:
1) Z-Axis endstop switch (I was designing it this morning, I'll probably print it later)
2) HBP Platform leveling.

What am I going to do with this new printer? Well, my 2 main options are: Sell it to a friend who has been dying to get one, or bring it into work under the pretense of designing / printing enclosures for the various work-related projects / products I am involved in.

As a side note, my un-released 'Creation Workshop v12 Beta' now has full support for FDM based machines. I used this to configure and test my new printer. If you're feeling bold, get my latest v12 release from Git and give it a go. I plan on releasing the latest version when I fix some support generation issues.

Update 9/26/2013 - 
Well, I got the finishing touches put on this machine, installed the extruder, leveled the bed, and finished up the end stops. I made my first successful print with it last night!


  1. Great work Steve! :D

    I'm currently working on a DLP based printer and I'll definitely be using your software. I'll try doing a FFF printer too at some point, but I want to start out with a SLA first. I have all the parts collected to build it.

    The first thing I did was I modified the projector to use a LED instead of the mercury vapor lamp. Now I am designing the super structure and in a few days I'll put it all together and start dialing everything in. I'll post back in a few weeks when I get it up and running.

    I noticed you started a website. I made an account there and tried to make a post in the forum, but a glitch caused my message to be lost so I went on to other things. It's probably working by now I assume. :)

  2. Sounds great! What wattage is the LED? Or a better question is what is the Lumens? Tristram Budel has put out a great Instructable on putting together a 3d DLP Printer here: . He's using my software to drive his hardware. He's done a great write-up of information.

    1. Oops! I forgot to set the notifications on my reply. Sorry for the late reply.

      Yeah I saw that one thanks, nice design.

      The wattage is 5 watts at 400 nm. I don’t recall the if the lumens were even listed (Chinese supplier hehe) and I haven't bothered to do any tests yet, but I designed it so that I can install any LED I want in there if I need more power.

      I had a setback with my CNC milling machine as my un-backed up hard drive crashed and I had all the settings on there for controlling the machine. Consequently, I am setting that all up again and then I’ll get back to building.

      I’ll probably set up a blog somewhere when I get further along to share what I’ve put together. :D

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