THP Entry: TOME, The Portable 3D Printer

TOME Alright, 3D Printers exist. They’re machines you can simply buy for a few hundred dollars, set them on your desk, and have them start churning out plastic parts. A little pedestrian, isn’t it? How about something you can take into the field for a client, and print out some new parts right there? How about sending a printer to the latest humanitarian crisis? After all, all those humanitarian uses for 3D printers we’ve been hearing about won’t do any good without a 3D printer.

TOME is [Philip]’s attempt at portabilizing a 3D printer and also his entry into The Hackaday Prize. The preliminary goals for TOME are the ability to print for four hours on a single battery, an auto leveling bed, and an accessible hot end that’s easy to replace.

Already the design for TOME is rather interesting. The astute printer aficionado will notice there is no stepper motor on the X carriage. The task of moving the head in the X axis is taken care of by a stepper in the base, with a square shaft and set of gears moving everything back and forth.

With this odd yet ingenious motor setup, the entire printer is able to collapse in on itself, allowing it to be installed in a waterproof plastic case. That’s something you’re going to need if you’re taking a printer on the road.

SpaceWrencherThe project featured in this post is an entry in The Hackaday Prize. Build something awesome and win a trip to space or hundreds of other prizes.

19 thoughts on “THP Entry: TOME, The Portable 3D Printer

      1. The same thing as a tower crane? I don’t see a gantry with a hook for carrying heavy loads, nor a counterbalance on that horizontal strut. And cranes are manually operated by well trained personnel who know the dynamics of moving heavy objects. But I guess with your glib answer you assume I lack the engineering education for an intelligent answer.

        1. I was implying that we would be designing the Y-axis arm to use a space-frame style mentality with the injection molded clamshells to provide rigidity while minimizing weight (IE. design members to be in tension). The Y-axis does not have a stepper motor or heavy drive mechanism, without all of the weight creating a rigid Y-axis arm is possible in a cantilever form.

          I cannot assume you have any engineering education actually, and there was not much to go on with your comment to begin with.

          1. [quote]I cannot assume you have any engineering education actually, and there was not much to go on with your comment to begin with.[/quote]
            oh cut it out, mr a-social engineer. Like [quote]a space-frame style mentality[/quote] does put you somewhere else as opposed to in fairyland. And: [quote] injection molded clamshells[/quote]? I sure do hope you are referring to the store-bought case you are planning to use, as you will not be in the stage where you should be thinking about injection moulding for a loong time. Sure, you can fantasize about spending ‘only 10K+’ on some moulds, but then you will find out you have moulds for a printer that hase serious design issues. Your design is still in the renderings phase, you have not even made a first funtional protoype by the looks of it.
            That Y axis of yours certainly is a potential issue (as well as your reaction to critisism). if you make the base of it one tenth the lenght, the play on the tip of it will be ten times as big as the play in the bearing you will be using. With that thin and long shaft (6 or 8mm?) you have drawn in I’d expect a play of centimetres while working.
            Have a look a the makibox design, they have a lot of problems with a similar design. Or attack any critisism that you are a better engineer and will magically work things out.

  1. computer renders and artist depictions need to be clearly labeled as such. i’d bet a lot of people think that thing exists. all the crowd-funding scams works on this principle. i don’t mean to single out or acuse this specific project. it’s a common problem and should be discussed. it probably should have been addressed in the rules of this contest.

    1. Agreed, we originally thought that this image was cartoonish enough that anyone would identify it as a render. All of the other sites that ran stories on us were clearly told that it was a render.

      We aren’t about to try and scam the crowd, we will have a functional Z axis within the next day or so and will be replacing the main image with real hardware shortly.

      1. on a small screen (mobile device), as a thumbnail next to an article, it’s pretty convincing. we’ve all seen products sold with a photorealistic rendering. i’m sure we’ve all been fooled atleast once. sorry to derail the discussion. i do like your project.

  2. It’s hard to think of anything more useless to send to any sort of ‘humanitarian crisis’ than something like this. How is slowly producing a handful of weak crappy parts by using a load of time- and power-hungry hardware and software an effective response? Hard to imagine.

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