Hacklet 107 – 3D Printing Projects

3D printers have forever changed the hardware hacker movement. From the original RepRap project on up through current commercial offerings, 3D printers have become an indispensable tool for hackers, makers, and engineers. While printers may not have started a desktop manufacturing revolution, they are a desktop prototyping evolution. It’s rare for a day to go by on Hackaday without a project that uses a 3D printed part in some way shape or form. These printers also continue to evolve, with new projects pushing the technology ever forward. This week’s Hacklet is all about some of the best 3D printer projects on Hackaday.io!

reprapWe start with [TTN] and Icepick Delta. [TTN’s] passion is creating 3D printers as cheaply as possible. The Icepick definitely succeeds at this. Icepick’s frame is made of wood. The motors are commodity steppers. Control is via the long proven Ramps 1.4 board, which can be picked up with drivers and an Arduino Mega clone for under $35 these days. A few ball bearings and metal parts fill out the vitamins of this design. Just about everything else is 3D printed in true RepRap style. The printer is currently running Marlin firmware, but [TTN] plans to move to Repetier in the future.

Even with these humble origins, Icepick manages to print at a very respectable 50 mm/s before frame flex becomes a problem.  Prints at 0.1mm layer height look great, on par with any current commercial printer.

strataNext up is  [Machinist] with 3D printer brain retrofit. Commercial 3D printers have been available for decades now. This means some of the older models are getting a bit long in the tooth. [Machinist] has a very tired 15 year old Stratasys Dimension 768. The mechanics of the Dimension are still in good shape, but the electronics have seen better days. [Machinist] is ditching all the old electronic hardware (and the DRM which goes with it) and setting this machine up with a Smoothieboard 5X. So far the Dimension has been gutted, and [Machinist] has gotten the monster stepper motors playing sweet music with his new control board. I can’t wait to see how this project progresses.

coffeeNext we have [jcchurch’s] Coffee Maker Delta 3D Printer. [jcchurch] has managed to convert an old Norelco coffee maker into a mini sized 3D printer. The warmer plate has even become a heated bed for ABS prints. Unlike Icepick up top, the aim of this design is to use as few 3D printed parts as possible. The idea is that this would be the first printer to build when you don’t have another printer handy. Think of it as a caffeinated RepStrap. According to [jcchurch], this printer has been running strong at Tropical Labs for over a year. You can even pull the delta assembly off and make a pot of coffee! The coffee maker printer is still somewhat of a teaser project. If you see [jcchurch] online, tell him to head over and give us more details!

linearFinally, we have [DeepSOIC] with linear stepper motor 3d printer. 3D printers all use good old fashioned rotary stepper motors. [DeepSOIC] is trying to eliminate all that rotary motion, along with the belts and pulleys required to convert to linear motion. Linear stepper motors can be thought of as regular stepper motors, just unrolled. They tend to be very expensive though, so [DeepSOIC] is building DIY versions. His first attempt was to print motor parts using BlackMagic3D’s ferromagnetic filament. This lead to a whole separate project to measure the permeability of the filament. Unfortunately, the filament isn’t permeable enough to act as a motor for a printer. [DeepSOIC] hasn’t given up though. This is the type of project we love – one that might not work out, but really gets people thinking. Check out the comment thread on the project to see Hackaday.io collaboration at work!

If you want to see more 3D printer projects, check out our updated 3D printer list! If I didn’t wake up early enough to catch your project, don’t be shy, just drop me a message on Hackaday.io. That’s it for this week’s Hacklet. As always, see you next week. Same hack time, same hack channel, bringing you the best of Hackaday.io!

7 thoughts on “Hacklet 107 – 3D Printing Projects

  1. Instead of a switched reluctance motor that tries to emulate a stepper, an easier to build option would be an inductive linear motor.

    It’s got two or three phase coils in the motor and a straight aluminium rail, which works as the guide rail simultaneously, or you may add a secondary linear rod, but the motor rod must be non-ferromagnetic. Driving the phase coils in sequence at a sufficiently high frequency will cause eddy currents in the rail and generate a linear force. The higher the frequency, the more efficient the drive and also the faster it tends to go, although the force is diminished past some point.

    The next step is adding an encoder and feedback to keep it where it should go because there’s no holding torque.

  2. Our makerspace was given 2 printers that print in plaster.

    The results are very high resolution, and in color. The raw prints are delicate, but you can infuse them with cyano acrylic (superglue) or epoxy after printing to make them more robust.

    The results are still… ceramic.

    Also, the material costs about 0.25/cc to print. That gets expensive for anything bigger than your thumb.

    I haven’t come up with any real use for them. Maybe someone could make custom Tchotchke, or maybe print a collectible ceramic star-wars plate or something.

    Anyone have a good idea what to make out of colored, high-precision ceramic?

  3. Linear steppers are pretty expensive, even used off ebay. Though I have not looked in probably 4 years now. Also the resolution is not so hot, the resolution on the printers is a function of the lead screw coupled to the motor, with direct drive it is not that great. Microstepping is not repeatable or accurate so it is not a great option.

    You could use standard linear servo motors but then you also need to deal with a linear encoder for feedback. The resolution is pretty insane though, I have a Parker linear motor here that with interpolation has resolution in the nm range. Coupled with it’s drive it handles standard step/dir inputs. Only has about 6″ of travel though.

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