10-Foot High 3D Printer Based On Ender 3

There are two main ways to 3D print large things. You can either make lots of small 3D prints and stick them together, or you can use a larger 3D printer. [Emily the Engineer] went the latter route by making her Ender 3 a full 10 feet tall.

The best Doug Dimmadome hat we’ve seen in a while, printed on the 10-foot Ender 3. If you’re unfamiliar, Doug Dimmadome is the owner of the Dimmsdale Dimmadome.

The Ender 3’s modular construction made this feat straightforward in the early steps. The printer was simply disassembled, with longer aluminium extrusions bolted in their place. New wheels were resin printed via Onshape to to run along the new extrusions, which were of a slightly different profile to the original parts. Wiring was also a hurdle, with the 10-foot printer requiring a lot longer cables than the basic Ender 3.

An early attempt to make the Z-axis work with a very long threaded rod failed. Instead, a belt-driven setup was subbed in, based on existing work to convert Ender 3s to belt drive. With a firmware mod and some wiring snarls fixed, the printer was ready to try its first high print. Amazingly, the printer managed to complete a print at full height, albeit the shaking of the tall narrow print lead to some print quality issues. The frame and base were then expanded and some struts installed to add stability, so that the printer could create taller parts with decent quality.

While few of us would need a 10-foot high Ender 3, it’s easy to see the value in expanding your printer’s build volume with some easy mods. [Emily] just took it to the extreme, and that’s to be applauded. Video after the break.

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Infinite Z-Axis Printer Aims To Print Itself Someday

“The lathe is the only machine tool that can make copies of itself,” or so the saying goes. The reality is more like, “A skilled machinist can use a lathe to make many of the parts needed to assemble another lathe,” which is still saying quite a lot by is pretty far off the implication that lathes are self-replicating machines. But what about a 3D printer? Could a printer print a copy of itself?

Not really, but the Infini-Z 3D printer certainly has some interesting features that us further down the road to self-replication. As the name implies, [SunShine]’s new printer is an infinite Z-axis design that essentially extrudes its own legs, progressively jacking its X- and Y-axis gantry upward. Each leg is a quarter of an internally threaded tube that engages with pinion gears to raise and lower the gantry. When it comes time to grow the legs, the print head moves into each corner of the gantry and extrudes a new section onto the top of each existing leg. The threaded leg is ready to use in minutes to raise the gantry to the next print level.

The ultimate goal of this design is to create a printer that can increase its print volume enough to print a copy of itself. At this moment it obviously can’t print a practical printer — metal parts like bearings and shafts are still needed, not to mention things like stepper motors and electronics. But [SunShine] seems to think he’ll be able to solve those problems now that the basic print volume problem has been addressed. Indeed, we’ve seen complex print-in-place designs, assembly-free compliant mechanisms, and even 3D-printed metal parts from [SunShine] before, so he seems well-positioned to move this project forward. We’re eager to see where this goes. Continue reading “Infinite Z-Axis Printer Aims To Print Itself Someday”