Turning A CMM Into A 3D Printer

There are two paths to owning a 3D printer: purchasing one or crafting your own 3D printer designed to your own exacting specifications. [Roetz 4.0] has decided to go this latter route and converted a 1.3-ton air-bearing Coordinate-measuring machine (CMM) into an FDM 3D printer. (Video, embedded below.)

A CMM is a tool used to precisely measure the geometry of an object via gently lowering a calibrated probe. We’ve seen scratch build printers before, but this particular build benefits from having the CMM machinery and its 18 air bearings. The CMM head is moved by [Roetz 4.0]’s own custom system, but it takes advantage of the bearings. After some careful CAD planning as well as a fair bit of milling, lathing, and prototyping, he had buttery smooth controlled motion.

With an off the shelf driver board wired together with a large red button, he was ready for a maiden test print. A determination to finish before the year was out pushed things along. There are still a few quirks to fix, like the hole in the air drying system but those can be tackled next year. Ultimately, we think the results are stunning and it was a journey we were glad to go on with [Roetz 4.0]. The final episode of the series is after the break.

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