“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.
Truth be told, we generally find speed sports to be a little boring. Whether it’s cars going around in circles for hours on end or swimmers competing to be a few milliseconds faster than everyone else, we just don’t feel the need for speed. Unless, of course, you’re talking about speedy 3D printers like “The 100”, which claims to produce high-quality prints in a tenth the time of an ordinary printer. In that case, you’ve got our full attention.
What makes [Matt the Printing Nerd]’s high-speed printer interesting isn’t the fact that it can do a “Speedboat Run” — printing a standard Benchy model — in less than six minutes. Plenty of printers can do the same thing much, much faster. The impressive part is that The 100 does it with a 3D-printed frame. In fact, most of the printer’s parts are 3d printed, a significant departure from most speed printer builds, which generally shy away from printed structural elements. [Matt]’s design also aims to keep the center of gravity of all the printer’s components within a very small area, which helps manage frame vibrations that limit print quality. The result is that the CoreXY gantry is capable of a speed of 400 mm/s and an eye-popping 100,000 mm/s² acceleration. What also sets [Matt]’s printer apart is that The 100 is designed to be a daily driver. It has a generous 165 mm x 165 mm print bed, which is far more useful than a bed that’s barely bigger than a standard Benchy.
The video below has much more details on the open-source build, plus some nice footage of some speed runs. The quality of the prints, even done at speed, is pretty impressive. Perhaps there is a point to speed sports after all.
[Arca] sets out to build himself a low-cost pen plotter that doesn’t require access to a 3D printer. The plotter uses a coreXY arrangement, powered by 28BYJ-48 stepper motors, which he overdrives with +12 VDC to increase the torque. Pen up and down control is done using a stepper motor salvaged from a DVD reader. The frame is constructed using PVC electrical conduit and associated fittings, and [Arca] uses the hot glue gun quite liberally. Steppers were driven by A4988 modules with heatsinks, and motion control is provided by GRBL running on an Arduino UNO.
He has a few issues with glitches on the limit switches, and is continuing to tweak the design. There is no documentation yet, but you can discern the construction easily from the video if you want to try your hand at making one of these. This is a really cool DIY plotter, and many parts you probably have laying around your parts boxes. As [Arca] says, it’s not an AxiDraw, but the results are respectable. Keep a lookout for part 2 of this project on his YouTube channel.
When one of your design goals for a 3D printer is “fits through standard doors,” you know you’re going to be able to print some pretty big stuff. And given that the TAUT ONE printer by [Nathan Brüchner] could easily be mistaken for a phone booth, we’d say it’ll be turning out some interesting prints.
The genesis for this beast of a printer came from the Before Times, with the idea of printing a kayak. [Nathan] leveraged his lowdown time to make it happen, going through three prototypes. Each featured a print bed of 1,000 mm x 550 mm with 1,100 mm of Z-height, and the overall footprint fits a standard Euro-pallet. It uses a CoreXY design to move the dual-filament hot end, which has ducting for taking cooling air from outside the cabinet. And the machine has all the bells and whistles — WiFi, an internal camera, filament sensors, and a range of environmental controls.
In a nod to making it easier to build, [Nathan] kept all the custom parts either laser cut or 3D-printed — no mill or lathe required. He also points out that he used only quality components, which shows in the price — about 3,000€. That seems like a lot to be able to print kayaks that you can buy for fraction of that amount, but we certainly appreciate the potential of this printer, and the effort that went into making it work.
When it comes to 3D printing using fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology, there are two main groups of printers: Cartesian and CoreXY, with the latter being the domain of those who wish to get the fastest prints possible, courtesy of the much more nimble tool head configuration. Having less mass in the X/Y carriage assembly means that it can also move faster, which leads to CoreXY FDM enthusiasts to experiment with carbon fiber and a recent video by [PrimeSenator] in which an X-beam milled out of aluminium tube stock that weighs even less than a comparable carbon fiber tube is demonstrated.
As the CoreXY FDM printer only moves in the Z-direction relative to the printing surface, the X/Y axes are directly controlled by belts and actuators. This means that the faster and more precise you can move the extruder head along the linear rails, the faster you can (theoretically) print. Ditching the heavier carbon fiber for these milled aluminium structures on a Voron Design CoreXY printer should mean less kinetic inertia, with the initial demonstrations showing positive results.
The interesting thing about this ‘speed printing’ community is that not only the raw printing speeds, but also that in theory CoreXY FDM printers are superior in terms of precision (resolution) and efficiency (e.g. build volume). All of which makes these printers worthy of a look next time one is shopping for an FDM-style printer.
How do you improve on a fast, capable 3D printer that sports an innovative design and is portable enough to fit in a printer spool box? Judging by what went into the Positron V3 portable printer, (video, embedded below) it takes a lot of hard work and an unwillingness to settle for compromise designs. Plus a few lucky breaks and some design wizardry.
When we first reported on [Kralyn]’s innovative “Positron” printer, its chief selling points were its portability and unique layout. With a fold-down Z-axis and a CoreXY-style drive in the base, plus an interesting 90° hot end and transparent heated build plate, the Positron managed to hit most of its design goals. But there’s always room for improvement, and Positron V3, shown in the video below, has made some pretty substantial leaps over that original concept.
The V3 design keeps the basic layout of the original, but greatly improves the usability and portability, while increasing performance and build volume. The heated borosilicate build plate is now held to the Z-axis drive with a much sturdier strut, and gets its juice through a high-temperature MagSafe connector. The X- and Y-axes are now driven by pancake steppers, which along with adding idler pulleys that are coaxial to the drive pulleys, make the CoreXY drive, and hence the printer’s base, much more compact. The printer is still much, much faster than most traditional gantry design, and print quality is on par with anything available commercially. And yes, it still fits into a standard 1-kg filament spool box when folded up.
We love this design, and the story of how the V3 came about and the intermediate V2 that didn’t make the cut is a fascinating case study in design. And as a bonus, [Kralyn] will open-source the V3 design, so you can build your own as soon as he releases the files.
Plotters and drawing robots are fun projects that let you create art with all the precision and perfection that computer numerical control can deliver. [TUENHIDIY] demonstrates that ably with the Multicolor DrawBot.
The build relies on a simple XY Cartesian design, using a pair of NEMA 17 stepper motors. It’s built in the typical CoreXY fashion, running GRBL firmware on an Arduino Uno.
Where [TUENHIDIY] gets creative is in the pen itself. Rather than using a simple ballpoint or marker, instead, a retractable multicolor pen is used instead. With the multicolor pen on board, [TUENHIDIY] notes the importance of limit switches in the design. These allow the the ‘bot to make multiple passes, each time in a different color, to build up a multicolor image. Without the limit switches in place, it would be impossible to line up each following pass.
We’d love to see the build taken even further with a servo-based system for switching colors automatically. As it is, though, [TUENHIDIY] has a capable plotter that can deliver tidy multicolor artworks.