A 3D Printer Big Enough To Print A Kayak

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.

Ultra Light VORON X-Beam Milled From Aluminium Tube Stock

Voron X/Y carriage overview.
Voron X/Y carriage overview.

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.

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Portable 3D Printer Gets Even Smaller, Faster, Better

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.

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Multicolor Drawbot Highlights Importance Of Limit Switches

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.

One of the more curious applications of plotters of late are those used to send faux handwritten letters through the postal system.  Video after the break.

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Prusa XL Goes Big, But That’s Only Half The Story

For a few years now it’s been an open secret that Prusa Research was working on a larger printer named, imaginatively enough, the Prusa XL. Positioned at the opposite end of their product spectrum from the wildly popular Prusa Mini, this upper-tier machine would be for serious hobbyists or small companies that need to print single-part objects that were too large for their flagship i3 MK3S+ printer. Unfortunately, the global COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for the Czech company to focus on bringing a new product to market, to the point that some had begun to wonder if we’d ever see this mythical machine.

But now, finally, the wait is over. Or perhaps, it’s just beginning. That’s because while Prusa Research has officially announced their new XL model and opened preorders for the $1,999+ USD printer, it’s not expected to ship until at least the second quarter of 2022. That’s already a pretty substantial lead time, but given Prusa’s track record when it comes to product launches, we wouldn’t be surprised if early adopters don’t start seeing their machines until this time next year.

So what do you get for your money? Well, not an over-sized Prusa i3, that’s for sure. While many had speculated the XL would simply be a larger version of the company’s popular open source printer with a few modern niceties like a 32-bit control board sprinkled in, the reality is something else entirely. While the high purchase price and ponderous dimensions of the new machine might make it a tough sell for many in the hacker and maker communities, there’s little question that the technical improvements and innovations built into the Prusa XL provide a glimpse of the future for the desktop 3D printer market as a whole.

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Pen Plotter Is About As Simple As It Can Get

Sure, we see quite a few plotters and other motion machines, but the one from [DAZ Projects] has the virtual of looking dead simple. The Arduino and CNC shield are old hat, of course. But some 3D printed pulleys and a very simple-looking core XY arrangement looks like this could be a pretty quick build.

You might ask; if you have a 3D printer, why you wouldn’t just mount a pen on it and call it a day? Well, you could do that, of course, but what fun is that? Besides, that will tie up your printer, too. You can see a video of the project, below.

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Pen Plotter Draws Maps Directly On The Wall

For map-lovers like [Christopher Getschmann], poring over a quality map can be as satisfying as reading a good book. Good maps can be hard to come by, though, especially at a scale worth looking at, or worth using as adornment on a dull, lifeless wall. The solution is obvious: build a wall-mount CNC plotter to draw maps directly on the wall.

[Christopher] began his map quest by scraping world map data from a number of sources, including OpenStreetMap, Natural Earth, and GEBCO. This gave him data for coastlines, terrain, and bathymetry — enough for a map of the world large enough to fill a wall. Since the scale of the map would preclude the use of even a large-format inkjet printer, [Christopher] set about building a wall-covering pen-plotter to render the map. The CoreXY-style plotter is large, but still light enough to hang on the wall while it works, and to be repositioned to cover a larger area.

The plotter runs on steppers driven by ultra-quiet Trinamic TMC5160 drivers, so the plotter wouldn’t be a nuisance while it worked. The map was plotted on eight pieces of cardboard mounted directly to the wall, filling the 2- x 3-meter space almost entirely. Landmasses and elevation contours were plotted as continuous lines in black ink, while bathymetric data was rendered in blue ink as cross-hatching with variable spacing, to make deeper oceans darker blue.

We find [Christopher]’s map breathtaking, all the more so considering the work that went into making it. It would be interesting to find alternate uses for the plotter, which reminds us a little of a cross between a draw-bot and a Maslow vertical CNC router, now that it’s done with its cartographic duties.