3dBlue is here!
Not much of a name but that was what I called this project when I started on it.
Have I had fun making this one! It has taken a long time, mainly due to the speed of my first printer. I used that one to make parts for this one. And I am very pleased with the result. This printer is quite a bit faster and hopefully I can now start on my next project.
This printer was designed from scratch. As I use parts that I have collected over time, such as steppers and belts, I had to design all printed parts from ground up. When designing the parts, I also had to take into consideration the capabilities of my trusty first printer. Printing time was a major issue, as if a print failed or needed design change, that could mean days just for that one part, and at 1 to 2 hours a day max that could easily turn into weeks. Size was obviously an important factor. I needed to keep the parts as small as possible, maybe make 2 parts to join rather than one big part. But the old machine has been very good. It has not failed me and some parts took well over 20hrs to complete. And it was a very good way to learn.
I have achieved what I wanted to do, which was to make a first printer without having to purchase any special parts such as extruder, hot end with nozzle, heated bed etc. This printer was then used to make the parts for my next one, which has got lots of printed parts. A long and tedious excercise, but fun.
Ok, the electronics are again Arduino Mega 2560 with the ramps board. (If you remember, I purchased 2 ramps pcb’s for my first one).
This time though, I did not use the Sprinter firmware, I went straight to Marlin and I like it very much. Could not get that to work on my first printer, but hey, sprinter has done a fantastic job on that one.
I also use my hot end design with a few minor changes. To cool the upper part of the hot end I use a heat sink. I have also added a 40mm fan to keep it cool.
Speed…well I think it is quite fast, like 6 times my old machine. It can go twice as fast at that again but then I do get a bit of backlash in the corners. That is expected on a design where the whole table moves in both X and Y. I can also push plastic through my hot end safely at 80mm per min using pronterface. (I pushed 100mm at 200!! as well but then the hobbed bolt started to strip the filament. A lot of pressure build up, but my hot end coped well. No leakage yet.)
The first thing I printed was the letter “E”. A modified one. (You can also print the number 2). This way I made sure the axis all moved the correct way, not reversed image or anything like that. 🙂
I have just printed 3 parts with the new printer. 2 for calibrating before I kicked off a large print to see how well the hot-end and extruder would perform. This part is the body of my extruder and took over 22hrs to print on my first printer. This time it took under 4hrs! (exactly 03:54:04). I need to do some more tweaking as the part is not perfect but this was just a test to see how the mechanics performed.
The nozzle and extruder only moves in the z-axis. The table moves both X and Y axis.
I purchased a MK2 heat bed for this one as well, as I wanted to make the table light. After all I use nema23 motors and they are quite heavy. I have not found any info on the torque they have but they work very well.
Here are some photos of the printer:
A few more things to do such as adding a fan for cooling the print. Overall I am very happy with this machine.