In 2011 I became interested in 3D printing. Being able to design and print objects was (and still is) an amazing concept to me. After reading more into it I decided to buy a Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D printer kit, which was the go-to 3D printer kit for hobbyists at the time.
A couple years later I ran into the limitations of the Thing-o-Matic printer and I wanted a 3D printer that was more rigid and had a bigger build volume. Instead of buying an off-the-shelf printer I decided to try to build something better on my own. I liked the versatility and features of Makerbeams (10×10 aluminium extrusion), so I chose to build the frame of the printer out of those.
In this article I will share some details and pictures of the 3D printer. While building the printer was a great learning experience, I don’t recommend anyone to go down the same route as I did and build a 3D printer out of Makerbeams. Aside from not being that rigid, they also are not very cost effective compared to 20×20 or 30×30 extrusion.
The printer went through many iterations (as can be seen by the various colors of plastic used in the printer) and I have experimented with several motion systems during that time. In the end I ended up settling on the CoreXY motion system.
In short, the CoreXY motion system allows the stepper motors, which are generally the largest part of inertia in a 3D printer, to remain stationary. As a result larger accelerations and faster printing are possible.
Further details and pictures of the 3D printer are shown below.
A time-lapse of the printer in action.
Kinematics: CoreXY Extruder: E3D Titan Electronics: Smoothieboard, Raspberry Pi for wireless control & camera Build volume: 200 mm x 200 mm x 280 mm (~ 8″ x 8″ x 11″ ) Other: Z-Probe
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