I am just starting my GCSE systems (i have just turned 15) and am designing a 3d printer. Systems is basically electronics and implementing them into doing physical functions therefore i have to design my own electronics. I am thinking of integrating an arduino nano into a shield that will drive 3 stepper motors or 4 stepper motors (I am thinking of combining the z axis and the extruder as they are never on at the same time but it would be hard to accomplish it on both the hardware and software aspects), the hot end, the hot end thermistor, a heated build platform and its thermistor. I have built a 3d printer when i was 13 and again when i was 14 both out of what i could salvage from 2d printers and browsed ebay for months to find a good deal on my stepper motors(eventually got 4 for £12) so i am confident i can build one again. I am doubtful a nano would work but really have not much idea when it comes to all the different types of storage and stuff. I am open to suggestions to use other arduinos or microprocessors but please be aware i probably cannot solder smd components; i would love to make it all from scratch but it is only a 50 hour project. I aim to use pololu clones as my stepper drivers but again i am open to suggestions.
I am using 4 motors now, not 3 as i couldn't get it to work. Can anyone help?
The simplest way forward is to purchase a RAMPS board and a generic Mega to go with it. Together, and with Pololu-style stepper drivers, they can be found very inexpensively on eBay. The Wiki at Reprap.org will have more details on these RAMPS boards and the firmware you can use with them.
Writing your own firmware for controlling a 3D printer is definitely not a 50 hour project. While the steps involved might not be particularly difficult and probably understandable with your current level of math education, being able to make everything run at a decent speed is the much more complex problem.
Sorry for not mentioning it but i have to design my own electronics but stuff like breakout boards are allowed. My overall aim is to make it as cheap as possible but without salvaged parts. I am not going to write firmware but i will have to edit the pinouts.
P.S sorry for the late reply
i have to design my own electronics but stuff like breakout boards are allowed.
So, what stuff do you have to design? Can you look at other, similar, designs?
Perhaps someone has ported GRBL to the Nano? Have you checked out this:
GRBL Arduino Library – Use the Arduino IDE to flash GRBL directly to your Arduino | Protoneer.co.nz Worth seeing if it just works.