making a 3D printer .

Hello everyone .

i am starting a mini project with my kids , and we're going to make a 3D printer .
now i think the electronics and the programming is an easy part for me as it's all well established .
what i am struggling with is everything else , i have no clue how to assemble things or what parts to get for the mechanical part lets say ?
i can work well with wood , i can get anything to pop out of that . but that's about it .
can someone help me ?

thank you very much .

You can buy kits with all the hardware and all you have to do is assemble it. I don't know that making a 3D printer out of wood would be a very good design but it would certainly be impressive if you did it.

Delta_G:
You can buy kits with all the hardware and all you have to do is assemble it. I don't know that making a 3D printer out of wood would be a very good design but it would certainly be impressive if you did it.

the frame isn't a problem for me , as that's easy to make with wood . the metallic axes are the problem .
getting a kit would be like buying a ready 3D printer , i want to make this from scratch with the kids .

thank you very much for your response sir .

amine2:
getting a kit would be like buying a ready 3D printer , i want to make this from scratch with the kids .
thank you very much for your response sir .

Well then you are asking a very very broad question. What type of metalworking experience do you have? How much do you know about 3D printers? Maybe it would be a good idea to buy one first or at least find a place where you can play with one so you can figure out a design.

If I were you, I'd go for a kit. In fact, I'll build a 3D printer this month and I'm buying a kit :smiley:
Seems it makes troubleshooting and setting up easier if you know what you're starting from and what the printer can achieve.

But I understand that making as much as you can yourself is a great challenge and I support you. Wood is actually a good material to build a frame (much much better than the acrylic of many low-end printers).

Thomas Sanladerer made one based on the Prusa i3's design (probably the best known reprap).
Here's his BOM:

And the assembly:

Hi amine2,

To do this in they way that you want you need to think backwards, from the printer, to decide it's spec first!. decide the printing window x,y in mm and then height of max printed object. once you know that you can put down carriage design.

Being new to the subject I would recommend that you simply get one axis working first on a 3 axis 3D printer driver card. most 3 printers dont have strong support rails as such. they dont need them as there are no cutting forces involved with 3D printing. however linear support rails would be a good option for you, wanting to frame in wood. search ebay for 16mm linear support rails. then think about a motor and screw to drive to carriage. it'll be a small Nema or such like. ebay will also list 3 axis kits, interms of rails, screws and motors. take your time to look, and think about the future. you can take off the 3D printing head and bolt on a router instead and you have a fully functional small CNC in the same tool.

Phil.

A 3D printer needs to be able to move the print head in 3 dimensions relative to the table holding the item being printed.

That can be accomplished by moving the table, or moving the print head or a combination of both.

The movement has to be smooth and capable of repeated positioning to some degree of precision. +/- 0.5 mm might be sufficient to start with but is unlikely to give high precision printing. (I'm just guessing a value here because I am trying to make a similar project - but I am hoping to use the axes of a small lathe for the mechanism. The lathe has much greater precision than +/- 0.5mm.). The point about choosing a level of precision is that it can help to focus on how the mechanical parts need to perform.

As the table part is probably heavy it is probably best to leave it stationary simply to avoid the need for powerful motors that would be required to move it without missing steps.

The movement in the two horizontal axes will need to be closely coordinated - for example so the print head can follow a circular path and this needs to be accommodated in your control software. The vertical movement generally only takes place at the end of each print layer. The rate of extrusion, and whether or not extrusion takes place, will also have to be coordinated with the horizontal motion. [I am not sure if my lathe will be able to provide the horizontal speeds needed to match the extrusion speed]

To achieve accurate positioning you will need to eliminate backlash in the system - either by the design of the mechanical system or by allowing for it within the software.

If you intend to use one of the "off-the-shelf" 3D printer programs you will need to ensure that your machine is compatible with its requirements. [At the moment my plan is to use software I have written myself]

Have you looked at the RepRap Wiki and the RepRap Forum - they are dedicated to 3D printing.

...R

I think you may be setting yourself an extremely difficult project here, if you're only after the journey of building a 3d printer and designing one yourself thats fantastic. But I wonder how much of the research and interest your kids will show in the project if and when things go awry, because they will numerous times.
Never ever has a design project been undertaken without road bumps.

But the point I would like to make is this, a good working 3D printer is a technical work of art, if there is any deviation in the frame/airflow/linear rails/vibrations/movement the print product quality is decreased dramatically. Wood warps, how good are your tools? How accurate is your machining capabilities etc, dont want to sound like a hard nut, but im just being realistic seeing as though your kids expectations are involved here as well.

Don't get me wrong its something I would love to do also (designing my own), but the extra drama of the kids being on for the ride of such a complicated first project is out of my own comfort zone.

Advice, as a parent and a technician/manufacturing engineer with 12 yrs experience, buy a well reviewed pre-machined kit andbuild it with your kids and explain the processes and what things do, how they work, why A goes into B, and build their knowledge as well as your own, give them a feel for the experience of building something and designing a project then branch off into other projects using your known respectable working 3D printer to assist OTHER projects/designing your own 3D printer/mill/lathe/router etc.

Sorry, if this is more negative then I intend it to be.

If you are in the UK I would recommend, these guys at Ooznest, they helped me with a project I did not too long ago building an automatic wire cutter using linear actuator rails to mount a cutting blade to cut wires to specific lengths in a manufacturing environment.

I think they are a retailer for OpenBuild products, but cannot say for sure.

One thing to mention however, I wouldn't buy the stepper motor shields from them as they use uStepper boards, reasoning being although they are great motor shields there is not a great deal of documentation or examples about on the internet, should you need help.

Whereas EasyDriver boards by Sparkfun and the Pololu drivers are much more common.

Bianco:
Thomas Sanladerer made one based on the Prusa i3's design (probably the best known reprap).
Here's his BOM:
Building the cheapest possible Prusa i3 MK2 – Tom's 3D printing guides and reviews

And the assembly:
Dolly: The Prusa i3 MK2 clone - YouTube

Benjamin Heckendorn also made cool videos on The Ben Heck Show about building your own printer.

Thank you very much guys , i highly highly highly appreciate this !

Robin2:
A 3D printer needs to be able to move the print head in 3 dimensions relative to the table holding the item being printed.
As the table part is probably heavy it is probably best to leave it stationary simply to avoid the need for powerful motors that would be required to move it without missing steps.
To achieve accurate positioning you will need to eliminate backlash in the system - either by the design of the mechanical system or by allowing for it within the software.

Rigidity and stability are key factors. When the print head is zinging around, there are forces that are transfered throughout the machine that can wreck the build if it's not stable. I have a unit that uses a raising bed, and there is some logic behind it. The bed is driven by a Nema 17 stepper and an acme thread, and rides on twin 10mm rods with linear bearings. The weight of the bed actually removes the lash. As for the cons, being that it moves it is subject to leveling issues over time, so an easy means to adjust and regular adjusting is needed.

The mass of the printhead AND carriage needs to be kept as light as possible without losing rigidity as well, or the printer is likely to try and jump off the table.

Having printer for less than $200, I purchased a diy kit with all the parts a year ago. It may not be the best in the world but works and after some improvements is amazing. Now it is working on a skull lamp!

I purchased this one:

Mendel_652:
I purchased this one:
Anet® a8 diy 3d printer kit 1.75mm / 0.4mm support abs / pla / hips Sale - Banggood.com

I have been wondering about one of those printers. They seem to have very good performance for the price.

I wonder if you have any information (preferably from experience) about the thinnest parts that it can make. For example could it make a spoked cartwheel with spokes that are 0.3mm wide?

I have not been able to find that information with Google.

...R