As a whole 3D printing is an amazing area of Engineering which is booming currently. Unfortunately the low end build it yourself RepRap Prusa Mendel, which I painstaking built from instructions which were in Chinese, incomplete and at times not even for the same parts as I was sent, just isn’t up to the job! My main issues with it are despite allot of trying it is very very hard to get all the axis perfectly perpendicular, the entire heated bed moves in the y axis – limiting speed and the lack of enclosure means that when someone opens a door too fast your ABS part peels off like a banana skin! And lastly the bane of my life (i’m sad I know)… skipped steps mid way through a 10 hour build! But this being said it demonstrated to me the power of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) as a viable method of manufacture from my home (Printed replacement door rollers for the bathroom after the door was ripped off by a drunken lady who really really needed the toilet).
The solution? To build myself a new 3D printer! oh and throw in closed loop feedback just for fun! And below is the dream modeled in solid works, but that is me skipping ahead of myself!
Part 1 – Building the Frame
I need to begin this section with an apology because I got far too excited at the arrival of my first hardware that I jumped straight into building the frame and didn’t take any time to get some decent building images!
Before I do a little show and tell I should say that choosing to use extruded aluminium profile for the frame was not taken lightly. Cost wise the aluminium extrusion and brackets alone were around £130 however I am exceptionally pleased with the rigidity and strength of the frame (I may have sat on it I was that confident). Assembling the frame was a little bit tedious because I didn’t have access to a decent sized flat surface to do the build. This mean each join had to aligned by eye and then a number of minor tweaks were done once all the pieces were attached to close some small gaps etc.
Now it was only when I stepped back and looked at the frame that I realised I had created a squat beast. With an external volume of 560*560*500mm it is pretty big!