3d Printer

Earlier this year I decided to get a 3d printer to help with prototyping in robotics & various other hobbies. I wasn’t particularly wowed by any of the consumer-grade options available, and it seemed like sourcing individual parts for a full DIY design would take more effort than it was worth, so I went with a kit!

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My requirements were pretty simple:

  • E3D v6 hotend
  • Heated glass bed
  • >150 mm printing range in all dimensions
  • Easily expanded

There were a few options satisfying these, in the end I chose a MTW MiniMax as the best value for money.

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Parts!

 

Mechanical systems assembled

Mechanical systems assembled

It took a few afternoons to get it up & running. I started printing with PLA as most people recommend it as the best all-rounder material, but I’ve since found PETG to be stronger, more stable and easier to print.

After (slowly) printing a fan bracket I printed a case for a raspberry pi, which would act as a print server and allow me to not be tethered to the printer during a job.

Print server

Print server

Since then I’ve added a whole series of modifications, improving print quality and ease of use:

  • Y-axis cable chain (from MTW) – keeping things tidy
  • Rubber foot mounts (from MTW) – to reduce noise & vibration
  • Easy bed levellers (by beerglut) – the original bed levellers needed a screwdriver to adjust, these use thumbwheels instead
  • 360 degree print fan shroud (by beerglut) – for more uniform print cooling
  • Extruder fan mount – to cool the extruder gear & prevent it from warping PETG before the hotend
  • Sprung Z-homing screw – to reduce backlash present in the original design
  • Filament spool mount – intended to reduce the load on the extruder motor by mounting the spool on a bearing-supported roller, but this removed all tension from the spool and just resulted in tangled filament
  • Power supply cover & switch – the kit as-built includes only minimal protection from the mains wiring at the back, and needs to be turned on/off at the wall – so I installed a fused switch with a C14 socket to make it a bit safer & easier

 

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