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3D Printer

Feb 2013

I have decided to get into the world of 3D printing. After researching available printers I decided that the best value for money (for me anyway) is the RepRapPro Prusa Mendel (in kit form). It is available from RepRapPro. One of the reasons I decided to get this one is because I wanted to have the possibility of upgrading to a multi-colour printer eventually and this printer is set up for that.

The printer itself is based on a Prusa Mendel design but with some custom software and other improvements that have been made. It is capable of printing with many different materials. One of the basic requirements for printing anything other than PLA is to have a heated print bed, which this printer has.

Assembly (quoted to take a day or so) was fairly straightforward but it took more than just one weekend. Although, this was the first printer I had built. All the instructions are provided and they are very good quality, however there is still a little bit of guesswork at a few points during the process.

Starting simple, just putting together some nuts and washers onto some of the threaded rods.

Then forming some of the rods into one of the supporting triangles. (Apologies for the quality of this picture)

Forming the triangles into the full frame of the printer. Alignment is critical at this stage.

This is the y carriage of the printer. For this printer, the Y position is changed by moving the bed back and forth, rather than the print head. It runs back and forth on linear bearings on the smooth rods. Each of the x, y or z positions are controlled by stepper motors (2 in the case of the z axis).

The assembled x carriage is shown here before it is attached to the printer. For the x axis, the print head moves back and forth.

This is the mechanical parts of the printer assembled. The only part remaining is the wiring.

This is the printer complete (the power supply isn't shown), ready for commisioning.


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