For my final project in high school I designed and built a 3D printer. With the printer I wanted to be able to print an A4 cuboid (297 x 210 x 210 mm WxDxH).
The only prior printer I had seen in real life was the Ultimaker 2. I really appreciated its motion system, my design uses a similar motion system and enclosed design.
After a year I updated the model and rebuilt the printer.
Large build volume
The printer runs on a WiFi connected
mini computer. It has a touchscreen for easy control.
Enclosed print area
Airflow cools the electronics. The heated air is then sent into the print area.
Cartesian mechanical system
Space efficient, simpler motion, and low moving weight.
Fully supported hotend
Only one tool needed to swap nozzles. No risk of bending the heatbreak.
Build volume: 295 x 195 x 210 mm 11.6 x 7.67 x 8.27 in (W x D x H)
Print speed: 40mm/s
Max print speed: 120mm/s
Print resolution Z-axis: 25µm
Max print temperature: 250°C
Max heated-bed temperature: 90°C
Screen: 1024 x 600px IPS touch screen
Control board: Replicape Rev B
Software: Kamikaze, Octoprint
Machine footprint: 487 x 390 x 419 mm
19.2 x 15.4 x 16.5 in (W x D x H)
Machine weight: ~20kg
Machine power: 250W
A 3D CAD model should be seen below. The files are shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The printer has quite a few flaws but I am sharing the files if anyone is crazy enough to build one. Even with the flaws the printer is a good design to base future printers on. You can find the files here: Perfect 3D files.
Tools I used
The printer was originally modeled in SolidWorks. The CAD file contains more than 250 pieces (about 90 individual parts). The files were converted to Autodesk fusion 360 for the second version.
Machining and component manufacturing
I used several tools to produce the parts of the printer. Sheets were CNC-milled or laser cut. Mounts and other complex parts were 3D printed. Lastly the pieces of the hotend were machined out of metal.
The printer has all electronics built in, so the wiring required safe solutions for both the high voltage and the high current low voltage components.
Things I learnt
The importance of planning
I learned the hard way why you should try to plan as much as possible. Originally I skipped drawing up the wiring in CAD and quickly found that I needed to change some parts.
Since I built the printer I've learnt a lot about 3D rapid prototyping. I've made multiple designs for 3D printing and used the printer for several other projects.
DFA and DFM
Even though everything* can be designed in the computer not everything is possible in real life. I learnt a lot about design for assembly and a lot about design for manufacturing.