Mar 072012

Problem Statement

Limited build space for 3D plastic models is the current limitation of Open Source 3D printing.  Systems like RepRap, Makerbot, and Ultimaker have made such significant improvements in the print quality, speed and reliability in the last year, that the size of the printable space is becoming one of the bigger constraints.  A particular application for such large print space is building parts for model airplanes.  These parts require very light weight from minimal infill, and the strength of being built as a single part.  Slicing the parts into multiple pieces for separate printing is not appropriate for these applications.

Design Solution

I have already begun building a very large format 3D printer to experiment with printing large parts, but the cartesian robot is not complete and needs funding to finish development.

  • The projected print space of this 3D printer is 10 inches by 10 inches by 22 inches tall.
  • The cartesian robot will use precision ground rods and linear bearings similar to the Makerbot and Ultimaker.
  • My broken motherboard needs to be replaced with a current generation Makerbot motherboard
  • The MK3 extruder needs to be updated to use a more current plastic motor adjustment and perhaps a stepper motor or feedback mechanism

Completion Overview

This project should be easily completed by the end of the semester, and be printing parts in the Invention Studio.  I would be willing to leave it in the invention studio for other people to use until the 3mm plastic is used up, or two semesters.  Afterwards, I would also be willing to print items for the studio from home, provided I am compensated for the plastic.

Bill Of Materials

Item Unit Cost Qty extended
Makerbot 3/8″ linear Bearings $15 (4 bearings) 3 $60
36×3/8″ Precision Shaft A 7X 1-1236A $29 4 $116
16×3/8″ Precision Shaft A 7X 1-1216A $13 6 $78
MakerBot Motherboard v2.4 $85 1 $85
Arduino Mega $65 2 $65
Total $404

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