Friday, April 25, 2014

New Printer

Prusa I2 courtesy of "boulderhackerspace"
Well, I am finally getting a new printer.  Don't get me wrong, I love my current printer.  However, it does have some problem: it is to small, lacks a heated bed, and has a single extruder.  The size is a problem as some of my projects (currently a chocolate extruder) require more space. The seven inch height, and the seven inch length are not a problem at all, however the four inch width is a major problem for me.  Its nearly no use having 3 extra inches in length because most of my objects are circle or square in shape.  My second problem with my printer is lack of a heated build plate.  For those of you who do not know, a heated build plate is the building platform of printer that is heated.  Heat helps because it makes objects not warp as they cool, and opens up the ability to use materials other than PLA.   My final problem with my current  printer is the lack of a second extruder, what a second extruder does is allow you to build things of any geometry, currently I have to have a completely flat bottom, and no angles below about 20 degrees.

I have been looking for a printer that fits all my requirements for about a month now, it is quite hard to find one for the right price.  I have been checking Ebay for about a month looking for the right printer.  A lot had a heated build plate and were the right size, but lacked a dual extruder which was a major requirement.  I continue to check for about a month until I found the perfect one.

I found a Prusa i2, it a RepRap printer that had been modified to carry a second extruder.  Before I get more into the printer, I'll explain what the RepRap project is.  It is a project to create humanities first self replicating machine that can print most of it's own parts.  What printing you own parts allows you to do is easily create another one and upgrade your current printer, to add for feature, functionality, or make it look better.  It also runs on open source, low cost electronics.  Say for instance that you want to add another extruder, you would design the upgrade, print it, then upgrade your electronics which is usually as simple as wiring in another stepper driver, and tweaking the firmware.  One of the other great things about the RepRaps, is every single part is available for download for free.  So, you can print parts for another RepRap.  I'm pretty excited for it, it should get here on Monday through Friday, so my next blog post will be about it likely.

Onto the specs on it, it has a dual extruder, eight by eight build platform, and a heated bed.  I plan to modify the second extruder to a one mm nozzle size,  this is huge for a printer, the nozzle of the other extruder will be .4 mm.  I have also written some g-code for it which allows the extruder to have different temperatures.  What this allows me to do is use my higher resolution .4 mm nozzle on the perimeter using PLA, and my one mm nozzle on the infill, and for support structures.  I will infill it with ABS, which is soluble in acetone.  What this does is make my prints food safe, and prettier to look at on the outside, while the inside is really strong(ABS is around 3 times stronger than PLA), all while being much faster.

1 comment:

  1. Shopping for a printer can feel overwhelming, because there are a lot of choices out there, but not all will fit your requirement. But I’m glad that after a long search, you finally found the right one for you. I hope it works perfectly for your projects.

    Arthur Griffin @ Copy Solutions