Evolution of a Blog

This blog has evolved as I have as a maker. It starts at the beginning of my journey where I began to re-tread my tires in the useful lore of micro electronics and the open-source software that can drive them. While building solutions around micro-electronics are still an occasional topic my more recent focus has been on the 3D Printing side of making.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

3D Printer - Some Improvements

Here is a photo of my printer as it stands today.  I have integrated a number of customizations that I will talk about a little below.   One of the distinct advantages of going the RepRap route, as opposed to buying a packaged printer, is this ability.

One of the first 'useful' things that I printed.  I decided that the filament was dragging on the top of the printer so figured this would help reduce friction.  It seems to help.
Not exactly an improvement that I came up with since the printer shipped with the fan.   I did have to print the mount though!  Yes, those are cable ties instead of bolts.   Not the best print job on the slanted bit of the mount either.   That aspect of printing is still eluding us.
This is an improvement that I found on Thingiverse.  It makes it dramatically easier to level the bed.   Rather than fumbling with a wrench or pliers and a socket driver.  There are a number of designs out there so take a look.
There are two improvements shown by this photo.   The spring cord is for the x-endstop and it is also helping to keep the x-servo control lines out of the way as the z-axis descends.  The other improvement is the easy adjustment for the bed height.   This may actually have been the way the printer was supposed to be assembled as there was a hole in the x-servo mount that I was able to exploit.   It makes it very easy to raise or lower the build platform...single spin of the grey thingy.
I will write more about this later, but, this is the biggest addition to the printer.   I want to offload printing and am going to use a Beaglebone Black attached to a 7-inch LCD.  The BBB can run Slic3r and Pronterface in their graphical forms but too slowly for my patience.   I am going to continue to slice my prints on my iMac and use a custom app running on the BBB to drive the Printrun command line printer controller.   The app is not quite done but is written in Javascript and Node.  It automatically picks up files from the iMac and queues them for printing.  The interface allows access to the same functionality as Pronterface but on a touch screen with a remote control (which you can see in front of the printer on the first image).   The web interface can also be run from anywhere else on the network, including from my iPad.  The app is at the 80% point now but needs some cleaning up.   Once it is functionally complete to a first version I am going to add a couple features including a webcam to watch the print bed.   The case and mounts are, of course, prints!

A recent change to make it easier to change hot ends.   Not as eloquent as some implementations that use a plug but easy.


  1. Love what you are doing with the interface.

  2. Thanks, I just need to get the last bits complete!