The properly easiest way to print in 3D is the so called Fused Decomposition Modelling. Just imagine a miniature glue gun which moves in 3 Dimensions (left/right, forward/back, up/down) to build stuff layer by layer from the bottom to the top. The reprap community does that for quite some time with diy machines. Their idea is to produce their printers with as much self printed stuff as possible and some other stuff from the hardware store and the other vendors. As you would expect this means much work to build an very individual machine.
Being more the lazy kind of guy and loving precision machinery I tried a different approach. The Idea is neither new nor mine, several people have done similar things and they call it a EMC RepRap. The documentation is a little bit scarce, so I hope mine will be more complete 🙂
What you would need
- CNC Mill.
- CNC Controller (Circuit which drives the Stepper Motors).
- Plastic Extruder
- Heated bed (for ABS Plastic to prevent warping)
- Circuit to control the temperature of the extruder and the heated bed
- Computer with software to control all the hardware
- Software to generate toolpaths from a 3D model
- 3D model
What I used
A BZT PF-600P CNC Mill. Engineered and produced in Germany. More expensive than Chinese stuff but definitely worth it. The P Version comes with ball screw spindles which I can really recommend (virtually no backlash so no need for software compensation).
A BZT ST44.2 4 Axis Controller (4th Axis for the Extruder). The picture actually shows the 43.2 but the enclosure is the same, only the sticker differs…
A preassembled Greg’s Wade Extruder from the reprap fab.
A PCB heated bed designed by Josef Prusa bought at reprap source.
A self build Arduino Shield with two voltage dividers for temperature measurement and two mosfets for PWM Temperature Control. (Prototype Version, missing heat spreaders)
A 12V Power supply.