New space 3d printers

Given we have access to funds how would people feel about upgrading 3D printing capabilities.

So looking at building up a 3d printer from the left overs of a Prusia upgrade to ultimately replace the Mendel Max, meaning we will have two traditional FDM printers available for use in the space.

Now for another printer I have two potential ideas. Either we can go with a dual extruder printer which will allow for printing with two separate materials, for example a normal PLA/PETG material with a soluble material filament for printing dissolvable printing materials. This would allow for complex objects to be printed, with easily removable supports. Alternatively it would allow printing with two colours of the same material.

The second candidate is to get an Stereolithography (SLA) printer, which is good for printing highly detailed models as it can print layer heights from 25 μm to 100 μm where as traditional FDM printers tend to print layer heights at around 100 μm. So they are good for highly detailed work, where you don’t want to see the layers. The draw back is the post processing required with curing.

I know some will ask about Delta Printers which is a traditional FDM printer that is able to do a quicker print. However I do not think speed is an important factor, also given Delta printers have bowden style extruders this makes them bad with flexible and unusual filaments. They also tend to have smaller x and y build areas

For the other printer idea, do you have any machines in mind?

Personally I’m not that fond of an SLA printer myself in the space unless it was cheap enough
just because the chemicals tend to be an irritant and you have to do a lot of dipping / curing.
also there’s a lot of dust in the space.

For delta printers just as an idea / suggestion

I have a modified Anycubic Kossel Linear Plus (linear slides)
which has a build volume of around 230 dia x 300 high
although I think newer models are around now

I’ve added a duet wifi board to it so that it’s 32bit instead of 8bit (this was additional cost)
typically you have 2 types of autoleveling.
The first tries to calculate the values for the endstops / if the tower is slightly at an angle etc
The second is a mesh grid based probe to build up a height map of the base.
both are done via a small metal probe that clips over the top of the extruder with a magnet.

The duet board uses trinamic drivers with 256 step interpolation (this means the main control board provides 32 microsteps and the stepper drivers auto translate into 256 for a smoother run)
Another mod was a spring steel (flexible) bed that has a pei sheet attached to it, mounted on magnets (with an air gap to avoid the magnets getting hot) so t could easily be swapped out.

Speed does make quite a difference
I’ve not tried multiple filaments at the same time yet as it is bowden
but you can stack multiple reels on top horizontally with a 3d printer bracket on a bearing

this one is a bit bigger, I think they use they’re own type of control board though.


Many Thanks
Richard

We have a Visual Arts Meeting planned for 4pm tomorrow where we will discuss new equipment etc so if you have a plan for a 3D printer as part of that please bring details including costings to it :slight_smile: