Lets talk 3D printers: How big can we get?
As many of you that know me know, I am heavily involved in 3D printing, and after building one printer, PISCES (I am still working on making it print steel though), I am looking forward to my next printer. I made a lot of mistakes with PISCES (A. LOT.), and I am looking forward to counteracting them.
This new printer, codenamed “Dynamo,” is a monster. I have no pictures yet, but I will tell you that the ENTIRE PISCES 3D printer will fit within the BUILD area. The Z axis is finished, and the build plate is 2 ft x 2 ft, with hardware that leaves a build area of about 500 mm x 550 mm x 400 mm (but that is just an estimate) of 3D printing goodness. I originally wanted to make it that bit so I could print cosplay helmets (don’t you judge me!), but with this size I can print armor.
As if I wasn’t crazy enough, it isn’t just a 3D printer. I am also adding a 40W laser tube, and making the business end replaceable. If I can get the torque, I want to add a router spindle too. Why a laser? For one, so I can use it as a laser engraver. However, I mainly want to mess around with OpenSLS (Thanks #based Andreas), and having a Plastic FDM/Steel FDM/SLS/Laser Cutting/Routing Maker Machine would by 50 different shades of cool.
One of my current issues is how to evenly heat a 2 square foot bed effectively. A standard Reprap’s MK2B plate is absolute trash against something of this size. To counter this, I painted the bottom of the plate black, and I am looking into infrared heaters, in other words, REALLY hot lightbulbs, to get that bed up to a balmy 110 *C.
Another one of my current issues is… well… a current issue. The stepper motors get hot due to excessive current in the windings, which leads to heat.
Although I don’t want to show anything until it is finished, I will tell you this printer is a mess of wires, switches, Raspberry Pis, microcontrollers, pumps (the laser is water cooled, and I plan on cooling the steppers as well to counter the heat, and dumping the liquid into a 12V refrigerated tank). In total there are 2 extruders, 3 Arduinos, 10 stepper motors, 1 raspberry pi, 3 screens, 2 relays, 1 800*C lightbulb, 1 40W laser tube, and voltages ranging from 3.3V all the way to 20,000V. This could get very messy very fast, but hey, what is engineering about?