I went out this afternoon to take a look at Peter’s 3D printer. You can find out more about it here. I’ve actually seen it now. It’s awesome. The most impressive thing is that all the parts were designed by Peter and some of them were printed by me. And it works. To the point that the fan mount on the picture above was actually printed by the printer itself.
I made my printer from a kit and I’ve been slowly discovering the best way to get things from a roll of plastic fibre into a useful shape. The learning curve has been steep at times, but what Peter has done is much more tricky. He has had to construct and align all the components himself.
The design of the printer is totally unlike mine. The position of the printing head is controlled by the movement of the three carriages up and down the three pillars. The controlling software drives stepper motors that are connected to cable that is looped around each pillar and pulls the carriages up and down. The great thing about this design is that the head can move really fast, and during printing the item being printed doesn’t move at all. The tricky thing is that printing in straight lines involves all the motors making complex movement (which is not a huge problem, the software does all the tricky maths) but any inaccuracy in the movement will result in straight lines becoming curved or slanted.
Peter has spent a lot of time aligning everything and now he is getting some excellent results. Eventually he will be using his printer to make a whole new one.
This is my favourite view of the printer.