Thursday, August 27, 2009

Getting started

I will be building a 3d printer around an old Lexmark Colorjet printer that I had collecting dust in my closet. The basic idea is to build a 3d object by "printing" a series of slices onto a medium. After each slice is printed, annother layer of the medium is added on top of the previous one and the next slice is printed. In this way the object is created slice by slice from the bottom up.

Here is a basic list of what is needed:
- an old inkjet (my lexmark 5700)
- some linear slides (the higher quality the better, but you can start with drawer slides)
- 3 stepper motors (make sure they are strong enough for the job)
- 3 axis driver board (Xylotex, Gecco, Stepmaster, or similar)
- a power supply of the appropriate amperage
- an assortment of switches, optical-interrupters, relays, wire...
- some timing belts, pulleys, lead scews and nuts
- a variety of construction supplies (lumber, corner braces, screws, epoxy, wood glue, aluminum angle...)
- an old pc (I'm sure you have an old Pentium II or III collecting dust next to that old inkjet)
- software to make it all work

I'm sure I left a bunch of stuff out but I'll go into more detail with each step.

There are, as they say, "Many ways to skin a cat" (apologies to cat lovers). So my solutions are just one of many possible. Please feel free to improve on my humble tinkering.

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