This year my friends and I were contacted by IDEXX, a large manufacturing company. They donated several pallets of mechanical slides and servo motors to us. With the ridiculous amount of these I set out to create 3D printers for my school district. Designing completely from scratch on “Solid Works” I started the development. Pictured above is the most recent prototype. I was able to utilize the motors that we were given by modifying off the shelf servo motor drivers for RAMPS style 3d printers. The only parts that we had to purchase were the control board, stepped belts, lead screws and the heated bed and extruder. My design has proved to be easy to implement, requiring very little fabrication, mostly just assembly. Until recently the project was going extremely smoothly. I have just begun to run into software/hardware issues with the control board we purchased. After a solid 3 days of messing with the software I have decided that it is a hardware problem, and have purchased a newer different control board.
This project has been very beneficial to my knowledge of the manufacturing process. I have designed, negotiated for grants, troubleshot, and will hopefully soon begin production. The Z axis uses lead screws and two motors instead of one linked to the other to allow automatic bed leveling using end stops. The X and Y axes uses a belt to prevent any backlash that could occur. Each will also sport an end stop for ease of use. The final product will have some of the 3D printed parts replaced by CNC fabricated equivalents, to provide more support and reliability of print. The entire 3D printer will be in an enclosure with a fan and a duct to vent toxic gasses out nearby windows.