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Building the Pwdr 3D Printer



3D printing is here to stay. After 20 years or so of a life in the shadows, 3D printing has gotten a lot of press in 2012, triggered by the OpenSource FDM printer "RepRap Mendel", and then turned into a blaze by Bre Pettis and his "CupCake". These printers have brought prices down from 60.000 and more Euros to under 500 Euros by providing OpenSource software and hardware kits.

FDM - Fused Deposition Modeling can be understood by imagening a Hot Glue Gun bolted onto a CNC machine. The parts are built from ABS or PLA and have typically a ribbed surface from layering the lines of hot plastic.

But FDM has its limitations. There are many more 3D printing methods out there. One of them uses ink jet print heads to fuse layers of plaster. This method is pretty old and commonly refered to as "Powder bed Printers", or PP. These systems are great for arbitrary shapes as the loose powder supports the hardening parts of the model. Also, powder printers can be made to print 3d models in full color.

So, while there are probably hundreds of OpenSource FDM Printers out there, nobody seems to have published a powder printer. Until summer of 2012.

Pwdr, a great approach to powder printing

Alex Budding designed and built Pwdr as part of his graduation project at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. He published his plans in a very clean way under Creative Commons, which means that we can build our own versions of his printer.

And that's what I am going to do.

Building my own Pwdr

There are two main reasons to build this. First, I want to show my kids (7 and 9) that it is possible to build great things pretty much from scratch. They are interested in programming and elektronics, and they also know how to create 3D models on the computer. A 3D printer seems like the perfect project.

Well, and admittedly, I always wanted one of these mysellf. ;-)

Getting the materials

Alex has put a great BOM online. I am in the process of sourcing all parts locally to avoid taxes and customs. This is ho far I got:

# Description Status Comment
4 Acrylic GS 790x384 8mm OK hardware store (1)
1 Acrylic GS 384x384 5mm OK hardware store (1)
10 Timing pulley GT2 d=9.6mm 6mm OK www.maedler.de (2)
3 GT2 Timing belt 560mm OK www.maedler.de (2)
1 GT2 Timing belt 112.00mm OK www.maedler.de (2)
1 GT2 Timing belt 130.00mm OK www.maedler.de (2)
6 Ball bearing d=8mm 2mm OK www.maedler.de
1 Precision Shaft d=4mm 260mm OK www.maedler.de
2 Precision Shaft d=6mm 220mm OK www.maedler.de
1 Precision Shaft d=10mm 210mm OK hardware store
3 Precision Shaft d=4mm 25mm OK www.maedler.de
2 Precision Shaft d=8mm 500mm OK www.maedler.de
4 Sleeve bearing d=12.70mm 4mm OK www.maedler.de
4 Sleeve bearing d=15.90mm 8mm OK www.maedler.de
6 Sleeve bearing d=12.70mm 6mm OK www.maedler.de
100 Fastenings M3*12 OK hardware store
100 Fastenings M4*12 OK hardware store
100 Square nut M3 OK hardware store
100 Square nut M4 OK hardware store
2 Linear position drive LS41 OK http://de.nanotec.com
2 Lead screw nut OK http://de.nanotec.com
3 Nanotec Stepper Size 42 OK http://de.nanotec.com
1 Arduino Mega 2560 A000047 OK www.farnell.de
1 Arduino Mega Proto Shield A000038 OK www.farnell.de
1 0.1uf Capacitor OK www.farnell.de
1 1.0uf Capacitor OK www.farnell.de
1 240 ohm Resistor OK www.farnell.de
1 4K0 ohm Resistor OK www.farnell.de
2 Darlington Array ULN2003 OK www.farnell.de
1 Linear voltage regulator LM317T OK www.farnell.de
1 Socket FCC Molex OK www.farnell.de
2 BigEasy Driver OK https://www.sparkfun.com
3 EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver OK https://www.sparkfun.com
5 Pololu A4988 OK alternative drivers from http://www.watterott.com
1 HP Black Cartridge C6602A OK www.sullvan.de
1 HP Cartridge Assembly OK www.sullvan.de
1 Power supply 24V OK www.farnell.de
1 ATX power supply 1500W 15A OK www.farnell.de
   Optional Parts
1 LCD Display 2x16 OK https://www.sparkfun.com
8 Pushbuttons OK www.farnell.de
4 End Stops (photoelectric fork sensor) OK www.farnell.de

(1) - I decided to use wood instead of acryllic to keep cost down
(2) - using T2.5 teeth is much cheaper than the original GT2 version

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