Program The rantings of a lunatic Scientist

Lego 3D Printer: XY Carriages nearly complete

3D Printing

This morning I was neck deep in code writing a Bi-Directional Path Tracer and this evening I’m building a 3D Printer out of Lego… If only I had the attention span and patience to actually finish a project before starting another. Oh well.

Continuing on from my previous post, in the end I actually trudged down the garden to the shed and pulled all my old Lego Technic out of storage. A quick session of sorting out what kind of bits I had and then thinking about how I could adapt the designs I had bad in CAD to work within the limitations of those parts I decided to just delve in and see what I could make. I was surprised at how much Lego I actually had, but then again my family was always really into Lego & Meccano; and I was quite fond of Knex too come to think of it.

As it turns out the amount of Lego Technic I do have is more than enough to build the frame and mechanics for the first two axes of the Printer. There are some crucial areas however, where I have ran out of very important bits needed for this specific application. For instance the flat toothed strips used to make the tracks for the carriages to walk on were in short supply. I managed to place them on the top carriage such that the X axis gondola can fully utilize them with no waste. However after laying the X axis track there were only four of the tooth strips left; meaning that for now each side of the Y axis tracks only has two toothed segments. I’ll need to get more of them to finish the Y axis along with some gears and extra chain for connecting the cross axle to the walking gears.

It was possible to make some improvements to the initial design during this first build step. Namely the Y axis walker which holds the X axis and gondola is considerably thinner than in the original design, however the gondola still has nearly the same amount of movement. This was achieved partly by making the two connections to the Y axis tracks thinner than their originals, which allows the gondola to travel much closer to the ends of the track. The condensed size also keeps the frame more rigid than a wider variant would have been.