Building a large Scale 3d printer for Calicum Carbonate

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One of the funniest things about learning and exploring technology is how you can implement what you have learned in different ways. The advancement of microchips has made building crazy stuff very inexpensive and the software development community is the greatest when it comes to sharing and working together to advance these capabilities.

History: Localad has been involved in building many projects using microcomputers. Like so many other people and companies we started with a 3d printer build. Then built another with that machine. (Tevo Tarantula). Advancement in designs and upgrades to the elements has moved this hobby into a full blown industrial revolution.

We Print stuff. Sometimes our designs and sometimes others, I mean theres like 2 million printable things online.

This time we are going to print a concrete media with the attempt to build an artificial coral structure

As with many things we build there are no plans, just working off experience and copying designs from other builds that work, and with this one we are using some discarded 4040 material

Doing the research the closest build I found was this one

Concrete Artist

Of course there are alot of components ans different ways to get to the same result. Here is some of the components for the build

Duet3 6HC this controller allows for the use of a great interface that works using the internet
the amp max for the drivers is 6amp so we are building from this. A single power supple that is 24v but can deliver 20amps so hopefully driving the 4 motors should be smooth , the motors max out at 4 amps.

We are designing a mud pump inhouse using a large screw incased in pvc pipe. This will be some real R&D. This is an example of the direction we are heading. The motor sizing could pose a problem depending on the moving od the media , that is we are also working with developing a natural calcium carbonate mud. The duet3 has expansion capabilities and also has canbus for networking if needed. I assume a external driver for the mud pump will be required with a separate power supply. This will all become evident when we start turning the screw


ball screws for the transmission, NEMA 23 motors

That’s it for now, this post is about Building! Look at our Fixit site and inquire about how you can get involved in Tech.

Progress has been made, live injected itself into the project but getting back on track

Mock up of z axis right. Both sides same, motor drives up
brackets made out of aluminum plate
Pump screw 3d printed
Standard PVC Pipe

Duet3 installed and power applied

Updating again

Getting power to the controller opened up some new issues.

  1. Is 24v enough –updated to 36v 16amp
  2. z axis motors not strong enough and gantry is to heavy—replaced the smaller motors to the larger, same as the y axis. Also reduced the gantry weight by removing one cross bar and rail

Our building process is not standard practice.

Disclamor for unusual build methods and designs. If you wonder why we build the way we do it’s because our builds use recycled materials. It’s not design and build, it’s identify materials available and use what you have. We collect quality metals and process them for reuse. An example would be quality computer cases for thick formable sheet aluminum. Lots of disposed hosehold appliances have stanless sheetmetal and endless angle steel.

Gantry mods to reduce weight gets results

The upgraded motors are solid, my idea of using the smaller nema23 340oz proved to be incorrect. I underestimated the weight of the vertical lift and power required.
The objective here is to run the machine with a complete controller solution. The duet3 6HC runs around 100 bucks for a clone and it has 6 drivers that can put out almost 4 amps each. This build is taking the specs to the upper limit but that’s part of the fun. Keeping it affordable will allow more builders if this ever come out of prototype.

Moving On!

The gantry needs to be wired up and a nozzle mount designed, and with that a new mission. Hopefully it is all assembled and I can run a file by the weekend. Once this build is solid I will finish the pump concept.

The pump will be run from a daughter card attached via CanBus that will have a separate driver and will allow a separate power supply. I designed the pump to be built with standard hardware store PVC pipe. It starts as 2 inch but the screw can be scaled up to any size and the length is whatever works. I envision several pumps running at the same time feeding a single nozzle but I cant estimate flow and volume without actually having an assembled pump and a solution to push through it.

It’s obvious the machine structure build is just the first step and probably was the easy part. Finding a medium that is the right material, weight, and flow is gonna be challenging.

Moving axis — rough assembly–Moving to end stops

ends stops are relatively simple, just microswitches for x and y. The z endstop is still under consideration depending on the nozzle design. The X axis has a rough plate installed and will be shaped when the nozzle is installed

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