3D Printer Farm nearing completion

Written by Walter Schreppers on 12/2/2013

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My 3 Fully callibrated printers running now with printerface : Little history on how I got to this point:

I started with a blue prusa version 1. This was with felt tips and during the skeinforge days, was a major challange to get working good enough to print new parts. Problems with it where the felt-tips instead of lm8uu bearigs are a real pain as it required constant recallibration of platform because the felts loosen during prints. I also did not have a heatbed in the beginning + I soldered my own electronics from scratch. A lot of it just on small strips of protoboard which were then added deadbug style onto an arduino mega.

In the picture you can see the mosfet that drives the heated bed which ofcourse did not work the first time and I had to go buy a new heftier one. But after that this worked really nicely and powered my heated bed which would allow me to print ABS parts which in turn would allow me to truly start replicating new printers in my own home.

To make things worse I had 3 different hot-ends that either broke or leaked. First challange was making a new gear because the original one was warped and caused long prints to fail:

Printing a spool holder here, as my blue version was starting to print reliable. You can also see here the red heated bed is in operation and I switched from pla to abs. I did however mostly print in my kitchen which allowed me to use the 'built in fume extractor' that is present for cooking ;)

Finally I managed to get the blue prusa to print all parts for a second iteration in black with many parts improved and carriage for metal lineair bearings instead of felt-tips:
The black prusa was my first truly self-replicated printer I made, already some parts updated from original prusa and solved most issues I had with my first printer, better stepper motors, also using metal lineair bearings made a big difference in reliability:
Improving parts in openscad, this one allows belt tensioning: On this second reprap I printed the WalleBOT v2 (white one in the middle):
WalleBOT v2 during construction (prusa with allmost all parts except foot vertexes tweaked/updated from thingiverse and openscad modded parts) this one not only prints much better it's also easily assembled in one day:
This 3rd iteration printed four more printers, 1 I sold on last month and this sprouted the idea for a webshop 3dkits.be and I'm now printing new parts for the original blue prusa, iterated by printing upgrades/spares for themselves ;).
Here's a green WalleBOT v2.1 printed plate 1 done:
Jef assembling his WalleBOT during the first 3DKits.be workshop!
Few hours later nearing completion of frame:
Callibrating and first prints on the workshop built wallebot printer (a bit of bad luck, we had a malfunctioning psu and took off the heatbed to test. Luckily after changing the power supply, everything worked like a breeze and the first workshop was a success):
Back to printing more printers, here printing the printrbot (did not have fotos during construction but you can see it finished on the right in top picture of this post ;)):
Here's I vid I made during the printing of first parts of the black prusa (notice my home-made electronics just soldered directly to an arduino mega, yes no expensive rambo or ramps boards here ;):
Compare it to using 'out of the box' electronics, and proper linear bearings and better steppers for much smoother printing nowadays (on the right I'm experimenting with abs-juice straight to glass, on left I'm using kapton tape. Kapton tape gives best results on heatbed. The abs juice worked for this yoda print but I wouldn't use it for a full build plate as you see it's got some warping in front left corner happening):
Prints with 0.4 mm nozzle, 0.25 mm layers:

Eventually I sold the blue prusa frame and upgraded all but the black one into newer iterations (one suitcase printer, another prusa but this time a MK2 version). The black one I kept to this day as it was my truly homegrown printer from scratch that actually performed really well. It printed using 3mm filament and I keep it around whenever I stumble upon a cheap 3mm filament spool. All my newer printers however switched to 1.75mm filament as this allows for printing with an extruder which is not geared down and overal is more reliable and is easier to calibrate.

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