Matt's 3D Printer
Summer 2013 - Matt Robertson
3D printers have become popular for hobbyists in the last few years. I wanted to build one to use to make kits and enclosures for my various electronics projects.
Manner of Operation
My 3D printer is a popular design on the internet called the Mendel90. I purchased it as a kit and assembled all of the parts (which took about 10 hours). A custom Arduino circuit board controls the machine, which consists of 5 motors (1 to move side-to-side, 1 to move forward-and-back, 2 to move up-and-down, and 1 to push plastic filament), 1 heated end with a nozzle (which extrudes controlled amounts of plastic), a heated bed (which helps the plastic stick to the surface as it prints), and the frame and hardware to make it move.
A 3D model is drawn up on the computer, then software "slices" the model into layers, which are "printed" one on top of another to generate a 3D model.