[Project] My CNC / 3D Printer

Okay, the circuits for the NFC module have been sent to SeeedStudio, thanks to them for their efficient and good service: they still remember after one year that they had forgotten to send me a part, and just added that free of charge to my order!

Before the PCB come back, I have a little free time. In the train, instead of playing with kicad, I can make progress on my ebook for french beginners, but I also want to start a big project, something that will be very useful for me in the next years:

I need a 3D printer.

No, what I really need is a CNC router.

No, really, I can’t make my mind.

So both it will be.

I have choosen the eShapeOko. This is a good platform, not so expensive, quite robust with the correct options, and universal. I will be able to convert it from router to 3D printer, to laser cutter, to anything I want, by just swapping the spindle. I will start with a dremel tool, but I’ll then build an extruder and a laser head.

I’m aware that it’s a big project. At the Electrolab Hackerspace, I see lots of people spending a lot of time to ajdust their printers before they can print anything serious. I know that a lot of work is waiting for me.

But that’s okay, with my DIY ambitions, robotics, and such, having a rapid prototyping tool at home will be invaluable. I will choose all the good options available with the eShapeOko kit, so that I get the most robust machine. I want to be able to work wood, plastics, and maybe aluminium, even if this requires the minimum speed.

I’m also ready to make this machine available to my maker friends that need to print and route things. I’m not ready for that yet, but I know that giving a hand to my friends is what I want to do.

Here is what I will buy after I get my birthday present (:D) :

  • eShapeOko kit with options: double x axis, double y drive, extended length, nema23 motors
  • 4 nema23 motors (now ordered)
  • Pololu motor drivers hooked to an arduino to run grbl
  • A Raspbery might be introduced somewhere.
  • The spindle will start with my current dremel tool, that will be ok for wood carving and cutting.
  • A work table, probably 50×60 cm, made with thick wood and everything required to store the unused spindles and accessories.
  • A plexiglas case, to prevent the dust from going everywhere in our flat. And a vacuum cleaner port…

This setup will allow me to cut and drill MDF boards, which is the target number one.

Later, I will pursue target no. 2: 3D printing, which will require a lot of additional work and parts:

  • hotplate
  • extruder with mounting option that will fit where the spindle goes. I plan to hook it to the main Z rail. I will probably ask some help to my friends at Electrolab.

I already have additional ideas: a more powerful spindle to mill aluminium, gearboxes to increase motor torque and resolution, I will have more!

Of course I will share all the next steps with you here. Let’s get to work!