This week’s selection is “Designing 3D Printers” by Neil Rosenberg.
There are those who simply want to use 3D printers, and those who want to build 3D printers. And then there are those who want to design 3D printers from scratch, the ultimate 3D printing challenge.
This book is for them.
Rosenberg’s short 200-page book takes one on a complete journey through the design aspects of a 3D printer. While beginning with a very basic overview of the technology of the popular FFF process, he then shows step-by-step how one can design each of the required elements for a working FFF 3D printer.
The first step is to build a frame, and it’s a more complex task than you might imagine. Rosenberg explains why the frame must be rigid and how to make it so. He also explains the critical importance of ensuring the frame is truly square. Rosenberg shows the different types of standard components one can use to build the frame, and explains the trade-offs between them.
Each of the following sections offers similar insight. Rosenberg then covers the remaining subsystems in the order they should be designed, including:
- Motion Control
- Drive Systems
- Over/Under Constrained Motion
- Cartesian Output
- Hot End
- Print Bed
- Motor Drivers
- Input Methods and Displays
- Power Supplies & Wiring
If you’re able to follow his lead to create a functional 3D printer design, and then build it, Rosenberg then discusses the basic configuration steps to fire up the device, including bed leveling and print tuning.
There’s even a section discussing “Where to put the filament spool”, which is an often neglected design aspect from some 3D printer manufacturers, where filament stowage seems to be an afterthought.
Finally, Rosenberg completes the book with a comprehensive list of deeper sources of information, including online pages, videos, and manufacturers. He’s even put together a short Google Doc with links to some of them.
If you’re even considering designing your own 3D printer, or want to find out exactly how challenging it could be for someone with your skill level, this book is a great place to start.