The idea is to build a printer based on the ideas in Lulzbot's TAZ printer31. The TAZ is basically the same as a Reprap Mendel 9012, but it has a vertical X-axis for the print head carriage. My plan is to use a horizontal carriage (like on Mendel 90), but since I`m building it with Makeblock, it will be fairly easy to switch this later.

I'll use only Makeblock parts if possible and anything that is suitable using just standard parts. This means that I'll try to build all linear parts with the linear blocks rather than the typical LMU8 used in other printers.

I already have an Ultimaker & a Printrbot, so I'm not just building any old printer. The build volume should be huge (almost 30x30x30cm) and the hotend will be from E3D in the UK. The E3D hotend13 can reach the 260C required to print Nylon without melting. I can't do that with the other two printers.

I got great help from the Makeblock crew getting hold of parts and the first thing I did was to build the main frame. It`s really quite solid! Here's me standing on top of it in the Bitraf8 hackerspace lab.


After going through the parts and testing some ideas, I solved how to fasten the Z-axis (up/down) steppers and linear rails this first evening.

Here's the frame before I attached the linear rails.


Today it was time to start on the Y-axis. I want it to be detachable for transport (like on the TAZ) and fairly wide so I can easily fit the build surface onto it. The first annoyance was that the two 24x24 beams will not fit perfectly hole-wise. Bummer. I`ll have to use the main holes on one side and then the center-slot on the other side. Both will work, but I had hoped for it all to align.

I didn't have any beams that were wide enough, but I've joined some 8x24 beams in a way that looks good. Two nylon spacers at the end of the linear rails make these fit as well. Looks good!

In this picture you can also see the Z-axis steppers that I fitted the day before. Now it's gliding, so next up it's time to add the stepper that moves it. The first three designs I did for this, had a major flaw - they used the 18T pulley. No matter how I tried to force the belt stay onto the pulley, it still slipped :(

Now if I only had a slightly bigger pulley, this would not happen. The ideal would be a 32T pulley or something like that, but that's not part of the Makeblock system (yet). The next size is the 62T pulley, but this one is missing pulley slice's so I'll have to use the 90T version then. Oh! I also have some of those new Nylon pulleys with bearings! Let's see...

Yeah. This will work. Next problem - building a platform that clears these rods and pulleys. I soon realised that I didn't have the most suitable beams at hand. I tried lots of variants, but this is the solution I settled on:

This will do for now, but I'll need to change this a bit. Hopefully I'll get some extra parts from Makeblock.no(my local reseller) tomorrow, but in the mean time I'll work on the Z-axis. In the back, you can see the 30x30 cm wooden board that will hold the heater.