[backlog] August 31, 2019

A project log for The Trash Printer - Version 3

An open-source, low-cost, large-format 3D printer that can print directly from shredded plastic trash instead of filament

Sam SmithSam Smith 10/07/2022 at 21:210 Comments

[ Backlog - This log was adapted from my Patreon, to fill in the details about how this project has developed over the years. Check the link for the full post, and if you appreciate this project, consider supporting it! ]

I spent most of August building a new gantry with a MUCH larger print area, getting it moving, and dialing in the settings. I was actually really surprised how quickly it all went together- the first gantry took me about 11 months to get working, this one only took me about 2 weeks!

So most of my budget this month went to buying little things like lead screws, shaft couplers, and various other parts. The printer is now printing better (and larger!) than ever, but I've pretty much reached the limit of what the motor I'm using can handle, and without more speed and more torque, I can only extrude so fast, which limits how fast I can print and how fat and consistent the layers can be.

So I bought a neat little board called a "Tarocco Board" that acts as a controller that reads the step/direction pulses coming from the 3D printer board, and translates them to control a brushless DC gear motor- the same kind of motor used in cordless drills. These motors are much more powerful for the same size and weight (and much cheaper!) and I'm hoping this improvement will make a big difference in speed and consistency of the extrusion.

I also bought a bed-leveling sensor, so that I can account for warp in the table, although all in all, the new table design is much smoother than the old one, and variations are kept to within +/- 1mm, but still, getting that down to fractions of a millimeter will make a big difference for adhesion and consistency of the prints.

The whole setup I'm using to do this, only costs around $600 to build! Next month, I'm going to focus on bed leveling, and building a new extruder with a more powerful motor, and see if that gets me any closer to printing a surfboard!

Come check out the TrashPrinter in action at the Portland Mini Maker Faire next weekend at OMSI!

Stay tuned, and thank you for your support!

Here is an itemized run down of how I spent this months budget:

$85 - HDPE 6' Folding Table 

$6.55 - 2x Flexible Shaft Couplers 

$7- 6mm-8mm coupler for gear motor

$12.99- 300rpm 24V Brushed DC gearmotor

$25.38 - 2x 400m T8 Leadscrews and nuts 

$11.99 - Silicone Gaskets 

$15.99 - 2” Tri-clamps 

$27- 2x 6’ Aluminum L-bars 

$55- Tarocco Board 

$10- 3/8” Auger