The idea for this printer is something I have been toying with for a while. The toner is dispensed into a bin and the bin is vibrated to level it out. A stationary laser is then directed towards a servo controlled first surface mirror. The Mirror is moved to direct the beam, which is set with just enough power to melt the material that you are using. The process repeats until the item is printed. The non-melted toner acts as support as the item is being printed.
Other materials could also be used for the "printing" material as long as it can be melted with the laser.
Supplies in my initial investigation:
Laser safety glasses for the 405nm wavelength (MOST IMPORTANT ITEM ON THE LIST)
1.3w 405nm diode laser with controller, power source and heat sink
2 RC servos
Picmicro with proper code to control the servos as well as receive direct communication from a connected PC
1 first surface mirror
1 hinge to hold the mirror
Lots of JB weld :P
Sad when life gets in the way of things, this summer has just been too busy to keep up with everything. Two jobs and a family among other things that take priority ^^. I will continue working on these projects as time and money permits and updating them here, but I guess I wont be in the next round for the hackaday prize. Thank you everyone for the skull :)
I spent the weekend working on the code to control the servo mechanism, when it gets closer to completion I will post it. I have been contemplating on using a thin sheet metal for the mirror mount hardware instead of the Lexan I had originally considered. The reasoning for this is ease of cutting without cracking. I have also picked up a heat-sink that will be suitable for the laser mirror mount. This needs to be drilled at an angle and a set screw made so that the laser can be mounted in properly.
Today I went out and purchased components to start this build.
Parts list so far: Milk crate, I am going to use this for the frame as they are strong and cheap. I plan on replacing it with one of the older ones when I find one as they are even stronger :) I got the idea for this earlier today and was counting the seconds until I got off of work to pick one up. Another idea is to use an aquarium for this, however I would need to find one made of plexiglass to make cutting with a Rotary tool easier :P
2 Servos, a futaba s3004 and s3003 as that is what they had for cheap in the bulk buy bin. 10 dollars each.
Servo control horns, about 15 dollars.
Lexan to use as the base for the servos and mirror mount. This will make it easy when I decide to move to a new crate. 5 dollars
a 3/4" to 1" pipe fitting, this is going to be my temporary laser mounting while I rough out the code using a small 605nm 5mw laser diode. When the time comes and I get a larger milk crate I will setup a proper aluminum or copper heatsink for the laser. 1 dollar
Screws and other little odds and ends 5 dollars.
The triangle bottom mount will also be lexan, I simply had them cut a side off of the piece I purchased.
I was considering a simple calibration system for this setup and have settled on using a photoresistor arrangement, maybe one in each corner to detect the laser and verify alignment after you manually set the first one. Just waiting for payday to go pick up a suitable frame for it, either an aquarium or maybe a milk crate will work. I have also been considering a different setup for the servos and mirror mount, doing away with the ball joint and instead going for a triangle pattern with one corner fixed and the other two controlled by servos for X and Y. Much like the mirror mount in my CO2 laser. Then all I have to do is glue a mirror to it and mount the laser at an angle pointing slightly up. For the initial development of the driver I will most likely use a picmicro as I already have some of those on hand.
Sorry for the rough sketch, I didn't have time to build it to scale or paint it.