Addition of single board computer

A project log for Printing bones on a DIY powder bed 3d printer

This project focuses on using building a budget powder bed 3d printer capable of printing bones, and creating the needed ink and powder.

JureJure 05/09/2017 at 20:100 Comments

Few days ago i wrote a little bit about problems that new printhead will bring. This is why I am now prioritizing the "replacement" of a pc with an SBC. It will make things much more cleaner and easier to use. I also wrote, how I want the workflow to be. This is why I don't just rush with this upgrade. I want this to work over LAN. By saying this I am avoiding usage of any monitors, keyboards and mice connected to printer. If I were to decide that I would use Beaglebone Black, I would probably include the connection over usb (BBB can be accesed with PC over usb).

To use an SBC i will have to "port" the current code to Linux. I would then have to change USB serial communication for SPI (shouldn't be too hard to do) and adapt whole program to send new commands. I would also have to set up an php server to host the dashboard, which would have a FTP protocol to send the file to the printer. I will probably stay at using svg files for now as slicing on the sbc itself is a bit too chalenging for me at the moment. But it will be done nontheless. Also as I have mentioned my greater plans, it could be necessary for slicing to be done on pc.

Current plans show that now I will have 3 separate units instead of one. Previously I had only arduino mega with the needed motor drivers, board with relays and a printhead. Now I will have the SBC and 2 separate maple minis plus the required motor drivers and other boards. To organize the system a bit I might be making new PCBs, where one could be something like RAMPS, but for Maple Mini, and one would be for the printhead (something like a breakout board). Ideally I would embed the STM32F103 microcontroller on the printhead driver board itself (this is also in the works, but it will have to wait as a new version of the driver board is being designed). I will also make a PCB for the SBC, but this will come later as I am yet to decide on what I want to use.