New 3D Printer

I do at present have 8 PCB’s + 3 designs I have not ordered yet in my modular control system, so I have a far to large backlog of electronics that need testing and code. The difference with my last 12 x PWM Hat is however that it target a project – my upgraded 3D printer.

I purchased a Prusa i3 which basically is a clone of a generation 1 design and I want to use my modular control system on this one. I actually have 3 Arduino based control systems of which 2 used a fake FTDI chip that caused problems. But, I want to add features not available in the old control system.

Multi-material support means more than one extruder. This is mostly a mechanical re-design, but I need extra Stepper motor controller and logic to handle it.

Automatic calibration. Those of you who have used an early version of a 3D printer know how much work that goes into calibrating and ensuring that the printer is correctly configurated. This can be done automated by sensing the tilting of the plate using a “Z-Sensor”.

Torque based end-stops means that I do not use end-stop sensors, but sense current increase as the CNC machinery hit mechanical stoppers. This is goodbye to a lot of problems and wiring.

In the illustration above I assume I will use 5 modules to make a modular control system. One Wifi module that can be Raspberry PI or ESP32 based, a XPortHub to access USB, MMC and HMI. MMC can be used to spool jobs. A 12 X PWM used as 4xStepper to control X,Y and 2xZ Steppers. A 2nd 12 x PWM to control 2 x Extruder feeders and 3 x temperature heaters for heatbed and extruders, and finally a 32 x IO to get temperature sensors and a Z-distance sensor. This is just an early illustration.

The Z-distance sensor I want to use is a small laser that can sense the distance from Extruder to the plate. This can during calibration sense the tilting of the base plate and adjust G-Code parameters so it get correct.

This is an excellent test bed for my modular control system. It is so many excellent All-In-One systems for 3D Printers and my favorite is the new MK3 from Josef Prusa so we could have done this much easier. But, I need a test bed and this is an excellent start to drive development.

Leave a Reply