Design Methodology and Development of an Economical 3D Printer 2016-01-0325
Additive manufacturing has experienced rapid growth over a span of 25 years. Additive manufacturing involves the development of a three-dimensional (3D) object by stacking layer upon layer. Conventional machining techniques involve the removal of material. However, this technique differentiates itself from other techniques by means of addition of the material. The integration of CAD with additive manufacturing has offered the ability to create complex structures. Despite its clear benefits, additive manufacturing suffers from a high initial investment. An average cost of an entry level commercial 3D printer is 600$. A low-cost 3D printer has been designed and built for experimental investigation within a budget of 300$. The paramount process of 3D printing involves a combination of interpreting data from CAD files and controlling the motors using this data. The various design considerations while developing the 3D printer have been discussed. The 3D printer developed, provides the user with a build volume of 140*280*100 mm3. This is comparable to an entry level commercial 3D printer. The fabricated printer frame serves to absorb the vibrations and ensures optimum quality prints. The choice of motors to provide the necessary torque, the dependence of layer height on lead screw pitch and belt selection is crucial. The components involved in the construction of 3D printer will be presented and accompanied by brief commentary on the underlying principle of each component. The necessary steps involved in the calibration of the 3D printer are presented before the readers. Through this study, an insight is provided into the basic problems involved while 3D printing and their solutions.