Lowrider v2 as a large scale 3D printer

I’m thinking about putting an extruder head on the lowrider v2 and using it as a large scale 3D printer. Has anyone tried this? Does the modified firmware still allow the Rambo or Archem boards to be used this way? I plan to use end stops and may have to customize a bit. Not sure if wheels alone will be stable enough after a few hundred layers. They may walk to a side over time. Putting them in a "V"grove may solve this. I’m not sure if there is an available stepper driver left for the extruder or if they are all used up by Lowrider v2 XYZ stepper motors. If so is there an optional way to wire up the Lowrider to also drive an extruder?

Thanks, Leonard

Theresrno technical reason this wouldn’t work. The double axes of X amd Z can be wired in series so even the mini rambo can run three axes and an extruder.

Ryan doesn’t have precongifured firmware for it. It’s probably easier to start with the mpcnc 3d printing firmware.

I wouldn’t suspect the wheels are going to give you trouble until they do. A groove will fix them if they do.

The biggest pains about this are:

  1. Printing big things takes a lot longer.
  2. Getting the bed flat is key in 3D printing and the tolerances are much tighter than CNC. You have to solve that.
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Thanks jeffeb3,

I figure a Volcano nozzle with a good size orifice (.8 to 1.20mm) will help cut that time to build down. Some things just need a bigger machine such as trying to print a skateboard in one piece.

I have some ideas for the table, It will probably be aluminum tooling plate 1/4 to 3/8 thick for a 2’ x 4’ table. Leveling feet can be used to push up or pull down the plate where needed. A micrometer mounted to the head with a little G-code to move it to test points around the table should make leveling relatively easy. First time is the hardest.

Depending on how ridged the mounting is I might be able to just place a sheet of MDF on top of the plate when I want to use the Lowrider as a CNC router. Silicone sheet on top of the table would work for a low power laser.

To heat such a large table I would use separate PID controllers and divide it into two zones or more. That way I can turn off the heaters I don’t need when printing smaller parts.

I’m going to give it a shot.

Thanks again for the comments.

Check out Dui’s MPCNC made in China build. He has an mpcnc he’s built for huge prints. He’s learned a lot and shared a lot.

There are concrete 3D printers used for house construction. The trick is finding an extruder with a large nozzle tip. I guess it can be a pla reel to feed it but it would be a large spool or a bat that feeds into the extruder with a preheating system so your pla or whatever you’re using can flow better into the extruder.

If you come across such an extruder, please post where and how much so I can get one.

I think even with the .8, it’s still going to take days to print anything. 5.0 nozzle would shorten that time significantly. This is at the industrial production level now. The MPCNC would work just as well I think.

Here’s one I found https://massivedimension.com/collections/extruders

$4995.00. Uses 2 pounds an hour of pla

I have seen that extruder made by Massivedimension. Cost is prohibitive but if you have the money to burn why not.

If I was to go with a nozzle that large to save money I would buy an inexpensive filament extruder and make my own filament and custom nozzles in the 4-5mm range. It’s not hard to make your own. There are lots of plans out on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=filament+extruder&dwh=315d3355b17a6fc

Another unit you may have interest in I found on Kickstarter:

CERAMBOT, This is a extruder head that pumps out clay. I pledged on this campaign months ago and they are close to shipping. At $39 to $99.00 for a pro version its worth looking at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/210413417/cerambot-the-most-affordable-ceramic-3d-printer?ref=nav_search&result=project&term=Cerambot

The problem with big filament is big layer height. Yes it saves you time to print but the surface finish becomes a problem if you can’t live with the steps. Personally after working as a designer/modelmaker for the last 30+
years I want as little sanding and finishing as possible.

The MPCNC is a good design but the simplicity of the Lowrider v2 draws me to it. I can see it being hoisted up off the table to the ceiling getting it out of the way so the table can be used for other things.

Its a great design!

The issue I saw with the large concrete extruders was the same problem with the MK7 extruder, Layers. However, one concrete company created side wedges that smoothed the layers creating a flat surface.

I like to invent stuff and at least figure out solutions to problems. This is one of those. Pellets drop down into the heater tube. PLA or whatever drains into the extruder, down into the nozzle in a liquid state. The PLA passes through the nozzle onto the surface while moving. As the whole system moves on the X/Y axis, a smoother plate smooths the sides.

The only problem then is changing the direction of the smooth to follow the direction of travel of the nozzle and layer. I was thinking of an RC system with two servos. that activates as the machine changes direction. I don’t have an engineering degree so this is beyond my purview.

A simpler way may be a couple of spring-connected rudders that pivot 360 degrees, smoothing as they follow the nozzle layer. When a direction change occurs, the change directions as they drag in the new direction.

I don’t think all this is so complicated as to warrant $4995 for a pellet melter. Anyone with some engineering background is free to PM me and see if we can make this happen. Check out the first 30 seconds of this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yv-IWdSdns

Mike

I totally agree. 5k is too much for that. I like Cerambot but like plastic, it still has the layers. And it uses air pressure to pump the mud through the tube. For the price, it’s okay but the layers mean someone is going to have to smooth the product out or leave them in. Smoothing will distort the item unless performed by the machine. Human hands will exert different pressures causing unevenness. The 5K model does the same thing so what’s the benefit of spending so much for the item? I know, right?

The big question is how to get the CPM to send a signal to the smoother blades so they will follow along and not distort or interfere with the output material adversely. Know an engineer willing to work on something like this?

Thanks

I like that first unit in the video. Looks like it has to stay perpendicular to the surface being printed. Good for pots or vase but what happens when you try to print a compound surface? They are also printing ceramic which stays soft until it dries out. Plastic gets hard a lot faster and will build up sticking to the blades. There are methods of smoothing a surface by ironing it with the tip of the nozzle without extruding any plastic. With the right nozzle shape you might be able to do this to an edge before moving on to the next layer. Lots of programming which I’m not good at.

The concrete printer was interesting in that it put out a very square bead of material. A large diameter nozzle with side walls equal to its diameter may do the same with plastic. There will be times when those walls get in the way though so they need to be able to individually flip or pull out of the way. Just remember the rule of law in the design world… “Keep it simple stupid” If you come up with a $5K solution no one will buy it.

The cerambot has two versions. the cheap one uses air pressure alone while the Pro version has a stepper motor in the head that meters out the clay for even flow.

I thought it was interesting. The smoother blade would have to be hot enough to keep pla flowing. A plastic injection system is needed to keep the plastic moving instead of the current heat/gravity fed systems like we use now.

It wouldn’t be hard to build. And I like the shaped nozzle idea. That might be better than the little blade in the video.