I heard about the MPCNC a few months ago…sounded interesting but I didn’t feel like tying up my 3D printer long enough to print one right away and didn’t have the money to buy pre-printed parts. So kind of put it on my list of “Things that would be nice to do at some point” and forgot about. For all of maybe a week. Then I found a posting on the Flite Test forms about a needle cutter for cutting dollar tree foam and the guy who had designed it was a huge fan of MPCNC and had built several.
My 3D printer was finally tuned in where I was extremely happy with the print quality I was achieving and I had caught up on most of the prints I wanted to do. So digging in on the MPCNC sounded like fun. I figured I could slowly buy up mechanical parts while I took my time printing the printed parts.
So back in February I started printing parts. My plan was to build a 36" x 48" machine so I could also build the foam cutter and cut full 20" x 30" sheets of foam board with it. I understimated just how big that would be. But by March I had all my parts printed and had bought up all the hardware and electronics so was able to test assemble things:
The problem was once I had it together I realized just how big it really was! I have no room in my house for this beast. And I live in one of the hottest habitable parts of the country (Yuma, AZ) so feared that if I kept it in my shed or detached office the summer heat would deform the PLA since there’s no A/C out there and we regularly see weeks at a time of 110F+ in the shade temps - so inside the shed and office it gets even hotter. I also had a problem in that the black PLA I had used was utter junk (I ordered hatchbox from Amazon but was sent esun and it was horribly brittle) things printed in it were breaking - even just sitting on my desk with no stresses they’d develop cracks and break in half
So, I dug in on re-printing everything in PETG instead. I also decided to first assemble it as a smaller “desktop” 24" x 24" build that would just barely fit on my dining room table where I could more easily work on it and learn the basics.
On the PETG parts I went with 4 perimeters to help make up for the PETG not being quite as stiff as PLA, which ended up sucking down the filament faster than I anticipated causing me to run out sooner than expected and introducing more delays. But I took advantage of the sale MakerGeeks was running (2 rolls of any filament shipped for $33 - catch was they pick the colors) and was able to keep going. The Dark Blue and Gunmetal grey PETG I used were from Atomic - great stuff but pricey, The turquoise, and black (Bomber Jacket Brown technically) were from MakerGeeks (I also wound up with a roll of glow in the dark PETG from MG but didn’t use it for any MPCNC parts…yet.) With the extra perimeters and my printing settings it took quite some time to reprint everything. By mid April I had the new Z assembly done:
And by the end of April I was ready with the last of the PETG parts and did a full rebuild:
I spent a few evenings doing wiring, I used ethernet jacks to clean it up and make it easy to disconnect the wiring when moving things around (since this is on my dining room table it has to be moved every evening for dinner!)
Finally on May 1st things started to move:
And by that evening I was able to add a sharpie and do my first real test: