I should have studied the last few days. Why I tell you that is because everyone knows that productive stuff can come out of that, except for the stuff that should actually be done.
So, I browsed Kickstarter (of course) and if anyone did that in the last few days/weeks, you will have noticed that there is a ton of 3D printers raising some money there.
One of them specifically caught my attention though. I told you about the different types of printers here (not so sure if all of it is till or ever was accurate) some time ago. This one uses Stereolithography to harden a resin. Here comes the cool part: It is only 100$! And it is called the Peachy Printer, how cute!
His approach to building it is quite a makeshift “Maker” one, he set it as a goal to build the cheapest 3D printer possible. He achieved that by just scrapping all the design paradigms of what has been done before. He himself says that he is doing it not by using cheaper parts in the same design but rather getting rid of them.
A couple of features stand out with his pragmatic approach:
1.) As you might or might not know, the z-axis has to move in 3D printing (duh… 3! dimensions!), so the layer it is building moves vertically.
With the other “affordable” 3D printer using stereolithography, it works by the object being attached to a build platform and the object in progress moves together with the platform itself. The machine I am referring to is the Form1 by the way.
This one works differently as you will be able to read out of my highly professional exact plans here.
In this variant of the stereolithography printer, the resin floats on top of water, handling the z-axis by raising the water-level. The technique itself is not new, but it is a very nice way to replace expensive motors and plates. Well, now you are handling a device that should be very accurate by just attaching it to your kitchen-sink and turning some valves until you think the speed is right?
Of course not. Silly you.
2.) Do you see the little antennas in the top left of my awesome sketch? (yes, there is some information in there.)
Both of those get touched by every drop of water that enters the valve. By doing that they close a small circuit for a split second. The signal that results from that gets transferred to the microphone-jack of your Laptop, and by doing so, the script this guy wrote for Blender detects the rise of the water level in the tank.
That’s one end of the money-saving ideas by him. The other one is, that the data that has to go TO the printer comes from your headphone-jack. This allows the printer to skip on the expensive micro-controllers. Flipside is that it can’t turn off though, it only transmits 2 signals, x and y, no “on” or “off” whatsoever.
Unfortunately, I have too little hands-on experience to say how big of a problem that is, but you might be able to get some Information out of the comments here, who knows =)
In the end, I will probably get a “Peachy Printer”, just to fuck around with it!
You could have also just watched the Kickstarter video instead of reading this by the way. Just putting it out there.