Work on the child printer (pictured above) begins in earnest. At the time the picture was taken only its y-axis drive train and base had been constructed. Nevertheless, with the benefit of an existing 3d printer, it becomes immediately obvious to me that construction of the child printer is far easier than its parent’s construction ever was. Overall, the greatest improvement has simply been the removal of mental overhead presented by the untested design of the parent printer. Questions I found myself constantly returning to on the parent printer (e.g. structural integrity, motor torque) are virtually eliminated now that there is the benefit of a design that has already been tested. Pre-designed printouts remove the need to think about the design and construction of a part to accomplish specific purposes. Printouts, while still crude when coming from the 0.8 mm nozzle, are still sturdy and capable of accomplishing their purposes. So far, I’ve found only the gears of the extruder are beyond the reach of the parent printer at this point, but plans are in the works to craft a better nozzle from scavenged parts that is capable of printing at the resolution needed for these finer pieces.
The child printer takes its design from the Prusa i3. The design is much less rigorously tested in comparison to the venerable Prusa Mendels before it, however uncertainty in design is not something I’m unfamiliar with. 🙂 More importantly, the Prusa i3 strips the number of printed parts to a minimum and shifts a significant portion of the frame to a wood or steel based construction. These two features make the Prusa i3 a no brainer given my current setup. Reducing the number of printed parts reduces the demand placed on an as-of-yet untested 3d printer, and a partial wood construction leverages the existing capability of my modest carpenter’s workshop.