Last November (2016) I started building my first project in the workshop, the HyperCube 3d printer. Its been a struggle to complete this post after becoming a father for the second time in January.
3d printers are a great tool to rapidly prototype designs cheaply and easily, building your own printer can be quite challenging, but its something I’ve always wanted to do. I found a design online that was both cheap a easy to build. This will be the start of the a series of posts following my build.
The printer I chose to build is called the HyperCube and was designed By Tech2c on YouTube, I really liked this design because of its simplicity while still fulfilling the requirements of a great 3D printer. This build is based on a CoreXY design, uses a cantilever Z axis for the bed, and the X axis uses light weight anodised aluminium tubes instead of solid steels ones. The frame of the printer is built with T-Slot aluminium extrusion and T-Slot nuts making assembly extremely simple. The aluminium was bought in 1.5 meter lengths and cut down to size to save a little money, I was happy to follow Tech2c exact method of cutting this extrusion using a mitre block, which turned out with precise results.
The aluminium extrusion was down to the correct lengths needed, see table, using a mitre block this kept the aluminium stable and the results were quite precise only a small amount of filing was needed to de-burr and smooth the rough edges.
20 X 20 aluminium extrusion
Printer Frame: T-Slot 2020 Aluminium Extrusion Profiles for X200 x Y200 x Z155 print bed area
Cutting aluminium extrusion with the mitre block
The aluminium extrusion used for the frame build was a slightly different type from the one Tech2c used in his build, the type I acquired was listed as type-I slot 5, this was lost on me, it meant 5 mm slot. The t-slot nuts used required a 6mm slot, this still works ok, however the nuts don’t drop straight in, there’s a slight knack to getting them in and to horizontally lay flat in the T-slot.
Stopping scratches with masking tape
The aluminium was easily scratched, so i covered the lengths in masking tape to protect while it was cut to size.
All frames pieces cut to size
The cut down extrusion pieces were fastened together with aluminium corner brackets, the combination of the T-Slot nuts and these corner brackets make for a really solid frame. I first built up two of the side squares using 340mm for X and 350mm for Z and then using aluminium corner brackets to join the lengths together.
A single side frame
Once the two frames were constructed these were joined together again with two corner brackets to the Y 303mm lengths of extrusion. The two frames were checked with a try square for any deviation in the corner brackets and extrusion cuts that may have cause variations in the cube.
Two single side frames
3d Printed Parts
My 3D printed parts were printed by a local printer I found on 3DHubs called chunky-steveo, 3dhubs is an excellent service and is great if you don’t have access to a printer but need prints for your design, it solved my catch 22 problem when building this printer. The parts took about 10 days to discuss, negotiate a price, print and ship, there is 41 parts in total for this design and these prints are flawless.
My printed parts
Attaching Y axis
Once these two frames are joined together the y axis brackets and axis steel rods could be fitted to the frame, remembering to also add a LM8UU bearings to the steel rod. The front left Y axis bracket is shared by the left stepper motor holder, so I left the fixing loose until the motor holder was ready to fit.
Fitting the Y axis to the frame
Y axis fitted to the frame with the bearings
Assembling the X carriage
The XY joiners need 2 F623ZZ flange bearings with a 20mm m3 hex screw and a m3 nyloc nut. The anodised aluminium rods are clamped in place with 20mm m3 screws as well.
XY joiners assembly
To assemble the X carriage brass bushing are inserted into the bushing holders and screwed to the X carriage frame, this carriage slides along the anodised aluminium rods. The XY joiners along with two 360mm anodised aluminium rods and the X carriage creates the X carriage assembly.
The front of the completed XY assembly The back of the completed XY assembly
When the x carriage assembly has been constructed it’s time to attached it to the y axis bearings. This part was the most time consuming aspect of this design, the XY joiner covers if overtightened may cause the carriage to skew slightly.
XY assembly fitted to the Y axis
To overcome this I first attached the carriage to the bearings and adjusted for the best travel and smoothness to see if any binding was present. Adjusting and turning the x axis anodised aluminium tubes seemed to free up the x carriage at this point the tubes can be clamped slightly to prevent movement. At this point the y axis cover can be attached and tightened equally slowly to ensure an even fit.
Idlers and steppers motor holders
Setting up the idlers
The next step assemble and fit the idlers, which consists of four F623ZZ flange bearings sandwiched together, 35mm m3 screw and nyloc nut.
The completed idlers
The idlers fit to the back of the frame with their bearings facing inwards.
The idlers fitted to the frame
The stepper motor holder are fitted to the front of the frame with the right (Y) motor holder slightly lower than the left (X) motor holder.
The left and right stepper motor holders
The holders simply push up to the Y axis brackets. The left holder uses the bottom fixing of the left Y axis bracket.
The left (X) stepper motor holder and the Y axis bracket
The right holder just pushes against the end of the Y axis holder
The right (Y) stepper motor
Attaching the Z axis
The z axis was pretty easy to fit, once the steel rod holders were fitted the steel rods simply slotted through the holes, I left them loose at this point, since I didn’t know what the exact measurements from the bed would be.
Fitting the Z axis brackets Completed Z axis with 350mm 8mm steel rods