If you have any questions about this project, contact John *** H E R E ***
all the electronics are mounted and operating as desired. The it has been minimally calibrated and seems to functions with ReplicatorG (without a print head) on all axises.
- Locate positions for endstops —→Done - jrsphoto
- Based on endstop locations, make endstop circuit boards based on schematics in the documentation
- Mount DC power in on back of machine
- Connect internal fan to aid in cooling
- rebuild stepper driver mounting plate from 1/8” Aluminum
- Design and machine a universal mount for the Z-axis to allow mounting many types of heads
- Design and machine plastruder head for universal mount
The idea is simple. Take this rather nice, 3-axis liquid handling platform and turn it into an accurate 3d printer platform. The thought was to use the Makerbot Motherboard, the Makerbot Extruder Controller, and and three IM483 stepper drivers. We were unable to use the Makerbot stepper drivers as our motors need 3A/phase drive current. Adam has lent us the Makerbot Motherboard and extruder controller to test this out. For our initial tests we wont have an actual extruder head connected to the extruder controller.
On the software side, just like the Makerbot, we use ReplicatorG. Adam pointed out that the ReplicatorG.xml file will need to be edited to reflect the new size of the x, y, and z axis on the new platform to be functional.
Documentation for the component parts of the Liquid Handler, Makerbot parts, motor drivers, and steppers
ReplicatorG setup and configuration
Other images of the device and our progress can be found *** H E R E ***
Spent a few hours today gutting the orginal electronics from the liquid handler and documenting information on the stepper motors. There are two internal power supplies, one being 24v for motor power supply, the other is a 12v supply for the logic board. I left both in for now. The 24v supply continue be used in the conversion but not the 12v supply as the Makerbot Motherboard uses a standard ATX supply. All the information collected was then put into this wiki for its own safty. Spent another hour or so working on adding content to the wiki.
Made the mounting platform for the IM483 stepper motor drivers. For now I made it out of a thin sheet of plywood but this will need to be re-manufactured from thin aluminum for proper grounding and heat dissipation. Looked into making the front panel to mount the Makerbot Motherboard. I would be ideal to make this from aluminum but I was unable to locate scraps in the shop that would have been large enough. I'll come back to this on Wed. - jrsphoto
Before stoping in today I stopped by ABC Electronics to pick up the current limiting resistors for the stepper drivers (IM483). I also picked up a 14×14 inch sheet of copper clad board for use as the front panel.
- Built front panel from copper clad board for front panel.
- Lengthened motor power supply, and stepper motor wires. Used same colors where possible.
- Connected motor power supply wires to stepper drivers.
- Connected step, dir, and enable signels from Makerbot Motherboard to stepper drivers.
- Connected ATX power supply to Makerbot Motherboard and extruder controller
- Connected +5v to P1 (logic side) of IM483 stepper drivers
With everything now connected we were able to do our first power-on test. turning on the power supplies we noticed the motors energize, a good sign. Careful inspection revealed no major issues.
Connected USB to computer and after some software config changes we were able to get ReplicatorG to connect.. Tried to jog the x, y, and z axis's but they were not moving. Double checked wiring and notice the the enable signals between the Makerbot Motherboard and the IM483 drivers are inverted. We will need to invert them so for now we just removed the enable signal from the IM483. As soon as we did this we were able to jog the axis's.
Wiring needs to be cleaned up a bit and we need to find a small ATX power supply that will fit internal to the chassis. The next step is to look into the ReplicatorG.xml file for specific settings.
We also need to build 4 makerbot style limit switches.
- Worked on cleaning up the wiring and adding some wire management. Cant stand messy wires
- Removed the 5v power supply as its not needed.
- Need a small ATX or any power supply with 3.3v, 5v, and 12v output. Cant be bigger than about 2”x7” and no more than 2” tall.
- Need to lower the supply voltage of the z-axis motor as its getting too hot.
- Took some video of the robot in action!
- Rewired the Z-axis motor for 12v off of the internal “mini” supply It runs much cooler now.
- Clean up some other wires.
- Lengthened the X, Y, and Z driver signal wires to allow the front panel to be removed without disconnecting them.
- Worked with Adam on calibration of each of the axises. Settled on 1/16 microsteps for X & Y and 1/8 for Z.
- Ran several stl files through the system (no extruder head) and everything seems to be working.
- Discussed the construction of our own extruder assembly. This is really the next step for us.