Anatomy of a 3D Printer
For a 3D Printer you need three simple ingredients:
- The printer hardware itself
- The printer electronics
- the printer software
Obtaining the printer hardware
The most common and easiest to assemble RepRap 3D Printer hardware is the Prusa RepRap. There is an excellent assembly guide which makes assembling your Prusa a breeze. On the rewrap Wiki there is an extensive list of materials needed, but the easiest is to get some kits:
- Electronic Things (German)
- Reprap Teile (Germany)
- 2PrintBeta (Germany)
- eMAKERSHOP (Great Britain)
- A2A Printer (Canada)
- 3Dprinted Czar (Prusa i3, US)
- RepRapSource(Prusa i3, Germany)
- BCN Dynamics (Prusa i3, Spain)
(Disclaimer: This i just a list of companies offering Prusa kits. We do not know all of them and have not tested them – so check them out carefully)
Some of the above shops already sell the Prusa i3 iteration – which is an improved and even more simplified version of the original Prusa. There is an excellent assembly instruction available too. Still we do not fully recommend this kits since the Prusa i3 is still in development. If you build your 3D Printer in half year or so … then it will be yours. Most description and parts are still for the original Prusa, slowly migrating to the i3.
Another very interesting variant to consider is the MendelMax which is mechanically a bit different but basically the same printer.
Getting the printer electronics
This is far easier: Back us on Indiegogo
Getting the printer software
The 3d printer prints 3D models with plastic. That’s it. But to do so you need two parts:
- A 3d model
- a representation of the 3D model the printer understands
The 3D Model is created using a CAD program. The nice guys over at hacakaday have compared OpenSCAD, Blender, SketchUp, FreeCAD, AutoCAD and Solidworks to design a 3D model – one of the programs should suit your needs and/or budget.
Or you can browse thousands of existing models over a t Thingiverse.
Those models needed to be converted to a language the 3D printer understands. This is called GCODE. It contains al paths the 3D printer has to print to get the model to reality and also extra instructions to ensure that the hot end is hot and the fans are running … It is a bit like PDF or Postscript for traditional printers.
Now you can upload is to our T-Bone and print it.
That’s all folks.by