The question is: how do you feel about putting your 3D printer together? If you’ve gone to the trouble to read this article, chances are you walk in that technogeek realm and are thrilled about taking control of something you buy—and that means knowing how it works—inside and out. It is also means you probably have some specific concepts in mind for 3D printing.
Nate Rogers has struck a good balance for everyone, adding this latest machine to his list of many accomplishments, including that of experienced tattoo artist and shop proprietor in Springfield, MO.
“My older brother Keith, introduced me to 3D printing when he bought his Cupcake CNC 3D Printer,” states Nate. “I was hooked! Since then I have designed and built four unique printers, with an ambition to be as utilitarian as possible. Simpler means less can go wrong. I chiseled down the designs until i created the Reach 3D Printer.”
The Reach 3D Printer is multi-functional, versatile, and strong, and if you have a fully-outfitted workshop that’s certainly helpful, but you won’t need it for this kit. You also won’t have to sacrifice much out of your paycheck for this hardware either, as you can back the Kickstarter campaign — set to launch tomorrow, Tuesday the 23rd, at noon — and pick up the Reach ‘at a ridiculously epic value’ of $199 for 75 lucky super early birds. The price then ascends to around $259. Shipping is set to begin in May.
Tools needed? The basics: Allen wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers. You won’t be drilling and you won’t be soldering with this kit. You’ll need only about four to eight hours to complete. With that in mind, this sounds like an awesome deal. The control boards are pre-loaded with the firmware, and testing of electronics is promised pre-shipping. Nate also states that wires are cut to length and pre-soldered for you.
“What is there was a high-quality printer, with an all-aluminum frame, a large build area, that used easily sourced parts, and extensive guides to make assembly and operation easy?” asks Nate.
If that doesn’t get your attention, well, what about the fact that you can easily modify it yourself to perform the following:
- Laser cutting
- Light milling
“I will offer guides to implement these tool changes, [explain] where to purchase the $40 laser module and $23 milling tool, and how to use the needed, free, open source software,” Nate told 3DPrint.com. “I also offer models of the clamps to print, needed to attach the different tools.”
We’re always most interested in the products that come from maker/manufacturers who are creating to please themselves, as they are motivated to produce quality, and that’s ultimately handed down to all the users who then with the open-source platform can go on to produce an infinite number of innovations as well as modifying the machine to their own needs, and sharing that with the community as well.
“We were looking for an inexpensive, solid, non-proprietary 3D printer that could do anything,” said Nate. “We wanted a printer with a large build area that could be easily modified and was a platform to learn from. We couldn’t find one that met all of our expectations. So we set out to design an affordable, simple, versatile, strong, reliable printer.”
The team was exhaustive in their research of designs, looking at RepRaps and integrating open-source components, and as Nate points out, adopting the Openbuilds v-slot concept for simplicity, and giving a shout-out to the Bukito in their design as well.
“After four complete design revisions, and countless re-iterations, we finally arrived with the Reach 3D printer,” says Nate.
As is greatly emphasized with the Reach, simplicity is key. The printer is not enclosed, and the build size can actually be extended, at the wish of the maker. For an extra $70, many of you might be excited about ordering the upgrade kit as well, as it includes:
- A full graphics LCD screen with SD card reader
- An MK2 heated bed, 100K thermistor, and power wires
- An upgraded power supply
“After the campaign, I plan to release all of the 3D Part files on Thingiverse to make the printer accessible to everyone for free,” Nate also told 3DPrint.com.
It’s not just important to get products like this out in the public eye—but it’s also important to let everyone know that yes, you can own a 3D printer at a very low price, and have the DIY experience. I often mention to my mechanically inclined friends that I know they would be swept away with 3D printing, and that they should buy one. Still, that idea is often met with a furrowed brow and the predictable ‘how much do those things cost?’ I plan to direct them to this campaign for a great example of exactly how little they can spend while still doing a lot of tinkering.
With many other products that might not be considered a plus, but for the makers and tinkerers of the world who realize the enormous value of open-source, indeed a kit is the way to go—and especially one that can be modified for an all-in-one scenario. Makers like Nate are doing their creative community a great service in offering such a versatile product at a great price.
- Frame – all aluminum 1/8″ laser cut plates and 20×20, 20×40 extrusions
- Hardware – all metric, 8mm lead screw
- Rails – v-slot and delrin v-wheels, 625ZZ bearings
- Belt Drive – GT2-20 tooth pulleys (aluminum)
- Electronics – Arduino/Ramps 1.4
- Motors – Nema 17s, 4000g.cm torque
- Hot End – J-Head, all metal 1.75mm, E3D Clone (.4mm nozzle)
- Extruder – geared for speed and strength
- Printable materials – works with virtually all suppliers of 1.75mm filaments. Can print in PLA, ABS, PetG, Nylon, NinjaFlex, faux metal, etc.
- Bed – 1/8″ aluminum plate
- Build Volume – 200 x 200 x 215 mm
- Print Speed – 60-90 mm/s depending on detail
- Print Accuracy – 50 micron layer height
- Auto Leveling – included
- Heated Bed – optional – MK2 up to 100C, fully supported
- Full Graphic LCD/SD – optional – fully supported
- Laser Cutter/Engraver – DIY – fully supported (easily sourced)
- Plotter – DIY – fully supported
- Light Milling – DIY – fully supported (for soft wood, foam, pcb)
- Metal Engraving – DIY – fully supported
- Dual Extrusion – development In progress (software supported, but untested)
- Paste Extruder – development in progress
- Software – open source – Sketchup, Meshlab, Repetier, Cura, Inkscape
- Compatibility – Windows. (Mac – Testing, works in virtual Windows, or use the LCD/SD reader), Linux – untested
The campaign is set to launch soon, and until then you can check out the preview now and leave any feedback for Nate ahead of the launch — and be notified as soon as it goes live, so you can be one of the first to snag an early bird deal! (The campaign link will change from preview to live once it goes up!) Are you thinking about supporting this campaign? Discuss in the Reach 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.