3D printers are getting more affordable these days, but for many crafty makers, building their own printers is more than worth it – not only financially, but in terms of the satisfaction that comes from creating something useful. I love seeing the ingenuity that goes into self-built 3D printers, especially when their creators share them as open source projects for others to replicate or build on.
A maker named Aldric Négrier has designed and built several 3D printers, many of which he has shared on Instructables. Négrier runs reprapalgarve, based out of the University of Algarve, which recently gave us the RGB Steel color 3D printer, as well as a gigantic Prusa-based printer last year. Reprapalgarve, in addition to building and sharing multiple 3D printer designs, also offers 3D printing workshops and a 3D printed selfie service.
Their latest is the RooBee One, an aluminum-frame SLA-DLP printer named for its bright red color. The design is based on two other open source machines: the Cristelia LCD SLA 3D printer and the Vulcanus MAX, and you can build it yourself with some 3D printed parts and inexpensive hardware.
The files for the 3D printed parts (12 total) are available on Thingiverse, and the Instructable lists the off-the-shelf hardware needed to complete the build. The frame of the printer is built from 20 x 20 mm aluminum profiles connected by M5 screws and nuts, with 32 3D printed corners to steady it. The resin vat can be constructed from plexiglas, with a print bed built from a 5mm aluminum sheet.
Detailed instructions take you step by step through the construction of the Z axis, an adjustable pan and tilt system, projector fixation components, and other structural elements, many of them 3D printed. The printer’s electronics include an Arduino Mega, a RAMPS 1.4 shield, a micro stepping driver, a NEMA 17 stepper motor, an endstop and a 12V transformer. A diagram illustrates how to wire them together and attach them to the printer. Négrier uses an Acer DLP projector, which provides an adjustable build area ranging from 80 x 60 x 200 mm to 150 x 105 x 200 mm.
You can get a quick visual idea of the process in the video below:
Once the printer is assembled, you’ll need to download the Repetier firmware, configure it and upload it to the Arduino Mega. Creation Workshop software, already configured for the RooBee One, can be downloaded directly from the Instructables page. Then it’s time to add the resin and try out a print – Négrier recommends the Standard Blend resin from Fun to Do, as it’s suitable for a broad range of wavelengths, requires a short exposure time, and has low shrinkage and high chemical resistance. It’s also available in a range of types and colors. You’ll want to be careful, though.
As DIY printers go, the RooBee One looks to be a relatively simple build, especially for an SLA-DLP 3D printer. If you’re not interested in building your own, however, Négrier tells 3DPrint.com that reprapalgarve is also going to be selling it, with the projector included, for €599. It’s an attractive machine, with its striking ruby red color, and reprapalgarve is in the process of adding pictures to the Instructable to demonstrate its printing capabilities. If you try building this printer yourself, be sure to share it with us in the RooBee One forum at 3DPB.com.