By the time that I was thirteen, the list of things that I had accomplished was shorter than my attention span. There was the time that I figured out how to hook up our VCR all on my own. Then there was the time that I managed to bake a cake without any parental supervision. Oh, and Lego things. I made lots of Lego things. Clearly I was a savant.
And then there is Zach Sousa, a thirteen year old maker who just uploaded plans for his second custom 3D printer that he designed, built and uploaded to Instructables. In fact, it is actually his sixth Instructable project that he’s uploaded. He’s also created build instructions for a spin art machine, a plant monitoring robot and a gripping robotic claw. I guess that’s impressive, but it’s no six wheeled Lego car or over-baked devil’s food cake.
The 3D printer is called The Edge 2.0 and Sousa says that it is roughly the size of the Printrbot Simple with a slightly larger 6 inch x 5.5 inch x 4 inch build envelope. The Edge 3D Printer weighs only 5.1 pounds, and can be constructed from materials costing less than $200. While he is still testing the final print resolution, he has currently managed to print successfully down to 200 microns.
When he was only twelve, Sousa received his first 3D printer, a Printrbot Simple, and he assembled the kit himself, but quickly decided that he wanted to build a higher quality 3D printer without needing to spend a lot of money on it.
“I designed it on paper at first,” Sousa explained to us via email. “Then I started with an online website called laser cut box generator so I could make a box that snaps together, opened the laser cut box drawing in inkscape and started to add mounts for the stepper motors and bearings.”
Sousa’s Instructable is a detailed walk through of the construction and calibrating of his 3D printer, and he provides a clear parts and components list, as well as a list of tools needed to complete the printer. He even includes links to all of the parts that he purchased
Because of the nature of my job, I’m required to read a lot of Instructables and I can say with some authority that this thirteen year old created a better set of build instructions than projects I’ve seen posted by several degree holding engineers. Sousa’s instructions are very clearly written, have plenty of pictures of the build process and are so easy to follow that I could probably manage to build myself one.
In order to complete the build you will need access to a soldering iron and some solder, a computer with Arduino IDE, Pronterface and a slicer program, Sousa suggests Cura or Slic3r. You will also need to manufacture several of the printer components yourself using a laser cutter and a 3D printer. If you need any parts 3D printed, he suggests going to 3Dhubs and having a local print them for you. Depending on how close you are to a local hub, that should keep costs down even further.
The Instructable has a buying guide for the printer, and purchasing the list of required parts online should only set you back about $140.00. If you have your own 3D printer you can download the files for the 3D printable parts over on Thingiverse, and then all that you need to worry about is having a few parts laser cut.
If you like Sousa’s Edge 3D Printer Instructable then make sure that you click on the button in the upper right hand corner and vote for it in the CNC Challenge. Frankly, even if he wasn’t thirteen his instructable would be a contender, so take that into consideration when voting.
So what do you think? Did this thirteen year old build a great 3D printer, or do you think that he needs to take it back to the drawing board? Tell us your thoughts on the Edge V2.0 3D Printer forum over on 3DPB.com.