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Aluminum Mendel

by dkennell, published

Aluminum Mendel by dkennell Jan 16, 2012

Description

This MendelMax inspired printer is compact, lightweight, and totally self contained. Nothing protrudes beyond the frame. Z axis motors are mounted low, and thrust bearings carry the weight. Note that the z axis uses the aluminum extrusion for a guide, saving space and expense. The linear bearings and belt and pulley upgrades give high quality prints. All dimensions are chosen so that you can use 4 smooth rods and 2 threaded rods, plus all other parts from you mendel.
All parts are easy to print without support. The 60 W onboard power supply runs the motors and extruder heater. The heated bed used a 120 vac and a solid state relay. The extruder is very accessible. The heatsinks on the extruder are optional, but help keep thing cool when printing ABS.

See BOM and exploded veiw of X axis below

I added a pdf of an exploded frame drawing 1/19/12

Wire clips and T-slot cover for Misumi extrusions are at thingiverse.com/thing:16344

Below is a zipped archive of all the Inventor source files.

Full BOM added per several requests.

.stp files added.

See video of this printer at youtu.be/JysNv3Hi67k

Recent Comments

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Great job on your printer. I use Slic3r, and have good results with it so I haven't tried anything else. I am glad that you are happy with the design, these printers have proved to be dependable workhorses.
I use Marlin firmware and Cura. works great for me with this printer. What software do you use.
Thanks for sharing your design. Mine is number 9.
Here is a link to the new printer.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:251227

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Instructions

Note: MakerGear has changed the Stepper Plastruder and it will no longer fit on the x carriage. Use the low mass gearExtruder thingiverse.com/thing:61818 instead. This will give better performance.

PLA can be drilled and tappped if you go slowly. This design requires the use of a 6-32 and 8-32 tap. These can be obtained from any hardware store. PLA also holds sheet metal screws very well if you drill the appropriate size hole. I use a 1/8" drill bit for a #8 screw. This is much easier and stronger than trying to use captive nuts. I will work on a exploded drawing to aid assembly if there is interest. The parts were designed with Autodesk Inventor, and I will provide files if requested. The BOM has the parts and sources for converting a prusa mendel to this model.

There are a couple of omissions on the Full BOM. You actually need 4 stepper motors, not 3 as listed. You also need two 608ZZ bearings, available at Ultimachine.com. Let me know if there are other omissions.

File Name

Downloads

Size

I use Marlin firmware and Cura. works great for me with this printer. What software do you use.
Thanks for sharing your design. Mine is number 9.
Great job on your printer. I use Slic3r, and have good results with it so I haven't tried anything else. I am glad that you are happy with the design, these printers have proved to be dependable workhorses.
Here is a link to the new printer.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:251227
what's the print size of the bed ?
I believe it is about 195 mm x 195 mm. I don't know exactly because I dismantled mine some time ago to make an improved version. The beta testing is done on the new model, with 5 printers now running. I will post the new version soon, I need to finish the documentation. The new version has 225 mm x 225 mm printable area with a smaller overall size.
Hi there, I am almost complete with this printer and I am wondering what firmware you used? Also would it be possible to post your configuration.h file?

Thanks, and great design.
I use Marlin. I posted the config.h file.
David,

I'm looking at the BOM and the CAD models, and I'm confused about the number and type of screws necessary here.

- On the exploded X motor end diagram, there are two socket head cap screws (ANSI B18.3 - 6-40 UNF - 0.5) that hold on the nut cap. What do these thread into? You seem to use sheet metal screws for attaching the X inner slide, but not for the nut caps.

- what are all these imperial socket head cap screws used for? The 8-32 x 3/8, the 8-32 x 1/2, and the 6-32 x 1/2?

Thanks so much in advance, and for your great design.
I sometimes thread socket head capscrews directly into PLA. These will self tap into a slightly undersized hole. The ANSI screws work a little better for this than metric screws because the threads are coarser. I know that the screw counts are off. My philosophy was that since it is often cheaper to buy box quantities (at least in my hardware stores), I just buy them in quantity and have them on hand. This design is nearly two years old, and I never had any idea that so many people would make this printer. I am working on refinements to the low mass extruder, and never seem to have the time to correct the quantities. My apologies, you will end up with a bunch of extra screws. I will try to use all metric sizes and document the parts more thoroughly in future designs.
Thank you for the reply.

Have you had any problems with Z wobble? I'm looking into trying to modify the design a bit to mechanically separate the Z from the X axis a bit.
I have not had any trouble with Z wobble, nor have I heard of others with that problem.
Hi
Some of the parts are missing in the step file folder, ie "y motor bracket."
OK, I have updated the stp zipped file with complete part files.
Sorry for the delay, I have this on my to-do list.
Hello David,

Nice design. Would you be willing to export your assembly file to STEP? It's a universal exchange format that most CAD packages can open. Of course it won't be parametric but at least those of us who don't have access to Inventor could open it with other CAD software.

Creating STEP for each file would be a hassle, with just a STEP assembly we could extract those parts.

Thanks!
There is a zipped file of the parts in .stp format at the end of the downloads. Let me know if this does not work for you.
hello really sorry if I have overlooked this detail but what size extrusion are these parts built for. I currently have 8020 10 series will your parts work with this extrusion?
The parts are designed for 30 mm extrusions.
Thanks for designing one of the worst 3d printer out there! If you are thinking building this printer then think again! This design is a fine example of somebody using CAD to design something without understanding the materials and more to the point the mechanics behind this vertical sliding mechanism. Works fine inside inventor but real life not a chance!
lets see your awesome printer then?
Actually it works quite well, and other people have had good results with this design. My printer and others who have made this design use our printers heavily, and this has held up well over time.
Well I just tried the project using the files in Mendel_Al_Inv.zip but still the following files can't be found.
I'm new with Inventor so I just might not be doing things right.
HFS6_3030_xxx.ipt
ANSI B18.6.4-1_4-20 UNC-1.25(13)CI.ipt
ANSI B18.3.1M-M5x0.8x10(1).ipt
8-18 and 6-40 ipt files
Stepper Motor.ipt
Z Rod.ipt
Coupling.ipt
Nut.ipt
Z Threaded Rod.ipt
Thrust Bearing.ipt
Linear Bearing.ipt
X Rod 420.ipt
Y Carriage Mounts Single.ipt
Thanks for your patience, RJ
Thanks for that design, I going to make one or more with slight mods. But you're assembly file in the download misses the libraries, are they available? I would like to see the complete assembly not only the printed parts.
Try the file Mendel_Al_Inv.zip. It is the entire inventor project zipped and should have everything you need
What motor couplers did you use for the Z-Axis?
I have been using Misumi MCJSN18-8-5 resin couplers. They are about $5. Any coupling with set screws should work. The clamp type couplers that are commonly available wobble because the threaded rods are a little smaller than 8 mm and tightening distorts them.
Got any better alternative the in-slide z axis ? i think it will be fragile and unreliable
Try a piece of clear tubing that is smaller inner diameter than the two rods, works much better than any plastic coupling. I have been using on my Bukobot since I got it and have had no problems. Thanks to the boys down at Deezmaker(:
It is actually very strong. Print in PLA, make sure the layers are well bonded. I have printed over 30 lbs of PLA with no problems.
&
gt; ...Let me know if there are other omissions.

Minor note; Both BOMs list this item twice:

8-32 x 3/8 socket head capscrew, count 50.

Do we need 50 or 100?
Sorry for the duplication, 50 should do it.
Thanks for sharing this impressive design. I've decided to build one and am acquiring parts. I'm building from scratch and have no existing printer to inherit parts from. I have a handful of questions so far:

* The BOM lists two aluminum plates, apparently for the bed and bed-carrier, correct?

* Your second photo shows a carrier built from two plates which do not appear to be the BOM dimensions of 9.25" x 10". I'm guessing that, perhaps the version in the photo was made from materials you had on hand
, and that a more conventional structure would use a single plate for the carrier, with the bed mounted via standoffs or spring-loaded screws, is this correct? If not, please clarify.

* Your bed is not square. Which way is it oriented?

* Is this drilling template appropriate?

github.com
/prusajr/PrusaMendel/blob/master/metric-prusa-lme8uu/bed-drilling.pdf

* I'm planning to use PLA and will forego the heated bed initially. I'm thinking I'll make the bed and possibly the carrier of acrylic or polycarbonate instead. Do you anticipate any problem here?

* I'm still figuring out an e
xtruder to use. My favorite so far is the x-carriage from the VertX. Can you see any obvious problem with this choice?

reprap.org/wiki/X-carriage-struder
I cut one plate to make the carrier so it would not hit the power supply. One piece is 10'' x 2', the other is 7" x 2 1/2". I screwed them together into a "T". They could be made from acrylic, see the derivative by duncan. The bed is 10" in the X direction, so the print area is relatively square with the screws on the outside. The drill template is too small. You can position your Y smooth rods to fit around your power supply, and adjust the dimensions for your plate accordingly. I think you could make most extruders work with this design.
The standard mendel profile should work since we are only changing the frame. I use marlin firmware with pronterface control. Slic3er works fine out of the box, and your can easily fine tune its settings. Your machine is capable of printing out all of the parts for this new frame.
Well my printer isnt working properly because i cant get it squared up, i dont like the wood spring loaded table. This is why im wanting up upgrade to something more solid and easier to square up and get moving. Any help with getting these parts made would be appreciated.

Do you set the nozzle to zero or do you set it to a certain working height?
I set the Z limit switch so the nozzle is close to the print bed, then use a piece of paper for a feeler gauge and make the final adjustments with the leveling screws. That seems to give me the proper clearance for the first layer.
I have a compete makergear prusa mendal, i am wanting to build this frame and more over the electronics and extruder, etc. Will that work?
That should work.
Nice machine!

Sorry if I missed this but what is the build area for this machine? Also how does the Z ride on the extrusion? Do you have any build pictures anywhere?

thanks!
It looks like the z is guided by a plastic piece that attaches to the x-end with two screws and runs inside the extrusion track. I'l really curious to see how layer alignment looks on your prints. I'm especially interested to see it in taller prints over 100mm.
The build emvelope is a 190mm cube. Layer alignment seems very good to me. The Z axis is very tight, and the frame is very rigid, so there is no flex or play in the axis. The exploded views are the best documentation that I have. Let me know if you need specific details, I will try to provide them.
when trying to open iam with inventor he is mssing a few parts like the hfs6-30-30 and others, can you upload the rest of the file?
I zipped the entire project, including the assembly file. There are a lot of other parts, such as the stepper motors, which I modeled for the assembly. Since this duplicates many of the previously uploaded parts, you might want to keep this as a separate project. It is named Inventor Complete.zip.
I have finished my Aluminum 3D Printer. I posted a photo in "I Made One:. It is running at this moment printing two parts each 190mm long at a speed of 200mm/sec, wow!!

Love it. Thanks for sharing.

I made my own hobbed sleeve out of a piece of brass and I got a geared motor direct from Kysan. I had to order two to get it, so I have an extra one if someone wants one.
id be happy to buy it from you. please pm if relevent
I have this great printer almost done. The last thing I need is a geared step motor for the extruder, as my old mendel used the standard motor etc. Where can I get one quickly and what are the specs for it?
I got mine from MakerGear. I have another one on order, but they take a little while to get. They have a link to the specs at makergear.com/products/motors. I have not checked elsewhere to see if they are currently available.
if you buy the motor sepertlly where do you get the drive gear pully that fits the motor?!
MakerGear sells them on the same page as their motors, but they are currently sold out.
This design really caught my attention! I was so enthused I built the frame already from your posted drawing. I am doing this from scratch but I work in a shop where I can salvage enough material to work on building one. We have an industrial 3d printer so I may be able to con an engineer into helping me print some parts.( unless I can machine some) The problem is I just started and don't have a clue yet about what I need besides the files you have on this page. Any advice for a noob who never built one before? Like a list of the parts needed from the original Mendel?
look into ramps, im starting out too and am finding it pretty good.
Just found the Full BOM. Thanks!
I'm currently building a copy of this that is slightly changed and will have a roughly 1m^2 build area lol. what tips can you give me with the build?, any changes that you would make in hind site?

cheers

Phoenix
I think you should be able to extend the axes to your dimensions without other modifications. The post by Pointedstick below indicates that 280 mm with 8 mm rods is fine. I am happy with the present design, I look forward to input from others. Any change to the x or z axes will start a cascade of other changes, as the design fits the components together pretty tightly. I look forward to seeing your design.
one change i'm thinking of making is to have threaded rods for the x and y axis, so to cut back on any backlash that may occur, i'm also thinking of attaching the extruders stepper to the frame instead of in the extruder carriage(sort of like ultimaker) making it lighter with less wires needing to be attached to the moving carriage. also going to make it so that i can interchange between 3d printer, cnc mill, or laser cutter.
Could you post a BOM to make this from scratch?

I think I would like to build this - but it would be my 1st RepRap and so a full BOM would really help figure out exactly what I'm doing...

Also what do you think about using extrusion for the X-axis instead of smooth rods?
&
amp; maybe 10mm smooth rods for the Y-axis? Would this help with the flex you mentioned earlier?

I am quite keen to make one with a large build volume, like around 500mm cube... I realise that just makes it phenominally harder BUT I think your design is likely to give the best shot at it. Even better than the MendelMax if you ask me.
thank you for the full BOM.

That REALLY helps.

It will be a month or maybe 2 before I start my build - but this helps me to start locating all the parts and costing the whole project out.

I'll post details of how things go when I do my build...
I don't see the 8mm rods listed in the BOM. Am I blind or were those omitted? Pretty nice design regardless.
I listed only the parts needed to convert a prusa mendel to this model. Sorry that I wasn't more explicit, I had no idea so many people would be interested. This design uses 4 of the smooth rods and 2 threaded rods (cut to length), motors, RAMPS, etc from an existing mendel.
dkennell,

Any chance you have the Inventor iam file?

I will try to build your design.

Thanks

Roy
I added the printer assembly iam file below. I has all the axes and most of the important components.
Thanks from this dummy, I just figured it out and it works great.
I am building your design. Right now I am stuck on wiring the relay. Do you have a wiring diagram for the relay? I have an Arduino board and a Ultimachine ramp and a GHDIDZ power supply from Lutz. Thanks.
See the relay wiring pdf below. This is for the 120 VAC heat pad and solid state relay.
Are the inner slides on the nylon, or just printed? Also, is the vertical brace printed or metal?
The inner slides are printed PLA, as well as the vertical brace. The vertical braces could easily be made from aluminum plate if desired. I originally planned to make them from aluminum, but the printed braces along with the blind screws proved to make the z axis very rigid.
Can this all be printed on a TOM?
The vertical braces and x carriage are too large for a TOM, but the other parts would print ok.
i found a website about play-free fastening of aluminium extrusions, and thought you might get some good ideas from it to fasten your 3d printer together without needing to drill, making it tighter and more accurate.

Here's the link:

industrysearch.com.au/News/Play-free-fastening-technology-for-Aluminium-Extrusions-31545
Thanks for the tip. It would be nice to have a design that could be made and assembled with only simple tools.
Do you think there is space on the x carriage for a Greg's Wade's extruder body?
I think you could make it work by adjusting the width of the aluminum extruder mounting plate. Mine is a 65 mm square. Keep in mind that any width you add will subtract from the x travel. Also all the weight will hang from the front of the axis. You may be able to adapt the vertical x axis design found at thingiverse.com/thing:12434
does that 65mm include the heat sinks? Also, which length of extrusion is the X and which is the Y? I'm trying to figure out where the space is lost between the ~300mm available and your final figure of 190mm build area.

I'm certainly planning on building this - I think the MendelMax is a bit overkill and conincindentally, you posted design this a day after I started thinking about a simplified Z design!

Is there any reason you'd recommend against expanding either the X or Y dimensions? I will probably alter the
design a bit to allow for 10mm rods on the X and Y just to make sure they have a bit less flex.

Thanks so much for posting this - I'm sure I'll be adding derivative parts soon!
Could you describe and/or post a picture of your z coupling setup. I'm not sure where the thrust bearings fit in. Do they sit between the motor case and the coupling?
I posted 2 new files, a pdf of a more complete printer exploded drawing and an animated assembly. The animation is low res, but if you look at the exploded drawing first, it may be helpful. The thrust bearings are at the top on the z threaded rod brackets.
Thanks for the updates. It all makes sense now :)
This is very cool!

I would like to modify it to accommodate a 12"x12" build platform. Are the Z extrusions solid? Any loss of resolution at tall print heights?

I really like the heat pad you're using. How fast dose it heat?

Do you think 8 mm smooth rods would be sufficient for the increased build area?
The z axis is rock solid. The x and y have a lot of flex, but I think others have made extended mendels with 8 mm rods. The heat pad is great, thanks to Kludgineer for that tip. Time to heat from 22 to 75 C is 63 seconds.
I have a MendelMax with a buildable X area of 280mm with 8mm rods. I wouldn't go any longer than that without increasing the rod diameter or using MakerSlides, but my machine works beautifully.
I'm working on a design with 10 mm rods for the x and y axes.
Nice Design. I landed on some of the same decisions you did in my build. I started with the MendelMax BOM, but decided 90 degree angles made more sense. I'm building my Z axis now, so I'm going to spend some time reviewing your solution. Again, nice job.

picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kM_qzfnf7Z-AgndzRak16a_Ffu33L5gjfmgSxapxpfE?feat=directlink
This is really cool. To what precision can you make things? (Can you make, for example, Lego-compatible bricks?)
I downloaded a Lego design (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:591) and it worked very well on the first print. It did fit a real Lego brick, although little more loosely than a standard brick. I am sure that with a little fiddling I can get a good fit.
Awesome, Well done! im about to build myself an aluminium one as well. I got a hold over some really cheap aluminum profiles. Thanks for sharing your design.
I added an exploded view of the x axis motor end as a pdf at the bottom of the downloads. Hope this helps.
Would love to see it in action...looks great though.
Apologies for the triple post :(
Great build and design with this. I just purchase T-Slot and I'm not having to re-think my design. I love the simplicity of your design. Looks really clean. Have you had it printing yet and if so how do the results compare to your prusa?
Yes, I have printed quite a bit with it. It works great. My last version of the prusa had the linear bearings and the same belts and pulleys, so it was doing a great job. In fact, my last prusa printed all the parts for this before I disassembled it to make this version. So the print quality is about the same as the fine tuned prusa. The big advantage to this is the compact size, light weight, and portability. It looks good, I always thought the threaded rods were a little crude. Also the extruder is very accessible. The quick release extruder body for the Makergear extruder is a big improvement, I will try to post that design tonight.
This is a really interesting design. Could you please post more drawings/pictures/videos? I've searched misumi-ec.com for tolerance data on the extrusions but haven't found any. Is there a link to such data?
I was basing my statement of the tolerences on my experience on using it for a slide, so I don't have any hard data. I also did not find any readily accessible data on the tolerance. I will try to do some exploded views asap. Thanks for your interest.
This is a really interesting design. Could you please post more drawings/pictures/videos? I've searched misumi-ec.com for tolerance data on the extrusions but haven't found any. Is there a link to such data?
This is a really interesting design. Could you please post more drawings/pictures/videos? I've searched misumi-ec.com for tolerance data on the extrusions but haven't found any. Is there a link to such data?
After seeing the Rook it's interesting to see another t-slot mendel, and other choices.

thingiverse.com/thing:14101

Maybe there are some ideas I can keep in my folding huxley ^^
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:15877
I had not seen that, but if you start thinking about what support is needed, the design by rook and this design is the obvious choice with seven extrusions. Getting rid of the diagonal braces gives great access to the extruder and good visibility of the print job. I use blind screws as well as the printed braces and feet for a very rigid frame without using corner brackets.
Nice! Hopefully anyone who decides to convert their mendelmax give half of their extrusions to a friend/random neighbor. Sharing is caring!
So instead of using a smooth rod for the Z Axis, it's utilizing the T-Frame? is that correct?
That is correct. It saves a lot of space, plus the expense of 4 linear bearings. You can see the detail on the second photo. The design utilizes inner slides, much like a T-nut, attached to the x axis ends with screws from the inside. The tolerances are very tight on these extrusions, so you can get very good sliding action. In another design, I would not be afraid to try it for the y axis.
Please post video of this printing. I'd really like to see it! :-D
Please post video of this printing. I'd really like to see it! :-D
Love the extruder layout. Excellent!
Very interesting competitor to the MendelMax. What is the build envelope of this machine?
The build envelope is a190mm cube.
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