Focus has been completely discontinued. Focus will no longer be updated or improved.
It was too slow, to unreliable and the piston design was constantly jamming. Also afters seeing that inkjet printing in powder works really well, I decided that Focus was too slow for further experiments. A 5x10x20mm print took over an hour.
Now I haven't given up on this technique. I am currently building a new, faster printer purely aimed at 3DP printing. I have learned a lot from Focus an have implemented a lot of improvement in the new design. It should be running full speed around march 2014. I will make a post on thingiverse, but I might host the files and instructions somewhere else.
End of edit.
Right now, Focus is a work in progress. I have been working on it since october last year. Since then a full design has been made. The printer and electronics have been built and a complete pack of firmware has been written. The firmware has been built from scratch because SLS and FDM just differ too much. The firmware handles normal FDM Gcode, and uses the E axis to determine if the laser has to be turned on or off.
Focus prints using a focusable 1500mw 808nm laser that sits on 2 axis. Both pistons move with a 64 step 1:64 geared stepper motor. The Gcode is stored on a SD card. The printer is stand alone and is controlled with a 4x20 LCD screen and 8 buttons. The printer is built using 3D printed parts and MDF.
The printer can be built for less than Ã¢âÂ¬600 (, or about $800), if you source the parts right.
(Edit, A rough parts list with prices for the printer have been added to the downloads)
Right now I only have engraved with the printer, but every system is about ready to start actual printing. I will post videos and pictures of this as soon as I have the process under control.
A short video of the printer engraving its name in to cardboard:
Full instructions of how to make this printer will be uploaded as soon as the project is capable of full printing.
Feel free to ask any question you have.
Time for my first weekly (and with weekly I mean whenever I have news) update. I have spent last week collecting good materials to print. Thus far I have tried Candelillawax and E-PVC. To both powders I had to add carbon to make it absorb light. White powder reflects too much of the IR light.
The wax melts very easily, but doesn't actually make a nice line. There are much interruptions in the line. In order to make a continuous line, I needed to melt way too deep in the wax, which would cause catastrophic shrink. The E-PVC, being PVC, gets burned even without a good reason. I have yet to melt it with the laser, without actually burning it. I added a picture to show what the E-PVC looks like once I lasered it. I will do some more tweaking. I may have some PA coming my way, but I don't know that for sure yet.
Expect some delays in this project. I need to completely redesign all of the pistons. Turns out the motors I used because they were cheap, were cheap for a reason. What pointless engineer would design a motor that fails after a few hours. I will post updated parts after I finished designing them.
Expect no changes on this project until the beginning of April, I have been working on this for over five months and I have taken a break and started working on a small side-project. You will see the results of this project in the next few weeks. After that, I will resume this project at full speed, making necessary changes and repairs, and have more experiments. I promise I will post most parts, software and schematics in the course of April.
I finally finished my project (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:61796). I have not yielded the desired result, but I have got a result that I'm proud of. If you have an instructables account, and feel that my project is awesome, I would like you to vote me in the UP! (and in the lamps and lights) contest. Make my month count.
I will slowly resume work on the sls printer. I have already designed and printed replacement parts for the Z axis. Good news: The electronics are now fully Ramps compatible! The design has evolved to full ramps compatibility. I will post schematics, cut lists, BOM and plans in the following weeks.
I finally started uploading more files to build focus. All files are in the complete build package. Don't let the name fool you, it is far from complete. It is all of the files I have right now. Included in this version of the package are: A pdf describing most of the current things about focus (this will be updated after each new build package), the firmware, A cut list for focus, and all of the parts, including a few modified parts. I am working on detailed BOM's, exploded views and assembly drawings.
Now that Focus is RAMPS compatible, I require your help. My programming skills are limited. I ask anyone with proper programming skills to convert an existing firmware for use with focus. If you want to help, contact me and I can give you a list of requirements. You will be fully credited for any work you do. Many thanks in advance.
Yes I am still alive and am very busy and guess what, I have ordered RAMPS electronics for Focus. This means that the next firmware update you will get is fully RAMPS compatible. I was a bit reluctant to buy RAMPS at first, not because I don't trust it but simply because it costs even more money. This project has been nothing but a hole that I can throw money in, and my finances have not been much in the green with the GlaDOS lamp and everything.
I will post an update when the full conversion to RAMPS is done, including more build files and more detailed drawings. I want you (everyone) to be able to build one on your own as soon as possible, so that there can be more experiments and SLS finally coming to the open source community. I can't do this on my own and I want you to help.
After a busy month, I have an Even more busy month ahead of me. Schoolwork, schoolwork everywhere. I have uploaded a new complete buildpackage, V0,02. In this one, you will find schematics, diagrams and everything needed to build a Focus of your own.
Expect no new updates in the coming month, I am very busy with school work.
This project uses high power invisible lasers. I am not responsible for any harm or damage done to you or your surroundings.