Pfierce Robotic Build Platform ver1.0

by Chooch, published

Pfierce Robotic Build Platform ver1.0 by Chooch Sep 26, 2010
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Pfierce Robotic Build Platform ver1.0 by Chooch is licensed under the GNU - GPL license.

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The PRBP is a derivative of the MBI ABP 1.0 and the Printable ABP. It can be printed and used to do continuous printing, to turn your bot into a desktop factory.

It features a 100mm x 100mm build platform and a tensioner, plus you get to keep your cool LED's and last but not least... all the pfierceness you'll ever need with it's awesome teeth!

I'd like to thank Twotimes aka Aaron Double of DoCo Design for helping me tweak and test this design while my bot was down. Contact him if you need 8mm tubing for the platform, or if you need a new Kysan extruder motor. Supplies are limited!

Gcode has been uploaded, this pops of prints with a pfierceness. You may need to edit the gcode depending on how you are set up.

**Update 4/07/11:I've revised the side's motor holes to slots, so you can adjust the gear mesh from roller to motor, this reduces gear slipping, strips and breaks. I added a file with just the new sides to save some plastic. Also, the files are half the size of the old ones...technology keeps making things smaller and smaller :) Deleted the old files to give thingiverse 3Mb of room back.

I'm also working on an extrusion catcher for this.

Happy printing and check back for updates.


Print the 4 nested prints.

Assemble pterodactyl side pieces. Some filing may be required for them to fit together nicely. Press in M3 nuts into all captive nut holes.

Take a MBI laser cut build platform and attach the sides to the platform with M3 screws.

Insert 20mm Kysan gear motor in motor mount and screw down with M2 screws.
(M2 screws don't come with the motor a good source is old Sony products if you have some laying around)

Insert Pfierce plate into pterodactyl mouth. Some pfiling may be required. Use M3x16 screws for pterodactyl eye to keep the plate in his mouth.

Insert a m3x4 screw in second hole in the top of the side that doesn't go all the way through. Take a small piece of silicone tubing and put it over the head, then pie cut the tubing into sections. Wallah, you now have a filament cleaner that won't scrape Teflon coated nozzles.

Put heated build platform and heat spreader on top and attach with counter sunk screws.

Print belt pdf file at proper scale on 8.5x11 paper. Cut out pattern and use to cut .005 thick kapton belt. Tip: you may want to use your paper pattern on the platform first to see if everything is working, before you ruin the kapton.

Cut 8mm 0D x 100mm silicone tubing twice and put over two shaft. Use some glue to keep it from slipping around the drive shaft.

Press bushing into belt tensioner blocks (the small triangular pieces)

Put bushings on two 3mm shafts and press into side pieces, front and back.

Insert tensioning rod through middle slot of sides. Use triangular tension blocks to hold in place. Don't screw it down just yet.

Put a gear on motor shaft and front roller shaft. You may need to glue them on if they slip...also if they skip on you try printing them .02mm bigger.

Insert belt through and around pull tight and tape then set tension on middle roller. It might take a few tries to get it just right.

You may also want to use shaft collars on the ends of the shafts to keep them from walking around.

Update your skeinforge profiles with the new gcode.

Center the platform and try to print a newly "skeined" 20mm test box.

After you successfully master one print. Then copy the code from right after were the start code ends and onward. Go to the end of the g code and paste. You should now have two sets of 20mm g-code...then try to print two consecutive prints.

You now have an automated printing powerhouse!

These instructions are still a work in progress.

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Where is the STL file for the little piece that holds the side together?

I never made its own file, its combined into the sides files. I did that because its a small piece and it printed better.

Thank you. I did not realize it was in there until you've mentioned. Great design by the way.

How much maintenance does your automated build platform need when used for a series of prints?

How long do the kapton-belts usually last? How much do they strech?

Little to no maintenance at all. The .005" thick kapton belt has been on for 6 months (since I built it) without any problems. I do run blue painters tape on it and have to change that out maybe every 2 months. I haven't seen any stretching. The biggest problems were the printed gears stripping or slipping or the silicone tubing on the belt drive shaft slipping, but some epoxy of the shaft has since fixed that.

In the process of building this, ran into a question: Has anyone tried Pyralux instead of Kapton? Since it's pretty much copper clad Kapton, I wonder how it would do?

Going to try it unheated to see how it does mechanically, then I'll try heating/cooling cycles...
Any thoughts on other tests or things to watch for?

Nope, haven't tried Pyralux.

Watch for bushings or shafts popping out and gears stripping if you're using the printed gears.

If your gears strip or are not meshing well, try scaling them up by .02mm in repG. They seem to print and mesh better when they are a little bit bigger.

I made the adjustment to the gear file so you don't need too. Also I'm working on a beefer set of gears, since I've broken the current design twice during rigorous testing.

Looks like the Nylon 6/6 spacer that's used with the ABP is http://www.mcmaster.comwww.mcmaster.com search for 90062A005

I'm wrong, it's 91145A143 (now I have 100 of the wrong size... sigh)

Ugh! Well now you have to design something that uses those.

Actually i'm not even using bushings and it working just fine.

I thought it said .4in length instead it said .04... I'll probably use them as washers, they're that flat.

The Kysan motors are the ones without the circuit board.

There's a motor in the box, happy printing. Should get to you by Monday.

The parts are in the box to.

Oh wait, that's too not to. I suck at writing.

Wow, you are the man! I put the files up and an honorable mention in the description. If you want, post up some videos

Also, i found out why my file sizes get so big...if I use repg to center things quickly and save it the file size skyrockets.

One more thing, I get a lot of messages from people waiting for this... if you click the "I made one" button and upload a pic, that should help alert everyone that this is ready to go.

One more edit, try to use a smaller screw for the nozzle cleaner, when the nozzle is down next to the platform it'll hit at it's current height when it is over by the side so use a really small m3 size screw like m3x 4mm or cut down al taller screw.

I'll be posting an updated Y-stage for people who have the wobble arrester and the mendel inspired X - Y stage. Currently the gears hit the arrester rod when the platform is at it's extreme left, front. There's space on the Y-stage to shift the bolts and magnets to account for it.

All of the videos I did yesterday came out like crap, I'll try later today.

Where did you get your kapton belt?

I did http://www.mcmaster.comwww.mcmaster.com part no. 2271K3 (like the kapton that comes with the heated build platform)

you could go thinner though - part no. 2271K2

Really want kapton platform, gonna have to order that despite low money X3 At least it's cheap!

I would suggest the thicker .005 kapton, it's like a tank, I already accidentally slammed and swiped the nozzle to the point it stripped off the kapton tape from the side and the .005 kapton belt was fine!

Well, I
’m on my 8th revision...I've been using the PRB just to print not automated parts removing) on to see how it holds up and because the holes that the M3 screw heads pilot in are not cut to laser precision (or maybe during cleanup I opened them up a bit too much) I get a lot of movement and vibratio
n when printing small things and sometimes it knocks the parts off the base.

So I’ve decided to integrate the laser cut build platform into the design. Everyone should have one already and it makes the platform even more rigid, pilot better on to the y-platform and further reduces the parts cou

Very eagerly awaiting the finished product.

I found cheaper metric polymer bushings at http://www.sdp-si.comwww.sdp-si.com

Part Number: S99GGFM030503

They have 3mm x 120mm shafts, but they cost more:
Part Number: S40PX0MHG3M-120

The real problem is finding 3mm ID X 8mm OD hose for a reasonable price and not having to buy it overseas.

I wish MBI sold the hose and bushings ala cart.

Check out part no. 5041K12 at http://www.mcmaster.comwww.mcmaster.com

3mm ID x 8mm OD high temp hose at $1.03 a foot. It's red too.

Oh, wait, minimum order of 10ft. Well if you are interested, I'll split it with you.

Red too, nice find.

What we should do is a group buy. 10 feet is just enough for 10 people. Now... how do we organize it?

I already have it in my mcmaster shopping cart. I can buy it and send it out from here. I'll charge people material cost + shipping.

Sounds like a plan, save me a foot.

Tube is ordered.

Awesome, we will work out the details later.

I've got the bushing and shafts coming, also printed out the newest version and I think this one is a keeper.

Can you email me your address? When the tube comes in, I'll send you a foot.

Tube's in, I can send it out tomorrow.

If anyone else wants some, send me a message.

Great! let me know what shipping is going to cost. Thanks a lot!

Hopefully by next week I'll be able to test and feel confident on releasing the files.

Let me know if you don't have enough Kapton film, the belt is going to be longer than the standard MBI one.

I have 2 12"x12" sheets of .005 ready to go. Actually I think I have everything.

That's plenty. You'll need to cut about 275mm X 100mm...may need to take the 100mm down to 99mm, we'll see.

Sent out the tube, part+shipping was $3.75 it'll get there on Monday.

I don't know how I missed this comment, but I did.

Tubing received! Message me your paypal info.

Here are some nylon clip bushings


3mm ID are $1.53 each

I like your bushings better. nevermind.

You know what I'd like? Some way to adjust the tension on the belt.

I've been thinking the same thing and I may have a solution.

Cool, I had to remake the stupid belt for the ABP 4 times and then I couldn't get anything to stick to it. I just replaced it with a kapton sheet (but the one side is loose and now I need to remake the belt) I have another kapton sheet waiting for this!

Thanks Twotimes! LOL i was just coming to post what everyone thought about the shaft size and using bushings or ball bearings. Ball bearings would be nice and smooth, but are probably not worth the added cost.

I have successfully on my seventh version created a tensioner! Basically it's a third roller that can be adjusted.

I think when I re-release this i'm loading it .dwg and .3dm so others can make derivatives and change shaft sizes etc.

Cool - I knew I should have gotten a spare rod, then I didn't, now I'll have to get one.

It's amazing how many versions add up. With the X-Y stage I went through like 3lb of abs.

This is proving to be very difficult to get just how I want it. I've been wasting a lot of plastic to get this just right before I re-release it.

Okay, I think I have it fixed now, the motor should not hit the x stage anymore.

Sadly we lose almost all the z axis savings I put into the design, however it has a little less z axis footprint than the MBI ABP.

I will be removing the old files later and will upload the new ones after I get everything up and running.

I apologize for releasing a design too soon, it won't happ
en again.

Does this mean Repraps can print conveyors to continuously print more repraps?!! Amazing!!!

Yes robots building smaller robots, to help build other robots... inside a robot?!

Yo dawg, I heard you really like robots... so I put a robot, in yo robot, so now you can automate while you pfabricate


with more robots?? :P

I'm liking your cross beam idea for minimizing heat. Did you spec out a different motor to drive the belt though? It doesn't appear the one you listed is going to Pfit without x-stage interPference.

Good eye! You are right I just checked and there is interpference...this is why i should really go back to waiting to release something until I fully build it and I should always model everything to see things like that. Thank you! I'll have to create a spacer to raise the platform up so it will clear and I'll probably change the knock plate a bit.

I cant wait to see a fully printed makerbot printing onto one of these with a printed extruder and printed lowrider x-y. It's amazing how easy its become to create and refine tangible designs, that ordering and shipping anything to go along with it feels like an eternity!

It does feel like eternity! I can't wait until we are to the point of printing circuits, motors and more!

By all means post ahead of time, it'll help you catch mistakes faster :D

what program did you create the STL files with?

I used Rhino 4.0

I also really like the teeth...

It wouldn't be "pfierce" if it didn't have teeth. :-D

I came for the ABP, but stayed for the Pfierceness.

Awesome! I think I'm gonna add a motor and a HBP to my Makerbot order :)

Does the hbp soften the abs at all?

The ABS does not soften, it barely gets warm.

As you can see from the new picture I uploaded. I got rid of all the plastic that's beneath the HBP and I just have trapezoidal crossbeams. This is an improvement on my previous design to save plastic and to keep the plastic from heating up.

BTW what density do you recommend printing this at?

I haven't worked with PLA at all, so I can't say for sure that it will be fine. It's something you're just going to have to try and see.

Also, I have a 1mm thin nut spacing off the HBP circuit board which may help in reducing heat soak to the plastic. This also allows you to keep your LED's on the board :)

I printed it with the standard .9 infill.

should I be able to print this with PLA or is the melting temp delta enough where that is ill advised?