Tag Archives: RepRap

CowTech Ciclop is a $100 3D laser scanner

Makers can produce high-quality scans for a fraction of the cost of other machines.

Those who’ve ever wanted to copy a three-dimensional object without shelling out an arm and a leg for a professional-grade machine are in luck. That’s because Maker Jason Smith has developed an open source, RepRap 3D scanner. The best part? It’ll cost you less than $100.


According to its creator, the CowTech Ciclop boasts “a large scan volume, a simple yet elegant design, and a disruptive price point that blows any other laser scanner out of the water.” Inspired by the BQ Ciclop, this unit’s frame is comprised of sleek laser-cut acrylic and plastic components that users can easily fabricate themselves. Smith has also shrunken down the scanner’s footprint so it can be reproduced on even the smallest of printers.

“We wanted to make sure our product was usable for anyone who owns a 3D printer, so we meticulously designed our parts for a print bed volume of only 115mm x 110mm x 65mm (4.5 x 4.3 x 2.6in) so they can be produced on even the smallest of printers,” Smith adds.

Unlike some other DIY gadgets available today, the CowTech Ciclop is a scanner that employs two red line lasers, a camera and a rotating turntable. Not only can Makers create the CowTech Ciclop’s parts on their own 3D printer in any color and resolution, they can assemble the device in under 30 minutes. Once constructed, they can then take any item they wish to replicate, set it on the 200mm laser cut acrylic turntable, and begin the scanning process.


At this time, two redline lasers flash on the object as the turntable makes a complete revolution. A camera detects the location of each of the lines and stores them as points in the 3D space. A cloud of points is generated after the scan is complete, replicating the surface of the object with up to 0.5mm precision. That point cloud could then be utilized as a standalone or converted into a program like Meshlab and Cloudcompare.

As you would expect, the low-cost CowTech Ciclop kit has an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) for its brain, an Arduino shield for controlling a NEMA 17 stepper motor, a USB cord and a 1.5A power supply.

Sound like the DIY scanner you’ve been looking for? Head over to the CowTech Ciclop’s Kickstarter campaign, where the team is currently seeking $10,000. Delivery is slated for April 2016.


Hacking a 3D printer to play air hockey

This DIY project is puckin’ awesome!

As a kid, there was always that one game — besides Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam and Street Fighter, of course — that seemed to captivate everyone’s attention while inside an arcade. Air hockey! Originally invented by a group of Brunswick Billiards engineers back in 1969, the two-player game features a puck, two goals and a frictionless surface.


However, there was always those times when you couldn’t find anyone else around to compete against. Fortunately, Maker Jose Julio recently decided to take it upon himself to alleviate that problem by creating an air hockey-playing robot using some readily available RepRap 3D printer parts, including an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) and RAMPS 1.4 board.

Additional key specs included a PS3 camera, NEMA17 stepper motors, motor drivers, belts, bearings and rods, along with some 3D-printed brackets, paddles and pucks, obviously. Meanwhile, the table itself was built from scratch with off-the-shelf wood and two standard 90mm PC fans to produce the necessary air pressure to lift the puck.

Julio used a three-motor design (two for the Y-axis, one for the X), and replaced the X-axis rods on the RepRap with carbon tubes, which seemed to work quite well on PLA-printed bushings and made the system lighter.


“I started studying the code of Marlin (typical RepRap firmware) software but I decided to start from scratch, first because I don’t need a G-code interpreter, and second, because the software of a 3D printer have a motion planning algorithm and this is not the way the Air Hockey robot must work,” the Maker explains. “3D printers plan movements for smooth paths through all the points. The Air Hockey Robot should move inmediately with every new command canceling the previous one, because what we need is that the robot moves as quickly as possible to the new position.”

How the robot works is fairly straightforward. fThe system employs a PS3 camera mounted above the table to monitor the puck, determine its trajectory and stop shots from an opponent. The PS3 Eye is also adjustable, which allows a user to determine the robot’s speed, acceleration and strategy algorithms. (That’s good news for sore losers, you can rig the game to guarantee the win…) This was made possible by connecting the camera to a PC running a vision system that he wrote using OpenCV libraries. This way, once the puck is detected, the location is sent to the Arduino by serial port.


Beyond that, Julio devised a trajectory prediction system and the robot’s air hockey strategy with the Arduino.

“Once we have detected the puck in two consecutive frames we can calculate the trajectory. The trajectory prediction takes into account that the puck can rebound against a side wall. All these calculations are accesible to the strategy subsystem that decides what the robot will do: defense, defense+attack, and preparing for a new attack,” he writes.

Ready to get your game on against your own Air Hockey Robot? You can head over to the Maker’s official page here, while its code, 3D designs and additional documentation can all be found on Github here.

This RepRap machine is as self-replicating as a DIY 3D printer can get

This accessible, hackable and customizable RepRap printer features a large 8” x 6” x 6″ build volume.

Desktop 3D printers pretty much seem to be a dime a dozen these days. And whereas some Makers would prefer to simply go out and purchase one, others would rather take on the challenge of building their own from scratch. Take Ryan Adams, for example.


The Maker is collaborating with mapleMaker Media to provide open source 3D printable designs for 3D printers that are aimed towards those DIYers who like constructing their own machines with various custom elements. Their latest project, mapleMaker Mini V2, differentiates itself from a majority of RepRap devices in the sense that it is consists of a frame that is entirely 3D-printed.


What’s more, the project only calls for 36 hours to print out all the components necessary for assembly. The mapleMaker Mini V2 boasts a large 8″ x 6″ x 6″ build volume and employs an all-metal E3D Lite6 hot-end. Aside from its 3D-printable parts, the rest of the electronics will need to be sourced, which like most DIY machines, include an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), a RAMPS 1.4 shield, NEMA 17 stepper motors, an LCD panel and an MK8 extruder drive gear. Beyond that, the Maker is running Eric Zalm’s Marlin firmware.


“The aim of this kit was to reduce costs and create an accessible, hackable, upgradeable, and ultimately, user customizable 3D printer. We believe that a 3D printer should evolve with it’s users needs and knowledge, and become a platform for any number of future upgrades and additions without the need for costly re-works or additional components,” its creators explain.

Adams has made his project available on YouMagine, where you will find all of its necessary parts, code and designs.

This open source machine lets you knit your own clothing

Now that’s what we call doin-knit-yourself!

Circular knitting is a form of knitting that creates a seamless tube. In recent years, knitting in the round has gained tremendous popularity among crafty DIYers, particularly those hoping that the rhythmic click of needles and repetitious weaving of yarn would alleviate some stress. For other hobbyists, the joys of knitting lie in the process of designing an automated machine to do the tedious task for them, as seen with the Maker duo of Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet who have developed an open source circular knitting machine, aptly named Circular Knitic.


Though digital knitting may not exactly be a form of additive manufacturing, the project does share a number of commonalities with 3D printing. As 3D printers continue to gain mainstream appeal, the fashion industry has become one of, if not, the quickest to adopt the next-gen technology. In fact, many designers are slowly introducing FDM printing into their prototyping labs, with several others already having fully-embraced these devices as a fashion tool — evident by the accessories seen throughout Eureka Park back at CES 2015 and dresses taking the runway at Fashion Weeks across the world.


Initially built for a program called DOERS, which was curated by Arduino co-founder David Cuartielles, the open source machine was constructed using a series of RepRap, MakerBot and Ultimaker 2 printers for most of its components, along with some digital fabrication, laser cutting and MakerBeam. Much like the tool we saw last year that was capable of threading pieces of attire, the OpenKnit, Circular Knitic is also powered by an Arduino — an Uno to be exact (ATmega328).

The brainchild of artists Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet, these desktop-sized machines are currently being commissioned to create long scarves at Etopia Center for Art & Technology in Zaragoza, Spain through July 31, 2015.


Similar to how a RepRap FDM printer extrudes plastic in various shapes, the Circular Knitic produces specific patterns of wool to form woven strands of clothing, ranging from scarves to gloves to keep you warm this winter. Even better, since its creators have made the files available on GitHub, users can simply 3D print and assemble the desktop device at home to make their own garments without having to ever head out to the store!


“Fab Labs and Makerspaces are a lot about hard-surface object production. At the same time, the first digital fabrication tool, which is an electronic knitting machine back to 1976, has been forgotten and discontinued. Hence, with this project, Circular Knitic, and our earlier one called Knitic, we aim to integrate textile fabrication to the Makers’ culture.”

Interested in starting your own in-home knitting factory? You’re in luck. The Maker duo has provided a step-by-step breakdown of the build on Instructables, in addition to having submitted their project as a contender for this year’s Hackaday Prize. Want to see more photos? Guljajeva and Canet have shared an entire album here.

SeraMaker is an open-source, Arduino-powered 3D printer

This open-source 3D printer was inspired by the RepRap Prusa Mendel i2. 

The brainchild of an Italian Maker “SebaSera94” as part of his a project at the Istituto D’Istruzione Superiore Giacomo Floriani, SeraMaker is a RepRap-inspired 3D printer.


Based on the Prusa Mendal i2, this FDM machine is comprised of six pieces of medium-density fiberboard ranging in thickness from five millimeters for the base to 12 millimeters for the casing. The windows of the printer are fixed from the inside with the exception of the front, which is attached via hinges to allow for opening as well as magnets and a metal plate located behind the handle for closure.

Like with a vast majority of these open-source units, an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) and RAMPS 1.4 serve as the brains of the operation, while stepper motors are tasked with generating the motion axes with precision. Five motors are embedded inside the device in total: two to actuate the X and Y axes, two for the Z axis and one to drive the filament through the extruder. In terms of firmware, the printer was configured using Marlin.


SeraMaker boasts a 20cm x 20cm bed which uses imprinted copper coil to act as electrical resistance and heat the print surface. Four LED lamps provide lighting for the machine, three of which shine onto the printing plane from various angles while the other illuminates SeraMaker’s name tag.

All of the electronic components, including the ATX power supply and junction box, are housed inside the lower portion of the structure. There also lies the ATmega2560, control motors, a display to access its navigation menu, a relay to separate the power circuit of the heating plate, a card to control LEDs and a small 50mm fan for ventilation.


“To the rear panel are fixed two connectors and as many switches,” SebaSera94 adds. “The USB connector is an extension of the same port of the Arduino board to allow rapid access to a computer while the power supply is connected to the 230V AC via the connector, which is connected in series with the switch for disconnecting general. The remaining sections switch the lighting circuit from the 12V line.”

Other than the structural and mechanical components, the fiberboard and plexiglass housing, each of the machine’s parts can be 3D-printed. Just head over to its Thingiverse page here.

RepRapPro launches a $300 Delta 3D printer

The Fisher Delta 3D printer is an easy-to-assemble and even easier-to-afford machine for Makers of any level.

Safe to say that the adoption of 3D printing will rely heavily upon both affordability and accessibility to Makers. And one of the companies continuing to lead the way is RepRapPro, who has debuted yet another open source machine for the DIY community. Recently unveiled during 3D Printshow London, Fisher is an easy-to-assemble, Delta style 3D printer that is expected to cost around $300 — quite the wallet-friendly price compared to many other devices on the market today.


“In order to achieve the low price, a Delta configuration was chosen, utilizing mainly parts and processes which can be found in our other RepRap kits,” its team revels. “Although in this configuration the machine lacks a heated bed, many great features are included, such as an automatic bed probing and new compact all metal hot-end, which all combine to give the same great print quality as all our other RepRap 3D printer designs.”

One of its other notable features is RepRapPro’s Arduino-compatible, 32-bit controller. Based on an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU, the Duet board is equipped with four stepper motor controllers, an SD card slot, as well as USB and Ethernet ports. Makers can drive the platform with a conventional RepRap app like Pronterface or command the platform via a standard web server. What’s more, an expansion board offers an additional four stepper motor controllers, allowing for a total of five extruders and up to eight axis controls.


Key specs of the Fisher:

  • Build volume: 150mm diameter, 180mm height
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Resolution: 12.5um in all axes
  • Print bed: Removable
  • Extruder: Direct drive extruder with an all-metal stainless steel nozzle
  • Connectivity: Ethernet and USB interface
  • Storage: On-board microSD
  • Software: Prints G-code files provided by Slic3r and other open-source slicing programs

At the moment, the design is in its beta stage, as the team gathers feedback from end users throughout the open source community. Meanwhile, upgrades are already in the works which include a heated bed and color touchscreen kits. Interested? Head over to its official page here.

3D printing a working 5-speed manual Toyota transmission

Maker 3D prints a fully-functional 5-speed transmission for a Toyota 22RE engine.

You may recall a project from back in January when auto enthusiast Eric Harrell replicated a Toyota 22RE four-cylinder engine using a RepRap Prusa 3D printer. Not only did it aesthetically fit the bill, it was completely functional as well. Following such positive feedback from the DIY community and media coverage around his earlier design, Harrell decided to complement his creation by 3D printing a 5-speed manual transmission modeled after a W56 Toyota. Combined, the two components form an impressive piece of DIY machinery!


“This is the 4WD version of the transmission so it has a mounting surface to bolt a transfer case to. I’ll work to get a 2WD housing designed up, since the only difference is the rear section of the transmission. The transfer case will be the next thing I will upload,” the Maker writes.


The build took Harrell just over two days to finish, which was accomplished using his ATmega2560 powered Kossel Mini printer. Upon completion, the transmission worked — all 5 speeds and reverse. The project utilized a decent amount of 3mm rod and 623zz bearings, along with some screws and nuts given the tiny size of a few of the parts.

Interested? You can check out the entire project on Thingiverse here. Meanwhile, watch it in action below!

SmartrapCore is a low-cost, open-source wooden box 3D printer

SmartrapCore is the company’s second model and is even easier to assemble than the Smartrap.

As the popularity of inexpensive, open-source 3D printers continues to grow amongst the DIY community, Smartfriendz is hoping to help accelerate adoption with their latest device, the SmartrapCore. Touted as a “true RepRap printer,” it is capable of constantly improving itself by printing its own plastic parts and upgrades. Possessing the same ease-of-use as the French startup’s earlier Smartrap 3D Printer, Makers will be able to access online plans, instructions and assembly assistance through a series of tutorial videos.


However, in an effort to differentiate itself from the Smartrap, the team started the project with a coreXY base. (Hence, the “core” in its name.) The 3D-printed components are placed inside and atop of a wooden box, then simply screwed in using wood screws. As for its hardware, like a number of other RepRaps available today, the SmartrapCore is based on an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) and a RAMPS 1.4 control board.


Smartfriendz shares that the machine is expandable from 20cm x 20cm to around 50cm x 50cm. More importantly, all designs are entirely written in OpenJSCAD along with various NEMA, rod, print and wood thickness sizes. All models are dynamically updated from parameters, while print plates will soon be automatically generated. Beyond that, the team has recently made improvements to reorient the stop on “new plate2,” as well as the J-Head attachment with its inductive sensor.

Interested? Not only can you now purchase the SmartrapCore online, you can also find its files on Thingiverse and Github.

This RepRap 3D printer can play Beethoven

Watch this RepRap 3D printer perform Beethoven’s “Für Elise” using only motor sounds.

If you’ve ever used a 3D printer, you know all too well the distinct sound of the stepper motors as they rotate and change direction. Well, a Maker by the name of DeltaRAP recently decided to change that by modding his Atmel based RepRap 3D printer to emit the harmonic tunes of Beethoven. In fact, his machine could now play the world-renowned “Für Elise” in its entirety.


Inspired by a video of a CNC milling machine making music from its motors, the Maker used g-code commands to convert the printer’s stepper motor movements into exact tonal sounds. After experiencing a few difficulties, DeltaRAP realized that his Rostock printer — which is powered by an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280) — could produce distinct tones after all, by moving the print head vertically. This would allow for a singular tone to play from the device, as it causes all three motors to move in unison.

“Delta style printers don’t rotate one motor if you tell them to move for example X axis by 10mm. The firmware instead recalculates the movement of each motor so the end result is the movement of the head by 10mm on X axis. The only movement that doesn’t have to be divided between all three motors is Z movement. We can use this knowledge to slightly modify the g-code and make [the] Delta printer a music player,” DeltaRAP writes.

Pretty cool, right? You read about the Maker’s entire mod here, and watch it in action below.


DiyouPCB is a DIY open-source PCB printer

Makers are designing open source, low-cost tools that allow others to accelerate the manufacturing process right from home.

Inspired by the highly-popular RepRap 3D printers, a pair of Madrid-based brothers have unveiled a new open-source PCB printer powered by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), along with a custom pickup driver and controller shield.


The open-source platform is equipped with a Blu-Ray optical pickup (PHR-803T) and various UV laser components. More specifically, the PHR-803T incorporates a UV laser diode that functions at a wavelength of 405nm, while the device itself features a build area of 210mm x 170mm and a print speed of 600mm per minute.


Aside from the ATmega328 driven ‘duino, custom PD and PCS, key specs include:

  • Auto-focus: Through astigmatic method
  • Diameter of focused laser beam: ~0.1mm
  • Travel speed: Max. 15,000mm/minute
  • Dimensions: 385 mm x 345mm x 100mm
  • Weight: ~2.6Kg
  • Power: 110V/230V, 50 – 60 Hz, 2A


“The printer is still not perfect. We [need to] further improve the printing quality and solve the problems of the vibrations caused by the stepper motors and the induced by the use of timing belts (backlash and resonances),” the team writes.

Interested in learning more about the DiyouPCB printer? You can assemble your very own by following this detailed step-by-step breakdown.