May 17, 2015

IndieLC compact DIY 3d printer with linear bearings

IndieLC is a compact DIY 3d printer that uses linear bearings. It is small in footprint but has relatively large print volume for its size.

Key features:
  • Lightweight and Portable – To be transportable I wanted to keep the weight as low as possible though still keep the functionality of the printer. For this reason I decided to base the design around the smaller Nema 14 stepper motors that provide more than enough torque. I also designed the printer so that it can be flat packed by splitting it down to the 3 main axes to be safely stored in a case for transport.
  • Versatile – To be able to increase the adaptability of the printer for use with different types of materials (PLA/ABS etc) and allow further development of the use of these materials I wanted to incorporate a heated bed so decided to incorporate the RepRapPro heated PCB. This would also alleviate any potential bed adhesion problems.
  • Stable – With each printer I have previously built the weakness has been the stability of the Z axis as a result of the motion of the X axis. With the crane style design only having one Z axis support I wanted to minimize the weight being transferred across this axis and so I incorporated the use of a Bowden system with the RepRapPro hotend.
  • Neat – Having gained experience with routing wires, and finding that due to repetitive motion of the axes failed joints or broken connections interrupted the use of the printer, I decided to use flat core cable like I first saw used on the Mendal 90. This has proved a much more reliable method for wiring.
  • Noise – After using Linear Bearings for motion on all my other printers I decided to try using wheels and bearings to reduce noise and found Openbuilds V-slot system to be a suitable choice.
  • Efficient – Larger flat plates are made from laser cut acrylic as it provides a good balance between accessibility, strength, cost, weight and aesthetics. It reduces build time as to 3D print these would take a lot of time and I didn’t want to spend ages printing what were essentially 2D parts! The 3D printing is saved for the more complex, intricate designs. Additionally I feel people have greater accessibility to laser cutters versus other manufacturing options.
  • Print Area – The printable area of the printer is 140x140x140mm which is large compared to the overall size of the printer – making the most of the space available.

Here is the IndieLC in action:

Project homepage: