3D Printing Journey

The Beginning

At the end of my first year of university I decided to build my own 3D printer as a project over the Summer. I purchased an Anet A8 and a few additional parts to make some upgrades to the standard configuration.

Construction

The printers frame is made from acrylic and held together using primarily M3 bolts and nuts. The carriages slide along the metal rods and the heated bed secures the metal plates. The construction was simple to understand but timely to piece together.

Construction

The general structure was now built I added the LCD screen and began to install the cables to the mainboard and power supply. I then added the extra components I bought separately to the kit including an auto bed levelling sensor and high-quality print surface to replace the tape.

Development

After refining the bed levelling sensor and making a few test pieces I began to use the printer to produce upgrades for itself to maximise its quality and speed. I sourced a range of components from Thingiverse and slowly added the newly printed parts to my setup. All of the orange pieces photographed were printed.

Cable Management

I was now happy with my Cura profiles and the quality my Anet A8 could achieve. I then made my printer look more presentable by producing links which could be used to store away the cables. These looked great and it was interesting to see how printed parts could be joined and mechanically move. However, this made the printer fairly bulky and the links often detached.

Bowden Setup

After researching online I found that many other Anet A7 users had converted their printers from a direct extruder setup to a Bowden configuration. I decided to do this so that I could more easily switch between different filaments. My new setup has the extruder motor repositioned to the top of the acrylic frame and it uses the newer E3D V6 hot end.

Number Two

I then started the process all of again by purchasing a second Anet A8 kit. I used my current orange printer to produce all of the components I needed for the new one in green PLA filament.