As I write more stories about 3D printing, I not only want to buy my own printer, but I also want everyone, especially K-12 schools, to have access to a 3D printer. It’s an extraordinary technology, and while it’s getting cheaper, the cost is still prohibitive in the 3D printing space. But let our inventiveness and creativity make up for what our wallets can’t provide, okay? Necessity is definitely the mother of invention, and this project, to build a 3D printer out of a 3D printing pen, is an example of how money won’t stop the masses from getting their 3D printing machines.
Daniel from Tinkernut has hacked a 3D printing pen to give us a very cheap option for a 3D printer (which has limits on resolution and print size, of course). So let’s go over a little bit about how he does it. All 3D printers have four basic parts: bed, extruder, hot end, and filament. That is all!
In a video called “How to Make an Inexpensive 3D Printer” (watch it below!), Tinkernut walks us through the details of building this machine.
First, he decided that a 3D printing pen is a better option for the project than a hot glue gun, even though it costs more. Tinkernut states that “…a hot glue gun would be great, but then it would require us to build a motorized extruder from scratch.” Therefore, the pen wins as the option to build due to the fact that it comes with integrated extrusion functions.
Tinkernut then proceeds to take the pen apart (shown very clearly in the video) so he can automate it. The pen comes with “extrude back” and “extrude forward” buttons, and the idea is that the “extrude forward” button on the 3D printing pen should be automated and then controlled by an Arduino.
That makes a lot of sense to me, but for the uninitiated, it’s very important to follow Tinkernut’s video if you plan on trying to build your own 3D printing machine with a pen. The instructions are simple enough, and at the end of the video, you’ll see that you might try this at home. But as Hackaday reminds us:
“However, it’s not as simple as attaching a 3D printing pen to a CNC machine. The pen and the CNC machine have to communicate with each other so that the pen knows when to drop the filament and the CNC machine knows when to move. For that, [Daniel] I went with a trusty Arduino to turn the pen on and off. Once it’s up and running, it’s time to start printing!”
Of course, as 3D printing pens become more common, we’re sure to see more people trying this type of crafting. Tinkernut is ahead of the game, having achieved its original mission of building an affordable 3D printer that works, even if print resolution and size are limited by its primary instrument: a 3D printing pen. Will you be testing this project? Let us know in the 3D Printer Hack Under $100 forum thread at 3DPB.com.
Check out the tutorial below:
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