3D Printing at Home


I finally finished with the Mendel90 that I built with the class at the Dallas Makerspace and bought an extra set of parts from Nophead to build my own personal printer. It took me a while to get started since I had other projects I was working on but after a couple months of working on it, I got it printing.

I bought the more expensive components based on recommendations from my friends Krissy and Frank who have build Mendel90’s. I went with Azteeg x3, SureStepr SD8825 drivers, and Helios heated build plate. Panucatt does make some very solid electronics and you can tell they’re more well engineered than standard some Chinese RAMPS 1.4 clones. The rest of the printed parts I printed in “violet” ABS using a PolyPrinter 229, and the hardware was mostly a mixture of ebay and amazon sources. Phidgets has a reliable source of 48oz/in NEMA 17 motors. I used the DiBond sheets, fastener kit, and extruder breakout PCB from Nophead which helped make sourcing much easier. Unfortunately, Nophead no longer sells the Mendel90 kits, so you will have to find alternatives for sourcing a kit.

It wasn’t without headaches though. The electronics wiring was quite a mess, but I took my time to meter everything and label each wire which made troubleshooting much easier. I made an OpenSCAD script for a Melzi mounting hole adapter that I modified for the Azteeg x3. The X3 makes it so easy with pre-soldered screw terminals on the edge of the board and giant power terminals. MendelWiring

The PSU, I took the cover off, bundled all the 12V + and gnd wires together and soldered to 16 guage wire (kind of thin for 15+amps, but it works fine) and I soldered the recommended power resistors to the green purple and orange sense and power wires, and mounted inside the PSU casing. This made wiring much neater because I only had two 12V wires from the PSU.

The borosillicate glass build plate binder clipped onto the Helios build platform works pretty well. I used a dial indicator to level the bed, instead of stand-offs I just used M3 screws and nuts tightened down to secure the bed in place. So far it has stayed level within a few thousandths of an inch, ABS and PLA have stuck very well, and very little warping. I had an issue with the thermal runaway protection error for the heatbed coming up during a print, after lots of frustration I figured out it wasn’t the thermistor and changed the configuration_adv.h settings for thermal runaway time and variation to more lax settings. If the bed is on fire or the thermistor died, I’m sure it’ll still save itself with the fault.

One of the issues I had was the Y-belt tensioner. I had several prints where it skipped a few steps half way through the print. I realized how loose the Y-belt was compared to the X-belt. I got it printing long enough to print this which fixed the issue: YBeltTensioner

So far, although I’ve had several setbacks, it’s now printing very well. I didn’t have to change many settings from the default Cura profile for the Mendel. I also have Octoprint setup on my Raspberry Pi 2 to run the machine after some USB issues with my laptop resulting in failed prints; now I’ll be able to monitor my printer remotely with a webcam. My latest print was another upgraded part for itself, very impressive for ABS without an enclosure, and massive bridging and overhangs without support.

FanDuct print

Finally, I still have a delta printer itch. Before this Mendel90 I actually built a RichRap 3DR rostock delta printer but got frustrated with calibration and sold it to a friend. Well SeeMeCNC announced the Eris production models, and I had to have one. So hopefully in a couple weeks I’ll have a thorough review of the Eris delta printer and put it through it’s paces.


In two weeks, I’ll be flying out to the Bay Area MakerFaire, I’m going to meet some really cool people and see some awesome stuff. I’m pretty excited!