509,639 active members
3,283 visitors online
Register for free
Login
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1339

    Add 3D printing to my existing CNC???

    Just thinking.

    I built a CNC machine using Gecko drivers and CandCNC controller and it has been running flawlessly for many years. Using MACH3 and Vectric Vcarve software. I'm very happy with this system.

    What do I need to do to add 3D printing capability to my exhisting hardware and electricals?

    What do I need to change or add? And still keep my CNC capability.

    Or do I need to build new hardware from scratch.

    Did I mention I'm cheap, LOL

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Add 3D printing to my existing CNC???

    The only thing you need to add to the controls is a 4th axis to run the extruder. Then you need a heated printing surface, the extruder, and hot end and some way to hang this on your Z axis. Then a way to control the hot end and plate heater. Mach3 should be able to run a 3D printer, then you just need a slicer program to create the G-code. Those are the basics.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1339

    Re: Add 3D printing to my existing CNC???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    The only thing you need to add to the controls is a 4th axis to run the extruder. Then you need a heated printing surface, the extruder, and hot end and some way to hang this on your Z axis. Then a way to control the hot end and plate heater. Mach3 should be able to run a 3D printer, then you just need a slicer program to create the G-code. Those are the basics.
    Thanks Jim.
    I added a fourth axis when I built my machine so I can use that driver to run the print head.

    But after thinking some I realized I've only got 7" of Z travel, I still have all the stepper motors and controllers from my first CNC so I just build one from scratch.
    Being cheap I can just unplug the CNC stepper cables and plug in the 3D printer and use my current control box and MACH3. I think???

    Need to read more about the heated table.

    Thanks

    HH

  4. #4

    Re: Add 3D printing to my existing CNC???

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Chips View Post
    Thanks Jim.

    I still have all the stepper motors and controllers from my first CNC so I just build one from scratch.
    Being cheap I can just unplug the CNC stepper cables and plug in the 3D printer and use my current control box and MACH3. I think???

    Thanks

    HH
    Sounds like you have it under control. No problem using using the existing controls, should work fine. Just have 2 setups in your Mach3 loader.

  5. #5
    Registered
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    1418

    Re: Add 3D printing to my existing CNC???

    Don't need a heated bed for some plastics (notably PLA) but others (ABS, Nylon, PET etc) need a warm baseplate or they won't stick down.

    The big difference is that you want your printer to run FAST. For example I'm running 120mm/s (around 300ipm) on my printer and max 2000mm/min (80ipm) on my router. On a dedicated printer with lightweight frame and carriage etc it's pretty easy to get that speed, on a CNC designed to throw around a spindle with a bit of force it gets harder.

    Worth having a dig if you have the hardware, I believe things like the Rostock Max and the Kossel from which it was born are open source and have plans available for building 'em up.

  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    6618

    Re: Add 3D printing to my existing CNC???

    Honestly you would probably pay more to add 3D printing to your machine than you would to buy an entry level kit.
    Something like this.
    https://www.zapals.com/a8-large-desk...FRc9gQodsf4Dkg

    There are many other choices too. The speed of the machine will make a large difference in the print quality for some materials. Some materials actually need a slower machine.
    Lee

  7. #7
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1856

    Re: Add 3D printing to my existing CNC???

    http://danielscnc.webs.com/

    being disabled is not a hindrance it gives you attitude
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1339

    Re: Add 3D printing to my existing CNC???

    Quote Originally Posted by dharmic View Post
    Don't need a heated bed for some plastics (notably PLA) but others (ABS, Nylon, PET etc) need a warm baseplate or they won't stick down.

    The big difference is that you want your printer to run FAST. For example I'm running 120mm/s (around 300ipm) on my printer and max 2000mm/min (80ipm) on my router. On a dedicated printer with lightweight frame and carriage etc it's pretty easy to get that speed, on a CNC designed to throw around a spindle with a bit of force it gets harder.

    Worth having a dig if you have the hardware, I believe things like the Rostock Max and the Kossel from which it was born are open source and have plans available for building 'em up.
    Oh yea, didn't take all that mass of the CNC into consideration and you do want it to run as fast as the process can handle.

    I do have lots of extruded aluminum and stepper motors off my 1st machine, and really don't need linerar bearings as my current machine, seems just about everyone is using round shaftin and bronze bearings like in printers, cause it's not moving much mass around.

    I see most folks are using belting driving all the motion what are the drawbacks to that? And alternatives but Speed plays a part in choosing the drive system.

    I see one of the designs that uses three verticals, with three arms that depending on the height of the legs enables X and Y movement. It's a neat looking design but requires much longer shafting, whereas other designs don't require the length.
    Other than longer shafting what are the pros and cons to this style machine? Thanks.

    I need to look at various designs before I bite the bullet and jump in.

    Thanks you all for your comments and suggestions.

    HH

  9. #9
    Registered
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    1851

    Re: Add 3D printing to my existing CNC???

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Chips View Post
    Just thinking.

    I built a CNC machine using Gecko drivers and CandCNC controller and it has been running flawlessly for many years. Using MACH3 and Vectric Vcarve software. I'm very happy with this system.

    What do I need to do to add 3D printing capability to my exhisting hardware and electricals?

    What do I need to change or add? And still keep my CNC capability.

    Or do I need to build new hardware from scratch.

    Did I mention I'm cheap, LOL

    Thanks
    Interesting subject because this is on my bucket list as well...

    My CNC is fast enough now, I think that the maximum speed of 8000mm/min I have is more than enough for 3D printing, but I need a head and a heated table. Of course, that's the easy part, but all in all, it is my understanding that that's all what's needed, apart from the necessary heat regulator circuits and the software to control it. I use UCCNC and it has a built in plugin for 3D printer, so that seems to be solved. Most DIY or eBay CNCs have pretty low Z movement, mine is about 140mm, so that's OK to start with. One disadvantage of converting a CNC is that the ball nuts and linear rails make some noise so in that respect a belt driven machine is better. On the other hand, my CNC is so rigid that it hardly shows any shake even when violently driven, and that is very good for good results, not only for milling, but also for 3D printing. Some say that there is not a lot of mass in 3D printers, but at high speed even a small mass can generate high force and I have seen some pretty shaky 3D printers when run at high speed.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-15-2013, 09:20 PM
  2. Existing ZX-45 conversion
    By mjscottinnc in forum Benchtop Machines
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-07-2013, 05:08 PM
  3. Using an existing cnc machine for 3d printing
    By dmauch in forum General 3D Printer Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-21-2012, 04:50 PM
  4. Modify existing driver?
    By Mike Hall in forum Maintenance DIY Discussion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-26-2011, 04:53 PM
  5. X-Y CNC with existing leadscrews?
    By cyclestart in forum Benchtop Machines
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-29-2007, 02:25 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •