|Monthly Tech-Tip |
These build-it-yourself kits are good to learn how the printers work (but don't get one until you have seen the instruction manual). The printhead slides (on bushings) along two horizontal stainless rods - the gear-belt, driven by a stepper motor on the far left, controls its left-right position along the X-Axis. Two motors on the lower left and right turn vertical worm-gears that move the printing mechanism up and down (along the Z-axis). Like the print-head, the printing bed (or platform) is pulled forward and backward by a rubber gear-belt driven by the Y-Axis stepper motor (at the lower back). The bed is heated, maintaining a temperature of about 50C, this keeps the printed piece from warping and loosening during printing. On cheaper printers like this it is common to put masking tape on the bed, pieces stick to it better. Calibrating the height of the bed is tedious on these.
Standard 3D printers (not clay 3D printers) are incredibly useful in ceramic production and design, bringing difficult processes within reach of potters and hobbyists.