Chinese DIY 3d printer kit. CL-260

A shiny new 3d printer. (roughly A2 sized, ~8kg)

I bought a new 3d printer kit. I love putting these things together, it's like the grown up version of LEGO. my newest 3d printer upto this point is another kit built one. Also a Chinese kit, just re-branded and on-sold by Jaycar. Of course it had a retail price tag costing around $699 local currency units.

That it was unique in that it was a delta 3d printer, and once I got it all calibrated and a nice bed material on prints great! The new printer is not a necessity, I really just wanted a platform to try out cool projects like smoothie and octo-print. But didn't want to take my current delta out of action. The kit is available from aliexpress, for about $400AUD. This makes it a steal. I initially thought this cost only included the frame, but no!! This cost includes: The frame, X-Y gantry, Z axis, hot end, RAMPS control board, heated bed (a worthwhile +$10 extra)! everything to get you up and running.

Good Parts

The frame is designed around 2020 aluminum extrusions. If you're un-familiar these straight sections of aluminum feature a channel in each side. This channel can hold special T-nuts which enable additional pieces to be bolted securely to the channel. A+.

When the frame is bolted together, It's much more rigid than any of my other 3d printers. The frame bolts together with right angle cast aluminum blacks and internal steel L-brackets (at the top where the 3d printed parts obstruct the use or right angle blocks.)

Use of 3d printed Bearing blocks to help brings down the cost.

There really isn't too many parts in this printer. When I opened the box and knolled out the parts, I thought "Is this it?!". All the parts by the way are grouped together in zip-lock bags, which is nice.

+ configuration of X-Y gantry.

The heart of the X-Y gantry is an ultimaker style cross-vertically-offset-round-linear-rail setup. Each Axis X,Y has a GT2 belt along each edge, these are driven using a linear rod on one side and the other is used as an idler. Each axis also has a 3rd linear rod which rides along the other axes driven and idle rods. Each axis is offset in the Z-direction as to not interfere with teach other. A carriage sits at the location where these moving rods intersects. I've definitely not explained that well at all. Please seek other explanations of this gantry if you are confused. The main advantage of a gantry of this style is the VERY low moving mass associated. This enable higher accelerations and overall better prints faster. Assuming it can be calibrated. A major downside to this gantry is if some parts are-not aligned then binding will occur and ruin your day.

 

The BAD

This kit did not include any instructions! Sure I wouldn't have read them, but it's a nice touch. Not even a download link. Some comments on the aliexpress page mention asking the seller and receiving them that way. But I manged to create the printer without them. abiet, I did build the Z gantry wrong (although still works fine the way I've done it) and I was left with a tonne of spare nuts/bolts.

The 3d printed parts have a bad print quality, ironic because this printer could probably make better looking parts. None of the parts broken on me while assembling them, which was nice, singe I don't believe they are available for download. With that said, there are only a hand-full of parts. My first prints will likely be user created replacement parts from thingiverse.

Current state

Smoothieware compatible PCB. MKS-SBASE

I've assembled the entire frame, added all the end-stops and motors. Wired and configured my control board of choice. The MKS SBASE. which is a smoothiware compatible controller. I lack a decent PSU. the one it came with was a power brick style rated at ~100W but weighing <100g. So I do not trust that at all. I have not even plugged it in. I've been evaluating the system with my bench power supply, but will require a decent 24v switchmode supply soon. After getting the X-Y gantry to work I re-discovered openPnP this has re-ignited my desired to complete my homemade PnP.  Expect more news on that front soon.

 

led clock v1

Introduction

Finding new uses for my laser cutter, I decided to resurrect an old abandoned project. Mostly abandoned because it had no case. After some internet research (googling 'laser cut cases', etc.) I found some really interesting living hinge designs.

Firing up Rhino, I got to work making some designs. I really wanted to show off the hinge's organic shape. Hence the final M shape of the clock. I had bought some buttons in bulk, and still deciding on a final colour. They internally have a LED, which could be utilized at some stage.

One thing that is great about the laser cutter is the time. I managed to iterate through 10 different designs in one afternoon. Something which I would have never have thought possible before. Here is the box, containing my prototyped iterations.

 

Electronics

The main Clock features two PCBs; a LED driver/carrier PCB, and a control PCB. At this stage the control PCB consists of a development kit. However the control PCB has been through 3 iterations. The first was done in Altium, my first Altium project I got fabricated. and the final 2 are done in KiCad. Below is a timelapse of me routing the Kicad PCB, if you're interested in that kind of stuff.

If I was making another version of this PCB I would attempt to move from 0402 parts to 0603 parts, as this would make component placement so much easier. This design contains 128 0402 resistors. -_-