WeirdCube 3D Printer - Devlog 1
This development log article introduces the WeirdCube 3D Printer Project. A project where I develop and build a 3D printer from scratch.
The last weeks I've been getting into designing, developing and building my own 3D printer. So this is the start of the "WeirdCube" 3D printer development blog. How do you get started designing and developing a custom 3D printer you might ask? Well, first I did research. I've been digging into the topic since end of January this year. I watched lots of build streams about the Voron 3D printers and others. To show what I am talking about, here a picture of a ready made Voron 2.4 Kit by LDO Motors:
If you want to watch and follow along how to construct (not develop) your own 3D printer I can recommend the NERO 3D YouTube Channel. He is assembling especially many Voron 3D printers, and he has lots of tips and tricks and interesting information he shares along the way. Other YouTube channels and videos I've been consuming and absorbing information like a sponge from were:
- Ivan Miranda who is building really huge 3D printers.
- Dr. D-Flo Who has a great video guide about how to build your own 3D printer, and what parts might be involved and how they work: How to Build a 3D Printer (The Ultimate Guide).
Other YouTube Channels with lots of interesting and entertaining content are:
- 3D Printing Professor
- 3D Printing Nerd
- Thomas Sanladerer
- Maker's Muse
- Teaching Tech
- Make With Tech
- Naomi 'SexyCybord' Wu
- Uncle Jessy
- 3D Print Everything
About prior art on building 3D printers I can recommend the RepRap project RepRap Wiki. And the Gallery of RepRap Machines, most notably the Prusa i3. One project that inspired me is the HyperCube 3D Printer/CNC, see also this video series where I took the following image from: HyperCube Build Log by Tech2C.
A very simple Core XY 3D printer (see also core(X,Y) Principle of Operation). The WeirdCube is mostly inspired from it's use of linear rods to build a 3D printer. Even though these days linear rails are common for new 3D printer designs.
Get Started Development of the WeirdCube
I know I needed my hands on 3D printer parts to get actually started developing my own printer. I need to touch them and be able to measure their actual dimensions to start designing a new 3D printer in CAD (going to use Blender for this). Also I needed to see how the parts fit together. Waiting for weeks on parts from AliExpress or Banggood is not my cup of tea, so I ordered most parts from:
- Amazon: fans, screws, mainboard, crimping tools, wires, power supply and lots of other electronics parts.
- eBay: Aluminum MK3 heat bed 214x214 for 12V/24V, LM8LUU bearings, GFK/FR4 printing plate
- Motedis: Aluminum extrusions, hammer nuts, M5 and M6 screws, and linear rods
- AliExpress (got these a few weeks earlier): Mellow full metal V6 J-Head hot end.
Dry words don't show, so here are pictures of all parts I got:
I need to remark here, that I of course ordered too many parts of some, because at this point I did not exactly knew where I was going with the design. All in all I spent something like 800€ on everything, which also contains a few tools and extra parts that will not end up in the final design. Once I am done, I might make a full BOM table of all parts the WeirdCube is going to use.
CAD Design of the WeirdCube
As soon as I got the parts I started developing the 3D printer CAD model. There are unfortunately not many capable open source/free software 3D applications that are up for the task to build and design a 3D printer in. FreeCAD is too limited and unstable at this point in time, no chance to make a lasting project file that contains the whole printer assembly. OpenSCAD is mostly good only for single parts. And the next and probably best application is Blender! How good I am already quite proficient with it, so it was simple to start and get going.
After two weeks of modeling, thinking and rethinking the design I came up with this:
The measurements can be seen here:
One design goal was to fit the whole printer into my shelf, which is only 38cm high. So I settled for a 400x360x400 tall 3D printer frame. The build volume will be something like 200x180x150mm.
The CAD model is not finished yet, I still have lots of parts to model and design. Especially the 3D printed parts that will hold everything in place are missing. I focused on the frame primarily for now, so I can start building the frame next. The frame design so far is ready enough to put into reality.
All my files are open licensed, and you are free to follow or even build your own WeirdCube or modify it. You can find them here: