Construction Of A DIY 3D Printer Part 5 – The Control Box


Previous <- Y-Axis Motor and Build Bed        NEXT -> Y-Axis Testing

This is the continuation of my attempt to build a 3D printer with a minimum budget of around $400 using new and recycled parts.

Build cost for this section

  • $0.00 – 1 – Metal Project Box
  • $22.00 – 1 – 30 Amp Power Supply
  • $29.60 – 1 – Arduino with Ramps 1.4 Shield, and Full Graphics Screen
  • $18.00 – 1 – Fan
  • $4.00 – 1 – Lighted Power Switch
  • $0.00 – 1 – distribution Rail Connector
  • $0.00 – 1 – Var. Wire
  • $0.00 – 1 – 120v Power Connector
  • $0.00 – 1 – 120v Line cord

  • $53.18 – BUILD BED SUB-TOTAL
  • $50.00 – FRAME SUB-TOTAL
  • $219.59 – TOTAL SO FAR

IMG_20170419_190906Sometimes you need a little encouragement even at the beginning of a project to help inspire you to see the whole vision. There was no reason to buy the power supply or ramps board yet but I did. Soon after opening the first set of packages I had to see if the board was good and the rabbit trail turned into a full section being completed.

I have built many project boxes before but this by far is the biggest. I wanted it to be the cleanest and most professional looking to help me trace wires or upgrade and repair.

Please do not build a 3D printer without a project box to enclose the 120-volt wires that could be a hazard for anyone around your printer.

The box I found is 14 3/4″ x 15 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ it was an old tankless water heater and after cleaning it of all part I had to cut out for the fan and line in connector. The fan I bought brand new it is one of the most important components in a project case, it must keep the heat down on the stepper drivers and the microcontroller. The one I got was from Orion Fans, number OA92AP-11-1TB. It is 3 1/2″ square and 110v. Its voltage is not 12v so it will not be an extra drain on the power supply. It blows straight on the ramps board.

IMG_20170422_001329The fan comes on as soon as the power switch is turned on and a fuse is inline there to do what we can to protect the whole in the event of short. The AC connector is another harvested part from the old hp printer, it has a built-in EMI filter and with a short wire, we ground the chassis.

IMG_20170422_222116The 30a power supply is sold by a great eBay seller Zyltect model S-360-12 that has a fan on it as well. I mounted it with 2″ ell brackets, you will need the special Metric screws that do not go too deep into the sides of the case. Many low-priced 3D printer kits are coming with 15 to 20 amp power supplies and they replace them immediately.

The wire gauge I used won’t be my failure point or the connectors I solder on. I am really trying hard to make something great that I will not have to worry about.

Marlin Splash ScreenThe loading of the Marlin 3D printing firmware into the Arduino Mega was not as straight forward as expected because I did not read the instructions to my Ramps board. It is brand new but is version 1.4 so it needs the firmware that is back one version and that needs one version back of the Arduino IDE v1.0.6. So after uninstalling the latest version and reinstalling the correct versions, I got a home screen to pop up.

I watched Thomas Sanladerer youtube training videos and read through the to help me. The key points for a successful install are to understand the configuration file and how it needs to be adjusted to address your hardware. For my board, I needed the “#define MOTHERBOARD 33” to address the Arduino with the ramps 1.4 shield. You will all so need the install a library in Arduino for the LCD screen called U8glib.

It is a beautiful site to behold, a milestone in my journey of building this printer.

There are so much more connections to make to the board but I now can move forward and test each sub-system as I go.

Previous <- Y-Axis Motor and Build Bed        NEXT -> Y-Axis Testing


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s