This post is a work in progress until I can complete and test the printer and take more pictures.
I am building a new 3D printer based on the RAMPS 1.4 shield and the Arduino Mega. My mechanical system is based on three lead screw driven translation stages, an 80/20 aluminum frame, a RepRap heated bed, and a Stepstruder Mk7. I posted information about calibrating the Stepstruder Mk7 here.
I did not buy a kit or follow plans put together by anyone else for this new printer or the first 3D printer that I built. I am taking a step closer to the rest of the community by using Marlin firmware and an Arduino rather than Mach3 running a stepper motor controller with G-Code produced by a modified version of Replicator.
I found what I think is a good deal for the translation stages that I am using. They were originally part of X-Z translators that I purchased on eBay (link). I still see them listed occasionally, and I purchased a few extras.
I have searched for various forms of “R78411 Haydon stage specifications” and can not find threads per mm, steps per revolution, or any of the other important facts. I see that as another opportunity to be the number one hit on Google for something useful! If any blog viewers have these specifications, please post a comment.
Using 80/20 hardware was really a natural fit since it meant minimal construction of custom parts, and produced a high strength frame. It also looks great!
I electrically shielded all of the stepper motor cables using a pretty good trick. I have loads of coaxial cable for which I have distant if any plans. I found out that it is pretty easy to first strip off the outer jacket and then push together the ends of the braid to slide it off of the inner dielectric and center conductor. Then you have nice metallic braid with appropriate diameter to shield the stepper motor wires. I first tinned the ends of the braid so that they would not spread or fray. I pulled the wire bundle through by feeding in a single wire and taping the bundle to the end so that I could then pull it through. I grounded ONE END of each shield to avoid ground loops.
Update 26 April 2013: First print!
Here are new pictures of the printer in action