27 October 2015

CTC Bizer Duplicator... My new 3D printer

I've always found it interesting, but until recently 3D printing has been just a little too expensive for me to pull the trigger on buying my own machine.

A couple of months ago I saw an auction on eBay for a decently-priced clone of a MakerBot Replicator and had my impulsive "Best Offer" bid accepted instantly...*gulp*

Je ne regrette rien
Before MakerBot went all evil, they put out a really sturdy open-source machine in the Replicator. 
Predictably there are now some really affordable clones of the original Replicator available, and the version I bought was from a company called CTC.

This was the version I got, plain black plywood with an aluminium heated bed
Out-of-the-box it was pretty good, printing with the included plastic and default settings from the SD card gave alright results.

A fascinating aspect of 3D printing technology is the ability of the machine to print upgrades and spare parts for itself.

So I set about browsing the numerous online 3D model repositories looking for bits and pieces I could print to add to my printer,

Part of the appeal of 3D printing for me was this tinkering about with the machine, a lot of the time the "upgrades" are just fiddling for the sake of it and that's great, I love messing around and taking things apart.

But there are loads of modifications, that genuinely do make a difference. Improving usability or increasing print-quality or reliability, it really is a deep-dark rabbit-hole of modding.

Initially the learning curve is steep but it quickly becomes very satisfying to download and print a useful and functional physical object and screw it in place on your printer.

Here're a few mods I made to my CTC:

There're still a few things I'd like to add, maybe an enclosure for printing in ABS, a Raspberry Pi running OctoPi to manage prints online/monitor a webcam feed of the printer, a proper cable chain for the x-axis wiring.

Lots of new posts coming up then ;)


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