July 4, 2015 | By Alec

When looking at new 3D printers, most of us will give some thought to whether or not we prefer a Cartesian setup or a Delta 3D printer. After all, they all slightly differ in price, in how they work and how they look. But Norwegian student Øyvind Kallevik Grutle wasn’t happy with just two options to choose from, so for his master’s thesis at the University of Oslo, he designed an almost-never-before-seen 5 axis 3D printer. And what’s more, its open source.

As he explains to 3ders.org, this unusual idea actually grew out of the ambitions of one of his professors. 'The idea behind creating the printer was mainly my supervisor's (Mats Høvin). He wanted a student to build a 5-axis machine with some sort of tool. Together we decided it would be interesting to try creating a 5-axis 3D printer since that had not been done at that time, with the exception of DMG Mori's Lasertec 65 3D and others 5-axis metal printers,’ Grutle explains.

So why is a 5-axis 3D printer so useful? What do the extra axis do? Well essentially, they can make objects far more smooth than on a 3-axis machine, as you’re essentially printing on other planes as well. They will also make 3D printing overhang structures far more easily and you’ll find that you won’t need support structures as much. After all, the A and C axis enable you to start 3D printing in different directions, giving you far more bending options to play with.

Check out some of the additional printing options here (at 40x the regular printing speed).

As the student explains to us, the system is essentially a modified RepRap Ormerod. ‘I have used the Duex4 controller for added motor drivers. Then I have modified DC42's Ormerod firmware version 1.04d to use the extra drivers on the Duex4 as motor drivers,’ he explains. And as you might have guessed, it also relies on an unusual gcode. ‘The code is based on Fanuc Type I and Type II where the gcode have an untransformed x, y and z coordinates and an A and C angle or I, J, K vector which is the direction of the nozzle onto the part which is being printed. This gcode is transformed in the firmware and so the printer goes where it should,’ Grutle explains.

The initial proof of concept of this machine worked very well, with 3D printing results being much smoother than what you and I are used to. That alone lets us dream of adding this technological advancement to a user’s 3D printing arsenal, though the 28 year old student currently doesn’t have any ideas about taking this technology to a commercial level yet. Who knows what the future will bring? Check out more of Grutle’s tests below.

Posted in 3D Printers



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ONEVCTRY wrote at 11/18/2018 5:49:56 PM:

I would like to have the edited firmware. Where would it be possible to get the edited version one?

mat wrote at 5/23/2016 9:09:37 AM:

I have much interest in pursuing this as well and am interested in the above comment as well. 5 axis is impressive. i feel that it's just missing a clamp and a scanner. i really want to be able to print around other objects and this kind of open the doors to that.

CNK wrote at 7/5/2015 3:31:08 AM:

I love the crazy movements in the last video, looks like an impressive design to watch at work regardless of the results. But if this is Open Source, where can I find the software and design files? No link here...

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