Jun 11, 2016 | By Alec
Tired of flimsy, low-cost desktop 3D printers that are largely made out of plastic and acrylic? There is an alternative. As a metal-framed 3D printers can quickly be far too costly for many users, an interesting option has just appeared out of the Portuguese hands of RepRap genius Aldric Negrier. The veteran maker has just shared the designs for his RGB STEEL, a steel-framed DIY 3D printer kit with color-mixing options that can be built for less than $400.
If you’re hesitant about buying a 3D printer from someone you’ve never heard about, you’ll be happy to know that Negrier is actually a veteran 3D printer developer with an extensive list of achievements. A doctoral candidate at the University of Algarve, Aldric Negrier has already worked on a wide range of very impressive 3D printers. Back in 2015, he launched the remarkable Vulcanus 3D printer series, a range of excellent machines featuring build spaces of up to 52 x 52 x 50cm. All of his 3D printers are sold through RepRapAlgarve and provide a low-cost alternative for users on a budget. He’s also an excellent designer himself, as he recently showcased with the 3D printed DriveMyPhone vehicle.
But Negrier is now back with another 3D printer: the RGB STEEL. In a nutshell, it brings a strong carbon steel frame and color mixing options to DIY RepRap 3D printing. It’s also very flexible in use and will provide an excellent making environment for users seeking to take control of their hardware. “The machine is a redesign of the famous steel frame P3Steel 3D printer, with the advantage that now it can be equipped with a Diamond Hotend that allows for color mixing 3D printing, and lodge at least 5 bowden extruders for even more color mixing,” Negrier says. What’s more, it also very affordable, costing just €339 for a DIY kit (about $380 USD), or €539 ($600 USD) for a color printing version featuring a diamond hot end. Good luck finding a cheaper steel-framed 3D printer.
But of course this does mean that you have to assemble it yourself, which can be a bit too much for the beginning user. Fortunately, Negrier has written up a brief tutorial on Instructables to help you along the way. Incidentally, the Instructable also has tips on installing a diamond hot end setup onto any RepRap 3D printer that uses Ramps 1.4 and an Arduino Mega, so it’s certainly worth checking out.
What’s more, the entire machine is open source in nature, and thus holds valuable tips for DIY builders. The entire design can be downloaded through the Instructable and adjusted in Sketchup software. Among others, the RGB STEEL 3D printer relies on Mk8 extruders, an Arduino Mega 2560, a Ramps 1.4, an Arduino CNC Shield, micro stepping drivers and Nema 17 Stepper Motors. The full list of parts is available in the tutorial.
Obviously, the most important part of the machine is a laser cut carbon steel frame, which you will have to cut yourself (possible at many local makerspaces with the help of Negrier’s designs). His frame design has been modified to allow users to mount an LCD screen, and has room for up to five Bowden Mk8 extruders, up to five extruders and five filament spools. If you want to paint the frame, it’s advised that you follow this RepRap guide.
All in all, the RGB STEEL is a very interesting option for users looking for a steel-framed 3D printer, while its Diamond Hotend and color-mixing add-ons can take RepRap-based 3D printing to a whole new level. And with the help of Negrier’s tutorial and extensive Repetier firmware code (also provided in the Instructable), there’s no reason why experienced makers can’t benefit from this low-cost steel-framed machine. The DIY 3D printer kit can be ordered on RepRapAlgarve here.
Posted in 3D Printer
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Ewokalvino wrote at 4/11/2017 10:53:31 PM:
@Jed, lies you can add more extruders with cnc shield, also you can use servos to switch materials/nozzles and print with several materials at "same time"
Sebastian wrote at 2/25/2017 10:57:33 AM:
Hey, I cant find the instructable link for the 5 extruders
Aldric Negrier wrote at 6/13/2016 2:20:39 PM:
Have a closer look at the instructables, ramps 1.4 can handle 5 extruders. I have tested 3 extruders with success.
jed wrote at 6/12/2016 10:09:57 AM:
Ramps 1.4 and Diamond Hotend ? For what? Ramps use only two extruders (two colors not three).