Jun 24, 2015 | By Simon

For all of the benefits that desktop 3D printers have afforded us, printing larger objects certainly isn’t one of them.  

Of course, there are a number of dedicated software options for splitting up a larger model into smaller parts that are capable of being assembled into a much larger assembly ‘print’ - however the assembly and finishing details can leave much to be desired.  

Faced with the difficult predicament of determining which roommate gets to keep their Prusa i2 3D printer after initially splitting the cost, Instructables user Pat L. (AKA ‘redhatman’) was faced with the difficult decision of “who’s going to keep the 3D printer?” after it was time to move. After agreeing on the value of the 3D printer, Pat accepted half of that in cash which was used to build an entirely new - albeit larger - 3D printer based off of his smaller 3D printer, which was also used to print the parts for the larger build.  

The resulting build plans are presented in a highly in-depth process that he has shared on Instructables for those who might be interested in creating their own 3d printers, too.  

From the get-go, Pat had five primary goals for the build that he outlined accordingly: it had to made under the $600 budget, it had to be as close to a cubic foot of build volume as possible, the quality had to be equal to or better than the Prusa i2, it had to feature a Bowden extruder setup to help remove weight from the carriage area and allow for more speed and better accuracy and finally, the new 3D printer had to be able to print in both ABS and PLA filaments.

While the 3D printer didn’t have a name throughout the design and development process, Pat has since called the design “Project Locus”, which is inspired in-part by the mathematical definition of Locus:

"A curve or other figure formed by all the points satisfying a particular equation of the relation between coordinates, or by a point, line, or surface moving according to mathematically defined conditions."

While sourcing the parts wasn’t too much difficulty, figuring out the costs on a relatively low budget was among one of the more difficult challenges of the build.  According to Pat, the two main costs of the printer were the aluminum extrusions and the heatbed.  

“After looking into homemade heatbeds, I had decided the price difference was very marginal, and not worth the time, effort, and risk,” he says.  

“The aluminum extrusions would be what would make this that much more interesting. To build a simple cube which matched my desired built volume, while still allowing room for component mounting, would cost me at least $100 (USD). This was just a rough idea of what I thought I would need to create solid corners and overall a rigid frame for this somewhat large printer. That's when I began experimenting with how to make a cheaper, cost effective, proof of concept, printed PLA extrusions frame.”

Among other unique features of Pat’s build include the decision to use foam filler on the interior cavities of his parts, which he sourced from a local hardware store.  

“The foam I used can be found at several hardware stores from what i've noticed,” he says.   “It's generally used as a crack sealer/gap filler, and has pretty decent properties as far as expansion and overall hardness when cured.”

For those looking to create their own Project Locus 3D printer, Pat has generously supplied all of the necessary STL files which can be printed on an average-sized desktop 3D printer with additional parts totaling less than $600.  

“(It’s time to put) meaning behind the idea of a self replicating machine!” says Pat. “This printer is not only a proof of concept that you can create a printer of such size while using 3D printed parts, but it is also a great showcase piece for the evolution of additive manufacturing and a complement to the rapid prototyping industry!”

While the Project Locus 3D printer is certainly a highly-developed self-built 3D printer design, Pat is looking forward to seeing what others can come up with as far as improving upon or modifying the open source design.  

“Print on, thinkers, tinkerers, makers, fabricators, and everyone else,” he adds.  

“I look forward to seeing what other additions people will create for and with this newly released printer! I hope you all have enjoyed this build, happy printing!”

To see the Project Locus instructions in full - as well as download all of the necessary STL files - head over to Pat’s Instructables page for the project.   



Posted in 3D Printers



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