Jul 5, 2016 | By Benedict

Mechanic and 3D printing enthusiast Wayne Mason-Drust has hacked two IKEA Lack tables to make a custom-build, large-format 3D printer. Makers can build their own <$395 ‘Printtable’, which consists of several 3D printed components, by following Mason-Drust’s Instructables guide for the project.

A 3D printer made out of a table? While we’ve never seen much additive manufacturing potential in our furniture, nor eaten dinner off an Ultimaker 2, Wayne Mason-Drust’s unusual hack turns a symbol of 21st century chic into a machine of 21st century capabilities, making it a project well worth trying…knock on wood. Parts for the stylish DIY machine can be bought for less than $395, and the entire building process has been reduced to 25 simple steps.

A few years ago, Mason-Drust, an auto mechanic, found himself encountering the same problem time and time again: he would have to replace expensive car headlights, despite there being only minor damage to their internal parts—a broken lug, for example. The problem was one of acquisition: when even the tiniest of connective components would break, the mechanic would often have no way of sourcing a replacement part, meaning the whole headlight would have to be replaced. By chance, Mason-Drust came across a YouTube video of a MakerBot 3D printer, and realized that by 3D printing the replacement car parts, he could save his customers a lot of money.

The mechanic purchased a BFB (Bits from Bytes) 3D printer, which he learnt to use over time, eventually commandeering it to create spare parts for his customers’ cars. Being a tinkerer, however, Mason-Drust wanted to build his own 3D printer; one with a heated chamber and print bed. He did so, but soon decided that he should make another 3D printer that other people could also build.

One day, the mechanic had an epiphany after seeing his BFB 3D printer sitting atop an IKEA Lack table in his lounge. For five years, that table had withstood the vibrations and force of the 3D printer, but showed virtually no wear and tear. Moreover, the IKEA table was cool, elegant, and sophisticated—much more so than the 3D printer on top of it. Mason-Drust’s idea was simple but brilliant: build a new, large-format 3D printer out of the table itself.

The end product of Mason-Drust’s unusual idea is Printtable, a fully functional 3D printer built out of two IKEA Lack tables, an MKS TFT 28 touchscreen, a handful of stepper motors, several 3D printed parts, and various other components. Inspired by the RepRap Prusa i3 kit, Mason-Drust wanted to create an open-source 3D printer that could be built, repaired, and modified by amateur makers, but he also wanted to create something stylish and professional-looking—attributes less commonly attributed to RepRap machines.

“The most difficult part of the development of the Printtable was keeping the printer aesthetically pleasing, keeping it as clean and simple looking as possible whilst using a wide variety of different materials and ensuring they complimented each over despite their differences,” Mason-Drust told 3Ders.

The Instructables page for the Printtable project, created following a positive response from the 3D printing community, contains a complete list of parts required for the custom 3D printer. According to Mason-Drust, these can be sourced for less than $395 or £275. The designer has also uploaded the STL files for the 10x 3D printable parts of the machine. Although the project is time-consuming and relatively challenging, Mason-Drust has uploaded video demonstrations for each stage of the process, helping to make the Printtable experience accessible to all.

After Mason-Drust’s clever hack, what next for the world of furniture-tech hybrids? A CNC mill fashioned from a chair? A rotary laser cutter wrought from a Lazy Susan? We can’t be sure what the future holds, but the Printtable might be one of the smartest DIY ideas we’ve seen this year. Fortunately, there’s more to come: “The next step for Printtable is to expand the range, creating even larger format printers and maybe something for the younger generation,” Mason-Drust told us. “We plan to eventually create a boxed kit and even a professional series.”

Printtable specs:

  • Dimensions: 100 x 55 x 60 cm
  • Build area: 340 x 320 x 300 cm
  • E3D lite print head with Volcano hot end; Epoc 100K thermistor
  • E3D Titan extruder
  • Interchangable Nozzles: 0.4 (standard fit), 0.6, 0.8, 1.0 & 1.2
  • 1.75mm filament
  • Temperature Range: 260°C (upgradable via open source hardware) 
  • 2.8” TFT Touchscreen
  • Run G-Code directly using integrated USB dongle or SD Card
  • MKS S Base running Smoothieware
  • Built-in SD & USB port (no PC connection required)
  • RJ45 ethernet connection
  • Can be controlled via web browser or direct to PC
  • Compatible with Octoprint, Mattercontrol, and similar

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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Fred wrote at 7/5/2016 5:56:45 PM:

The printer appears to have been created for Time Lords from Doctor Who ... Dimensions: 100 x 55 x 60 cm Build area: 340 x 320 x 300 cm Bigger on the inside!



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