Aug 29, 2017 | By Julia

An 18-year-old student at the Liceo Scientifico Copernico in Udine, Italy, has deconstructed three old inkjet printers and a flatbed scanner to make his own 3D printer from scratch. Costing only €10 from start to finish, Michele Lizzit’s innovative project shows just how much is possible with some basic recycling, a bit of tinkering, and a lot of creativity.

Lizzit’s DIY 3D printer also presents a unique solution to the growing problem of electronic waste. As we all know, inkjet printers have an all-too limited life span, and countless end up in dumps where they remain for decades. But for Lizzit, that’s just more materials to choose from.

“Inkjet printers are incredibly cheap and most printers do not last more that a few years before the inkjet nozzle breaks or the paper loading mechanism starts to fail,” says the 18-year-old maker. “As a consequence lots of broken inkjet printers can be easily obtained in junkyards or from friends.”

For this particular project, Lizzit used the parts of three old inkjet printers and a flatbed scanner as the core mechanical components of his 3D printer. Not quite everything could be salvaged from the trash though: Lizzit purchased three A4988 driver boards, a high-current BDX53 transistor, a L298 engine driver, an ATmega 382 processing brain, and a hotend.

Additionally, the extruder was 3D printed from another 3D printer ‒ a bit of a cheat, but with all the parts totalling a measly €10 euros, you can’t argue with Lizzit’s resourcefulness.  The Italian maker also designed his own system firmware which he’s made open source on his GitHub.

The end result may not exactly be a sight for sore eyes ‒ between the scrapped inkjet printer parts and the cardboard frame from an old biscuit carton, Lizzit’s homemade 3D printer certainly looks, well, homemade ‒ but still, the system runs with remarkable precision. Its creator says a print resolution of 33 microns can be achieved on both axes.

That being said, the Italian student-maker still has his work set out for him. “My printer now uses a cardboard frame and this is what most greatly affects the precision,” admits Lizzit. He is currently working on a more solid metal frame, and an improved z-axis. Other issues include the extruder, which needs a redesign for cleaner extrusion, and the limited computing power of the Atmega328.

“Now I am working on porting the firmware to the SAM3X8,” says Lizzit. “This will allow me to implement a lot more features and increase resolution (but will also double the building cost of the printer). I hope to be able to do so before school begins in September.” With the start of semester just around the corner, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Lizzit can make that deadline!

Given that the aims of his project were proving home-built 3D printers can do fairly precise prints, and that linear encoders from inkjet printers are a great resource for making your own additive manufacturing systems, the Liceo Scientifico Copernico student has achieved some pretty notable success. Congratulations on this promising innovation, Lizzit! We can’t wait to see what you build next.



Posted in 3D Printer



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