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Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??

Posted by rocket_scientist 
Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 07, 2010 01:34PM
smileys with beer Printer/Scanner to Printer Working Group

Someone had mentioned cannibalizing inkjet printers to get stepper motors and linear encoders. And after scanning the test piece of a PCB zone heater element, I was thinking about taking stepper motors and possibly linear encoders out of them, too, when I realized, why no use the whole thing?

A flat bed scanner as a pair of rails, linear slide bearings (probably just plastic riding on the small rods), a stepper motor and gears, belts, full drive train to move the scan head up and down. Remove the packaging, power supply, and electronics (we need the steppers to step to the pace of our own drum smiling smiley) and remove the scanning imager, and now you suddenly have an X axis! Do the same with a second one and mount it on top of the first going sideways, and you have an X-Y stage! Better yet, take apart an inkjet printer, use the back-and-forth drive to move the extruder in Y, and mount the second scanner vertically to raise and lower the inkjet printer now Y axis extruder, and you have a three axes system, made with precision (if light weight) parts for very cheap!

The experimenter can just go yard sale shopping and pick up used, upgraded, or non-functional scanners and printers and bodge something together. For the less tinkering minded, a set of instructions can be made based on specific scanner and printer models, as there are brand new scanners and printers under $100 each. With $200 to $250 for all the motors, encoders, belts, slides, bars, virtually ALL the hardware except an extruder, this would make a very inexpensive, and potentially very accurate bootstrap 3D printer!

Now, if only I weren't 6 projects behind in other work for these forums! smiling smiley


Team Open Air
Blog Team Open Air
rocket scientists think LIGHTYEARS outside the box!
Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 07, 2010 04:54PM
This is actually a great idea.
I made something similar, a hot wire foam cutter based on this guys work

You can just tap into the electronics in the scanners. they are mostly unipolar and just have 4 pins(one for each coil) to pull down. So you would need a couple extra control lines, but its still pretty easy.

Also, they are usually geared to 600 or 1200 steps per inch running on a belt. So they would be much faster than a screw driven McWire.
Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 07, 2010 08:32PM
I was not sure what interface they used, but it make sense that they would have stepper drivers or H bridges that you could tap into. I am still waiting to 'find' one to tear apart. Along with a few dozen other projects.

Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 07, 2010 09:50PM
Google LM983x. This is an integrated flat bed scan controller ASIC. One of the few that is documented.

A flat bed scanner is better than a printer. Printer ASICs are somewhat similar. I have never seen a printer ASIC documented, then I have never looked for such. Most mfgs keep this pretty close in hand. The units are loss leaders for selling distilled water and some really high proof alcohol.

Most of these dumb printers and scanners are register driven. The host basically loads values into a register. Most often this called a protocol stack. Figuring how to open the endpoint and what the motor control register offset is half the battle.

Now if only there was a way to grind up and extrude the ABS plastic in the cases. Then we really could use these old landfill sandbags for something useful.

Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 08, 2010 08:08PM
Actually, I was expecting to unwire the stepper motors and attach them to polulu drivers. The though or reusing the electronics seemed to improbably. I will check out the ASIC, but I still think it will work better stripping out the old electronics and putting in out own stepper controllers.

Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 09, 2010 01:26AM
Seems like instead of direct control via EMC or some such, you could wire the paper feeding rollers to a moving platform and use the inkjet head control signals to pulse an extruder on and off.

Then you just use the existing drivers and queue up your .stl layer by layer in the printer queue as black and white sihlouettes?
Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 10, 2010 11:08PM
My RepStrap is using two old flatbed scanners fot he x and Y axes, though i've ripped out the drive electronics as they weren't going to be compatible.
One opto endstop is used the other one was on the drive trian and have since removed it in place of a microswitch on the body of the scanner.

Custom Z axis mostly made using slide rails used for drawers, using an M6 threaded rod for moving up and down.

JunkStruder made from bits of junk I found lying around the junk box at work.
Will be using a BakeLite (handle of a saucepan or frying pan) thermal break.

Two sanners for NZ$5 was a sweet deal, and they are super smooth and quiet (relatively)

The project uses MakerBot electronics with RepRap firmware and Host software
Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 12, 2010 01:12PM
Grogya,. GREAT job of bodging things together! Will be get photos? I am still thinking of trying that same approach, but with brand new cheap scanners to that people buy all the parts and use step-by-step instructions with pictures to make a small, cheap, simple, reliable bootstrap machine. So show us what you did and I will try to follow. When I get caught up on a few dozen other things.

mccoyn and I are also working on a cheaper single board electronics to get repstraps off the ground, but sacrifice being able to scale up to much past a Mendel. mccoyn has done the board design, we are just waiting for the fab shop to ship out the empty boards so we can try them out.


Team Open Air
Blog Team Open Air
rocket scientists think LIGHTYEARS outside the box!
Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 12, 2010 03:49PM
What I can do is do a little video tour explaining all the aspects of the project.
That will be tonights job when I get home from work.
Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 13, 2010 07:41AM
Here you are.
Part 1

Part 2

I hope I got everything, if not, just ask, I know its hard to understand my accent.

Too late tonight, but i'll publish this on my blog tomorrow
Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 13, 2010 08:18AM
Good info there Grogyan. Definitely keep up with it!

Notes: The bit you added to the end of the second video probably should have been at the start of the first video, the audio is a little quiet, and you need more light (it's hard to see the X-axis parts specifically).

Q: Are you planning to mount the Y-axis part upside down with the Z hanging off it? As a bonus, the light bar points downward toward what you're printing.
Re: Flat Bed Scanner/Inkjet Printer RepStrap??
April 14, 2010 06:20AM
I posted a resonse while I was at work from my phone so it didn't get posted.

Yeah, I realized when I started speaking that it should have gone into the beginning.

My camera is not the greatest, not much I can do about that but suggest you turn up the volume.

The Y axis will stay as is in its orientation because of the single rod, and that if I did flip it, it would cause endless headaches, again, contsraining it properly.

Sorry about the lighting for the X axis, will try and take a pic at some stage with the light bars on to give better illumination of the x axis. The videos were done late at night tongue sticking out smiley
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