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Building Large Format Printer - 5ft x 5ft - Help Welcomed!

Posted by TigerDang 
Building Large Format Printer - 5ft x 5ft - Help Welcomed!
December 11, 2021 09:54PM
Hello everyone, new user here. I am also fairly new to 3D Printing in general.

I am digging into 3D printing for the main reason of learning how to build these machines, in hopes that one day i can build one big to build myself my dream home (using a limestone mix/free & abundant materials), and from there teach others how to do the same. I'm thinking in 10 years it will be entirely possible, and it will be way faster than the traditional method of slaving my life away and still never owning a home.

I figured I'd start small, and scale it up a little bit at a time. My plan for this next couple months, with a lot of help, is to build my first large-format printer.

Plan is to follow this guy's build and scale it up just a little to 5ftx5ft, maybe even 10ft x 10ft. But before i go spending my limited budget, i figured it's best to check with the experts (that's you RepRappers).


Now, let me reiterate the fact that i am new to 3D printing in general, so please excuse my lack of expertise; assume i know nothing. I got into it a year ago because RC Cars is an expensive hobby, and figured it's faster and cheaper to make my own replacement parts and mods. I basically just want to scale this up to be able to mod my actual truck this upcoming year (my beloved land cruiser), rather than just mod a miniature version of it. Until this month all i had was a $100 used ender 3 pro that i got from offerup (worked for a few months).

During the Black friday sale i was about to take advantage of the Prusa MK3S free shipping deal, but after looking around i decided to grab 4 printers from anycubic for close to the same price ($1350). They gave me an even better deal than the black friday offers, so it was an easy decision. I now own a Photon Mono X (&wash station), Chiron, Vyper and a Photon Mono S from Anycubic. These will be used for many small projects, but also used for the printable parts of the larger projects. My main goal with these is to learn as much as i can, enough to be able to rebuild/upgrade/cater them to my needs.

With that said, let's talk big printers!

I am looking for ideas and will be breaking it down in parts, please fill in what is missing as i am 100% sure i will not cover everything; only the Hivemind could!

Let's start with the biggest question of all, what type of printer?

Print mill/conveyor belt style printer?
Pros: No limit in on one axis.
Cons: Would need to make much wider for a big print.
Bed hard to keep level over time?

Robot Arm?
Pros: These are very popular with large scale manufacturing (like automakers), likely for a good reason.

Pros: Wide build area towards bottom, perfect for something like a roof rack/bike frame/bumper.
Cons: Prototype/beta phases.

Infinite Z Axis Printer? (The one that builds its own support and can go infinitely up, not the Print Mill/conveyor belt)
Pros: No limit on the vertical axis.
Cons: Protype/beta phases.

RepRap Helios, the robot/mobile printer on wheels?
Pros: No limit on x and y axis when close to the floor.
Cons: Abandoned project?

Traditional framed 3d Printer?
Pros: Standard method, proven to work.
Cons: cost of building a huge frame and scaling up all the parts

Other ideas??

Now, the smaller details:

Filament size, 3mm or bigger? How easy is it to get bigger filament? Speed is a big concern when making something like a roof rack/off road heavy-duty bumper for my Truck, or even for printing an electric bike.

- Practical Size(s)? (remember 5ftx5ft to 10ftx10ft build volume is goal).

Swappable Modules?
- Going big means we will have access to more powerful power supplies, motors and etc... can we take more advantage of that with a swappable laser/CNC mill module? Similar to the snapmaker?

Stepper Motors & Drivers:
- Noise is not something we want to scale up.





Heated Bed?

Frame Thickness?

- I currently run Marlin 2.0 on my Chiron.

I look forward to hearing everyone's inputs. Thanks in advance!

Edited 10 time(s). Last edit at 12/11/2021 10:19PM by TigerDang.
Re: Building Large Format Printer - 5ft x 5ft - Help Welcomed!
January 13, 2022 08:02AM
You're new to 3D printing, but you have 4 FDM printers and two resin printers? If you really are new, you're going to find out that you're going to spend most of your time trying to keep those machines working, and not much time actually printing anything.

The guy in the video earns his living making crazy stuff on Youtube. It doesn't have to work well, or reliably, or make any sense at all. It just has to entertain enough to keep you watching the advertisements.

Printers that move the bed in the Y axis have to move the bed and the mass of the print at print speed. That means you better print very slowly if you want a high quality print. That type of printer requires 2x the floor space as one that moves the bed or XY stage in Z. Your 5' x5' printer (you really need to switch to metric units if you're going to be 3D printing) is going to be at least 10' long.

Large prints require a lot of plastic. Have you calculated the cost of large prints? Cheap filament sells for about $20 per kg. You might need to use a pellet extruder to avoid the high cost of filament. Better factor a couple years into your plan to develop a reliable, high quality pellet extruder.
Large prints require a lot of time, even if you use a big nozzle. A 5'x5' printer might take weeks to finish a print.

3mm filament has almost disappeared from the market because it takes too long to heat it enough to melt it all the way through. 1.75 mm filament melts faster allowing faster printing. I predict that 1.75 mm filament will go away and be replaced by 1 mm filament because people are obsessed with ever faster printing.

Some filaments require a heated bed surface. How are you going to heat a 25 sqft surface and maintain a relatively constant temperature? My printer uses a 750W heater for 300x300mm (about 12"x12"). You don't really need that kind of power density, but if you were at 1/2 of that you're still looking at multi kW to heat the bed.

You're not the first dreamer to show up here declaring that he's going to build a giant printer. You won't be the last.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: [drmrehorst.blogspot.com]
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