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$53
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Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, August 26 2015 9:51 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated August 26, 2015

High Precision linear motion for 3d Printing & CNC, low cost

Years in 3d printing revealed no low cost linear motion modules, and no modules designed for Delta systems. My goal is to fix that!

High Precision linear motion for 3d Printing & CNC, low cost

Years in 3d printing revealed no low cost linear motion modules, and no modules designed for Delta systems. My goal is to fix that!

$53
pledged of $110,000pledged of $110,000 goal
6
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, August 26 2015 9:51 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated August 26, 2015

About

Do you want to make 3d printing something more significant than Yoda heads 2 inches high? Want to make similar CNC machines that can take a block of aluminum and carve away everything that isn't say, a motor cycle part? Want to make technology that anyone could afford to build or buy, that can manufacture any items you can imagine from plastic, wood  or metal and really use them to fix a dishwasher or print a lawn chair or build your own <fill in the blank>.

Currently, 3d printers are tiny, and efforts to scale them up just have not been reliable. The biggest hurdle is the cost of a precision linear stepper module or its equal. I was excited one day to see that one of the linear motion companies announced a new line of linear modules, they made a 1 meter cube printer! Cool right? So when I inquired how much for these 1 meter modules, it was $2500. Not for 3, just for 1. 3 modules for $7500 just to do movement. They are not over charging, exactly. Their modules are strong enough to move small trucks. But they are way over built for 3d printing and CNC milling. They are aimed at heavy duty manufacturing.

My goal was to make a module that would retail for around $100 for a meter. I didn't make it (yet). This project I have 1 meter modules I can offer as rewards for investors at about 3 for $730, under $250 each. 10 times cheaper than heavy duty linear modules on the market. My approach is to create a single precision extrusion that served many purposes, linear guide, frame, motor mount, bearing mount, protected cable conduit. A companion precision extrusion combines carriage, ball-nut coupling, and mount for 8 linear guide bearings. 2 precision parts replaces a dozen in typical systems. A final piece is a precision cast aluminum clam-shell which holds the main bearing, aligns it to the motor shaft, has 4 rounded feet for vertical mounting and a protected cable path.

How two precision extrusions, 8 precision bearings fit together to make a linear motion module.
How two precision extrusions, 8 precision bearings fit together to make a linear motion module.

They solve one of the many problems still to solve for scaling printers up to useful practical devices. They free makers and entrepreneurs from re-inventing the motion wheel every printer, every milling (CNC) machine. They are medium duty, about 10 times the force available from current 3d printer motion devices, so they can actually be used for milling (CNC) as well, able to provide around 100 pounds of force to hold a milling head steady.

The biggest hurdle is the cost of tooling 2 precision extrusions and 1 precision casting. Many thousands for each item, and same goes for making one tiny correction and tooling the molds again. 

What you should expect if you invest and select Maker Movers as your reward. First, the end product, it will take time. 3 weeks for tooling, 2 for checking the samples, 4 for final production. If all goes well the units (about 4,000 pounds of aluminum for 400 subscribers) get put on a slow boat from China. Really. They get to Houston 4 weeks later and get on a truck after customs makes sure the aluminum isn't really dynamite. So expect 4 months. I will be going top speed, but there is a LOT to do in making brand new extrusions and molds.

How many ways you can connect to the carriage with standard M4 or M5 machine screws.
How many ways you can connect to the carriage with standard M4 or M5 machine screws.

This is version 2 of the mount mold, version 3 of the carriage. Several rounds of virtual testing refined the first versions, and pricing carriage version 2 showed I must radically reduce its cost and part count. Down to 1 piece! I have bids on all parts, and so a clear idea of costs. Selling around 400 units or the equal, the cost of tooling is spread out enough that everyone gets a good deal on the worlds first linear module made just for 3d printers and small CNC milling machines. A special feature is that they can be used for 3 stand alone motion towers for a Delta frame design (No custom hardware needed!). Just bolt them in a triangle and go!

Some other parts successfully custom made in the past are also offered as reward choices below:

Safety extruder nozzle set, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 1.0 mm orifices. Sizes and safety not available anywhere else.
Safety extruder nozzle set, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 1.0 mm orifices. Sizes and safety not available anywhere else.
25 or 100 Mountable springs for heated beds, extruders, limit switches or just to be bouncy!
25 or 100 Mountable springs for heated beds, extruders, limit switches or just to be bouncy!
Top down spring mounts for heated beds, 4 or 6 mount points (use with your m2, m3, #2 or #4 screws)
Top down spring mounts for heated beds, 4 or 6 mount points (use with your m2, m3, #2 or #4 screws)
Compact Rambo PCB with expanded connector set (or bare bones)
Compact Rambo PCB with expanded connector set (or bare bones)

 Started to add pictures for the ceramic insulator paper award, but it looks like white paper, and you already know what white paper looks like.

Risks and challenges

I would not do this if I had not already done a number of custom manufactured designs from CAD already. The manufacturers I have worked with have come through 100% of the time. I had one project that did not have the desired performance, but the mechanics and milled parts from custom fabricators were perfect. They quote precision down to 0.2mm tolerance for extrusions, better than aircraft quality.

The main risk is schedule delay. There are multiple sources for all the parts, so if one is out of stock no problem. Building the extrusions may reveal issues virtual CAD testing and fitting do not, or reveal the manufacturer has a flaw in their process. If so, the back up is to remake the mold, possibly using a different manufacturer.

The Linear capabilities are almost unbounded, but the 1.5 and 2 meter length part may require horizontal bracing at the mid point if used in milling applications. Simple 3d positioning for 3d printers requires little force, so the risk is only for insanely large milling machines, which are probably not desirable for other reasons. You are not going to whittle a 2 meter cube of aluminum down to a mini car. 1 and even 1.5 meter milling machines are interesting because they can handle long items, such as a walking cane. A large milling volume doesn't necessarily mean large volume objects, just more flexibility in dimensions.

Altogether I am extremely confident. My only concern is that investors be comfortable with a 4 month delivery time, and the possibility of an extra month if a mold has to be remade. Your investment will make these available off the shelf in small quantity from USA, and in larger quantity with 2 to 6 week delivery. Once the mold hurdle is past, these will become cheaper and readily available and you will see many copy the ideas (which I'm fine with).

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Support

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    You just want to help. You have our sincere thanks, and an email newsletter showing the completed project.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    As thanks receive 25 Mountable 7mm x 20mm stainless springs, suitable for spring mounting limit switches, heated beds, or dozens of other applications see at http://me3d.us/3d-Parts/mounts/MountableSpring

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    Pledge $14 or more About $14

    Ceramic "paper" insulator, good to line your heated bed on bottom, 0.5mm thick, 12" by 24" rectangle,
    looks like paper, but the texture is rough and it requires gentle handling as it tears easily. Tears wont hurt its insulating properties, and is rated up to 1100 degrees C, so your aluminum plate will melt before this fails!
    Amazing stuff. Shipped in an envelope. Please let us know if the US mail tears it up, we will replace it at our cost.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    As thanks receive 100 Mountable 7mm x 20mm stainless springs, suitable for spring mounting limit switches, heated beds, or dozens of other applications see at http://me3d.us/3d-Parts/mounts/MountableSpring

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Top down spring mount for 3d printer heated beds, no more re-calibrating for temperature changes, no more crashed nozzles. 4 brackets and springs for use with your screws. Suitable for rectangular ridgid heated beds. http://me3d.us/3d-Parts/mounts/MagicMount

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    Pledge $21 or more About $21

    Almost impossibly small brass tip, 0.1mm orifice. Collectors item, they wont make any more of these. Requires dust free pure filament, and crazy accurate printer, probably WONT work in your printer. If you want the novelty of owning the smallest resolution print nozzle ever, go for it!, SAFETY ergonomic tips sit securely in your 1/4" or 6mm socket for a HOT exchange at a safe distance from your fingers. Available nowhere else in the world. http://me3d.us/3d-Parts/Nozzle/BrassTip0.2mmto1.0mm

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    Pledge $24 or more About $24

    Set of 8 m6 thread brass printing tips, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 1.0, SAFETY ergonomic tips sit securely in your 1/4" or 6mm socket for a HOT exchange at a safe distance from your fingers. Available nowhere else in the world. Fits almost all modern extruders. http://me3d.us/3d-Parts/Nozzle/BrassTip0.2mmto1.0mm

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Top down spring mount for 3d printer heated beds, no more re-calibrating for temperature changes, no more crashed nozzles. 6 brackets and springs for use with your screws. Suitable for round heated beds like SeeMeCNC. http://me3d.us/3d-Parts/mounts/MagicMount

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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    The most popular 1 card stepper motor controller for 3d printers bare bones, no connectors. Shipped in factory anti-static puch by 2 day priority mail. http://me3d.us/rambo/Rambo-v1.2x

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    The most popular 1 card stepper motor controller for 3d printers plus 3 limit switches, loose connectors and expanded pigtail connector set. Shipped in factory anti-static puch by 2 day priority mail. http://me3d.us/rambo/Rambo-v1.2x

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Two of the most popular 1 card stepper motor controller for 3d printers plus 3 limit switches, loose connectors and expanded pigtail connector set. Shipped in factory anti-static puch by 2 day priority mail. http://me3d.us/rambo/Rambo-v1.2x

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    Pledge $220 or more About $220

    A 0.5 Meter complete linear module kit, Cartesian or Delta applications, 0.5 meter length precision extruded guide and 1204 (12mm by 4mm/rev) anti backlash ball-screw set, Nema 23, 200 step/revolution motor 2.5 to 3 amp, precision extruded carriage, flexible motor to ballscrew coupling, 8 carriage bearings, 12mm ball-screw bearing, precision cast clam shell combination footer and ball-screw bearing casing, all necessary fasteners. Net precision 0.02 mm (4mm/200) linear distance per motor step (micro-stepping controllers even finer), Nominal linear force up to 100 pounds.

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    Pledge $290 or more About $290

    A 1.0 Meter complete linear module kit, Cartesian or Delta applications, 1.0 meter length precision extruded guide and 1204 (12mm by 4mm/rev) anti backlash ball-screw set, Nema 23, 200 step/revolution motor 2.5 to 3 amp, precision extruded carriage, flexible motor to ballscrew coupling, 8 carriage bearings, 12mm ball-screw bearing, precision cast clam shell combination footer and ball-screw bearing casing, all necessary fasteners. Net precision 0.02 mm (4mm/200) linear distance per motor step (micro-stepping controllers even finer), Nominal linear force up to 100 pounds.

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    Pledge $360 or more About $360

    A 1.5 Meter complete linear module kit, Cartesian or Delta applications, 1.5 meter length precision extruded guide and 1204 (12mm by 4mm/rev) anti backlash ball-screw set, Nema 23, 200 step/revolution motor 2.5 to 3 amp, precision extruded carriage, flexible motor to ballscrew coupling, 8 carriage bearings, 12mm ball-screw bearing, precision cast clam shell combination footer and ball-screw bearing casing, all necessary fasteners. Net precision 0.02 mm (4mm/200) linear distance per motor step (micro-stepping controllers even finer), Nominal linear force up to 100 pounds.

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    Pledge $410 or more About $410

    A 2.0 Meter complete linear module kit, Cartesian or Delta applications, 2.0 meter length precision extruded guide and 1204 (12mm by 4mm/rev) anti backlash ball-screw set, Nema 23, 200 step/revolution motor 2.5 to 3 amp, precision extruded carriage, flexible motor to ballscrew coupling, 8 carriage bearings, 12mm ball-screw bearing, precision cast clam shell combination footer and ball-screw bearing casing, all necessary fasteners. Net precision 0.02 mm (4mm/200) linear distance per motor step (micro-stepping controllers even finer), Nominal linear force up to 100 pounds. Note, the shipping is not a misprint, shipping boxes 7 feet long takes a big jump.

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    Pledge $550 or more About $550

    THREE 0.5 Meter complete linear module kits, Cartesian or Delta applications, 0.5 meter length precision extruded guide and 1204 (12mm by 4mm/rev) anti backlash ball-screw set, Nema 23, 200 step/revolution motor 2.5 to 3 amp, precision extruded carriage, flexible motor to ballscrew coupling, 8 carriage bearings, 12mm ball-screw bearing, precision cast clam shell combination footer and ball-screw bearing casing, all necessary fasteners. Net precision 0.02 mm (4mm/200) linear distance per motor step (micro-stepping controllers even finer), Nominal linear force up to 100 pounds.

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    Pledge $730 or more About $730

    THREE 1.0 Meter complete linear module kits, Cartesian or Delta applications, 1.0 meter length precision extruded guide and 1204 (12mm by 4mm/rev) anti backlash ball-screw set, Nema 23, 200 step/revolution motor 2.5 to 3 amp, precision extruded carriage, flexible motor to ballscrew coupling, 8 carriage bearings, 12mm ball-screw bearing, precision cast clam shell combination footer and ball-screw bearing casing, all necessary fasteners. Net precision 0.02 mm (4mm/200) linear distance per motor step (micro-stepping controllers even finer), Nominal linear force up to 100 pounds.

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    Pledge $940 or more About $940

    THREE 1.5 Meter complete linear module kits, Cartesian or Delta applications, 1.5 meter length precision extruded guide and 1204 (12mm by 4mm/rev) anti backlash ball-screw set, Nema 23, 200 step/revolution motor 2.5 to 3 amp, precision extruded carriage, flexible motor to ballscrew coupling, 8 carriage bearings, 12mm ball-screw bearing, precision cast clam shell combination footer and ball-screw bearing casing, all necessary fasteners. Net precision 0.02 mm (4mm/200) linear distance per motor step (micro-stepping controllers even finer), Nominal linear force up to 100 pounds.

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    Pledge $1,090 or more About $1,090

    You can build the worlds first 2 meter 3d printer! (ok, more to solve than motion, but here is the motion)
    THREE 2.0 Meter complete linear module kits, Cartesian or Delta applications, 2.0 meter length precision extruded guide and 1204 (12mm by 4mm/rev) anti backlash ball-screw set, Nema 23, 200 step/revolution motor 2.5 to 3 amp, precision extruded carriage, flexible motor to ballscrew coupling, 8 carriage bearings, 12mm ball-screw bearing, precision cast clam shell combination footer and ball-screw bearing casing, all necessary fasteners. Net precision 0.02 mm (4mm/200) linear distance per motor step (micro-stepping controllers even finer), Nominal linear force up to 100 pounds.
    Note, the shipping is not a misprint, shipping boxes 7 feet long takes a big jump.

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Funding period

- (30 days)