Gecko 3D printer

This page is reference material for the 3D printer and associated electronics and software.
July 23:
Create BOM, schematics, and software to complete the design. Post schematics on this page as well as a reference design STL file of a small 3 part extrusion. Also collect links on controlling hardware as well as specifications on individual elements of the design.
Alex suggests 1.75mm filament material in ABS and PLA and PVA.

Maker Parts Reference


Power supply

Serial Cable


Software interface

  • RAMPS "RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield"
    Currently version 1.4
  • LinuxCNC
  • RAMPS DIY complete
  • Custom
    It does seem that after investigation of STL , DXF , blender , Sauerbraten, , and various other CAD formats, that RLE is perhaps the best format for RepRap CAD.

    Since the 3D printer uses the XY axis as a plane and moves along the -z, it would seem that a format that was created and modelled based upon the state of the material at x,y,z could be encoded as a series of 0 and 1 strings and be quite compressed. The image above is the equation of a cylinder as expressed mathematically to generate the RLE. It is a step beyond RLE and as a result the complete designation of the image or printed part could be transferred with a single line of ASCII with x,y,z scaling and position.
    The game editor for Sauerbraten ( Cube 2 ) places cubes at locations in 3D, which is exactly what the RepRap does at some degree of resolution. It could be defined as actual cube size as determined by the extruder and hardware, while the RLE remained the same to scale. By viewing this pseudo CAD as part of the game engine it is possible to fly about the design and see it as easily as any CAD program as well as edit it with scripted Python, shell, or even ASCII editor. It is possible to Python script many complex elements in blender and even an entire human body can be scripted using MakeHuman as well as entire cities and landscapes using various custom scripts.
    Investigation of CAD tools continues. FreeCAD does allow many unique features, but it would seem that the simplicity of the Cube 2 engine would allow a quicker learning curve for someone unfamiliar with CAD in general and the nuance of its origins. Transport from blender to STL or OBJ is seamless and with some caveats is fairly simple. It would seem that a utility that converted the Cube 2 game world format to STL or even a plane representation for the RepRap would be useful and that will be investigated.

New ways to use RepRap

  • It would seem that using the 3D axis of the RepRap with a contact sensor like a piezo would allow the duplication of the surface of a model that could be converted to a vertex OBJ, PLY, RLE, or STL model very easily.
    In the case of objects with internal cavities, it would be a framework that could be modified more easily by extraction.
  • In this same way with high sensitivity de-leveraged sensors in 3D it might be possible to map a body surface and create a prosthesis, cast, or biological enhancement.
  • Sensed models could be automatically generated in OpenGL and then scanned with OpenCV to recognize the object as a form which could actually be post modified for internal surfaces by the fact it is a recognized specific entity.
  • Printing a single layer of opaque plastic on clear plastic for backlit signs or multiple layers for a sign with two colors.
  • Printing etch resist masks or general chemical resist or reaction masks.

Devices to print

  • OMNI pump
    Three part STL design
    Intended as a simple replacement design that is suitable for pumping water, gas, air, CFCs, and oil.
    Having investigated oil well pumps (crickets), material handling systems like Pneumatic Conveying Systems, dry bulk material handling, material conveying for processing industries , fuel pumps as well as commercial refrigeration compressors and water well pumps, it would seem a common design could be manufactured using a Maker machine of this sort.
    Finite Element analysis using Navier-Stokes is one of the design tools for simulation of the device.
    Measurement and control is being investigated using an Arduino and piezoelectric sensors.

  • Rotary engine
    High power to weight chemical combustion engine suitable for a quad copter, snow blower, lawn mower, motorcycle or drone.
    Four part STL design

New Ideas to Create

  • A spider like robot that has a circulatory system composed of sodium acetate which is circulated in its amorphous state and is catalysed at the pseudo muscle control points to crystalline form and causes thermal expansion of a near B.P. temperature liquid to produce motive force. The heart would re-melt the sodium acetate crystals in the reaction chambers.

3D Printer Parts Still Needed

Work in progress designation

  • Paul
    Rough schematic of the maker
  • Paul
    Rough CAD of complete design
  • Paul
    Rough script ( Python and Bourne Again SHell bash) to configure and install necessary software interface on Linux or MAC
  • Paul
    Arduino control schematic for 3 part pump and STL CAD of the design. Arduino UNO has arrived and testing of the interface to piezo sensors has begun as well as design of FET control.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Gecko 3D printer July 25, 2012 3:50 PM former member
About Ames MakerSpace March 26, 2012 11:20 AM former member

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy