Jan 032014


The open-source printer is capable of printing its own core components

3D printing promises that one day we may be able to print out goods in our own homes rather than popping down to the shops or ordering widgets online. But what happens when the printers are able to print themselves? Boots Industries’ BI V2.0 takes a step down that road with a design aimed at self-replication. Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, the open-source printer is capable of printing its own core components.

Founded in 2012 by Jean Le Bouthillier and François Crête, Boots Industries already has several other printers on the market, but the BI V2.0 is something of a departure for the company. It’s an open, large build-volume printer with clearances designed to allow for maximum use of the space inside the frame for high-precision printing.

The key to the BI V2.0 is that it’s a delta-style 3D printer, based on the delta robots developed in the 1980s for picking up small objects rapidly and precisely. From each edge of the triangular frame sprout arms that meet at in effector head in the middle. These arms form parallelograms, which keep the effector level as the arms change position.

The arms are powered by NEMA 17 motors with 32x microstepping, and are raised and lowered using pulleys strung with 50-lb (22.6-kg) test spectra line to eliminate stretching These are set in vertical aluminum extrusions, which are held together with steel-reinforced 3D-printed corners and 0.75-in (19-mm) anodized aluminum extrusions to form a 300-mm (11.8-in) wide, 300-mm high printing area. The arms run on 3D- printed linear bearings, which are as precise as ball bearings, but quieter.

The design incorporates sleeved wiring with quick disconnects for easy maintenance, and the company says that the whole printer takes only 30 minutes to an hour to put together.

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