Welcome to part 4 of my Piper 3D printer build. The Piper 3D printer is an affordable 3D printer which uses a bunch of 3D printed parts. The Piper 3D printer was designed by Alex Balako with the added advantage that it uses easy to obtain and fairly cheap electrical conduit as the frame. Using the 3D printed parts that Alex provides and the electrical conduit you can quickly build a printer that looks like the one below.
Alex Balako: Website
Here we are at part four where so far I have printed the parts that I needed to make the Piper 1 version 2 which is the UK version. This version uses 19.9 mm conduit and the UK versions printed parts takes this into account by allowing us Brits to use this slightly larger tubing. If you want to see the first part of the build you can find it Here and part two of the build you can find Here. Part three you can find Here. I have really enjoyed putting this together and now in part four, I will try to get the Piper even closer to producing its first print.
In this part, I will be finishing off the physical build and installing the parts that I need to get it to the point of being able to wire it up. So, things like the end stops still need to be fitted and of course, the extruder motor needs to be fitted. I had a spare E-3D hot end that I wanted to use for this printer so decided to change the hot end assembly slightly to accommodate that type of hot end.
End Stops The first one I fitted was the X-axis end stop. I didn’t have anything that I could use to hold the end stop so I quickly designed one myself in Tinkercad using a joint bracket and some other bits, like the one pictured below. If you want to use this yourself there’s a download link too at the end of this post
I added the end stop holder to the bracket in Tinkercad then used hot glue to keep the end stop in position. Once that was done I went to work on the design for the Z-axis. I was lucky with this one because there was already a designed part on the Piper 3D Facebook group Here The file you need to look for is called “ADJ (10)” by David Graf. When I downloaded the file I realised it was not for the UK version so I had to take it into Tinkercad and change it a little bit.
I had to make the hole 19.9mm diameter and I split the body to make it work for the job I wanted. It was rough and ready but did the job I needed it to do
I printed the part and then hot glued the end stop in place. End stops don’t come in for a lot of abuse so this set up is okay for the time being. Mainly because I am just itching to get this printer working and thought I can always go back and do a better job later. Although saying that, both these hacks seem to work really well. Any trailing wires were glued in place to keep them out of the way.
Once I had it in place I attached the end stop. This is a very good design as far as adjustable Z height adjusters go. I don’t use auto-bed levelling so this was a gift from the God’s when it came to figuring out a way of being able to do micro adjustments of the hot end and the bed.
Extruder mount Now it’s time for the extruder mount. I wanted to mount this on to the top X-axis tube. I had to make the part from scratch. This is where Tinkercad comes in handy because of its ability to create objects from simple shapes. I was able to create an extruder holder quite easily. I am not sure if this will be the final resting place. I’m happy to put it here for now. I am mindful that this does make it a little more difficult to find somewhere for the spool holder to fit onto.
Again, in Tinkercad I came up with a simple design to clamp around the top tubing. The extruder, like an end stop, doesn’t come in for much stresses and strains so I know it will be safe to stick it there and it’s out of the way. Tinkercad workflow is as follows…
Create a tube with the diameter of your conduit. Then you place on top of that a flat 4mm thick pad where the extruder motor will fix onto. The motor will be fixed to the flat plate from below so you will need to countersink the holes underneath (where the tubing will pass through) otherwise the tube could hit the bolt heads. I used countersunk heads for these screws to make life a little easier.
I then duplicated the object twice and created another box that was half the height and placed this at the bottom then joined these two parts which made it look like my original object was cut in half. I did the same with the duplicated objects but this time covering the top. That way I got version of the object perfectly cut in half.
Here is a picture of the top turned upwards so you can better see the countersunk holes that will go inside.
The side bolt apertures are blocks with slightly rounded edges and holes placed in the middle for the bolts. It was a little faffing about but I had them designed and printed within three hours.
Extruder Mount The extruder mount was another bit of “Frankenstein” engineering. I took the actual mount as designed Alex and then found a design for the E3D lite although not sure if I got it from Thingiverse or somewhere else. Took it into Tinkercad and chopped and graphed and grouped until I got what I was looking for. The original Piper part and the part I found on Thingiverse.
Using the “hole” function you can make parts that you don’t want in your design “disappear” as you can see above I didn’t need the back of the E3D lite object so I masked that off the final part then all you have to do is join those two parts to make the part you want. With that done I was left with this. I only had to manoeuvre this into place with the part that Alex had designed to make the original extruder fit my E3D lite.
Here is a screenshot of all the parts that went to make my E3D lite extruder mount. I duplicated the front part of the mount then turned that into a hole type so that when I grouped this part it cut away some of the original extruder that was going to stop me bolting the two faces together.
Here is the finished product. I will give the extruder more time and maybe even make it a direct drive when I have the printer finished. But I am using parts that I have laying around so it’s a case of “that will do” till I get something else ordered. I must say I like the idea of the Bond-tech extruder.
Here it is fitted.
Heated Bed If I’m honest I haven’t had a chance to get these parts just yet because Christmas came around and I kind of forgot to order some parts. I will deal with this in the next part of the Piper build because I want to start wiring this all together. The first thing I want to do is to wire the Z-axis motors together in “serial” rather than “parallel” I will break the wiring down into smaller posts because the Marlin config is I feel all part of the wiring so I will do smaller posts so as not to lose focus.
If you want to download the files I used on my Piper 3D printer you are more than welcome to go to Dropbox Here where you will find the two files I created. I haven’t included the adjustable Z end stop because that’s someone else’s and easy enough to get anyway. If you are not already a member of the Piper Facebook group head over to Here and join. Until next time!