Author: Shravan Kumar Swamy
A typical 3D printer works on 3 axes and currently, there are also 3D printers that use 2 different materials. But creating a complex structure like a cylindrical surface on a cylindrical surface is very unlikely, we usually create two separate parts and glue them. But with a five-axis system, we can rotate the base and then print on it.
Coding for a system like this requires a high level of computer and g-code knowledge, so I decided to construct a mechanical system first and then to think about people, who could help me code it. So for the construction of the system, I first decided that it would be economical to have an already working 3D printer and then modify it or update it to our needs, in this case, add two more axes.
The construction included a minimalistic design, which purpose was to keep the weight of the system light but to stay sturdy and produce very few vibrations. The base or the area of printing surface dramatically reduces, then fixing of Z- rotation axis in such a way that it has sufficient space to cool or air to flow. Once the z-axis was done then the rotating of the base had to be solved so we used a phenolic resin, and a glass base plate, this plate does not heat up, in case we wanted a heating base plate we use a metallic rotator and a glass base. These are supported by tri pot like structures that help them rotate. Then rotation of Y-axis was done by simply rotating the whole base in y-axis now we simply supported the whole Z rotation structure on two shafts and one of the shafts on one side is rotated by another stepper motor, with a worm mechanism.
For the future improvements that this machine will have are, a gyroscope that can make the homing of the nozzle easier. And the whole system can be imagined as one of 5 axis CNC machine that manufacture surfaces by cutting material, but here we only add material for manufacture. A very acute example of it can be given as modeling and printing teeth for a ceramic molding/ casting, which a dentist could use. Another one could be printing of complex structure that is used in mechanical toys, which then are used as mold and injection molded.
This system as an idea is pretty new for additive manufacturing the needs can be discovered in future and the system could be modified as the consumer needs. And most important of all this is a mechanical model that needs complex coding which only can be accomplished by a very good software coding in g-codes G02 and G03 the codes that are used for rotation.