How to make your own 2D CNC machine that converts into a 3D Printer and back to a CNC machine in less than an hour. Costing less than a CNC machine or 3D printer! (~$1,000.00) In addition, the design will go further than the traditional 3D printer printing ABS/PLA, and move forward to printing with new materials such as 3D Printing Nylon derivatives like tauman 618 as well as Acrylic and PET.
Latest Updates to this Instructable as of 2/28/2016:
1. Major Update.... We can not thank all of you enough as to your many comments, support and help/advice you've given to others here as to the 2BEIGH3!. We released this three years ago and in that time the technology has grown so much we want to take a sec and provide a short update.
With the release of the 2BEIGH3, we were able to start off with a machine unlike any at that time. One that would allow us unfettered control of the 3D Printer portion of the design. In doing so, we were, and still do, operate a similar 3DP configuration in our development of new polymers for 3D Printing. This has allowed us to bring more unique materials to 3D Printing, especially in the area of utility. If you visit our site today, you'll see an array of materials from Nylons to Co-Polyesters that are developed specifically for 3DP. All of these materials have gone through testing on a system exactly like the 2BEIGH3 or similar to it. We were never limited by special boards/controllers, thermal requirements, speed requirements, force requirements or anything that was, at that time, part of the few units available for 3DP. We also want to thank those that went before us in the design of CNC units that utilize pipe in their structure. After months of evaluation, these were the design types that inspired us on the CNC portion. While this unit was built using 2" pipe, we've heard from others that have built larger units with 4" pipe. Again proving the pipe design is still valid for low cost CNC. One of the main goals three years ago was to minimize price/cost. With the advent of low cost hot ends and extruders, now available, one would probably be better off going with one of the low cost CNC units now available and simply adding an extruder and hot end. Reduced complexity and ability to handle 1.75mm for 3DP would be initial benefits. Today you can purchase linear rails of several types at lower prices for CNC or 3DP units. We still suggest the 1/4 20 threaded rod for CNC as it's very powerful. We still use MACH3 as it works well for both CNC and 3DP. We have upgraded our thermal controller to our own design and may release it next year.
We wish all DIY Instructable users and others the best and again thank everyone for their support and great comments. Given the changes in the last three years, we believe the future is going to be impressive!
Our motto..."Give em the knowledge, Give em the tools, Give em the materials and get out of their way"
2. There is a full 2BEIGH3 update here, along with a source for Nylon 3D Printing material here.
3. If you have a new 3D Printing material, there is a Safety Test Procedure for any new and previously untested material here.
As a sample of the unique new properties of just one of these new materials, Here is a 3D Print of a Childs NYLON Prosthetic Insole on the 2BEIGH3 3D Printer.
With the 3D Printer configuration of the 2BEIGH3, you will be able to print parts that meet much higher standards for strength, flexibility and pliability. You will be able to design parts that can take 100's of severe strikes from a sledge hammer and still have a soft velvet like texture.
You will be able to print parts that are almost equal to Factory Die Extrusions. And in some cases, parts that can not be Die extruded due to complexity. The term "delamination" will cease to be a concern.
Nylon and it's derivative polymers have some great features that can be modified with fill density and layer height. Imagine being able to print a permanent coffee filter, bearings that need no lubrication, pliable IPhone cases, extremely tough bands that are so flexible you can tie them in a knot and they'll still support 200lbs!
My hope is that people use this guide to bring their designs and projects to tangible parts and objects as paper and CAD designs are great, but unproven, till built.
My goal for this guide is to take the mystery out of both CNC and 3D printing in such a way as to eliminate that….”its all to overwhelming” feeling or thought.
Because there are several other specific machine designs out there, both CNC and 3D Printer, please refer to this machine as the "2BEIGH3" or "2 by 3" as I will within this guide.