Focus, an experimental powder printing platform

FeaturedContest Winner
Picture of Focus, an experimental powder printing platform
In this instructable I am going to explain Focus, a functional experimental powder printing platform.

Focus started of in October 2012 when I asked myself, how hard can it be to SLS nylon powder. To answer this question I built Focus. I have designed Focus to be experimental, All parts can be swapped for different parts and there is a lot of adjustments in most parts.

I myself have configured focus as a SLS/SLM printer right now. I have had the best results with laser melting Nylon 2201 powder. you can follow updates on focus at it's blogspot page. Focus is still a work in progress so expect parts and software to change.

In this instructable I have included everything needed to build the basics of focus. This includes:
  • Schematics
  • Wiring diagrams
  • Technical drawings
  • Bill of material lists
  • Firmware
I also maintain a complete buildpackage which can be found at my thingiverse page or in the attachments in step 2. In this package you will find all the most recent files in one neat package. Be sure to download the newest one.

With this you can build the printer. The toolhead will have separate lists in their respective steps.

Sadly there are no step by step building pictures of Focus. Focus has changed a lot since I started work on it. I have tried to compensate the lack of step by step pictures with good technical drawings.

If you still have questions after reading this instructable, feel free to ask them in the comments.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Can you print and sell me the plastic parts ( not yet but sone ) ????/ how much will thay be? ????

can I use this to print with steel ?

dragonator (author)  ElectricBlue1231 month ago

Sadly, if this was capable of printing in steel, I would not have to work a single day anymore by now, so no.

ok well i`m going to work on that ( ill ceap you informed ) / what software did you use?

daewootech3 months ago

where do you get the powder?

dragonator (author)  daewootech3 months ago

The Nylon used to print with Focus is something I bought from a company that sells SLS'ed parts.

toddie12310 months ago
Where did you get the laser from and what kind is it?
robotteen1 year ago
where can i get the following parts; 4 optical endstops, 1-1.5kg of printing material, preferably PLA;
1100mm x 1200mm 15mm MDF
9 LM8UU linear bearings; 2 8mm smooth rod 500mm;
2 8mm smooth rod 315mm;
3 M8 threaded rod 340mm;
4 M6 threaded rod 200mm;
2 M4 threaded rod 270mm;
2 M4 threaded rod 130mm;
35 624 radial bearings;
3 T2.5 pulleys attachable to NEMA17 axles (5mm);
T2.5 timing belt (2x 1.2m, 1x 1m); (or optionally T5)?
preferably somewhere in the US
If you are in the US, you can get the linear bearings on eBay. You can buy the rods from McMaster Carr or, again, eBay. Radial bearings, try McMaster Carr or SDPSi. You can find the pulleys and belts from there too. if you want to scrounge, get your hands on a pair or dead (or not so dead) inkjet printers and harvest the belts and pulley wheels from there along with the rods. Most printers will yield one or two 8mm rods. I have built at least one printer from scrounged bits. For switches, the same dead printer's keypad will get you the little push switches that you can rig to be pushed by a mounted screw (like the Printrbot does) -- if you don't want to use opto end stops. You can also use tap switches from Radio Shack or some such. If you need to ream out the pulley wheels for the Steppers, that is easly done with a drill press and you can then tap in a set screw (you might want to gently file flat a portion of the stepper's shaft. If you like MDF, go ahead. I personally prefer 80-20 extrusions...yes, eBay too. You can buy MDF in any quantity at Home Depot or Lowes. I plan to make some minor changes to my version: I will print the parts on my 3D printer (a Solidoodle) and make the frame from 80-20. I am just dying to print metal parts.....
dragonator (author)  robotteen1 year ago
The basics of Focus (frame and gantry) cost around $800. This information is in the instructable. It took 2 months to design and build, but programming and electronics took me another 3 months. Focus can be built in 2-5 days.

You could machine the parts yourself, but 3D printing them is a whole lot easier.

I can not tell you where to get the parts. I do not live in the USA and I do not know where to find those parts there. I suggest using the internet. Most parts are used one Reprap 3D printers, that might help for searching.

robotteen1 year ago
i voted for you in the epilog contest so hopefully you win. thank you for posting this project
robotteen1 year ago
do you have to use the 3d printed parts or can you just machine it out of metal or wood?
robotteen1 year ago
love your work with it
great job
robotteen1 year ago
how much did this printer cost and how long did it take to build?
how detailed can this printer get?
M.Hawse1 year ago
Very nice job on the documentation and the build. This is really just exceptional all the way around. Great work and thanks for sharing!
LeoMarius1 year ago
Look really great ! Very complete documentation.
As you said : "Anyone that wants to improve on the design, go ahead." You maybe should remove the NC from the license, a By-Sa or even a GPL should be nice for this kind of project.
I'll closely look for the furthers improvement, and if one day I become crazy, maybe i'll try build one of this ! ;)