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3D printing and CNC materials question Answered

Hi there!
What common material is best for off-the shelf rigid rods/bars for things like 3D printers and CNC machines? I'm actually thinking about making a 3d pantograph for expansion/reduction of originals sculpted in epoxy, (perhaps to be added/linked with a print/machining rig later. I see a lot of what seems to be steel tube or rod in people's projects, but steel is bouncy. Is there a particular cast or extruded alloy of steel or aluminum? Cast iron? Bronze or brass? I don't have a machine shop or a lot of money, so I have to use stock material or salvage, and I'm not so sanguine about salvage for this most critical element of the machine. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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Keller Robotics
Keller Robotics

6 years ago

My 3d printer I built (a RepRap Prusa Mendel I2 with some upgrades) uses 8mm (or 5/16 which is slightly smaller) steel rod which can be bought in sections at most hardware stores for fairly cheap. Its easily cut with a hacksaw or a dremel and doesnt have as much flex as you might think, especially at lengths under 18". The only thing you have to worry about is handling the longer lengths it and cutting it so it doesnt get bent. Also, if you plan to mount the rod in a vise to cut it, make sure to use wood or some other softer material between the jaws of the vice and the rod so you dont mar it or nick it too much and cause damage to the bearings you will later use in the build. It sounds like it couldnt hurt much, but that is where quite a bit of slop came in to my printer before I replaced the rod. Cant wait to see your project :)

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eruger
eruger

6 years ago

Hardened alloy steel tube stuffed with an alumina rod, maybe?