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ScanRap beginnings

By MRE - Posted on 14 December 2009

So I decided to build a 3d printer. I have been pouring over the RepRap documentation, and settled on the idea of building a RepStrap "seedling" based on recycled flat bed scanner parts.

I happened to be looking around a Hard OFF and found two identical scanners, perfect for X and Y axis.

I peeked down inside, and saw that they were belt driven by a geared down stepper motor. This should give a lot of torque, and higher resolution printing, at the expense of speed.

Also, they have a guide shaft on one side, and sit on a metal guide bar on the far end.

finally, the scanner head itself is rather large and flat on the top, making a good mounting point for either the perpendicular axis, or the work table.

I snatched them up for a total of 500 yen (250 yen each), ran home, and stripped them down.

I was able to collect a lot of interesting parts from the innards of the scanners, such as cold cathode florescent lamps and inverters, line CCD cameras, and several narrow front surface mirrors, which will be perfect for a future laser light show project!

As it turns out, there are some problems. First and foremost, the cases are slanted, such that the rails are not level when the scanner sits down. Its slanted forward, for easier access on your desk. To further complicate it, the base plastic is not even flat, it is curved.
So I wont be able to use the original lower half of the base, to simply attach one axis to the other, and provide a base for the whole machine.

It looks like I will have to remove the slides, stepper and gear box, and belt idler from the cabinets and attach them to plexiglass bases. I was hoping to have a self contained axis, in which I merely had to cut away some excess plastic. No such luck. I'll have to do some fabrication and machining after all. Sigh.

I still plan to push forward with ScanRap, as I think it is a good example of recycling something useless into something useful again. However, the second machine I build will be this seedling design:

From both machines, I plan on fabricating parts for a 'proper' Mendel RepRap.

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