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3D scanner platform nearly done!

Today was a tremendously eventful day! I first worked greatly on my 3d printer, but that’s not the subject of today’s post. Today, I nearly finished my 3D scanner platform… and cost me about $4 in total cash spent!

I’m a parts hound. I find a broken printer; I take broken printer. See a scanner pick it up, all the day you’ll have hacker luck. So, I’ve lots of my own collection of gears, motors, switches, LEDs, and all sorts of smaller mounting objects. But, what have I ever made from this junk I collect? Let’s find out what I did.

3$ lazy susan bracketThis is my first part, and the only part that cost money. Remember, I am a cheap ass so I can buy shiny stuffs elsewhere (like wine for the girlfriend). This cost me a whole $3 and some change, and can handle 300 lbs. Gods help me if I put that much weight on this scanner.. although it will be able to hold it. They sold 3 sizes of these bearing brackets, and I chose the smallest. 4 in or something like that.

salvaged motor

And here is a fine example of  a stepper motor with a nice gear train that I harvested from some long ago printer. It’s a M35SP-7N stepper from Mitsumi. There’s specs on the web that are easy to find and (ab)use. So this is my donor motor. And it was free from a dead printer pull. I also got a nice gear belt for a cost of 0$. No clue if it was what went with that stepper and gears, but the teeth on top of that pulley align well.

pencil on string

Here at Bloominglabs, we have a 40W CO2 laser cutter at our disposal. I could have done exemplary perfect circles cut into plywood or acrylic. However, in the sense of being cheap (and wanting others to be able to duplicate my stuff so far), I used a pencil and thin wire to make a circle on scrap wood. Of course, if you have a better circle maker, USE IT! I wanted to demonstrate that I could make it with almost no extra cost or special tools.

So, I found a diameter that I liked for the center platform, and then proceeded to mark it on the plywood. So yeah, I used a band saw, but you could easily use any saw to cut it.


Remember that CNC machine made out of wood that I took apart for those juicy motors??? Well, this base is one of the wood panels from that very machine. Waste not, want not I say. And I took it apart. I was just too lazy to take it to the dumpster 😛 And I also dropped holes in line with the brackets. So far, so good.


Well…… Those M3 screws I had with my printer look like they were going to work well. That is, until I realized geometries and ended up with an EPIC FAIL. Back to the donor and scrap screw bin to see what I can appropriate for my project. Of course, I do find these nice wood screws (they’re in wood, so they’re WOOD screws).


Now, the fun part is those wood screws I used… Well, they are a wee too long for the 5/8″ plywood I used for the rotating section. But they fit so well otherwise…… So I used metal snips from the space to “make them right”. Which is so wrong, but it worked. Goal: no money outlay for screws. NEXT.


So, from here, I got the turntable fixed on the board. And then, I wanted to put on the motor in an appropriate place: in the corner. I dug out some more “wood screws”, and carefully tension the belt (read: pull hard and screw down). I also used 2 nylock nuts for the back PURELY for spacing from the top as a support. The screws do not actually do anything in the nylock, as it’s like an M8 or something way too big.


Here’s a nice overview of what I have done so far. Do note that there’s the 4 tiny holes in my scanning platter. I’ll need to scrounge some wood putty and fix those. But that’s a small problem; nearly cosmetic.


And I have more parts. I was given the breadboard and I bought the breakaway connectors. As you can see, they were a whopping $0.47 , and I already got my use out of them. So I didn’t count them as a cost in this project. I used so far a total of 5 prongs. And the motor connector was NOT the same spacing as my breadboard. GRR. So, I broke off the nice little plastic, and pulled it off and proceeded to jam the pins in and force-aligning them with the board. VOILÀ! They fit.

Now… The breadboard has stickytape on its back. But there’s NO WAY IN HELL that it’d stick to mostly clean and un-smooth wood. So I used 3 more “wood screws” and locked it in place where you see. Lookin’ good so far.


And I proceeded to do some circuit wiring so far. I’m using IRLZ44N’s for the power MOSFETs. My dead dad had a bunch he gave me. So COOL. They’re something like $1.95 in Mouser, and I didn’t bother to check with Digikey. Cause I have a tube of 50 of ’em!  So yeah, it’d be $8 here if you don’t already have something to drive the stepper. I used the appropriate resistors as well. The green lines will go to my arduino.  So, this is what my project looks like as of yet.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: crappy circuit diagram. Thanks Fritzing.

crappy circuit diagram


Today was eventful. Printers, printers, everywhere!

During the Public Bloominglabs meeting, as I walked in, there were stacks of printers beneath the windowsill. I knew that this was the cleaning that was discussed. The sprawl of the “cleaning” escaped far outside the door onto the sidewalk. Of course, we did clean this up, but some software dev hacker wanted to do the absolute unspeakable with these 9 printers, many of them laser…..

He wanted to “Throw Them Away”!!!oh god

So, we recused them and set them aside the MAME cabinet we have in the ‘Space. That was Wednesday.

So, today rolls around, and after I dropped off a friend, I saw the email that someone was at the ‘space taking apart the printers for all sorts of stuff. I drop on by, because demolishing plastic printer bodies is my “specialty”.  I was headed there initially for Arduino stuffs, but motors and gears are fun too.

So, I was handed a printer. A junk HP all in 1 printer/scanner. And every screw was a Torx bit. Every last one. And of course, my torx bits are the shot ones on a hex adapter so I can switch them in and out… And all of these were recessed. Waitforit… I have a hacksaw and a hammer!



So, instead of meticulously unscrewing each nasty torx screw, I just ripped the screws and threads off all in one HULKSMASH motion. You can see my handiwork there. Poor printer. Evidently Hewlett Crapard’s printers are these DC motors with opto-interruptors and wheels with tiny black ticks on them. Do note, that is what the _first_ Mendel 3d printer used to control the motors, and they QUICKLY went to using real steppers because DC motors are terrible when you need precision for things like printing!

Of course, that’s why I’m taking these apart; because they are indeed trash with small gems for us parts geeks to use.

Printers Stripped for oozey goodness in motors and circuits: 6  ~  Printers Left: 3

We’re winning.

On my way to recycling…

Whenever the wine, beer, and alcohol bottles stack up too high, it’s time we plod off to do the dirty deed: doing the recycling duty. Our city has a good service for this, although we have to sort it. BTW, my goal, at least with the plastics, is to grind them up and print with them. That’s REAL recycling. But while on my way there……


But I went to this place here in Bloomington called <a href=>Stansifers</a>. No, their website is nothing to behold, even from the late ’90s. However when you go inside, it’s a blast from the past! They have electron tubes all along one side of the wall. They actually…. NO REALLY have electronic parts like resistors, motors, sensors, ICs, board etching equipment… You name it, and they have it or can get it! They also will do all the ordering from Digikey and Mouser for you.. and it’s usually cheaper than if you ordered it yourself from those same websites.


Well, so I make my rounds in this place. And that entails finding the clearance stickers everywhere. In one aisle, they had Mil-spec wire wound resistors. Another had a 80386 radiation hardened CPU…?!? And they had spools of solder for $23.. Big spools.

LCDs and stuff

So, what did I buy? I found this spiffy set of LCD character and dot displays. The whole package was $21 after tax. There’s no blues, but I don’t like the blues. But there are reds, yellows, oranges, and greens. Nice friendly “DONT KEEP YOU AWAKE” colors.


What will I do with them? Stay tuned here. I have a few ideas

Pulled from a dead CNC machine

Pulled from a dead CNC machine

I mentioned we had a cleaning day here at Bloominglabs hackerspace. When I walked iin the door, 2 members called for me about a huge wooden contraption. Except.. it had 2.5A 12v stepper motors all through each axis, for a total of 6 motors. Well, nifty.

So they ask me if I want to disassemble it, and keep the motors… ?!? Awesome! A set of these quality of motors cost a pretty penny. To give a comparison, my 5 0.43N/m nema 17’s cost $80. And those went to my 3D printer (pics coming).

So, all I would need are stepper controllers ~ Pololus would work nicely here. Or, I could go make a nice CNC with these. There’s plan’s on the blog that would work nicely here.

So, time will tell what these nifty, FREE motors will be put to use doing. Maybe… even another 3d printer!