SmartCore Printer

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Project Overview

To create a new 3d printer for the space that utilizes the CoreXY linear motion system.
This printer will be built using the SmartCore design which is found on YouMagine (open-source alternative to Thingiverse).

Equipment Utilized

Project Log

Printed 3d pieces

Build Plate as taken from youmagine

Date Printed .stl file Picture of item Comments
2015-10-06 Front Corners
Front Corners
2015-10-21 Back Right Corner
Both Corners
First successful set were ruined by drilling out holes with a spade bit
2015-10-21 Back Left Corner Same as above
2015-10-20 Middle 1
2015-10-20 Middle 2 Same as above
2015-10-21 Carriage
Z Lift
Both Z Structure brackets
2015-10-29 Both hotend pieces
Hotend pieces
First Extruder Piece
Second Extruder Piece


Downloaded the overall "build plate" STL file for a box that uses 8mm rods/bearings and 1/2" plywood.
Will be using netfabb basic to split the file down to individual builds.
Need to 'fix' the stls as openjscad doesn't always provide manifold objects... (which is tedious...).
Attempted to print a set of the front corners, but due to a poor configuration of the filament... the print failed.


Successfully printed the front 2 corners


This time used blender to split up the next two pieces. This was done be importing the Build plate, going into Edit mode, moving my mouse over each item and pressing L ('Select Linked' operation) and them pressing P (Which brings up the Separate Menu) and choosing my selection.
Still needed to fix this STL in netfabb basic, did a 'close trivial holes' operation that worked without issue.
Might need to file a bug against openjscad... seems their models are not guarenteed to be manifold (it could also be that smartfriendz is doing something 'strange')

The prints failed tonight. The computer's USB ports locked up which is very strange and the first time it's ever happened... All communication was stopped until a reboot was done
Here's a pic of the failed but were going to be beautiful prints...

Failed Back Corners.jpg


Attempted to print back corners AND the middle pieces (got the second printrbot up and running)
Back corners failed once again. This time almost 1.5 hours in. I wasn't watching the extruder motor cooling fan and it came unplugged... resulting in the hotend getting jammed by pliable plastic...

Failed back corners again.jpg

I was able to print the middle pieces successfully though! :)


Successfully printed the carriage
Almost ready to put the x-y platform together and cut the box!

Also finally printed the back corners!


I dry fitted the xy 3d printed pieces with the 8mm polished rod that I already had.

SmartCore Dry Fit.jpg

It's looking like I'm going to have an almost square build area of about 17.5 inches! or ~444mm. Over 4 times larger than the printrbots!

SmartCore Ending Build Area.jpg

That also means that the overall box size is going to be roughly 2ft square (a little taller).

The pieces weren't exactly an easy fit. Cracking was heard on the middle pieces and the center carriage when the linear bearings were installed. I was also forced to drill out the 8mm holes that the smooth rod was suppose to go on. I used a spade bit for the first pieces I tried drilling out... that was a mistake and it ruined my back pieces (ugh.. need to reprint them!)

Ruined back corners.jpg

Must remember that a 5/16" or 8mm drill bit (none spade...) needs to be used to clean up the wholes for an easier fit...

I was also able to see what pieces I'm still missing for this design:

  • 1 nema motor for extruder and pulley
  • all 608zz bearings...
  • 2 smooth rods for vertical axis
  • longer (height of front corners) M3 x.5 screws
  • ptfe tube for bowden extruder and pipe fittings
  • power supply (might use ATX power supply)
  • lots of cabling...
  • heated bed...?

These are the things that I had in the bag already:

  • xy smooth rods
  • xy motors and gt2 pulleys
  • z axis motor and pulley
  • gt2 belt (a lot of it)
  • 8mm linear bearings
  • MEGA, Ramps 1.4 and usb cable
  • polulu motor drivers
  • mechanical end stops
  • 8mm vitamins
  • all metal hot end

Will be building the box next time while the back two pieces are re-printing (this time on the Simple 2, seems the first simple needs some adjustment as the pieces were slightly wavy)
Over all box size will be (in the above picture):

  • 24.5" wide
  • 21" deep
  • 25" tall ?

Not really sure if we need 17" tall build height, but why not keep it a cube! Makes purchasing the z rods easier.


Was able to print the hotend pieces
Also able to cut the pieces for the box
The box dimensions ended up being 24x24x21 instead of the off sized pieces
This will allow two boxes to be made from one sheet of ply which will help in keeping things more 'manufacture-able'

Also re-printed the back corners (updated picture above)


Tried to do some box joints in this plywood... Wasn't very successful...


So instead of trying to do box joints, I simply rabbited a groove using the router table to "slide in the bottom" and to keep the back one full piece

my box

I also added a piece along the top front to give the top more stability

I had every intention of putting the top XY axis together tonight and work on getting that movement finalized while the Z support printed (a 4 hr print...) but when I gathered my pieces, I saw that one of the middle pieces was broken. Someone had dropped it and didn't tell me (wasn't labelled so that doesn't really bother me as much as I think it should). So instead of putting together and finishing the XY motion, i'm reprinting the "left middle piece" which is piece 2 above.
Here is a pic of the broken piece...:

broken pieces...


Haven't made any notes as of late. During our winter open house, we hooked everything up for the XY motion and got motion working.

After that open house, it laid there... until our next open house (this March). The classroom needed to be cleaned out so I took it home...

That was crazy... it was too large and I had to basically lean on top of it as we were going down the road...

This has led me to want to start over. I don't really like the SmartCore design and feel the plywood box isn't the right solution
I'm going to be trying to create the XY motion system to be modular and will be utilizing 1010 extrusion for its frame (cheap from amazon).
My hope and desire is to cad the pieces myself in a way so that they are simple, easy to print and with as few of them as possible.
I also hope to try and make it so that there isn't a need for so many vitamins (which actually bit me some on this build).
We will see...

Will probably start a new project when I get around to some CAD design work...