Electrifying in 3 Dimensions

This post should come as a surprise to you as I paused constructing the Vector 3 with the intention of waiting until I have all the other components. But as luck would have it I have now recieved the covers for the electronic components and it made it possible for me to continue the build with the pieces provided. Now I have the printer assembled by two-thirds up to issue 63. Now with only 27 issues and only 7 months to go until the build is complete here is how it’s going.


In the last stage we built up the mechanical components and structure of the printer. Now we have to install the electronic components inside the printer. Every electronic gadget starts with a motherboard, the main central control of the printer has one that looks beautiful as the printer itself. The motor tester board has now got a bigger role to play as it’s function is to operate the switch to the printer and activate the three axes X, Y and Z into gear. The board has a central processor to process and operate the commands it recieves from the computer and has a number of other inputs as well. One of these is a slot for a Micro SD card, which presumably is for loading an operating system for the printer. However it’s unknown if the printer will need any software upgrade like that at this stage.


Once I fitted the two boards on I had to insert four motor driver boards for each of the axes auxiliary functions to make them go. The driver boards have only got a capacitor and a heatsink on them covering a microprocessor to govern the drive motors. Of the four driver boards three of them are for the axes while the last one is for the print head feeder motor. The three axes work in sync with the print head and so they share the same circuit to get the shape of the object to be printed correctly. When I put the cable for the print head feeder I had to open up the rear frame cover to stow it so that it would be connected to the print head at a later issue. I also tucked the cables to the Y-axis shaft inside there so that they wouldn’t snag on the shaft when the printer was in operation. Now the top of the printer looks like it’s got a ribbon of candy spewing out of it.


At the rear of the printer there was room for another of the printer’s components. There was the fan for keeping the electronic components at their correct working temperature. It’s an essential feature of all electronic machines like the printer. The Vector has a power input of the UK standard mains electricity of 220/240 Volts of alternating current which is transformed to 24 direct current from the power module. This makes the printer glow red hot and so the fans are vital. If you had a laptop without a fan the temperature will get so hot that it will cause the processor to burn out and kill itself. I had a laptop with a fan that was placed in a position where if you covered it up the processor fried and as a result it crippled the computer.


Once I had the last of the electronic components installed the next step was to cover the components with the top casing parts. Once I got that sort I had another mechanical component to fit on. This was the roller holder for the reel of plastic filament, the material that is fed into the printer to produce the finished product. Once I got these parts in I was able to take a step back and take a look at what I had acheived so far. There was more plastic in the bin but I had a great looking machine even if it was only close to completion. It was a pretty good kit and when the last 27 issues come I will have to step back and enjoy the literature accompanying the parts. They will provide a good source of information for my electronic engineering studies in this term. Let’s see if this can provide some usefulness in my application to the CSEE department.




  1. The MicroSD socket (or actually the memory card fitted within) acts as a print data buffer, allowing you to print offline, loading the print data files direct to the printer before turning off the computer, as some prints can take many hours to complete.


      • Sorry for taking so long to reply. Yes I have built one myself, with very little problem other than an incorrect part being sent twice which had to be chased up through Customer Services. As regards to the print head heat sensor problem, I had no trouble at all; I think some people must have received a bad batch.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s