Home Practice & Makers Open source 3D printing extension: Project adds fourth axis to Prusa MK3S

Open source 3D printing extension: Project adds fourth axis to Prusa MK3S

The open-source project “Open-Source 4-Axis Printer-Conversion and FullControl Toolpath Generation” explains how to add an additional rotation axis to the popular Prusa MK3S 3D printer. This extension helps to avoid overhangs and support structures, which is particularly advantageous for complex print objects.

Normal 3D printers work with three axes (X, Y, Z). In some designs, this results in overhangs that require complex support structures. Systems with more axes can solve this problem by rotating the print object during printing. However, such systems are often complicated and expensive.

The project offers an interesting solution here. It adds a fourth axis of rotation for the 3D print head to the MK3S. Although it does not achieve the flexibility of a 5-axis system, it still represents a significant improvement for many applications. The conversion is relatively simple: you need a stepper motor, some 3D-printed brackets and a more powerful Duet 3 mainboard. The modified firmware is available in the project depot.

The slicing software poses a bigger problem, as conventional programs do not support non-planar prints. The developers therefore recommend FullControl.xyz, software that has been specially developed for this application. This upgrade is certainly not suitable for beginners, but for experienced users and tinkerers it offers an interesting option for hardware expansion. Further information and instructions can be found on the project page.

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