Homebuilt Lulzbot Mini First Prints!

Here are a few photos from my first test prints on my new, now functional (for the most part), DIY Lulzbot Mini that i made myself from scratch (minus the frame and electronics). All hardware assembly and electrical wiring were done by me. Phew. What a ride it’s been. The upside is i now now how this printer works inside and out. The downside it was more trouble that it was worth and i wish i had just bought one instead. lol. Whatever though.



Progress on my Homebuilt Lulzbot Mini

Today i made significant progress on building my own Lulzbot Mini 3D printer from scratch. Technically i now have two 3d printers i’m building from scratch, but the other one is bigger and one i’m designing myself. Just like me to not finish one project before starting another. At least i’m going to work on this one and finish it before continuing on my other one (which might be converted into a homemade CNC mill).


Today was a major milestone because most of the components are put together and i finally was able to test part of the electronics i wired up myself. I was able to test the Y-axis motor and limit switches as well as the X-axis stepper motor. All seemed to function correctly using Lulzbot’s Cura software. The software did have an unexpected safety feature however, it wouldn’t let me turn any of the motors on without the bed thermistor wired up. So i had to wire up a temporary 10k thermistor for testing purposes. It worked great. I was running the Cura software under Ubuntu Linux. The Cura software gave me an error that it could not autodetect the serial port or something like that, so i ran it as the root super user and that fixed the problems.


Since i’m building this thing from scratch instead of buying one premade i’m trying to find ways of cutting costs. Although i think i will end up spending more than i hoped. But anyway, part of that is looking into ways that i might be able to replace expensive commercial products like the IGUS bearings and the Leadscrew nut. I’ve already drafted up a 3d printable version of the leadscrew nut and posted it here on Thingiverse. The nut has yet to be tested, but i’ve also had some RJM-01-08 IGUS bearing replica prototypes made in Nylon. The RJM-01-08 IGUS replica bearings turned out to be too tight, but with a drill i was able to make them usable. They are currently being used to remove the wiggle and slop i was experiencing from using the 1mm too small LM8UU ball bearings.


I originally got the LM8UU bearings as a cheaper alternative to the commercial RJM-01-08 IGUS stock bearings the Lulzbot mini uses thinking they would work. They work, and i am currently using some, but the stock STL files from Lulzbot have holes that are 1mm too big because of the slight size difference between them and the LM8UU. I might try to modify the STL files [i have modified the lulzbot solidworks files] to make LM8UU compatible parts in the near future, but for now i’m happy with my 3d printed nylon ones. I’ve heard PLA might work too, so i will experiment with that in the future as well.


Here are some more pictures:




DIY Taffy Machine – first test

EDIT 11-24-16: i have now revisited this project. You can read about it here and also find a link to updated design files: https://keen101.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/diy-mini-taffy-machine-revisited-2016/

Okay, so i may actually be finally getting back into hardware based projects. It’s been quite awhile hasn’t it. Well, i think i did need a break from it for awhile, but for the most part i think my tinkering spirit is back! I hereby present my latest project. My homemade DIY taffy puller machine!

Overall it’s actually a fairly simple design. I based some of it off of the one from MAKE magazine, and some off of another design posted on youtube and on the Internet. But my design is much simpler and smaller than those other two designs, and mine also requires less parts. In fact my design doesn’t even need the two gears in the front. In fact i have two motors that i could put on it if i ran one backwards.

I actually managed to draft some of it in SoldWorks which i think is petty cool, especially considering that I’m not interested in majoring in Engineering and have little interest in learning to draft either.

The design specs have been posted to my website:


Here are some of the files as well (updated 9-26-14):

Gear designed in Inkscape



bar3_round – Sheet3

gear – Sheet1

bar3_round – Sheet2 arm1_round – Sheet2 bar3_round – Sheet1 arm1_round – Sheet1

EDIT 11-24-16: i have now revisited this project. You can read about it here and also find a link to updated design files: https://keen101.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/diy-mini-taffy-machine-revisited-2016/


Progress on my Robot Speed Controller

Speed Controller Prototype
Speed Controller Prototype

I’ve made some major progress on my open source robot motor speed controller. I never thought i would get around to finishing it. But, now im really close to having a finished and robust design. And even better, it’s an arduino based design that fits within 3″x3″ cubed designed with all through hole parts. This view is the top board. There is a bottom board to maximise part room, but minimise footprint on a hypothetical robot.

I ordered a prototype from BatchPCB, and should be receiving in about a month. Once i get that i can fix any schematic errors, and finish the arduino wiring and get a simple program going. I hope to eventually get a good design together, so that a lower cost alternative to the VEX and Jaguar and other speed controllers can be offered. Maybe even start my own online kit sales, or get a cool company like Sparkfun Electronics to offer them.

you can follow the progress being made at the following forum: http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=13885