The Big Printer Project

Retail Therapy

I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes when I’m ill I buy things. I guess it’s a sort of “retail therapy.” I almost always regret it when the amazon boxes arrive. But it does make me feel a bit better.

A few years ago, in a fever delusion I got a great deal on a 3D printer. Or, well, I thought it was. It was actually a box full of 3D printer parts and some photocopied instructions, most in Chinese. No wonder it was so much cheaper than the other printers.

That sounds terrible, but it was actually super fun to build and turned into a really nice printer. I was in way over my head enjoyed it the whole time. Since then, whenever I’ve been really ill I’ve bought another kit to build.


About a month ago my son came down with mononucleosis and pneumonia at the same time. Oof! He was hyper contagious and coughing all over everything so he was quarantined at home for a couple weeks. With me. Needless to say, I got sick too. Being 14 and in perfect physical condition my son bounced back from both illnesses effortlessly. I only got pneumonia, but I did not bounce back.

I got really very sick. But after a few days in the hospital and some miraculous intravenous antibiotics I’m finally, slowly getting better.

And it’s obviously time for a new 3D printer!!!

BLV mgn Cube 3D printer


Early in 2019 Ben Levi posted an open source 3D printer called the BLV MGN Cube. It’s like many core-xy style printers, but uses MGN linear rails instead of rods and bearings to try to get pro-level accuracy on a hobby budget.

To take advantage of those high quality rails you need the other components to match. It calls fro Duet controller, 0.9º steppers, 20x40 extrusion, and every other best-of-class component in 3D printing today.

And to top it off, you have to print dozens of parts on your current 3D printer just to get the thing going.

Let’s do this

I pulled the trigger and started buying parts for it while I was laying in a hospital bed. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it without being mildly delirious. It’s expensive and it’s going to take a huge amount of time and effort to complete. I’m in way over my head, but I think that’s just the way I like it.

Fast Forward Dev Journal

It’s been about three weeks since the hospital. I’m not nearly as sick as I was and I’ve been keeping a dev journal of the printer build. At first it was just for me, but I think it might make for interesting blogging too.

For the next few days I’m just going to play catch-up – posting pages from a couple weeks ago. But I should catch up to the present quickly. I didn’t make too much progress at first when I was still very ill. Even now I can only work on it at most an hour or so a day.

isaiah @isaiah