2021/01/18: added IDEX Features with Pros/Cons, Ashtar Series Genealogy, Comparison Dual Material approaches, and brief Hardware Requirements
2021/01/15: first version with overview side-by-side
Mid of January 2021 (01/12 – 01/14) I added IDEX (Independent Dual Extrusion) option to 4 designs, all still in early draft stage – here as a summary side-by-side:
Ashtar K IDEX has been fairly easy, as I was using an improved “old” design of the X motor mount for the 2nd motor and 2nd belt, and since Ashtar M IDEX is using the same XZ frame, it was a matter of a few minutes to port that option as well.
Ashtar D IDEX with Classic XY belt routing was more tricky as there was little space left to add another motor, so I realized I need to utilize what’s there and take advantage of it – result is a very space saving solution, but it needs to be verified in real life first.
Ashtar C IDEX with Core XY with an additional X motor was easy, I just reused a slightly altered X motor/pulley mount of Ashtar D, so that was done fairly quickly as well, yet the challenge will be the firmware support, as currently (2021/01) only Duet RepRap firmware supports the CoreXYU as my design falls under.
Features of IDEX
double printing: duplicate or mirror mode
double printing volume at same duration
two materials with different melting points
two colors (non-mixing) with
more reliable than dual nozzle setups, as inactive nozzle does not run over existing printed piece often
Well, after the IDEX option designs – still as drafts – worked for Ashtar K (Prusa i3), Ashtar M (Moving Gantry) and Ashtar D (Classic XY), I thought, why not also target Ashtar C (Core XY).
Ashtar D IDEX is definitely a narrow design, so I thought to reuse two parts of it for Ashtar C as well, and hopefully the A and B belts route around – and well, it seems mechanically to work out.
On the firmware part it seems this CoreXY plus additional X motor is called CoreXYU and supported by Duet RepRap firmware – but details need to be researched in more depth. On the first glance the “traditional” CoreXYU setup routes the U belt off the X beam and not place a motor on it as I do, but routes at the end of the frames so the motor is stationary – definitely something also to look at.
Issues to Resolve
Firmware supporting CoreXY IDEX:
E1: X & Y provided through CoreXY by motors A & B
E2: X provided by X motor, Y provided by CoreXY where X=0 remains (both motors A & B have to operate to provide X=0 while Y is moved)
Duet RepRap firmware provides CoreXYU support, and it seems it would cover my use case here
Marlin firmware as of 2.x does not support CoreXYU yet
Moving the X motor – or U motor as in CoreXYU context – off the X beam and route a much longer belt and place the motor stationary like the motors A & B of CoreXY
The main idea is to reuse the NEMA17 shaft as axis for the idler of the 2nd belt, and use 3mm diameter shaft with 5-10mm length as extension, and stabilize the extension in the idler itself likely the shaft seems long enough by itself – the most space saving option:
If possible, rotate entire X motor mount / carriage and mount it on the other X side.
I had to color the belts and V modules, as I otherwise get confused while fine-tuning the design within such narrow margins:
X1/E1 in green
X2/E2 in red
I just love symmetry! I just love symmetry!
Issues to Resolve
X motor-mount isn’t fully Y symmetric yet, it’s off by a few mm; needs some further fine-tuning until X2 motor-mount mounting holes align with V module, resolved
V module belt mount for X2 needs be adapted, as I can’t mirror it as that “back” mirrored is the “front” side where the printhead is mounted and occupied already, a new piece is required which mounts within the V module
2021/01/14: Ashtar M (Moving Gantry – Draft) also with IDEX option now
2021/01/13: ooze prevention at rest position added, mechanical conflict resolved
2021/01/12: starting with a first draft, one mechanical conflict to be resolved
I have been pondering on a dual independent X axis upgrade or option for a while, but the other designs of the Ashtar Series I wanted to do first (Ashtar D and Ashtar M) those matured by now (2021/01), so I decided to get back to IDEX upgrade for Ashtar K:
For now I like to keep single 2020 V slot alu extrusion for the X beam where the X carriage rides, and route the2nd beltabove for the 2nd X carriage – and this was a quick solution as earlier version of Ashtar K had the belt routed above the alu profile so I just reused the old pieces again.
“Above routed belt” option with its pieces are weaker and possibly need enforcement improved the strength, so it’s a fast start – just took me 2 hours – but needs definitely some fine-tuning. Alternatively the 2nd belt could be routed at the back of the X carriages, but fastening the 2nd X motor would be challenging.
For now I use the same code base of Ashtar K and introduce IDEX = true flag, and enhance a few existing pieces in parts.scad and optionally add those new pieces when rendering printer-ak.scad.
As I progress with this option or upgrade I update this blog-post.
Issues to Resolve
X carriage #1 belt mount conflicts mechanical with belt 2: redesign xcarriage_beltmount_2020 piece, make it shorted in Z or fasten it inside V module: resolved, shifted 2nd belt a bit Y off, and shorten xcarriage_beltmount_2020(idex=true) by 2mm.