Part 1: Current situation and design objectives
The printer is currently a mess of wires and electronics, the picture illustrates the chaos. To regulate the airflow for cooling the circuit pieces of paper and plastic are used as guiders. Also there is no dust protection. This is also true for the Raspberry Pi, no casing and standing on the table next to the XXLUltimaker.
We want to improve the XXL Ultimaker appearance by designing a cover. This cover will protect the hardware from potential damage and give the printer a more simplistic look. In order to design this cover, there are several design problems that need our attention, these are listed below.
Holes and fasteners for the hardware
A way to attach the LED-screens
Airflow and cooling
The stepper motor that moves the printer up and down
Removability and stability
Part 2: First Prototype
The first action we decided to take is to make a simple cover that fits seamlessly on top of the current Ultimaker. This model is created by using the original building plans of the Ultimaker and using the inverted bottom edges to create the lid. By using laser cutting to fastly cut the pieces we are able to assemble within the day.
The next step is to determine the placement of the wires going in and out of the cover and other protruding objects and later create the openings through which they will be led. This cover is the first prototype and will be further improved over the coming weeks. However since this is not our main focus this side project will be executed if time and resources are available.
One aspect we did not notice right away is that the vents that cool the circuit are fastened with screw thread and bolts on top of a aluminium frame piece. This part is not fasted on to the Ultimaker itself, also the screw thread reaches higher than the fan itself. Because of this we found that the cover is not high enough. Now there are three options: drilling holes in the cover so the crew thread can protrude through the cover, cutting off the excess screw thread or creating a new higher cover.
This week we created the first version of the lid. we started with the document used to laser cut the sides of the Ultimaker, from which we created the base shape for the lid. We laser cut the resulting shape. After it was put together, it looked like a proper lid already. We purposely did not attempt to guess the location of the numerous gaps needed for cables and the stepper motor, because we used hand tools to fit the lid on the Ultimaker. This resulted in the measurements visible in the picture below. We also discovered that a few parts were taller than the edge, which means the next version of the lid will be slightly higher.
Part 3: Prototype 2
We created a new model based on the measurements from cover prototype 1. This new model will be laser cut soon. We also discovered that the two Ultimakers are not simply mirrored or rotated, but significantly different in orientation. This means we will have to make two seperate lids tailored for each one.
We made a new sketch for the cover, including the holes for the wires and the other protruding elements. Furthermore we made the cover 10mm higher, so all elements fit beneath it. Also there is enough space for adjustments in the hardware in the future and enough air and openings for airflow.
When fitting the new cover prototype version 2 for the slave we concluded that the measurements were slightly off and some of the holes where 1mm too small. also one of the side walls was mirrored. This is when we found out that the model is not symmetrical, when flipping the side wall inside out, the pins and sockets do not align. everything else fit nicely and the overall design complements the rest of the printer.
We decided to completely rebuild the model and make it symmetrical so this kind of annoying moments are avoided. We used Grasshopper to create a more symmetrical version. Also Grasshopper allows us to make easy changes in the design.
Furthermore we will adjust the output holes so they fit and design pins to keep the lid in place. The pins will keep the cover on top of the printer and prevent it from falling off during printing. Another idea that we will implement in the next prototype is making the cover of semi-translucent plastic.
The next few test models will include parts with the holes, for example a wall piece. This way we will check our adjustments and optimize the design further. One of the first laser cut pieces will be the back side wall with the added airgrid in the shape of the following text: XXL 2017. we thought it fun to add a special feature that makes it unique, like a memento to our work.
Preview: Cover Works 2.0
In the meantime, in between laser cutting and assembling, we will start working on a case for the raspberry pi, and investigate the possibility of adding both the pi and the adaptor to the casing.
Part 4: final adjustments
The final stage of the cover model is to laser cut it out of translucent plexiglass. we found a free plate to use, however this plate has a thickness of 7mm where the ultimaker has a wall thickness of 6mm. in order to create a flush transition from the ultimaker to the cover we need to adjust the size of the upper plate by 1mm in all directions and the sidewalls with 1mm in horizontal direction form both sides smaller. Next we fitted the pieces onto the available surface of the plexiglass.
Part 5: final design
In the final model we decided to add the central cable exit orientend on the back side of the cover. We also adjusted the height of the middle sides of both the cover, now allowing cables to cross form one printer to the other. Both improvements add to the goal of creating a more user friendly and simple appearance.
Preview: Light it up!
The final addition to the cover are the multi-colored LED, placed inside. The frosted cover surface causes the light to spread more evenly and create a gradiant effect. The entire cover lits up creating a fun and attractive effect.