Because we want our printers to be useful for a long time to come, we chose to use the best components we could find and still keep the budget reasonable.
In the above picture, from left to right, you can see the following examples:
- All X and Z axis cables are encased in sturdy drag chain to avoid chafing during the move. The one remaining Y-axis cable will also be enclosed in the next batch of machines.
- The heated bed is not one huge uniform plate but a set of 6" x 6" fully independen heated zones, 60 Watts each (for a total of 960 Watts of heating power). This allows you to heat the bed very quickly, and yet conserve energy when you need to print something smaller than the entire bed. There are simple M-codes that you can insert into your hosting software (like Repetier-Host) or directly into your slicer, that allow you to control the temperature of each zone independently or together. They are documented in the Manual, and are also available for download.
- We built a custom shield for the Arduino Mega as our main controller. It gives you the best of both worlds: a well known, powerful, yet inexpensive main processor board, coupled with a custom shield that organizes all cable harnesses, so it's really easy to swap components in and out. In our shop, a complete replacement of the main board takes about 5 minutes start to finish.
- We use large, powerful stepper drivers, capable of providing 4.5 Amp at 48 Volt to each of the X, Y, and Z stepper motors. You won't find that on other machines.
- We use large, high torque NEMA-23 motors on all three axes. You won't have to worry about them moving the mass of your print, unless you try printing at crazy-fast speeds
- Finally, we use the best liquid cooling components we could find in the computer cooling industry. You get the highest performance in a compact package, and the reliability of components designed for 24x7x365 use in critical applications. The pump/radiator/fan combo on our pre-production machine (PQN-0) has been running since July of 2015, and as of the end of March 2016 already accumulated over 1,500 hours of continuous running.
And last, but by no means least, you can just about see the pride of our design, the ball-screws, in the rightmost picture.
Well, enough bragging for one article :-)