TRINAMIC Motion Control, a leading global developer of motor and motion control technologies, announced that it is providing design support and manufacturing expertise to a group of maker enthusiasts that have launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to build a low-cost BeagleBone 3D printer add-on card.
The add-on card—or ‘cape’ in BeagleBone parlance—provides the necessary motion control hardware to enable a complete controller for 3D printing, milling, laser cutting or other machine tool applications.
“The BeagleBone Black is a powerful processor board that can easily run a G-code NC interpreter, Linux O/S and user and Internet interfaces,” explained TRINAMIC engineer and T-Bone project participant Jonas Proeger. “The T-bone will augment the BeagleBone with the required motor drives and real-time control software to complete an affordable and highly functional 3D printer.”
The cape being developed, called T-bone by its developers, handles real-time operation of five stepper motors that control three-dimensional movement of the printing head, as well as operation of the plastic extruder. The T-bone performs real-time calculation of motor velocity, direction and acceleration parameters, and communicates with its host BeagleBone via a small microcontroller.
By offloading the complex and unique motion control processing requirements, the T-bone enables users to utilize the proven software and existing tools of the widely popular BeagleBone host. Coupled with open source software, the T-Bone is designed to be the critical link between an open source BeagleBone Black (USD 45) compute platform, and an open-source Mendel 3D (USD 520) mechanical printing head. With a T-bone, makers worldwide will be able to complete an entire 3D printing platform for under USD 700.
“We think the T-Bone cape will create a new, affordable entry-point for 3D print makers, tinkerers and experimenters. That is the fundamental goal of our project,” said T-bone Chief Tinkering Officer Marcus Nowotny. “With TRINAMIC’s engineering and production assistance, we hope to put 3D printers into the hands of hundreds of new users worldwide.”
The Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign is aimed at building an initial run of T-Bone boards. With a minimum funding goal of Euro 20,000 (USD 27,600), the campaign will be able to design a professional board layout and complete an initial production run of several hundred boards.
3D enthusiasts can join the campaign at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/t-bone-cape, selecting funding levels from Euro 5 (USD 6.90) for an attractive T-Bone sticker or Euro 25 (USD 34.50) for a stylish T-Bone T-shirt, up to Euro 89 (USD 123) for a completely assembled and tested T-Bone board. The funding campaign ends on April 19.
TRINAMIC will be demonstrating a prototype T-Bone 3D printer at the EELive! conference and expo in San Jose, CA April 1-3, booth 1327.