When I originally formed my plan to build a 3d printer, I had purchased the recently published book "Printing in Plastic: Build Your Own 3D Printer" by Patrick Hood-Daniel. The book details how to build a 3d printer called the WhiteAnt. It's construction consists of mostly wood and parts commonly used in CNC machines.
I decided not to start with this build, partly for the reason that most of the information about the printer was to be found only in the book, little help was to be found elsewhere. Even now, (6 months after I have acquired the book) I haven’t been able to find much information online. Because of the abundance of websites devoted to the reprap project and the amount of experience available in active forums, I decided that building the Prusa Mendel 3d printer would be the easiest and fastest way to learn.
Now that I have built a reprap printer and have a strong understanding how a basic 3d printer system works, I’m ready to experiment with building a larger machine, and I think, going with my initial plan of building the WhiteAnt is a good way to accomplish this.
Here's a list of where I’ve sourced out all the parts for the WhiteAnt:
Almost all the hardware was ordered from http://www.boltdepot.com/
The barrel nuts, Simpson Strong-Ties and threaded rods are from Home Depot
The v-groove bearings are from VXB Ball Bearings
The other bearings, precision threaded rod, collars, couplings, etc. are from http://buildyourcnc.com/whiteAnt3DPrinterandCNCMachine.aspx
The NEMA 23 stepper motors were purchased used from an eBay seller
The “small red washers” I had a hard time finding, but eventually found them at McMaster-Carr
The timing belts are unspecified, but I decided to use T2.5 belts and pulleys. I purchased them directly from the factory in
through aliexpress.com Tianjin, China
I don’t plan to use the specified Makerbot Gen 4 electronics and ReplicatorG software… I’m going to use RAMPS 1.2 electronics with Pronterface software.
I also don’t plan to use their build version of an extruder and Makerbot hot end. I’ll use one of the systems I already have which is designed for the reprap machine.
Once I have the specified structure built and operating, I plan to expand the X-axis at least twice as long… if not more. This will give me a long build envelope which I’m characterizing as a landscape printer.
I think the WhiteAnt’s basic wood design with the added power of the NEMA 23 stepper motors will provide an adequate testing machine for a larger build envelope and also for later experimentation using a dual extrusion system. I didn't document my Prusa Mendel build since there seems to be plenty of this information online, but I will with this printer.