Around ten years ago, three-dimensional printers were expensive and pretty bulky gadgets only utilized by organizations for industrial purposes. Moreover, these printers were pretty scarce and mainly were not accessible to many people except, of course, professionals. However, since then, 3D printing has grown and made a lot of strides toward accessibility and efficiency. And now, with the new Open-source 3D technology, this technology has become more affordable and accessible to students, engineers, designers, and even makers.
Using a 3D printer, anyone can quickly generate their custom design without going through a lot of trouble. Hence a 3D printer is the perfect equipment for 3D printing enthusiasts and makers. Moreover, present-day 3D printers have the ability to generate impeccable, pro-like designs. As a result, three-dimensional printers have grown in popularity over time. However, one of the many 3D printers in the market today stands out: the ESP32 3D printer. However, why is this 3D printer unique compared to other 3D printer? And why should you consider utilizing it to carry out 3D printing tasks?
The ESP32 3D Printer in a Nutshell
The ESP32 3D printer hit the market recently after its launch into the industry by Likha Labs. It is an Open source three-dimensional printer controller bearing in-built Ethernet and Wi-FI.
The ESP32 Printer Controller and Web Interface
On the printer’s Crowd Supply page, developers describe the ESP32 as an efficient three-dimensional printer controller that focuses on impeccable network connectivity. The controller of the ESP32 is known as Phi Mainboard 5LC. Through its design, it can offer a web interface that users can utilize to communicate with the printer over a LAN (local area network). Therefore, when using the ESP32 three-dimensional printer, plus its controller, you will not need to invest in single-board computers, for example, raspberry pi, to enable connectivity.
The ESP32 website interface lets you do the following:
- Monitor the 3D printer
- Control the device efficiently
- Start jobs
- Configure settings
- Upload G-code files
Overall, through this hardware, you get to save money while also simplifying your setup immensely.
More Information about the ESP32 3D Printer
The ESP32 hardware was generated based on the SAM E51 3D microcontroller and the popular ESP32-s3-WROOM modules. Moreover, ESP32 handles:
- USB communication
- Data storage
Additionally, the printer’s microcontroller efficiently handles real-time control and all motions involved in 3D printers. Doing so ensures that Networking and controlling the 3D printer happens in parallel, reducing the chances of one process bogging down the other processes.
Moreover, the hardware has the capability to support a lot of stepper drivers, displays, and other peripherals, for example, accelerometers, thermocouples, monitors, and so on. Additionally, the Phi controllers can efficiently drive fabrication gadgets such as CNC machines.
Technical Specs of the Open Source ESP32 3D Printer Controller board Hardware
The physical specifications of the ESP 3D printer are as follows:
- The hardware bears four unique layers with two oz of outer copper (CU) layers (these layers of copper help in terms of better heat dissipation)
- The hardware also bears M4 mounting holes (123 by 100 mm)
The processor specifications of the ESP3D printer controller hardware are as follows:
- The ESP32-S3-WROOM-1-N8 Espressif bears the following specifications: 8 megapixels SPI flash, 512 kilobytes of SRAM, and Dual-core Xtensa LX7 (240 MHz).
- The ATSAME51N19A Microchip bears the following specifications: Cortex-M4F (120MHz), 192 kilobytes of SRAM, and 512 kilobytes of flash.
The interface of the ESP32 three-dimensional printer has the following specs:
- A micro SD card – MMC v4.41, CE-ATA v1.1, SDIO v3.0, v3.01 and v3.0.
- Micro USB – It uses the 2.0 USB version, with operating speeds of up to 12 Mbits per second and a USB cable to reach the access point.
Connectivity and Network
As per connectivity and Networking, this controller has the following specs:
- A base-T Ethernet of 10/100
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (240 GHz)
- 5 LE Bluetooth
When it comes to external power, these controllers have the following specifications:
- Efficient on-board regulators: 1A, 2V x 3.3V | 3A, 2V x 5 V| 3A, 1 V x 12 V
- Moreover, it also has an input connector that is rated 25 A
- And an input voltage that ranges between 25 to 11 volts
The ESP32 controller has the following specification:
- Extruders heaters 2x (each bearing around 5A)
- 3X PT1000s or thermistors
- Bed heaters 1x (each bearing around 15 A)
- PWM Fans 4x, always-on 1X – selectable between 12V and VIN in two distinct banks
- GPIO ports 7x (for SSRs, Z-probes, filament monitors, end-stops, et cetera) – 3.3 Volts output, 30 volts tolerate input
- TMC2209 stepper drivers – stallGuard2 (utilized for sensorless homing and stall detections)
- StealthChop2 (used for silent ops)
- RMS (2A)
The specialty ports of the ESP32 controller have the following specifications:
- PT100 and thermocouple expansion
- Stepper expansion
- CAN-FD expansion
- PanelDue 10 and 4 pin
- EXP2 and EXP1
Moreover, this 3D printer has a UART port or a universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter for efficient communication.
Overall the ESP32 3D printer controller is an impeccable tool for professionals, hobbyists, and even makers who like experimenting with three-dimensional printing.
Phi and RepRap Firmware
Phi, as we saw previously, is the controller for the ESP3 three-dimensional printer that runs the RepRap Firmware. The RepRap firmware is an impeccable firmware that has been in the three-dimensional printing industry for a while now. Moreover, this firmware has a great legacy in this industry and is credited for bringing numerous advancements in the industry. The firmware supports most, if not all, machine kinematics. That means that when working with this firmware, you do not have to rebuild when you are configuring the phi controller for your gadget. Most options found in this firmware’s setting, especially those related to kinematics, tend to be configured via G-code. Therefore you can make alterations to the setting without much struggle. Moreover the comment form tends to be pretty useful at this point.
The 3D printer has undoubtedly brought many changes to the tech industry. Today, instead of contacting a manufacturer to 3D print your PCB, you can do this at home using your 3D printer. Moreover, this trend makes 3D printing pretty accessible to individuals worldwide. Additionally, when the ESP32 3D printer hit the market, it altered the entire course of the three dimension industry. Its website interface and website terms, which lets users connect to the printer via LAN, has made this printer popular and efficient. Moreover, the fact that you do not need a separate single-board computer to run this printer makes it even more efficient. Therefore, try it out and see the difference.