This machine was developed for Mechatronics class – second year bachelor Mechanical Engineering at TU Delft. It’s made from FischerTechnik because these were the tools available in class. Note that some LEGO parts (the linear actuator) made it in here. In fact, the idea was inspired by the LEGO Milling Machine by Arthur Sacek.
The system was made with a team of four students, so we split the tasks of building and programming. I focused mostly on the software hardware interface between Matlab and the Arduino. The Arduino runs 3 stepper motors and a DC motor, and takes input from four sensors. Most of the control program runs on Matlab, through a self made interface as shown below.
A 3D model can be made with most 3D software packages such as SolidWorks. The Matlab program converts the STL-file into a matrix of height levels. In turn, it tells the Arduino to move the motors to follow these landscape coordinates. The printed result is shown below. This was our first complete test we did with the deadline approaching. Luckily, it turned out well – but we had to take the thing apart after that.
I forgot to add to the video that most of this was accelerated about 30 times – but still, enjoy.