Open-source conversion of Stratasys FDM Vantage X rapid-prototyping machine : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Engineering in Mechatronics at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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Massey University
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3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing is quickly redefining how companies design and develop products (Maxey, 2014). Increasingly, with advances in technology and materials, end-use parts are now being manufactured. Wellington Drive Technologies Limited (WDTL), a world leading supplier of energy saving, electronically commutated motors (ECM) are based in Albany, Auckland. They use fused deposition modelling (FDM) to prototype new products and concepts. WDTL suffered a failure of a Stratasys FDM Vantage X machine used to 3D print prototype parts. The cost of rectifying the problem put the machine beyond economic repair. The machine was therefore gifted to Massey University, Albany. Mechanically the machine was in good working order, it made sense therefore to attempt to resurrect the machine for research purposes. However, due to the cost of OEM repairs, and the associated research limitations, it was decided that where possible, open-source solutions should be sought. The purpose of this dissertation is to prove the viability of replacing closedsource proprietary hardware and software solutions with open-source. The electronics and firmware were designed around the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic while ReplicatorG was used for the front end, all of which are open-source. Ironically on the 19th June 2013, almost a year after starting this project, Stratasys bought MakerBot, taking a big stake in the consumer based 3DPrinter market. Subsequent releases of Makerware (MakerBot's successor to ReplicatorG) have been made closed-source.
Three-dimensional printing, 3D printing, Rapid prototyping, 3D printer software, Stratasys FDM Vantage X, MakerBot, ReplicatorG, Open-source software