Nerd out to play

3DPCB latest revision

Finally done soldering all the parts on the PCB.

Testing has gone okay, have to adjust the resistors for the LEDs on the MOSFETs.
Now all there is, is to keep printing parts for the new FirePrinter, to test the board with it.


At time being, I am a stay-at-home dad, to take care of our son, who has been diagnosed with chILD (lung disease).
So while taking care of him, and trying to entertain him a bit, I am also building and designing several things.

First, a DC-gear-motor extruder, as it will be physically smaller than the NEMA17 extruder I use now.
Also, two of them should weight the same as a single NEMA17 extruder.

Second, a DC servo motor controller. Using misans code for Arduino, I designed a PCB not larger than the original stepstick,
so it should be plug-n-play in RAMPS or any other board that accepts the stepsticks.

Servo BDC

Third, FirePrinter – Naming a primarily because the hardware comes from FirePick Delta, which I was a part of some years ago.
All of these projects take some time (to get delivered, PCBs has been designed and ordered, parts has been designed and printing right now), but they will find their way on here.

Now it’s autumn, the weather is getting colder, getting ready for the winter. As you all now, “Winter is coming”…

Have a good one!


3DPCB – Back to Allegro drivers

I have redesigned 3DPCB over the past couple of months, as the DRV8825 turned out to be somewhat weird around steppers.
So after designing it back to A4982, I also added the possibility to use A5984.
Also some changes around traces and length-matching the USB tracks.

The production of the board began today, so now the waiting is on.
Significant changes:

  • Rounding the corners of the PCB
  • Added new logo
  • Length-matching USB tracks
  • Switched to Allegro A4982/A5984 stepper drivers
  • Added Molex Ultrafit connector for power
  • Added LEDs on the MOSFET outputs to see status

That’s all for now – I need to solder on components when I receive them, then another update will come online.

Somewhat unfilled 3D image of the board:

3DPCB 3D image from KiCAD

Having a son, renovating the house, changing jobs

It been over a year now, since my last confession.
But a lot has been going on.

I have a beautiful little son now, my girlfriend and I got married, I started renovating the house we live in.
So let’s just say, the days where I could spend hours and hours on electronics and other things are pretty much over… For now!

A couple of pals and I were talking about making a company to repair electronics, mainly industrial, but also consumer electronics.
Basically just starting out in each of our homes, fixing what we can, when we have the time.

Later on it might be a more full-time employment, but for now, every single hour per week counts.

Together the three of us has more than 50 years of experience in repairing electronics professionally.
So we’re going to test it out for a year to see if we can build up the customer base.
After that we have a chance of building an office in one of the empty buildings on a farm my friend has.

Apart from all that, I have been building a 3D printer, again, fixed loads of electronics,
changed jobs twice (was with Siemens for a short period, but had to move work closer to home, so I took a job in a hospital, repairing medical equipment).
Now I spend most of my time with the family, but when I have an hour or two, I tend to spend it upgrading, designing, redesigning, building, repairing electronics or anything I can get my hands on within technology.

Right now I’m designing a DC gearmotor extruder with a PID controller.
More on that later.

I will try to keep regular updates, but let’s see if I can keep it a promise.

Have great summer everyone!

Making a Z axis on a 3D printer

I’m trying to build a new 3D printer, using the CoreXY concept, and mostly built using these files and site:

However, the Z-axis is not really working. So I started to work on my own.
As I had some parts to lay around from the FirePick project, I thought I’d use the bottom aluminium plate.
It’s cut perfect to size to fit one of the M5 threaded rods I intended to use, in one of the screwholes in the middle.
I’ve tested the 3DPCB with 3 nema17 motor and the same time, running smoothly and perfect. Each stepper has an M5 threaded rod
right on top of it, using either flex coupling or some rubber hose.

I designed the parts in the DXF file, so the plastic I needed to print was fitting perfectly in the aluminium plate.

The parts printed perfectly and now sits on the alu-plate

I still need to either fixate the M5 rod in the top, so the axis doesn’t wobble, or print some 8mm rod fasteners and make an LM8UU part to
make the alu-plate go straight up and down.
But for the first test, I’m happy if it runs smoothly.

Yay, images:

OpenSCAD render of what my printer looks like

OpenSCAD render of what my printer looks like

3DPCB – Now with DRV8825 x 5!!

While moving to a new place, with lots of space for all my electronics,
I found some spare-time to update the 3DPCB to Rev C.

Rev B did never turn out to something, so I went directly to Rev C.

Some changes from the original design has been made:

  1. It now has five stepper drivers, but has changed from A4982 to DRV8825.
  2. The MOSFETs has been changed to STL60N3LLH5 – 60A / 30V (Max 60W, but has 0.0063 ohm typical @ 10Vgs) – Also added one extra.
  3. Added pinouts for the stepper drivers
  4. SPI is broken out with through hole instead of SMD pad. But it’s with 1.6mm pitch
  5. Broken out some extra pins for fun.
  6. Added resistor/capacitor network to reduce bounce from end-stop-switches.
  7. Added 5V regulator with solder-jumper to change voltage on endstop-connectors between 5V and 3.3V
  8. Added an extra MOSFET driver – Lower internal resistance on MOSFETS.
  9. Changed a lot of pins around, for easy layout.
  10. Still rocks a two-layer! Even if heat-dissipation is not as good as four-layer, I’m doing fine with this.

The original design I made has been printing over 200 hours now.

I’ve sent the PCB into production, so I will do a test whenever I have the PCBs and have soldered it all together.

Whenever I have a succesful test, I will upload the design to my account.

A 3D picture of the design:










And here’s the schematic: 3DPCB – Rev C schematic

Now, let’s mount two print-heads on my Prusa!



As I work with The FirePick Team, I learn a lot!

We have now got prototype, that almost is Picking and placing!

All of those things is possible by the hard work of a lot of people!
We’re designing, discussing, making, hacking things to get this prototype fully functional!

One of the things I was asked to do, is a PCB with a Raspberry Pi camera module on it.
The module you buy directly from RPi is kinda reversed, as the flex connector is near the
camera optics itself.

So I reverse engineered the Raspberry Pi camera module, so it would be possible just to buy the
P5V04A module itself, and place it on the board we need for the end-effector on the machine.
The board will consist of RGB LED’s in a round shape, to light up the vacuum needle, so the camera module
can “see” the parts it’s picking.

You could just state that the camera module itself will be good enough, and for almost everyone it is!
But we needed to get the camera closer to the vacuum needle, so that’s where the reverse engineering comes in.

It’s a quite simple design, so it’s rather easy to reverse engineer, but it takes time to find the right spot on the PCB,
and it takes an enormous amount of control of your hands to do the measuring, as the tiny 24-pin connector on the PCB,
is so fragile, that even the tiniest amount of pressure will break it.

Now that it’s reversed, it’s possible for us to design a board with the camera module as close to the vacuum needle as possible.
With this comes the LED’s and some connectors.
Let’s see how it turns out 🙂

/ Lerche


Working with RPi and FirePick!

Long time (as always) since last post.

I’m working with the FirePick to develop the electronics for their FirePick machine.
It is a very interesting subject, as this machine has the possibility to change how we, the hardware hackers, develop and manufacture at home!

Have a look at:

Have a good one!

Testing 3DPCB on PrintrBot (The original!)

Now I have tested the 3DPCB on my PrintrBot!

All I can say is that all steppers do what they’re told and all I need to test now is the hotend, later the hotbed.

Video showing it goofing around:


Tags: ,

3DPCB has arrived and has been assembled!

I’ve got the PCB of the Smoothie-compatible 3D printer controller board!


Assembled 3DPCB

Front of 3DPCB

Assembled 3DPCB

Backside of 3DPCB








The size fits RAMPS, PrintrBoard, Sanguinololu, (that is 100 x 60 mm), and consists of almost the same components as Smoothieboard.

I did however change some things:

  • 3 IPD060N03L Power MOSFETS, two of them connected to PWM
  • 4-channel, 12 bit I2C DAC (MCP4728), for current setting of the stepper drivers
  • Two-layer PCB (I know, current and heat transfer may not be as good as four-layer, but we’ll have to wait and see)
  • Open Hardware – Well, it already is, but this is designed in KiCAD

That’s almost it. One thing about making PCB’s and doing it in KiCAD which I switched to, over summer, is that the vias you place,(well, mine at least), is a module, just named for GND, for connecting grounds together. This means that the solder mask will not cover the vias, unless you specify it.

I was so exited to get the PCB produced, that I forgot to check possibilities with this.
That’s why the solder mask contains what looks like giant holes all over, as well as the silkscreen!

But anyway; No short circuits (as expected), 3.3V DC/DC converter works like a charm.
Reset / ISP circuit designed by my colleague was implemented. This means pressing the reset short, will do a simple reset, but pressing longer (3 secs), will go into the onboard ISP-mode of LPC1769, which makes us able to upload the DFU bootloader, so the rest of the uploads can be done using SD-card.

Uh, yeah… Had some troubles getting the DAC to work.

Assembled 3DPCB

Debugging I2C DAC for current control of stepper drivers










But with a lot of help from the guys over at Smoothie IRC, and a bus pirate, I got it fixed!
It was the config, which wasn’t supposed to contains tabs in it. These was removed, and of she went!

All I need to do next is connect it to my PrintrBot, then calibrate, configure, connect, test, calibrate again, test some more, and maybe, I will finally print something!

Schematics and board files will be uploaded to GitHub, whenever I get the chance!

Happy hacking!

Receiving things from China that I didn’t order.


I just got this AMAZING product in my mail.
It SAVES energy just by sitting in the wall outlet!!
Apparently that is…























Now let’s take it apart!
Easy to find the screw on the backside using a finger, sliding over stickers:


Removing stickers to find screw.








WOW, The amazes keeps on coming:


Inside of the AmazingChineseProduct


Closer look


Rusty screws!








Looks like it contains a couple of diodes, LED’s, capacitors, resistor and A FUSE!
Oh yeah. A black box made of plastic with black epoxy inside it, covering whatever interesting electronics may be hiding inside.
Let’s reverse the PCB to some kind of schematic:


Schematic of AmazingChineseProduct








Looks like they’ve gone through a great deal of troubles to light up 2 LED’s.
But the Beauty Black Box is still the missing link in this amazing product!

I think someone who could measure out whatever the Black Box does should have it.
So where should I send it?
The crazy Aussie?


Soon to come:
Assembled 3DPCB for my Printrbot.

Signing out!

People all over the web has tested, opened, and looked at those..