When the Z400 was working, and Oasis was also operational, I was stuck with a problem. I have no powder printing recipes. I have the machines, but not the materials to print with. This left me with a problem that I had to do a lot of experimentation on 2 relatively large printers. I had several options.
- Test powders in a manual setup.
- Accept that I had to test with large batches on Oasis.
- Modify Oasis with smaller pistons
- Design a micro printer
- Would not yield consistent results
- Was undesirable given the amounts used
- Oasis still has a normal HP45 head and it would require quite a bit of work
- Would also require a lot of work, but would also allow me to test a few new things
- Ultra small print size. 13x40x30mm
- Small footprint
- CISS or small volume printhead (I went with CISS)
- Test my new DMA head
- Test virtual velocity
- Test single cable control
One last thing I wanted to try was single cable control. Oasis has 2 USB connections, 1 for the motion, and 1 for the inkjet. I wanted to see if I could remove the one for motion and attach it to the inkjet. However, I need to know exactly when the motion is done moving. I had used GRBL for Oasis because it was available, and wanted to try a RAMPS on grain. However, all possible firmware will not tell me when it is at it's destination. It is always too soon or too early. I went back to GRBL and went back to 2 cable operation. I could in theory attach GRBL to the HP45 standalone controller, but given that GRBL was already a very hacky solution, I want to thing a while and maybe try something better.
Grain is currently ready to print. The CISS head is a story for another time, but it works surprisingly well. The controller with firmware will not be share right now since it is not yet ready.
Now for the important question, was Grain the right choice? With the benefit of hindsight: No. I was supposed to be finished 3 months ago. Not all of this is the fault of grain, but quite a bit is. The new controller took too long, the virtual velocity took weeks to code in, the whole Oasis controller software was never meant for this and was hacked so it would work with Grain. In the time it took, I could have easily made new pistons and a printhead for Oasis. Now that I do finally have it I can finally start experimenting with powders. I will start a new thread for that once I have started.
(PS: I discovered that Oasis cannot actually print in the negative direction. If you are encountering troubles with this, message me and I will share the fix)
(PPS: I should really start a Github for this project, keeping the updates central and easy to find is currently a bit of a disaster)