So you want to get into 3d printing. You search the internet and look at all your options. You know you want LARGE FORMAT but you only have $500. Your options are pretty limited. You could get a TEVO Black Widow, maybe even a CR-10, but there is an inherent design flaw with all those. The Y carriage is the bed. This means as you approach the top of your print, if your bed is jerking back and forth, your printing layer is swaying back and forth like a skyscraper in an earthquake. That Is why I chose to go with the FT-5. A nice solid, stationary build platform.
Now building my monster started out like any other FT-5 build. In fact, it stayed stock for about a month. First Thing I upgraded was the filament holder. That needed to be relocated on top. I used this part for that.
The next upgrade was the addition of a BL-Touch. A necessity IMO because I don't have time or filament to waste on bed leveling after every rough scraping. I upgraded my extruder to a Bills Prototype Studio V3 at the same time. Here is the BL-touch mount I created to accompany the extruder.
Now I was pretty happy with the quality of my prints. But I knew what drew me to this device in the first place. LARGE FORMAT. I wanted to go bigger. By inherent design, the x and y are pretty locked at their current size. But the only things connecting the gantry to the base (besides the wires) is 4 pieces of 2020 aluminum extrusion, 4 chromed rods, and 2 lead screws. Time to go shopping.
4x 1220mm rods (to replace existing 700mm ones) sourced from 8020.net
4x 1 meter chrome rods (replacing 500mm ones) sourced from banggood.com
2x 1 meter lead screws (replacing 500mm ones) sourced from banggood.com
Any length will work if properly braced. The rule of thumb is that the extrusion must measure at least 200mm longer than the lead screws and chrome rods. Mine was 220 longer. Not a big deal. I just made that space between the top extrusion and the gantry 20mm higher. The original ratio is 700mm to 500mm.
My extrusion is from 8020 but I would recommend getting Folgertech's 1.5 meter extrusion and cutting it down to size. The ones I use have a 5mm slot as opposed to Folgertech's 6mm slot. This means drop in T-nuts are not an option. Getting all the bolts aligned especially with the bracing is a hassle. Stay with 6mm slot profile and drop in T-nuts. Another mistake I made was thinking that 2020 is strong enough. At that length, it isn't. I ended up having to make a bracing frame for the printer. Luckily I have a large format laser cutter that made short work of that.
I later redesigned the side panels to include the overhead spool holder built in.
If you are interested in custom framing or enclosures, I would be happy to offer services.
I replaced my melamine brackets with the aluminum ones from Robotdigg.
I added a keenovo 750w 110v AC silicone heater SSR combo.
I also opted for a glass bed with a Zebra-Skin print surface.
Finally, I added Octoprint and a pi-cam to have remote access and viewing, Something quite necessary when print times are multiple days on average. There are still many more mods I am looking into integrating. I am waiting on a belt to sync my z motors, I am also replacing my pulleys with 608 bearings. Go big or go home.