RE: [rp-ml] retrofit desktop printers

From: Bernard Bryce <>
Date: Fri Feb 15 2008 - 19:10:04 EET

Interesting Thread:
Just an idea on the software side...
Turbocnc will control 8 axis of simultaneous movement... (it generates step
and direction pulses from the parallel port, and is usually used to control
the x y and z axis of cnc milling machines( usually with 5 of the 8 fully
'interpolated channels' unused)

If you were to use Turbocnc to directly control the steppers/servos in the
printer or a plotter for x and y, you could use the step pulses of other
channels to trigger the pulses to the jets. Because of the in-built
interpolation, you wouldn't have to worry about synchronising the
acceleration/deceleration ramps with the jet pulses. It would happen
automatically (assuming the correct g-code is written).

This system might be more suitable for running the printer more like a
plotter, i.e. running one jet at a time.

Expanding on the idea of running multiple jets... Without modifying
Turbocnc, you could run 6 or 7 jets at a time printing lines (like a normal
inkjet). The source code is available for trubocnc, so perhaps it could be
modified to run more 'channels'. Alternatively multiplexing the output
might be an option (eg 2 banks of 6 to run the 12 jets of the 51604A). The
maximum pulse frequency of the 51604A is only 625Hz. Turbocnc can pulse at

Somehow I like the idea of running a 3d printer, through the parallel port,
where the main control element is an old DOS PC!!

Bernard Bryce,

-----Original Message-----
From: []On
Behalf Of Adrian Bowyer
Sent: 13 February 2008 20:36
Subject: Re: [rp-ml] retrofit desktop printers

The RepRap project is looking at using the HP 51604A inkjet cartridge,
which is cheap and easy to interface. There's an excellent book on
it: Inkjet Applications by Matt Gilliland -

It's very easy to drive from any microcontroller - all the extra it
needs is an open-collector transistor array to shift voltages. We'll
probably use the Arduino microcontroller, which, again, is simple to
program (just type C in a window and hit the download button...)

All the RepRap driver software is open-source, of course; it's still
under development, but you can download it now. It's Java, so it's
completely platform independent. It is geared to the RepRap hardware
architecture, but it's pretty modular. Take what you need for free!

Best wishes


Dr Adrian Bowyer

> writes:
> Dear List,
> Has anyone successfully retrofitted a desktop printer (Epson, Lexmark, HP
> etc) with build height capabilities ? (for the sake of argument
> lets ignore the
> addition of powder dispensing technology). The mechanical system is not
> major concern (although perhaps someone might suggest otherwise)
> but more the
> control side, particular the supplied software and drivers of said chosen
> printer. I would like to use a multi cartridge printer for
> dispensing more that
> one type of ink/binder and one of my concerns is with the way in which
> printer chooses which cartridges to dispense ink from. I initially
thought I
> could control this by the use of different colours within images to be
> printed, but in reality the solution appears far from trivial. I
> think I may need
> the likes of HP, Epson etc to help out with printer software source
> I would be interested to know anyone's thoughts and experiences on this
> topic.
Received on Fri Feb 15 17:33:21 2008

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