Last summer I did the development of the electronics v1.1 (and v1) of the Ultimaker 3D printer. I got this opportunity because I had some connections at Protospace, and was asked to become one of the pioneers of this new design and new 3d printer. Last year in April I made myself a promise that I wanted to have a 3d printer within a year and this worked out pretty well because of the opportunity Protospace gave me! 3D printers are just super cool and a total new way of making things (at home!). Make sure you check out this awesome 3D Printer:
I’m still doing some add-on tinkering for it I thought it would be a nice idea to make the 3D printer wireless. About 2 months ago I found this Bluetooth TTL module, which is a serial bluetooth module. It makes the serial communication via bluetooth, wirelessly to my computer via a bluetooth dongle. So I ordered 2 of these cheap modules for about 18 dollar. But since the chip itself is very small and has to be on some kind of a break-out board, which I didn’t order because it was cheaper this way, I had to make my own break-out board. Here are 2 of the first break out boards I made. But there where 2 problems with it. Problem 1 was the voltage. The module works at 3.3v and my Ultimaker electronics work at 5v, so I had to add a voltage regulator and caps and some resistors etc.
Here’s the schematic and board layout of the break-out board, I added some LED’s for power-on and status. There is also a jumper for getting into AT-mode (programming mode for setting Baudrate, name, etc.). Here’s the link to download the Eagle library for the module and schematics and board:
The seconds problem I found out when I had this prototype below working, the antenna of the module was on the board itself in stead of laying outside the board area (as seen on the picture above), this decreased the modules range a lot! So yesterday I milled another PCB, the one seen above and this one works well and has a range of about 5 to 7 meters.
The PCB’s are milled with my home made CNC, and since I got this very good V-shape engrave tools I can make my PCB’s smaller with SMD components and that is just awesome. I now can use (at least) 0805 package and I did not have any smaller ones, but it just works great!
I already made a LCD-screen on my Ultimaker for monitoring the temperature and other stuff, and decided to make the LCD and Bluetooth module on just one PCB. When I finished the break-out board and did some testing I finally got the LCD and Bluetooth PCB all working with my Ultimaker. Here’s the schematic and board layout and download: http://www.mediafire.com/?688s5x1uel65xhk Remember this PCB is for V1 of the electronics and not compatible with V1.1
Below is the result of the milling and how the PCB came out:
Here is a movie of the development from an idea to an actual product:
I really liked to develop useful things like this, I hope you like it too.