Minerva is a 3-D printer, and a lot more. The print head can easily be swapped out with other tools, to turn it into a 3-D microscope, or a sticker cutter, for example.

De Zelfmaker produces, sells, and gives workshops for building Minerva. Of course you can also ask us any questions about it.

The machine

Minerva has a so called delta geometry. That means that the head is controlled by three carriages that all move vertically. The head itself is connected to the carriages with rods. By placing the carriages at the proper positions, the machine can accurately position the head.

The benefit of this design is that all motors are connected to the frame, so they do not move with the head. Because of this, the head is very light can can accelerate quickly.

The extruder, which delivers the plastic to the head, must also not be mounted on the head, or else it would become too heavy. Because of this, it is mounted to the frame. The filament is pushed to the head through a so called bowden tube (kind of like a brake cable).

The machine not only contains a microcontroller (with an AVR, the same as the Arduino uses), but also a mini computer. This allows Minerva to provide a powerful interface to the user through a web browser and the computer (or phone) that was used to send the command to the machine does not need to remain connected while it is running.

The Software

Minerva comes with Franklin. Franklin is written by Bas Wijnen. Its goal is to optimally use all the features of the machine. A few highlights: