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Ultimaker to HBot? Enter Haddon.

If you are like me, you think H-bots are totally sexy. (No, not in that sense, shame on you!) You also have an Ultimaker. Now what to do... How about making a kit to convert an Ultimaker to an H-bot style gantry, but in a totally non destructive way, using a few parts from the original UM? The reason behind it, besides testing out an H-bot, was that while I love my Ultimaker, it's design is very unfriendly towards experimenting - it's so tight everywhere there's not much room to put new parts, and to change the print head you need to disassemble half of the printer. With this add-on, I can easily change parts, even the whole print head just by turning a few bolts. Also, if more drastic changes are needed. it takes 6 bolts to unplug it from the UM frame so it can be accessed from all sides.

Anyways, that all seemed like a fun idea so I set out to design something. After two days the UM to H-bot add-on was born - nicknamed Haddon. It has a lasercut frame which mounts snugly on top of the original UM frame, uses UM's linear rails, bearings and motors. The extra parts are a GT2 belt, two GT2 pulleys, some small bearings and a bunch of M3 nuts and bolts.

What you see in this pic is the first (and current) prototype:

Now there's one very important thing about this version - it doesn't work. Having no experience with H-bots, I completely missed the fact that some serious forces appear while moving on the Y axis, and seems like the UM bronze bushings don't like those forces. In the end it moves, but does so pretty awkwardly. So, time to rebuild everything from scratch. The frame, pulley holders and motor mounts are good, so I need to make a new print head and carriages. This could be an issue since I sold my laser cutter a few days ago, and it will be at least a month or so till my new one arrives. I really like to lasercut everything I can instead of printing it, because it's way faster and more predictable, but I guess I'll just have to print everything out this time.

I've spent quite a lot of time moving the printhead around to get a feel of the whole system and how various parts influence each other while in motion, so I'm pretty sure I know what to do for the next version. Expect an V2 update in a few days, hopefully with some videos of it working.

For the build size obsessives among you, the XY size is basically the same, while you get some more space in Z, exactly how much remains to be seen when I finish everything.

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