3D Printing

Getting Technical: BAM&DICE by 2PrintBeta

The RepRap community sounds quite optimistic about the BAM&DICE by 2PrintBeta, the open source project that has kicked off over at the world’s second favourite crowd-funding platform Indiegogo. The 2PrintBeta team states they are to build ‘a first series’ of Beta Arduino Mega (BAM) shields with suitable drivers for 3D printers. The RepRap forum has seen a few hints dropped by RepRap regulars Noobman and Dust, and a general appreciation that 2PrintBeta are actually engaging in the community rather than just dropping a link to their crowd-funding project and then not responding.

Founded in 2010 by Holger Krautwasser and Dominik Wenger, 2PrintBeta started out with a webshop selling 3D printer kits and parts. In 2013 they developed their Printupy 3D printer, with single print head and the DualX version (is it worth saying that this is the version with two print heads?) They have recently released a new stainless steel hot end for €69.95, designed for high temperature printing of ABS and so on. It’s completely made from metal. The design allows temperatures up to 300°C and is I quote ‘extremely durable.’ And by that I don’t mean frying eggs.

2PrintBeta states that the main feature on the BAM shield is the connector, based upon PCI-E hardware, which provides more contacts to allow the DICEs to draw more current and offer multi-functionality. The design is 100% compatible with the RAMPS for RepRap, aimed to allow the use of all firmwares without modding. 2PrintBeta is pitching towards apps such as milling machines, laser cutters and paste printers too with their flexible protocols.

The DICE modules stand upright in the BAM shield to allow efficient cooling when an additional fan is mounted. Mounting holes are provided at the same position for all the modules to allow a good fit with potential enclosures. The maximum thickness of a DICE, including the PCB, is 11.2mm to ensure modules do not interfere with each other. Whilst over half the 17mm height of a closed MacBook Air, that’s good work. For ease of integration PCB’s are supplied in two sizes, in an open Eagle-library, for free.


2printBeta 3d printing

The DICE-STK includes a STK682-010-E stepper driver with 128 times sub-stepping, trimmers for current setting and decay control. The practical plug means that no special connectors are need to attach different motors.

Logic voltage: 5V
Supply voltage: 9V – 35V
Current: 2.4A RMS (3 A max.)
Size: 51 x 43 mm

2printBeta 3d printing

This DICE comes with an Allegro A4988, also used on the Pololu stepper drivers. The bigger PCB with backside cooling area is designed to handle bigger currents and be less error-prone.

Logic voltage: 5V
Supply voltage: 8V – 35V
Current: 1.4A RMS (2.1A max.)
Size: 51 x 30 mm

2printBeta 3d printing

The L6470PD in the heat dissipating POWERSO36 is controlled via SPI and is capable of driving high currents like DICE-STK, also with 1/128 sub-stepping. It has an additional output for stall-detection and supports various options for intelligent stepper motor driving.

Logic voltage: 5V
Supply voltage: 8V – 35V
Current: 3A RMS (7A max.)
Size: 51 x 44 mm

2printBeta 3d printing

This I/O expander DICE is controlled via I²C and offers 16 additional I/Os. An interrupt signal can be used to communicate signal changes back to the connected controller. The twenty way Harting connector is used to simplify the connection of additional electronics via a ribbon cable.

Logic Voltage: 5V
Current: max. 200mA
I²C addresses: 32d .. 39d (100000b .. 100111b)
Size: 51×31 mm

2printBeta 3d printing

The DICE to bread board adapter allows simple use and testing of the DICEs connected to an Arduino or to your dedicated controller. With it, it is possible to use the full capabilities of the DICE boards in several applications.Specifications:

Size: 49 x 30 mm
Connectors: 2.54mm (0.1 inch)

2printBeta 3d printing

The heart of the DICE-VN is the VN808CM-E from STM. The DICE will be controlled via the I²C bus and allows the connection of up to eight valves or other loads. The board is currently not populated, but the design has been tested successfully in other applications. We will provide an update as soon as possible.

Logic voltage: 5V
Supply voltage: 10.5 – 35V
Current: 0.7A per load (approx. 5A in sum)
I²C- Addresses: 112d .. 115d (111000b .. 111011b)
Size: 51 x 44 mm

You can read much more detail on the whole set up over at the Indiegogo site here. I hope that the links provided to the various data sheets above have augmented the information available to you, the potential user.

Much can be gleaned from what the company says about itself: ‘We are a young team of innovative engineers and are currently in the start-up phase of our company. Our speciality is rapid prototyping with the CNC-controlled production of printed 3D models. Our newest product is the Printupy 3D printer in two versions, the single print head and the DualX version (with two print heads). Our concept dictates in-house production and compliance with our strict design guidelines. We oblige in providing superior service towards our customers and we are expanding our offers for training and education in one-day workshops in the future. Through the fusion of 2PrintBeta and Konsolo we now have the comprehensive know how in mechanics, electronics, computer science and chemistry, so that we are able to offer complex services in the industrial sector.’

2PrintBeta has, all being well, a good future ahead of them, one which will witness the development of new DICE boards, such as analogue modules and bus-compatible extensions and focussing upon areas such as robotics, pick & place machines, valve and flap control, liquid handling, etc.