3D printing Head

I notice that Laguna has announced a 3d Printing head attachment for their cnc router. I have been wondering if anybody in this community has done this. It wouldn’t be to difficult since all the components are readily available off the shelf.Next time I get a free moment (scheduled for sometime in the fall). I may give this a shot. Should be easy(famous last words.

It’s been done before: https://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/3D_Printing — the problem is, the two machine designs are at odds:

  • a 3D printer wants to be lightweight and fast, a CNC router wants to be heavy and deliberate
  • a 3D printer needs a heated bed, while a CNC router wants a wasteboard


Cleaning up and switching between modes, esp. from router to printer is a major pain as well — arguably it made a bit more sense back in the SO2 days, since it was a machine of compromises, but it makes a lot more sense to just use the SO3 to build a 3D printer — you need an extruder, and the Carbide Motion board lacks an axis or temperature inputs for controlling a hot end or heated bed.


I had similar thoughts, but the build height is a limiting factor, as well. You could make really wide, squat parts, though. :laughing:

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The hot end and extruder parts are readily available as well as third party controllers for the extruder temperature, platen temperature and extruder feed. Those issues are relatively simple to solve. What I am unfamiliar with are the aspects of driving the Shapeoko controller board with the NC code generated by 3D printing apps. I will have to learn more about Laguna’s approach.

Their head just inserts into the collet of the spindle. It looks like a heavily compromised approach, no doubt they will sell a few though.

When I saw the demonstration of their 3d printing accessory, I immediately noticed how limited the Z axis was. Still it looked like they were getting good results. If the price was reasonable, it would enable one to print many simple brackets and repair parts.

You would need to replace the Carbide Motion board w/ a control board suited to 3D printing which had the following characteristics:

  • able to drive NEMA 23 motors
  • 4th axis for an extruder
  • additional axis, or current potential to slave the two Y-axis motors on one stepper driver
  • temperature control for a hot end
  • (optional) temperature control for a heated bed

Also, I’m not sure if the power supply for a Shapeoko 3 can drive a hot end in addition to the motors, let alone a heated bed, so one would need to replace it as well — by the time one is done, one has all the parts of a printer but a frame and motors, which are fairly inexpensive.

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Are you trying to dissuade me? I am quite familiar with the electro-mechanical requirements for the construction and operation of 3D printers. Obviously one would have to have a separate control system extruder hot end and the heated bed. All that is readily available (off the shelf) to those who construct their own 3D printers. Though you have some valid points, I do not see as many obstacles. If I get a chance to work on the project this fall I will PM you the results.

As I noted, it’s been done:

I’m pretty sure there’s a 3D printed 3D extruder insert which fits in the 69mm spindle mount, but I’m not finding it.

To my mind, it makes a lot more sense to just use the SO3 to build a 3D printer — there’ve been a couple of folks who’ve done that.

As @JohnE noted, build height is a significant limit

It will require more amps then a typical 3d printer so the normal electronics like RAMPS boards are not going to cut it.
Aside from that and the noted height limitations it can work, but I think it may be better suited to do something more
exotic then a traditional 3D printer. Since it’s meant to move forcefully, I think it would be cool to make it a 3D printer that prints something other then tiny plastic stings. Maybe build a custom nozzle and make it print really big stuff. That .4mm nozzle they normally use would be a waste on such a platform in my opinion. Time to mega size the 3d print with a mega nozzle.

Maybe even extrude something more exotic like icing on a cake or concrete or who knows what else?

Just a thought.

Not sure how old this link is, but I’ve found it mentioned in several messages from you, and I’m getting this error from Firefox,

Your connection is not secure

The owner of www.shapeoko.com has configured their website improperly. To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this website.

Learn more…

Report errors like this to help Mozilla identify and block malicious sites

Any idea why this link is pissing off my Firefox browser?


@GJForeman that link to the wiki was down for a few days while they moved it or something. I got the same erroneous message from FireFox browser.

The wiki was working last I tried it.

There was an incident with a Bobcat excavator and a fiber optic line.

Repairs were supposed to happen Friday, then Monday, now we don’t know when — hopefully soon.

thanks for the post. was wondering about 3d printing head myself and thanks for the details and info. unfortunately it is hard for me as i’m on post cycle therapy supplements and there’s something wrong with my focusing. can i ask questions if i would have any? thanks

Gee. Bobcats. Fiber-optics. Which of these two items don’t play well together?

Was just curious about the 3D printing option, though I think you already posted it was a shaky idea at best.
As of now I’m still getting that same error, but no big deal. One great thing about being retired is that curiosity too runs at a slower pace. Will check back later. Thanks for the info.

After the connection was restored we switched the URLs. Please use:



Correct. 3D printing as an add-on is a neat parlour trick, but it’s not something which really makes sense, esp. w/ 3D printers as affordably inexpensive as they are these days.

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