After talking with my brother-in-law (remember the genius mechanical engineer), we are going to convert a lot of measurements to imperial so that the majority of the parts can be purchased at your nearby home improvement store. Since he has all of the taps and dies to thread smooth rod, that will save us some time (waiting for) and money on parts.
I’ve already been looking at the circuit boards for controlling the printing and have come up with a guy who is willing to make the boards from parts. If I can get the printed Arduino boards I can do a lot of that work. If I can’t get the printed Arduino boards, I can use solder boards to make the tests we have. I can do all of the programming transfers, etc without any problem. Modifications should be straight forward.
I’ve already found that printing one color may be acceptable, however, I can see that we are going to need to be able to print in more than one color very soon. Our goal is to provide these products in multiple colors and the ability to mix and match primary colors (like a normal ink printer) to make colored prints or even supply three different colors that we print in (without mixing colors) is highly desired. I’ve found some designs for a single printer head supplied by up to four colors and designs for multiple printer heads supplied by individual colors (up to six). The problem with multiple printer heads is going to be the electronics and telling the printer which heads have which colors and the offset of each printer head from center.