Z-Builder Ultra 3D Printer

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Z-Builder Ultra 3D Printer
File:"IMAGENAME.JPG" (case sensitive, this is whatever you named the image when you uploaded it)
Owner/Loaner PS:One
Arrival Date 4/20/16
Usability no
Contact CNC Area Host
Where Lounge
Authorization Needed {{{certification}}}
Hackable yes
Estimated Value $35,000
Host Area CNC

Z-Builder Ultra 3D Printer Area: CNC https://wiki.pumpingstationone.org/wiki/Z-Builder_Ultra_3D_Printer


9/13/17 This 3D printer is no longer found at the space. It's been scavenged and the unusable parts disposed of.

This is the page for the donated Z-Builder Ultra, currently in the lounge. The printer has some proprietary software and has an internal computer and interface as well as a networked desktop. This machine was originally manufacutred by Envisiontec, as an Envisiontec Ultra .

The printer computer currently does not seem to boot or display any information from the touch screen monitor mounted on the front of the machine.

The desktop computer works and needs to be reformatted, and software reinstalled.

Photos will be posted soon. Here's a preview.


  • Replace the FEP membrane between the resin and top glass
  • Make a shallow resin tank or insert to reduce the volume needed to fill the machine or fill the tank with ballast blocks/bricks.
  • Pick up one or more endstops in nanoDLP for more functionality
  • Use the motor controller in the machine for z axis movement
  • Take out the printer computer to see why it won't boot


  • Need to be purchased. Our tank is currently about 14 liters.
  • Bucktown polymers seems like a good resource - they donated a gallon to us, may need ventilation.
  • Makerjuice also supplies a variety of resins.


Top glass platen has been thouroughly cleaned. It seems that Acetone is great for dissolving stuck on bits, but Isopropyl Alcohol provides the best streak free clean.

The top glass is pressed into a membrane that is stretched in a square frame like a drum head. This plastic layer is about 5mil thick and is believed to be FEP. A sheet was purchased from McMaster to replace the torn one that came in the machine. An Illustrator template was created to match the original sheet and was used to precisely cut the correct shape to fit the frame and the results were good.

Some Tips:

  • Do not put the FEP sheet on the laser bed directly, put it on top of some paper, to prevent scratches. Handle with care as the sheet scratches easily and becomes cloudy; creases in the sheet are difficult to remove, and affect the flatness of the glass/FEP interface.
  • Heat can be used to help relieve some of the stresses in the sheet, as FEP has excellent memory and tightens to its original stretched shape when in the frame.
  • Acetone is a fine cleaner but the sheet becomes cloudy, use Isopropyl alcohol and lint free wipes to clean the membrane.
  • I assume a flat, clean, clear interface between the glass and FEP is most desirable, but was not able to achieve a flawless result on the first replacement.


  • Autodesk Fusion, Meshmixer, and Blender can create models
  • Meshmixer can create supports
  • Use Slic3r to output a sliced SVG.
  • A raspberry pi running nanoDLP was able to move the z-axis and display calibration images from the projector.

Some thoughts:

  • nanoDLP can also run a RepRap style controller board and may reduce jitter and speed fluctuations due to RPi GPIO
  • The motor on the machine is a bi-polar stepper (NEMA 17) with a quadrature encoder that feeds into a controller board. That controller would be a useful component to salvage to ensure precise location of the platen.

Specifications & Details

  • The projector in the printer is a: Dell 7700FullHD
  • The stepper motor on the z-axis is a: Sanmotion pbm423dxc60
  • The motor driver in the machine is a: Sanmotion pb1d002p100
  • The motor driver we are using is a: A4998
  • The lead screw on the z-axis is: ACME threaded rod.