Building a 3d model of the mini

I’ve been building a 3d model of the mini (just the print head so far), for helping prototype new things like a new fan duct (and to learn autodesk fusion 360 since I discovered a hobbyist license is free)…

I thought others would be interested in the progress so far after a few hours of rendering (and building parts myself for those that only had 2d drawings in the devel site).

I had a little fun with the materials and tried some of the parts as polished aluminum which ended up looking really nice in the raytraced rendering.

I’ll update this thread as I get more of the machine built over time (and when I finally get the fan duct mod done).

Background: I made a replacement fan duct model just eyeballing the machine, but then once I printed it out, I found all sorts of different points of interference vs getting it mounted, and I figured having a print head model was going to be the fastest way to iterate on the model, and then it evolved to, “I wonder how much of the mini that I can virtually build given all the available files on the devel site.”

In the same vein as open source, I’ve made the whole work in progress model available here:

Ever wonder what the hexagon hot end would look like polished? Wonder no more… now with the logo stamped on there as well.

Here’s a comparison of the real thing in roughly the same view, and where i pulled the hexagon logo from (since it doesn’t appear to be on

I now have nearly 100% of the remaining parts done including all the fasteners, but it’s a little slow going with the ohai instructions as the only assembly guide for which part goes where in the design…

I was a little disappointed that some parts were only available as STL files (for example, the extruder gears). While I can insert STL files for show, I can’t make them do the same things as solid models.

(more to come soon as I get a chance to assemble everything else)

Now that the weekend is here, I have a significant chunk of the mini virtually built now. I’ve had to take some measurements off the real thing

What you can’t see in this photo is that there is actually a power supply and fan and AC input in the electronics side of the box.

I’ll be mounting the remaining parts I have models for tomorrow (including placing all the proper screws in the proper places… and i’ll try to get a demo animation going.

If you go to the model download link in the first message in this thread, you can explode the whole thing and pick out individual parts to see what they are (could be helpful for anyone assembling one).

Wow - that must be a lot of work! Looks beautiful.

Not as much work as you might think… it’s mostly assembling components and adding joints since many of the parts were already available as solidworks files that i could import into fusion 360. I think it’s the raytracing of the model that really makes it fun for me:

And really I just set out to learn a new tool since fusion 360 is free for hobbyists and it already does all of the things I’ve wanted sketchup to do for years.

Sadly the reason the model above appears so open is because I’m struggling to make the joints do what I want them to do to drive the z axis up and down in response to lead screw rotation. Both x and y were easy and a done deal (since they were just smooth sliders).

While I plan to use the model for building mods for the mini, I’m starting to think it would make a perfect model to integrate into cura to better visualize the build platform.

I figured out more parameters for the ray trace mode rendering of my virtual mini:

I noticed in the process that the ohai pages don’t document the assembly of the heater/glass/pei assembly to the bed and the addition of the bed leveling washers and retaining screws. I haven’t found which screw to use there yet and I’m not yet ready to unscrew any of them from my mini to find out. I also noticed following through that there were at least 3 revisions of mini parts shown in the assembly instructions.

I still need to virtually build all the parts that are available as STL only, for example the extruder gears – since while I can include STL files, the triangle counts really slow down the rest of the program to an almost unusable speed on my laptop.

A bit of an update: the 3d model of the mini is taking shape:

I finally made a solid model of the extruder gears based on tracing the tooth profile in the STL and using the measurements in the scad file from

I’m not quite sure why so many of the parts are only available in STL format… for example, the extruder latch… I had to draw that one tracing the STL as well to make a solid part. It ends up looking very pretty when all the facets of the mesh go away after re-drawing.

wow, great stuff. You wouldn’t by chance have a model of the micro blower fan would you? Can’t find a CAD model of it anywhere.

As for the extruder files only in STL, i believe that is because AO did not design the extruder. I believe it is some form of a wade’s extruder design, presumably taken from thingiverse. Perhaps you can find non-STL files there, but which version is the hard part since there are so many remixes.