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Zach Arnold

About Me

Hello, I am Zach Arnold. I am currently pursuing a double major in electrical and computer engineering. I love working with circuits and messing around with my 3D printers. Starting summer of 2020, I will be working full-time at General Motors as a Manufacturing Engineer.


Electronics Open Source 3D Printers PLC IOT Drones Manufacturing
Robotics Automation VLSI Arduino CNC Circuit Design


  • I have built 5 separate 3D printers from a kit. Prusa MK3s, two deltas, cloner(MakerBot clone), and a Prusa i3 clone.
  • I built an MPCNC
  • I built an open source PCB mill


Semester 1 Fall 2017

GM Robot Arm Automation:

    This semester Dan and I worked on a project to automate a 3D printer. The main aspect of the automation is an open source robotic arm called Dexter. After 2.5 months, we were able to complete the mechanical part of the arm after jumping many obstacles. We did not receive the electronics until a much later date. Upon obtaining the package of the electronics, we noticed that more parts were missing which is going to set back our timeline once again. Another part of the project is the safety cage that Dan designed. The cage is going to be the main showcase for the automation system where the robotic arm and the printer can work without the risk of injury. The last aspect of the project that I worked on was increasing the ease of removal of prints from the print bed. I designed in CAD and started to print a fan cooling system that, in theory, should speed cool the print bed of the Prusa i3 Mk2 allowing the part to pop off. Our plans for next semester(Spring 2018) is to get the arm moving and programmed, start wiring up the cage with lights and a display system and, lastly, to get prints off the bed easier. All of this should lead to a working demo for design expo.

Semester 2 Spring 2018

GM Robot Arm Automation:

   This semester Dan, Erica and I worked on the next part of the automation of a 3D printer. I was tasked with learning how to program the arm, wiring the arm, getting Octoprint on a raspberry pi, and creating an Arduino circuit to have the RGB LEDs working on the cage. The RGB circuit was created with old MOSFETs from broken Ramps boards and some pulldown resistors. The board will then connect to the digital pins 9,10,11 on an Arduino mega. Whenever the button is pressed, it cycles between the 6 presets: random red, random green, random blue, strobing random RGB, white and lastly purple. After a couple of long zoom conferences with Haddington Dynamics, we were able to get Dexter moving and completely wired. The wiring was a long task since we had to make sure that the wires did not get strained or pulled within all of Dexter's degrees of freedom. The bulk of the programming was fairly simple with just the angles being changed. The goal for next semester (Fall 2018) is to figure out external feedback from the printer to the robot, add some sort of force sensing with the end effector, and lastly start to allow any size prints. These plans should be a good step in the correct direction to get a fully autonomous 3D printing system. Images - https://imgur.com/a/42GDrtg Video - https://drive.google.com/a/mtu.edu/file/d/134raRGVk7CO-c5Ff2POeP2raITlLMOgD

Semester 3 Fall 2018


   This semester I worked to get the Lasersaur back in working order. I had to redesign all of the mirror mounting methods. This proved to be slightly difficult because I had to make it fit the original 3D printed pieces that were designed previously but the files for it could not be found. I had to reverse engineer the dimensions to get mounting points. I also had to do some updating to all of the wiring and firmware. The Lasersaur is using a smoothieboard with smoothieware being the firmware. The firmware was the CNC version of smoothieware with the laser being enabled. I had to change some of the working size dimensions and the steps per mm to get it more dimensionally accurate. I was able to get the mirrors aligned enough to do a test cut. The next steps are to redesign the gantry due to a random binding issue and to wire all of the endstops correctly. I also need to figure out how to properly align the mirrors because when it gets too far from the edges it becomes out of focus.
Lasersaur Fall 2018
Fig 1: Overall lasersaur.  
Fig 2: Lasersaur electronics.  
Fig 3: Second laser mirror.  
Fig 4: Third laser mirror.  
Fig 5: X gantry belt holder.  
Fig 6: First cut with laser intensity test.  
Fig 7: First full cut through a material.  

3D Print Service:

   This semester I continued the enterprise printing service. I printed a few different things for the ME department and Materials department. At the beginning of the semester, I designed a keychain that we can give out at different events. I went through multiple iterations to make it be the most streamlined, print in 30 minutes, and to fit well in a pocket. Keychain Files 
OSHE Keychain
Fig 1: Top of the keychain I designed.  
Fig 2: Bottom of the keychain I designed.  


   This semester I completed a lot of outreach and increased the team size of the enterprise. At the beginning of the semester, we only had twelve members and now we have twenty members. This semester I also secured a new computer for use within our lab. 
Lab Computer
Fig 1: The new computer setup in the lab.  

Semester 4 Spring 2019

Industrial Recyclebot:

   This semester Aubrey Woern and I decided to design and build a new filament extruder. The new design is capable of producing 3D printer filament at a quicker and more efficient rate. The main portion of the new design I created was the code and logic for the traversing mechanism. The mechanism will wind filament almost perfectly around the filament spool. 
Industrial Recyclebot and First Filament Sample
Fig 1: Industrial Recyclebot.  
Fig 2: The first purge of the extruder.  
Fig 3: Filament going through pulleys.  
Fig 4: Colorant to be used in filament manufacturing.  
Fig 5: Extruder and hopper.  
Fig 6: Extruder die close up.  
Fig 7: Test print front.  
Fig 8: Test print back.  

3D Print Service:

   This semester I continued the enterprise printing service. I printed a few different things for the ME department and other Enterprises on campus. I also mass printed our keychain with two colors. Towards the middle of the semester, I designed a nametag that we can wear to other events. I went through four iterations to make it the easiest to print and the most readable. Nametag Files 
OSHE Prints
Fig 1: Bulk keychain prints.  
Fig 2: Two colored keychains.  
Fig 3: The four versions of name tags I designed.  

MRRF and Design Expo:

   This semester part of the team was able to travel to Goshen, Indiana for the Midwest RepRap Festival. The team was able to meet with other companies and individuals within the community. I also created the design expo poster for this year. 
OSHE Prints
Fig 1: Aubrey, Daniel, Erica and I with Josef Prusa at MRRF 2019.  
Fig 2: The poster created for design expo and to showcase our enterprise.  
Fig 3: Drew and I manning the expo booth.  

Open Source 3-D Printing Class

Athena Build zsarnold - 777OS3DP

Mini Projects

A picture of your operational 3-D printer  
3D_Printing_Failure_Database, Underextrusion with Quincy mine model  

Big Projects

Personal Projects

Ant PCB Mill:

   Over the summer of 2019, I started to print all of the components to create the ANT PCB Mill. The ANT PCB Mill is an open-source, core XY gantry PCB mill which is mostly 3D printed. The overall footprint of the device is 200mm x 200mm x 100mm. I am going to use this new tool to start learning the process behind making my own PCBs. ANT PCB Files 
ANT PCB Summer/Fall 2019

OpenRC F1:

   At the beginning of May 2019, I printed and completed the OpenRC F1 car. It was printed on my Prusa MK3s using AmazonBasics yellow PLA, Prusament galaxy black PLA, and black Ninjaflex. The entire build took around 1 hour, the print around 120 hours of printing. OpenRC F1 Files 
OpenRC F1 May 2019
Fig 1: OpenRC F1.  
Fig 2: Front view.  
Fig 3: Top view.  
Fig 4: Another top view.  
Fig 5: Back view.  


   Over the summer of 2018, I built the mostly printed CNC. It was a quick and easy build. MPCNC Files
MPCNC Summer 2018
Fig 1: Overall MPCNC.  
Fig 2: Electronics side of MPCNC.  
Fig 3: Toolhead of the MPCNC.  
Fig 4: First use of CNC, pen tool drawing the MTU logo.  

3D Printed Drone:

   Over the winter break 2018, I built the drone released on the Prusa website. Drone Files
3D Printed Drone Christmas 2018
Fig 1: Parts of the drone.  
Fig 2: Drone completed.