7 Best DIY 3D Printer Kits In 2018

DIY 3D printer kits are cheap but, it delivers good quality prints. However, the assembly takes time and patience. It may also require a certain level of skills. This page will help you build your own 3D printing kit.

Do you know that you can make your own 3d printer? Do you want to learn how to make a DIY 3D printer?

If you say “yes” to any of the questions above, you will probably find this page helpful. In this article, I will discuss DIY 3D printers. I know that you are already very excited to learn about this, so, let’s get started.

3D PrinterBuild Volume (mm3)Build Time (hrs)Resolution (μm)Price
Prusa i3250 x 210 x 200750$$$$
Prusa Mendel (iteration 2)200 x 200 x 2008150$$$$$
Kossel DIY 3D Printer180 x 180 x 3206100$$
RepRap Guru Prusa i3200 x 200 x 1808100$$
Tronxy X1 Desktop DIY 3D Printer Kit150 x 150 x 1503100$
Startt DIY 3D Printer Kit120 x 140 x 1305100$
Tevo Tarantula200 x 200 x 200850$$

 

Make Your Own 3D Printer

If you are a 3D printer enthusiast, there are two ways for you to build your own DIY 3d

printer kit. Let’s discuss this shortly in the next section.

Fully custom printer

This is not easy to do, but it gives you the opportunity to learn more about 3D printing. It helps you become more familiar with every small detail that comes along with creating a printer. When there’s a need to repair later, the task will be easier for you.

The only disadvantage is that this approach needs technical knowledge that amateurs and hobbyists lack. In addition, it takes time to collect all the printer parts and put it in place by hand.

Printer in a box

If you want a more convenient approach to create 3d printer, then, this option is for you. The kits are sold by top 3D manufacturing companies and are accompanied by step-by-step instructions explaining how to build your own 3d printer kit.

The 3D printer kit contains all the parts you need and any misplaced pieces of machinery can usually be re-ordered from the manufacturer. A disadvantage offered by this method is that will not learn as much as when you are assembling the printer by pieces.

📌RepRap is popular with 3D printing enthusiasts. You can buy parts and build your own printer using it. Another great thing about this is that it has a huge community where you can get tips on how to build it.

RepRap can be purchased on Amazon for a few hundred dollars. There are a lot of 3D printer kits to choose from. RepRap is popular with 3D printing enthusiasts. You can buy parts and build your own printer using it. Another great thing about this is that it has a huge community where you can get tips on how to build it.

DIY 3D Printer Plans

Are you ready to build the best DIY 3d printer? If you are, then check out our list below.

Get started

First, you have to decide what type of 3D printer you want to build. So, here are some questions that you need to answer to determine the printer’s specifications.

  • How do you want your DIY 3D printer to look like?
  • What capabilities do you require from your printer?
  • What size parts should it be able to manufacture?
  • Should it allow you to use multiple filaments?

Tip: The more features you want for your DIY 3D printer, the more difficult it would be to create your machine. It’s best if you start by building the most basic printer and just add more features according to your needs over time.

Collecting the DIY 3D Printer Parts

If you are using a 3D printer builder kit, all the parts needed to build the machine will be included in the kit. However, if you start from scratch, you have to be creative to get the parts you need. So, here’s what you should do.

List the parts.

Based on your answers above, research for the parts that you need for your 3D printer. There are several sites that share detailed instructions including the constituent parts for various 3D printer models.

Buy the parts

At this point, you have several options to access the parts that you need. You can visit sites that sell second-hand DIY 3d printer parts to buy those items at a much cheaper price.

Buying second-hand parts can help you save a lot while getting the same performance you expect from your printer. However, there are parts that you need to buy brand new to ensure a smoothly-functioning machine.

You can purchase used parts for DIY 3D printers here:

If you want to save more, you can also cannibalize other electronics. For instance, stepper motors can be obtained from old DVD drives while the power supply from a computer can work for 3D printers too.

If you are looking for brand new parts for your DIY 3D printer you can purchase it in the following sites:

Prepare the Software

Once your hardware is ready, you have to hook-up the printer to your computer with a 3D software. The 3D rendering software is necessary to send commands to the printer on the exact shape and dimensions of the piece that needs to be printed and to convert your 2D drawings into 3D models.

Building the Printer

Once you have collected the parts that you need to construct your printer, it’s time to start building. However, this is not a quick process. This will likely take weeks or even months.

📌I suggest that you take your time and don’t try to finish everything at once. If you rush, chances are high that you will make mistakes while assembling your DIY 3D printer. Once this happens, you will waste your resources and energy while ending up with a faulty machine.

If ever you encounter problems while assembling the printer, don’t be afraid to ask for help because the 3D printing community is big and the members are helpful. You can seek advice on 3D printing forums, there you will likely meet more experienced builders.

Build With Your DIY 3D Printer

Once your DIY 3D printer is ready, add the filament to the extruder. Once it’s ready, you can now test it. For beginners, you need to get your 3D model ready. If you don’t have one, no problem, there are a number of sites that offer pre-designed shapes and object files that you can use for your first 3D printing project.

You can download the files and run them through your 3D rendering software to create 3D printed parts. Just make sure that the DIY 3D printer is capable of printing out the dimensions specified in the downloaded files.

Now, it’s time to take a look at the different DIY 3D printer plans available on the market and start to build your own 3d printer kit!

Best DIY 3D Printer Kits

If you want to build your own RepRap 3D printer, then this section is for you. You can follow these simple DIY 3D printer plans.


1. Prusa i3

This is the most popular open source DIY 3D printer. You can easily build this as the resources are readily available.

For the SCAD and STL files of the 3D printed components, start by downloading or cloning its GitHub repository. To do this, you can click on the link or execute the following command in your terminal or console.

git clone https://github.com/josefprusa/Prusa3.git

If you want to use the files by Josef Prusa in his workshops, you can download or clone the Prusa i3 vanilla repository. Just run this command:

git clone https://github.com/josefprusa/Prusa3-vanilla.git

Bill of Materials

The Prusa i3 Buyers Guide includes a comprehensive list of parts (nuts, bolts, rods, etc) with detailed specifications to complete your DIY 3D printer. However, you should know that there are two variants for this printer and each has a different style of frame.

The box style frame is commonly made out of plywood, has more rigid geometry and is considered to be more difficult to construct. Meanwhile, the single sheet frame is commonly made out of laser-cut aluminum. It’s more costly but more popular too.

Software and electronics

The original Prusa i3 uses a RAMBo board to control its electronics. The board is compatible with different types of firmware. However, the original Prusa i3 uses its own optimized Marlin firmware, which can also be compiled from the source.

For the firmware, visit the following repository.

git clone https://github.com/prusa3d/Prusa-Firmware.git

Build Guides

Building this particular DIY 3D printer model is easy because there is an extensive guide available. It includes a detailed step-by-step instruction regarding the build process that includes images and descriptions. If in case, you need help, you can check out its official support forum.


2. Prusa Mendel (iteration 2)

This version is another popular RepRap 3D printer. Just like the first one, you can download the SCAD and STL files from its Github repository. To do so, you can run the following command from your terminal.

git clone https://github.com/prusajr/PrusaMendel.git

The files for the extruder in the repository don’t have the right dimensions. So, you should download these files from Thingiverse.

Bill of Materials

Unlike Prusa i3, the materials for Prusa Mendel are easier to find. It is located directly int he “docs” folder of the Github repository. The document includes BOM, some images of the assembled parts and the assembly graph showing where each individual part should be placed.

In addition, the RepRap wiki page for Prusa Mendel listed all the materials needed. So, you should not miss a thing.

Software and electronics

This DIY 3D printer kit isn’t limited to any one controller. The controller needs support for four stepped drivers, one thermistor input and one heater output.

If you want your Prusa Mendel to have a heated bed, your controller will need one more additional thermistor input and heater output.

For the firmware, you can this page.

Build Guides

Building this DIY 3D printer is very easy as there’s a lot of documentation available. There’s a PDF with assembly instruction in the Github repository. There’s also an assembly guide on the RepRap wiki page for Prusa Mendel.

If you need to connect with the Mendel builder experts, you can check out the General Mendel Topics. This forum covers all the things you might want to know to finish this DIY 3D printer.


3. Kossel DIY 3D Printer

Kossel is a parametric delta robot 3D printer. Its built-in 2012 by Johann in Seattle, USA, based on his Rostock prototype. The DIY 3D printer plans were designed by Johann C. Rocholl in 2012 and have been around with some minor changes since then.

The concept of the delta design is to eliminate backlash problems. Backlash occurs when one of the movement axes has slack (caused by loose belts for example).

You can get the SCAD and STL files for Kossel 3D printer by running the following command on your terminal:

git clone https://github.com/jcrocholl/kossel.git

Bill of Materials

You can find this information on Kossel’s RepRap wiki page. It contains all the necessary items, printed and non-printed parts.

Software and electronics

The controller for this 3D printer must be RIS 1 or RIS 1a compliant. You can check a list of controllers on this page.

For the firmware, you check this list. Choose one that is compatible with the controller you select.

Here’s a good guide for installing a Duet board. The Duet board is a popular 32-bit ARm based controller board with an ethernet port. You can check this page to learn how to install an LCD display.

Build Guides

A number of instructions are available to help you build your Kossel 3D printer. You can check the following links:

If you encounter any problems while setting up your Kossel DIY 3D printer, you can check this forum. You can also use the IRC channel to connect with the RepRap community. It’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to get answers to your questions.


4. RepRap Guru Prusa i3

This printer is designed to give you the finest quality 3D printing experience. A team of experts spent countless hours to develop this DIY printer kit. They also made sure that the process wouldn’t be that difficult for you.

Assembly

RepRapGuru is a DIY 3D printer kit, so you have to assemble this. The good thing is that it doesn’t require altering, drilling, soldering or cutting.  You can assemble this without any tools.

The package includes all the material needed to assemble this printer. Most of the components fit together very nicely.

However, there are nuts and bolts that were not too great. There are nuts that just spin in the nut holders due to nut pockets that cannot be used.

Their manual and video tutorials are helpful, but I think that it needs to be updated. The context still applies, but beginners might find it confusing.

For me, the assembly is not so easy, but it’s not that difficult either. After all, this is a DIY 3D printer and it needs a certain level of skill to successfully assemble the printer.

Electronics and Configurations

Aside from the assembly, you’ve got to have enough knowledge with wiring. If you know the basic, you will definitely learn your way in getting around this.

The only downside is that – the wires are not cut to the proper lengths. So, you might end up with your controller looking like a bird’s nest. But aside from this, I will still consider this a good 3D printer.5.


5. Tronxy X1 Desktop DIY 3D Printer Kit

Tronyx comes in a convenient size and minimalist design. At first gland, you will find its construction a bit weird compared to other 3D printers, but don’t let that fool you because this works just as good as its counterparts.

In fact, this may please 3D printer novices because it is well-organized and fun to assemble. Here’s what you need to know about Tronyx X1 Desktop DIY 3D Printer Kit.

Assembly

The package includes everything you need to keep the 3D printer up and running. Aside from providing the materials, it includes a user manual that easy to follow. It is descriptive and very comprehensible. Overall, this 3D printer kit is not difficult to assemble. Most users find its assembly process simple.

Personally, it took me around 4 hours and 30 minutes to assemble this and have my first 3D print. This is already fast compared to other brands.  You just need a basic understanding about the whole printer to get a grasp on how you should work around it.


6. Startt DIY 3D Printer Kit

Startt is another amazing DIY 3D printer kit that will surely make a great starter machine for 3D printer beginners. Startt is a Prusa i3 clone that is pitched as an educational product to appeal to parents and teachers It is cheap, solid, and effective. In fact, this is one of the cheapest but most competitive DIY kits for 3D printing in the market.

Although this is cheap, it delivers impressive results. The brand is also very considerate as they include the package with a comprehensible manual. That’s not all, the technical part is already put together. So, you are left with a simpler job. Here’s what you need to know about this 3D printer kit.

Assembly

The good thing with this 3D printer is that it is easy to assemble. The kit includes everything you need to keep this machine up and running including screws, nuts, motor, acrylic pieces and rod caps.  You need not wonder if all the items you need are in the package or not because the manufacturer includes a checklist of the parts, alongside with the quality.

In addition, you can find step-by-step instructions for the assembly from the imakr.com website. There’s also a video tutorial that you can follow to set up the machine. According to iMakr, the assembly time nearly takes a full 5 hours.

Beginners will surely love this as this printer doesn’t need soldering to assemble. It also doesn’t require specific skills. If you just follow the steps appropriately, you will see the results that you want to see.


7. Tevo Tarantula

This is another cheap DIY 3D printer kit with an all-metal frame construction. It uses an extruded black anodised aluminum for its frame that comes with a laser cut acrylic plates for the control box and ball bearing V-Groove wheels for a smooth and quiet operation.

Its design is very simple. But assembly isn’t as easy as the first three 3D printers.  In fact, others claim that it took them 15 hours to finish. You have to take as much time as you need when building this 3D printing machine to produce the best results. Otherwise, you will not get good prints.

In the section, I’ll give you an overview of the assembly process.

Assembly

This 3D printer is completely disassembled. So, don’t expect a printer that works straight out of the box. It took me almost 7 hours to assemble this, but I’ve heard from others that it took them 12 to 15 hours. Yes, it’s not easy!

I suggest that you take your time when assembling this machine. Later on, you will thank yourself because the setup of your printer will affect its accuracy and quality. The good thing about this brand is that there are video tutorials you can follow. But it’s accompanying manual isn’t that helpful.

There’s also an active community who are very supportive. If you have questions about the printer, just ask and you will likely receive a reply from someone who already went through the same issue.

In general, it’s not easy to assemble. The process is very complicated as the 3D printer is literally into pieces, but it’s worth it.


Conclusion

Building your own 3D printer as there are a lot of DIY 3D printer kits in the market today. The machines above are among the best. DIY 3D printer kits are cheaper, but it requires basic skills to get the machine up and running

The good thing about this is that you get the machine you desire. In addition, there’s a supportive community that includes professionals 3D printer builders who are willing to help you get the job done.

📌To get your ideal DIY 3D printer, you have to determine how it looks and what features should be included. In addition, you have to be patient because most likely you will not get everything right the first time. In fact, sometimes you have to do it again for the third or fourth time or more.

If you need to learn more about 3D printing and 3D printers, you may check our homepage.

References
3dinsider.com/how-to-build-3d-printer-kit/
all3dp.com/1/3d-printer-plans-diy-reprap-prusa/

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