Rewind: The 12 most impressive DIY 3D printers of 2014

Over the past several months, we’ve seen quite a bit of Makers designing home-brew 3D printers — a trend that has surely emerged throughout open-source RepRap movement. A vast majority of them have been constructed on a shoestring budget, fully-functional and impressive nonetheless. As we round out another year, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of the our favorite DIY designs. With plenty of more making to be done in 2015, we can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Delta Twister 3D Printer

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15-year-old Braden had designed a DIY 3D printer with an approximate $400 build of materials (BOM). Aptly named the “Delta Twister,” the machine was powered by an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560), a RAMPS v1.4 board with drivers, and several other notable components.


Ceramic Delta 3D Printer

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A Maker by the name of Johnathan Keep has unveiled a new Ceramic Delta 3D Printer powered by an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560). The build, which only cost about $700, is capable of printing a clay medium opposed to the more traditional plastic filament.


Makeblock Constructor I 

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Shenzhen-based company Makeblock, known throughout the DIY community for their mechanical parts and electronics modules, recently released a 400-piece DIY 3D printer kit. Inspired by the demands of the RepRap open-source community, the Makeblock Constructor I is powered by an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560).


Ultimaker Original-Inspired ColorFabb XT Printer

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Dutch Maker Harold Reedijk is no stranger to tinkering around with his Ultimaker Original 3D printer by adding and replacing various components. In fact, he’s even created his own heated print bed, as well as even more recently replaced the entire hot-end on his Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) based machine. The Maker used ColorFabb XT filament to construct his 3D printer, which though based on the design of his Ultimaker Original, did include a few modifications such as increasing its print volume to 220 x 220 x 215mm, adding a heated print bed, including an integrated power supply, and using a Ubis ceramic hot-end.


An E-Waste 3D Printer

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Can you recall the last time you used your PC’s floppy disc drive? Better question, do any of you young Makers out there even know what a floppy disc is? How about that DVD player, or have your resorted entirely to Netflix? In any case, a Maker by the name of “mikelllc” has transformed electronic waste into an extremely inexpensive 3D printer — all for less than $100.  After downloading Arduino IDE, he used an ATmega644P based RepRap Gen6 to serve as the brains of the makeshift machine; however, he does note that RAMPS (ATmega2560) can also be used to bring the printer to life. The device runs off of free Repetier Host software, while the remaining components were each devised using cheap lasercut materials.


Inkjet 3D Printer

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Designed by 22-year-old engineer Yvo de Haas, Plan B is an open-source platform powered by an ATmega 2560. Unlike other 3D printers on the market, this device works just like a desktop printer. The process is similar to the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process, but instead of using a laser to sinter the material, an inkjet printing head deposits a liquid binder onto a layer of gypsum powder.


DeltaTrix

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Designed by Richard Tegelbeckers, the DeltaTrix is an open-source and fully-hackable 3D printer, powered by RAMPS v1.4 and an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560). A linear delta robot layout providing a mechanically simple motion platform for moving the print head allows for a relatively quick printing speed. Meanwhile, the DeltaTrix boasts as LCD display and a 4GB SD memory card, which can operate on its own and eradicates the need to be attached to a computer.


3&Dbot by PUC-Rio

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A team of Makers has created the world’s first autonomous 3D printing robot named 3&Dbot. Tethered to a base with four omni wheels, the entire printer itself can move to and fro in any direction — dependent upon the print data it is fed. After extensive research and development, the group of visionaries at PUC-Rio decided to embed an [Atmel basedArduino board with wireless communication built in to its body. We’d say 3D printing is on quite a roll! Perhaps, the start of a new trend?


BuildersBot

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A Maker named “aldricnegrier” has designed an Arduino-based BuildersBot machine, which can best be described as a CNC Router that is also capable of 3D printing.


OpenKnit

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While the Maker community has been using open-source printers for some time now, the 3D printing industry has been primarily focused on producing plastic or metal objects. However, a small team of Barcelona-based Makers have introduced a new digital fabrication tool that aims to knit an entire piece of clothing, like a sweater or even a Where’s Waldo-like beanie cap, in under an hour. Powered by an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4), the prototype platform cost approximately $750 to build and is currently capable of controlling three needles simultaneously.


Pizza-Making 3D Printer

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Designed by four undergraduate students from the Imperial College in London, F3D (pronounced “fed”) is the latest food printing research project that has set out to revolutionize the way we prepare our food. The Makers modified existing RepRap 3D printing technology to create a food printer capable of 3D printing and cooking a complete dish. Having chosen to produce a machine with at least three extruders, the students needed to explore various hardware options capable of controlling the printer. They decided upon the Arduino Due (SAM3X8E) based DUET and DUEX4 bundle. As a result, the students were able to develop a pizza-making machine that was capable of 3D printing three different ingredients with three extruders and cooking the entire dish with the halogen oven all for just £1,145.19 (just shy of $2,000). Now, pretty soon everyone can become a chef!


 3Drag

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3D-printed chocolate. We repeat, 3D-printed chocolate. Need we say more? As we experienced (and tasted) first-hand back at World Maker Faire 2014, the 3Drag has officially made chocolate on-demand a reality. Modified with a real pastry bag for precision bakery work or a heated syringe, 3Drag is suitable for plotting lettering and lines using any type of chocolate like milk, white and dark. All this, with the advantage to design the object or the pastry directly in computer graphic. Based on an ATmega 2560, the device is fitted a special extruder (which replaces the one typically used for extruding plastic materials) with a very common 60 ml syringe. A NEMA17 stepper motor drives its piston and a heater to maintain the chocolate contained in the syringe at its appropriate temperature.

 

 

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