Tag Archives: DIY 3D Printer

Build your own e-waste 3D printer for $120

As the saying goes: One man’s trash is another Maker’s 3D printer.

Electronic waste (or e-waste for short) is an interesting side-effect of our high-tech world. Sure, your Pentium II computer was still pretty cool after it survived “Y2K,” but by 2010 or so it was probably in a landfill. Making this even more wasteful is the fact that there were probably working motors and mechanical components that could have been salvaged from it. If there were a good way to collect these components, and something they could easily be used on, that might make a dent in e-waste.


Though it might not solve the world’s pollution problems, this 3D printer, made in part with e-waste, at least lets people reuse some of the good parts from old computers. Per this project’s excellent writeup: “By upcycling e-waste such as old DVD drives and PC power supplies, the Curiosity not only costs less than $150, but also educates children and adults about e-waste, environmental issues, recycling and upcycling while learning everything about 3D printing!”


The kit that they have available includes a laser-cut frame and an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) with a RAMPS shield for print control. You, as the end-user, need to supply two DVD drives and a floppy drive, as well as a power supply and tools. I could definitely see this printer being quite a bit of work to build, since you have to “harvest” parts, but coming in at just under $150, their build kit is attractively-priced and should teach you quite a bit about how a 3D printer works.

This RepRap machine is as self-replicating as a DIY 3D printer can get

This accessible, hackable and customizable RepRap printer features a large 8” x 6” x 6″ build volume.

Desktop 3D printers pretty much seem to be a dime a dozen these days. And whereas some Makers would prefer to simply go out and purchase one, others would rather take on the challenge of building their own from scratch. Take Ryan Adams, for example.


The Maker is collaborating with mapleMaker Media to provide open source 3D printable designs for 3D printers that are aimed towards those DIYers who like constructing their own machines with various custom elements. Their latest project, mapleMaker Mini V2, differentiates itself from a majority of RepRap devices in the sense that it is consists of a frame that is entirely 3D-printed.


What’s more, the project only calls for 36 hours to print out all the components necessary for assembly. The mapleMaker Mini V2 boasts a large 8″ x 6″ x 6″ build volume and employs an all-metal E3D Lite6 hot-end. Aside from its 3D-printable parts, the rest of the electronics will need to be sourced, which like most DIY machines, include an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), a RAMPS 1.4 shield, NEMA 17 stepper motors, an LCD panel and an MK8 extruder drive gear. Beyond that, the Maker is running Eric Zalm’s Marlin firmware.


“The aim of this kit was to reduce costs and create an accessible, hackable, upgradeable, and ultimately, user customizable 3D printer. We believe that a 3D printer should evolve with it’s users needs and knowledge, and become a platform for any number of future upgrades and additions without the need for costly re-works or additional components,” its creators explain.

Adams has made his project available on YouMagine, where you will find all of its necessary parts, code and designs.

Building a low-cost Delta 3D printer out of recycled electronics

Maker creates a Delta-style 3D printer using recycled parts from an old dot matrix printer and flatbed scanner. 

When it comes to the Maker Movement, DIYers never cease to amaze us with new ways to recycle electronic waste. Take Instructables user Hesam Hamidi for instance, who has impressively created a Delta-style 3D printer using parts from an old dot matrix printer and flatbed scanner.


Whereas FDM printers typically posses an aluminum or precision shaft frame, the Maker had swapped it out for five pieces of 16mm MDF, fixed together by wood screws. Three adjustable cabinet legs were attached under the body to keep it level, while another beam was added to the top of the body to support the filament spool. Attached to the trio of vertical MDF frame pieces are rail and carriage assemblies taken from the dot matrix printer, which fortunately already had their stepper motors and belts installed.

“Each slider has a step motor that moves carriage by a timing belt for about 430mm. At the end of sliding course, there is a home position sensor that senses the tractor motion end. Each step moves the carriage for 106 microns and in case of using micro stepping drivers we can reduce this length. Dimensional specifications of our 3D printer were specified based on slider motion,” Hamidi writes.

delta made from scrap epson printers 3

The end effector is also a unique attribute of Delta-style printers. In this project, it was made from a steel plate and provides a mount of the extruder, which is driven by another scavenged stepper motor along with a timing belt pulley and pulley tightening mechanism.

“A U-shaped profile was used to support stepper motor, ball bearings and hotend. Support plate is a CNC cut circular steel plate that has six holes for ball end supports with 120 degrees to each other. Hotend was purchased from a Felix printer with nozzle diameter of 0.3 mm,” the Maker adds.


For the print bed, Hamidi repurposed an Epson flatbed scanner, which was selected due to its durability and smoothness. The inner workings of the device were removed and replaced with a 220V 300W flat heating element beneath the glass. Meanwhile, the bed heater has a 12V element and NTC thermistor to regulate temperature, and is controlled separately by way of a household thermostat.

In terms of its electronics, the 3D printer is based on an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4) and four different stepper drivers that take the place of the common Arduino Mega/RAMPS 1.4 combination. Beyond that, three analog inputs were employed to sense signals of home position sensors, while eight digital outputs send pulses to four stepper motors. Temperature of the hotend and heater are managed separately by individual controllers.


What’s more, the DIY machine boasts a size of 600mm x 650mm with a build volume of 200mm x 200mm x 200mm and can achieve printing speeds of up to 80mm/second in all three directions. Interested in constructing one of your own? Head over to the project’s Instructables page, where you’ll find a detailed breakdown of the build including its schematics and code. In the meantime, watch it in action below!

SeraMaker is an open-source, Arduino-powered 3D printer

This open-source 3D printer was inspired by the RepRap Prusa Mendel i2. 

The brainchild of an Italian Maker “SebaSera94” as part of his a project at the Istituto D’Istruzione Superiore Giacomo Floriani, SeraMaker is a RepRap-inspired 3D printer.


Based on the Prusa Mendal i2, this FDM machine is comprised of six pieces of medium-density fiberboard ranging in thickness from five millimeters for the base to 12 millimeters for the casing. The windows of the printer are fixed from the inside with the exception of the front, which is attached via hinges to allow for opening as well as magnets and a metal plate located behind the handle for closure.

Like with a vast majority of these open-source units, an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) and RAMPS 1.4 serve as the brains of the operation, while stepper motors are tasked with generating the motion axes with precision. Five motors are embedded inside the device in total: two to actuate the X and Y axes, two for the Z axis and one to drive the filament through the extruder. In terms of firmware, the printer was configured using Marlin.


SeraMaker boasts a 20cm x 20cm bed which uses imprinted copper coil to act as electrical resistance and heat the print surface. Four LED lamps provide lighting for the machine, three of which shine onto the printing plane from various angles while the other illuminates SeraMaker’s name tag.

All of the electronic components, including the ATX power supply and junction box, are housed inside the lower portion of the structure. There also lies the ATmega2560, control motors, a display to access its navigation menu, a relay to separate the power circuit of the heating plate, a card to control LEDs and a small 50mm fan for ventilation.


“To the rear panel are fixed two connectors and as many switches,” SebaSera94 adds. “The USB connector is an extension of the same port of the Arduino board to allow rapid access to a computer while the power supply is connected to the 230V AC via the connector, which is connected in series with the switch for disconnecting general. The remaining sections switch the lighting circuit from the 12V line.”

Other than the structural and mechanical components, the fiberboard and plexiglass housing, each of the machine’s parts can be 3D-printed. Just head over to its Thingiverse page here.

RepRapPro launches a $300 Delta 3D printer

The Fisher Delta 3D printer is an easy-to-assemble and even easier-to-afford machine for Makers of any level.

Safe to say that the adoption of 3D printing will rely heavily upon both affordability and accessibility to Makers. And one of the companies continuing to lead the way is RepRapPro, who has debuted yet another open source machine for the DIY community. Recently unveiled during 3D Printshow London, Fisher is an easy-to-assemble, Delta style 3D printer that is expected to cost around $300 — quite the wallet-friendly price compared to many other devices on the market today.


“In order to achieve the low price, a Delta configuration was chosen, utilizing mainly parts and processes which can be found in our other RepRap kits,” its team revels. “Although in this configuration the machine lacks a heated bed, many great features are included, such as an automatic bed probing and new compact all metal hot-end, which all combine to give the same great print quality as all our other RepRap 3D printer designs.”

One of its other notable features is RepRapPro’s Arduino-compatible, 32-bit controller. Based on an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU, the Duet board is equipped with four stepper motor controllers, an SD card slot, as well as USB and Ethernet ports. Makers can drive the platform with a conventional RepRap app like Pronterface or command the platform via a standard web server. What’s more, an expansion board offers an additional four stepper motor controllers, allowing for a total of five extruders and up to eight axis controls.


Key specs of the Fisher:

  • Build volume: 150mm diameter, 180mm height
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Resolution: 12.5um in all axes
  • Print bed: Removable
  • Extruder: Direct drive extruder with an all-metal stainless steel nozzle
  • Connectivity: Ethernet and USB interface
  • Storage: On-board microSD
  • Software: Prints G-code files provided by Slic3r and other open-source slicing programs

At the moment, the design is in its beta stage, as the team gathers feedback from end users throughout the open source community. Meanwhile, upgrades are already in the works which include a heated bed and color touchscreen kits. Interested? Head over to its official page here.

Building a DIY 3D printer for less than $200

One 13-year-old Maker just designed and built his own 3D printer for under $200. 

Truth be told, a number of 3D printers still remain out of reach for many everyday consumers not looking to shell out thousands of dollars on a device. This leaves countless Makers dying to get their hands on a machine to do one of two things: either spend their savings account or create their own. We don’t know what you were doing at age 13, but chances are you weren’t constructing your own easy-to-use, inexpensive 3D printer.


Meet Zach Sousa, who recently unveiled plans for the second iteration of his DIY 3D printer that he devised, built and uploaded to Instructables — all by himself. The gadget, which he calls The Edge 2.0is roughly the size of the Printrbot Simple with a slightly larger 6″ x 5.5″ x 4″ build envelope. The device weighs just over five pounds, and can be made from materials costing no more than $200. While he is still testing the final print resolution, 3DPrint.com reveals that he has managed to print successfully down to 200 microns!

The idea for an updated model of the Edge came about following its tremendous popularity, having garnered well over 125,000 views and thousands of likes online. Similar to its predecessor, v2.0 is controlled by an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) and RAMPS 1.4 board, as well as driven by five NEMA 17 stepper motors.


The Maker crafted each of the machine’s parts using a combination of laser cutting and 3D printing, along with a little soldering and wiring to round out the Edge 2.0’s design. In order to complete the project, Sousa calls for a computer with Arduino IDE, running Pronterface and a slicer program like Cura or Slic3r.

Interested? Head over to its official Instructables page for a step-by-step breakdown of the project.

Maker creates a super fast, continuous SLA 3D printer

This super fast DIY 3D printer may one day take on the likes of Carbon3D.

Just the other week, Carbon3D unveiled a groundbreaking new 3D printing process, which is being billed as anywhere between 25 and 100 times faster than machines on the market today. Hot on the heels of this big announcement, 3DPrint.com has brought to our attention another super speedy SLA 3D printer. The difference? It stems from the Maker community, more specifically, a University of Buffalo industrial engineering student named Bo Pang.


While it shares a number of features with Carbon3D, one noticeable difference is that the device uses an oxygen-permeable window to create a thin layer of uncured resin between the window and the object.

“This dead zone guarantees the part can grow without stopping, and this is the key to the CLIP process. For our machine, we don’t use that oxygen-permeable window, but we instead use a special membrane to create that thin layer of uncured resin. There are 2 advantages of this special membrane,” Pang explains. “First, this membrane is much less expensive than the oxygen-permeable window, as it only costs about 1/100 of the price of the oxygen-permeable window. Second, this membrane is very easy to mold, meaning we can make this membrane almost any shape we want.”


Despite having a relatively small build volume, the DIY device is capable of printing with an XY axis resolution of 15 microns and a Z-axis resolution of 10 microns. As the Maker showed 3DPrint.com, he was able to create a mini replica of the Eiffel Tower measuring 10mm x 10mm x 20 mm in just over seven minutes, not to mention a larger one (40mm x 40mm x 100mm) in 12 minutes.

Still a work in progress, Pang notes that the SLA 3D printer’s build volume can be expanded with some minor calibration. Intrigued? You can read all about the project on its initial write-up here.

Maker builds a DIY SLA 3D printer for less than $30

This SLA 3D printer can be created using materials found throughout your home — and an Arduino.

Although many 3D printers strive for simplicity and affordability, this one surely takes the cake. Whereas a device under $500 may catch your attention, one that costs less than a Saturday night dinner surely will hold it. Buildyourownsla.com user “Mystamo” recently created a DIY SLA 3D printer for less than $30 that prints from the top-down or bottom-up, all powered through an Arduino Uno (ATmega328).


SLA typically features a bottom-up style due to issues like the need for more resin and layer height control. A projector or laser diode sits underneath the resin tank with transparent bottom and a non-stick surface, pointing upwards to cure the resin.

For his build, Mystamo had taken his top-down device and wanted to test as to whether it would work with his ACER 5360 720P projector for a bottom-up design as well. After some investigation, the projector was indeed suitable for the job without requiring much further customization other than removing its focus screw for manipulating the focus wheel and a little fine-tuning of the focus.


The Maker reveals that since he didn’t have Z-axis limits, he set the build plate just slightly above the resin surface with some resin pointing out of the his perf board holes. Mystamo acquired an inexpensive stepper drive that was soldered directly to the pin, and added a few connectors for easy removal. It also runs at 1/16 micro stepping. Beyond that, he refined his 3D printer by employing the Arduino to run a very simple HTL code with only minor modifications.

From there, the 3D printing process was ready to begin with 8-second exposures on the first three layers, and 2.5 second exposures on all other layers, all at 0.05mm per layer. While this particular design doesn’t use any 3D-printed parts itself, it still embodies true DIY spirit as the entire thing was devised using items found around the house. And in case you’re wondering, yes it works, as seen with his latest print: a Terminator skull.


Intrigued? Learn more by heading over to the Maker’s forum post here.

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


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


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 


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


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


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


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.



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


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?



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.



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


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!



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.



Dutch Maker 3D prints an entire 3D printer

Over the last 12 months, we’ve certainly seen a fair share of new 3D printers hit the market. While many of today’s printers range in terms of size, extruders, composition, materials and hardware, none may be as unique as the one recently created by Dutch Maker Harold Reedijk.


As 3DPrint.com notes, Makers have been constructing their own 3D printers using 3D-printed parts for a while now — a trend that is commonly seen throughout open-source RepRap movement. Meanwhile, we’ve also begun to see some manufacturers, like Lulzbot, begin to mass produce their own parts on 3D printers — a number of which are based on AVR and Atmel | SMART microcontrollers.

Reedijk, who has owned an Ultimaker Original 3D printer for quite some time now, is no stranger to tinkering around with his Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) based 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 Ultimaker.


“After a while I asked myself whether I could make a printer on my own. I had access to aluminum extrusions, so I decided to use them for the frame. I didn’t want to make the printer entirely from aluminum parts, as it would be too expensive for my budget at that time, and I knew that RepRap printers used printed ABS parts for construction purposes. First I tried PLA. It was hard enough for construction but when there was pressure on the parts they just broke. I didn’t want to use ABS, just because of the bad fumes alone, so I searched for alternatives. At that time ColorFabb came out with XT. I bought a spool, printed some test parts to test the general strength, toughness and impact strength, and it exceeded my expectations,” Reedijk told 3DPrint.com.

Subsequently, the Maker elected to go ahead and use the ColorFabb XT to build his 3D printer, which was based on the design of his Ultimaker Original. He did make a few modifications, however, which included 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.


Reedijk revealed to 3DPrint.com that he drew the aluminum extrusions of the printer in his 3D Program around the print be dimensions before making the parts for the frame.

“After that I sourced all the parts, built up the printer, step by step, drew all the XT parts and printed them out. At that time, I thought I knew enough about 3D printing, but during the build process I learned a lot more about printing itself (temperatures, print orientations, effects of cooling, etc.), the material XT itself, and the do’s and don’ts when making a printer.”

When all was said and done, the DIY 3D printer looks (and yes, works) perfect. You can see it in action below!

Interested in learning more? While Reedijk’s future plans are still undecided, you can head over to his official website here.