3D printers are all the rage nowadays with their ability to create things from toys to functioning organs which have been known to save people's lives. When most people think of a 3D printer, they think of how expensive and bulky it must be and how unlikely it is that someone would actually be able to have one in their home.
This article is to change that kind of thinking. Not only can you have a 3D printer in your own house, but you also be able to build one with your own two hands instead of paying the considerable expense required by most companies to have one for your personal use.
In this article will be looking at how to build a 3D printer to save money and to create things from scratch. Because not only is saving money the right way to keep a healthy budget, but it's also a lot of fun when you incorporate the 3D printing aspect of it. Not only will you be able to have a 3D printer for your use, but you'll also be familiar with every nut and bolt that went into it.
Building A 3D Printer From Scratch
For the DIY enthusiast out there, there's no other option than to build something workable and fully functional from nothing. Thankfully, if this describes you, then you're in luck. You'll be able to create a 3D printer from scratch without any issues, and in the end, you'll be able to enjoy having your 3D printer at home.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details about how to put together a DIY 3D printer, it's essential to know that you need a generalist acknowledged of how computer parts and programming all function for this to work appropriately for you.
If you don't have this basic understanding, then you will realize very quickly that it's an extremely complicated process.
It's also important to note that not all 3D printers use the same filament types as the next one down, so it's essential to do your research and read any instructions before purchasing filament type to utilize.
Figure Out What You Need
The very first step you should be taking into account is figuring out what parts you need to build your 3D printer. There are a lot of websites that go over detailed lists on parts for different 3D models all depending on what you're trying to achieve in the end.
There are also ebooks and instruction manuals that you can find online that give you specific instructions as to what you need to do to put together a 3D printer properly. One such product that we can recommend is a book called “3D Printing: Build Your 3D Printer and Print Your 3D Objects.”
If you're a Kindle user you can purchase it on Amazon for $9.99 otherwise you're looking at $12 or more for the book as a physical copy. This book will go over every detail you need to know about 3D printing and what it takes to put together one from scratch.
Once you have the information that you need, that's when you'll compile a list and work on the next step.
Purchase The Parts
This next step seems like common sense, but after you've researched and figured it out what you need to make a 3D printer, you will need to start purchasing the parts. Thankfully since 3D printers are so popular nowadays, you'll be able to visit websites that sell a variety of second-hand 3D printer parts that can get recycled from old machines.
Because they are second-hand products, you will want to make sure that they function as they're supposed to and have performance and quality checks initiated on these parts to guarantee that your investment was made wisely.
Purchasing second-hand parts are a great way to save money where you can. Unfortunately, you won't be able to utilize second-hand parts for every aspect of your 3D printer. At that point, you will be purchasing them brand new. You'll be able to also use elements from other devices to finish your list of parts that you need.
Devices that you can destroy to receive their parts are things like old DVD drives where are the stepper Motors are the critical bit that you would try to get out of them. Secondly, you can use a power supply from an old computer as a power supply for your printer.
A little know-how goes a long way especially in this step where if you are on a budget you will need to save as much money as possible. Some of the more essential parts you should purchase for your 3D printer include:
Having stable dry functions is an excellent way to Auntie that there won't be trouble later on when you go to build your machine. Spindle drives are capable of achieving continuous accuracy that exceeds all FDM standards and requirements.
Incorrectly installed D=drive systems or a poorly design frame can cause grinding belt teeth which then create vibrations, so it's essential to make sure that all of your drive system belts are running correctly in the center between their pulley and idle trucks.
If your build remains were in the typical size range that most desktop 3D printers have then you will need to avoid using any linear ball bearings within the X & Y axis as they cause common issues and failure points.
Drivers and Motors
This part is an area where you can save a little bit of money. You want to go for something like a stepper motor that has a nine-degree angle instead of a one and an eighth-degree for the X and Y axes.
You can expect to pay around two dollars to three dollars a piece depending on the motor itself in the brand, but ultimately they will double the resolution on your machine which makes everything look extremely visible.
You’ll want to make sure that you're only using temperature sensors that have a trustworthy background; otherwise, your temperature will be no better than a guess at best. Overall a thermal compound is a way to go to keep the temperature steady while giving you accurate readings every time.
Remember, if they can survive in temperatures required to print specific versions of engineering Plastics then it's likely not something that you'll want to invest.
Giving yourself the gift of an LCD controller with a form of SD card reader will make your 3D printer into a stand-alone factory where you can create anything that you want whenever you want as long as you have the plans for it. A lot of people choose to use the RepRap smart controller with a non-graphical display that works well with just about any type of configuration.
You might bump into a few clones, but ultimately they work just as well as what we suggest as long as the ramps adapters come provided on the unit. Some of these may have their connector flipped 180 degrees, and this is important to pay attention to so you have less hassle setting it up.
If you load a Raspberry Pi where's Octoprint where's the optional LCD touch-screen, then you'll be able to dramatically improve the usability of your 3D printer in comparison to the standard LCD controller. Put the Raspberry Pi and octopus combination; you can send G-Code directly from your slicer pull the printer which gives you convenient control over your machine.
Unfortunately, Octoprint also adds several failure points to the machine as a whole. SPI connection is fairly bulletproof as far as using your SD card to transfer the type of file you want on to your 3D printer. However, Raspberry Pi and Octoprint have a terrible problem of freezing and creating issues while you're trying to print things.
You want to make sure that you by yourselves high-quality heated beds for your 3D printer simply because you need are heated bed to warm up within three minutes or so to print materials such as ABS that require a high bed temperature to get appropriately created.
You will likely want to look for a heated bed that has a uniform temperature distribution to create a rock solid foundation. Since single-sided Heating gives too much allowance for fluctuation and bending, you'll want to avoid those at all cost.
It's also pertinent to point out that while it's not a direct part needed for the operation of your 3D printer, finding software that will not only work well on your computer but also on your 3D printer that your building is just as important as anything else that you can purchase for your hobby. This topic also brings us to the next section of our article.
As with anything that has electrical components and works with heat, you'll want to make sure that your 3D printer is as fireproof as possible to prevent your 3D printer from catching fire. While it's usually a rare event, it does happen, and you can't rely on your firm where's heat regulation software entirely to feel secure about your 3D printers safety measures.
As always there are things that you can purchase to reduce the chances of your 3D printer starting a fire in your home, and the best place to start is to look at your solid state relays. Both stable states and MOSFET’s usually fail during their conducting state which quickly results in disastrous results.
Purchasing thermal cutoff fuses will be able to prevent any runaway heated corrupt system from sparking and starting a fire, and the best part is that they are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
If you choose to do a DIY 3D printer or if you go with a kit instead, you will likely need to perform some maintenance on your 3D printer at some form in time. Thankfully, because you built the 3D printer yourself, you'll be able to have a generalistic idea as to where everything is as well as have the ability to replace things as they begin to fail.
Make sure that when you are building the 3D printer that you're keeping your wires tidy and utilizing cable guides and color coatings to save you time and frustration later on down the road when you need to reaccess these areas.
Taking the extra time to make sure that everything is tidy and group together properly we'll save you a lot of headaches in the future as well as time.
Alternative Ways To Build
Of course, if everything on this list so far has seemed too intimidating especially for someone who is just starting to get into the idea of a 3D printer, that's okay. You're not alone in this venture as many people choose to go down the 3D printer kit route instead. 3D printer kits are not only affordable, but they are also a great way to get someone into the world of 3D printers.
Just like with the standard DIY approach, you'll be able to build your 3D printer to use at home, and it'll be fully functioning and ready to go whenever you want to use it. The difference between the two is the fact that you won't have to hunt around for materials or guy that explain to you the best way to create a 3D printer that functions the way you want it.
Instead, all of the parts are provided for you as well as a detailed instruction manual that'll teach you how to put it together and how to have fun doing it. It's also a great chance to save some extra money as some of the parts can be pretty expensive if you choose to go full on the DIY route.
Once you've received your kit and have taken the time to put it together, you will have to add a form of software to your printer for it to start printing the things that you want. You can get blueprints and designs from different websites just by doing a simple Google search to find it.
In The End
Building a 3D printer whether you choose to do so by scratch or if you choose to go the kit route is not a simple task. Sometimes these builds can last as long as weeks up to months to build up, and it doesn't get any easier.
You will want to make sure that you'll have enough smoldering wire and connection bolts to avoid any mistakes while you're in the process of assembling your printer.
Thankfully there's a large number of online forums that are designed to help people who are struggling or uncertain about different steps to the process and get them on the right track to building their 3D printer correctly the first time. Don't be afraid to ask questions when you are working with the community well building your printer.
Everyone started somewhere, and it's best to have comrades and Friends while you're doing it to end up with a wonderful and fully functional 3D printer that you built with your own hands.