Beginner wanting to build a 3d printer

Hello, I am an absolute beginner to building machines and my goal is to build a 3d printer. I was thinking of purchasing a kit or following one of the instructables here, but what skills or knowledge would I need to acquire before I  attempt to build one? Any advice would be appreciated.

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DenverAlex2 years ago

While building a 3d printer is not an easy task, and learning to use it is a challenge of its own, I would suggest a kit as your first 3d printer. Makerfarm makes a good kit here in the US at a reasonable price, and produces decent prints. Building your 3d printer you learn how it works, and learn what you need to fix problems when they occur instead of paying someone to come and fix them for you, or waiting for customer service to tell you what to do. You can also refer to the www.reprap.org where they have many different open source printers that have been built, and provide advice to building your own, and advice to get it working, and working good.

If you are a beginner: Stay away from this project!!

I have build a few of them and can tell you there is no such things as a usuable kit.

You always need to measure, check and adjust the build one way or the other.

Even if you get it together in no time it does not mean it is accurate enough.

For example I check the right positioning of the print plate with micrometers - some people these days don't even know how to read them ;)

You need to be able to see a problem before it goes too big.

Take the lower base as an example.

A silght misalignment there and you will have a hard time aligning the top parts of the printer.

Go and get one of the ready to go printers instead.

Use it, learn from it and print parts for your home made printer.

Having a properly working model on the desk will give you the option to check and compare.

My last printer was a kit too and the manual stated a built time of just 4 hours.

Two hours passed while sorting the contents, 5 hours to get it together and another 6 hours to calibrate and align everything properly.

That last thing you want with a 3D printer is starting to print only to realise the nozzle jams into the print bed or that your print is out of angle...

With no mechanical skills and at least a bit of 3D printing knowledge you will swear for days....

Calcgal (author)  Downunder35m2 years ago

Well, I'm not planning to do this alone. I'm hoping to get one of my high school's tech ed teachers to help, so would that make my goal more do-able?

It is doable if you have someone that knows how to calibrate things mechanically and how to do very accurate measurements.

But before you even order do some homework as there are enough kits out there that are simply crap.

One explample for a printer you should not build is the Mega Pruse by Stuffmaker3d - no service, no support and a very bad manual, making the build extremely hard even for someone that has done it before.

Take you time, do your homework and check independet websites for reviews - on manufactorers websites you basically only see good comments ;)

Look out for things that matter: usable for PLS and and higher temp plastic, software can be customised, hardware for spares like print head are availabe from other sources.

Speed is relative as a fine and big print can still take a full day.

And only if you think you found the right printer for you and all homework looks good you should commence for the order ;)

caitlinsdad2 years ago

1. $$$

2. A good set of metric sized tools.

3. Patience.

Even a basic 3D printer kit is still designed for a tinkerer and will need to be constantly tweaked before, during, and after use. Research your 3D printers first and see if they will fulfill your expectation of them. Small prints will take several hours and should learn to use the 3D modeling software to make or modify designs. Adafruit or the Maker Shed have some kits in their range of 3D printers for sale. You could also purchase directly from various other companies. I don't think you would want to build one from scratch since there are specialized parts that need to be machined to fit or even 3D printed on another machine. Some hackerspaces sponsor a build night where everyone puts together a 3D printer, maybe one is near you. The guts of a 3D printer are essentially a microcontroller like an arduino with electronics to control the stepper motors to precisely move the print head and regulate the extruding of the molten plastic filament. Some electronics knowledge would be good. Good luck.