Introduction: Building a 3D Printer Under 200$

Hello everyone

In this instructable I will show you how to make a 3d printer under 200$.

This 3D printer -Tower Simple XL, Maybe I should call it 3D printer of Sauron, lol.

This 3D printer have 6* 6* 6 Inches build volum and you can build it without any 3Dprint part.(*Laser cutting needed*)

If you like this instructable, comment and share this project with your friends who might like this instructable.

Thanks very much.

Step 1: Mechanical Parts List

I buy these things on Alibaba, these things will be more expensive on ebay.

This is the reason why I can build 3D printer under 200$.

M3 10mm screws *29

M3 16mm screws *48

M3 nuts *42

M4 16mm screws *4

M4 nuts *4

M4 shim *4

624 bearing *4

T8 Leadscrew 285mm *1

Leadscrew nuts *1

M3 spring 8mm *5

M5 spring 20mm *1

Coupler 5mm to 8mm *1

M3 pillars 16mm *5

M3 pillars 60mm *1

MXL 20T pulley *2

MXL belt *2

Cylinder Liner Rail Linear 8-215MM *4

Cylinder Liner Rail Linear 8-340MM *2

End stop *3

Nema 17 *4

Step 2: Lasercut Parts

Download lasercut files from this thingiverse link:

Step 3: Laser Cut Wood

Laser cutting by 6 mm wood board

Step 4: Laser Cut Acrylic

Laser cutting by 6 mm acrylic

Step 5: Fixed Stepper Motors and 624 Bearings to Acrylic

Use m3 *10mm screws attach the nema 17 stepper motor to the acrylic piece

Step 6: Build the Main Body

Install acrylic part into main body

in this step we need to use the laser cut parts that i point out highlight

- Laser cut parts 1 &4 &5 &12 &16

Step 7: Mount the Leadscrew Nut

Mount the leadscrew nut into nut holder piece

in this step we need to use the laser cut part that i point out highlight

- Laser cut parts 8 &10

Step 8:

- First attach parts 9 and 11

- Then fit the two onto part 13

- Third attach previous assembly to the end of part 14

- Then add part 3 to the other end as depicted

- Fifth attach part 2 to the previously assembled parts

Step 9:


- Zip tie bearings on to base plate as demonstrated

- Make sure to put the nub of the zip ties as shown

- Place smooth rods through the bearings to ensure alignment as zip ties are tightened

- Use pliers to tighten zip-ties as much as possible but be aware of the fragility of the wood


- Zip-tie the bearings onto acrylic part as depicted

- Place smooth rods though bearings while zip-tying to ensure they are straight and parallel

- Tighten zip-ties using pliers

Step 10:

- Insert smooth rods into bearings

- Secure the previously assembled piece to smooth rods with a zip-tie on each end

- Make sure the zip-tie nobs are on the outer side of the assembly (otherwise they will obstruct y-axis movement)

Step 11:

- Insert smooth rods into LM8UU bearings

- Attach part 7 to rest of assembly by zip-tying it onto smooth rods- Make sure the nubs of the zip-ties are on the outer side of the print platform

- Make sure the M3 16mm screw is on the left side of the print platform

-Attach X axis MXL belt to wood part 7

Step 12:

-Attach the nema 17 stepper motor to wood part 4

-Attach Z axis endstop to wood part 4 with wood part 15

Step 13:

-Attach X axis endstop to wood part 4 on left side

-Attach M3*16 pillars to wood part 7

-Attach M3*16 screw with two M3 nuts to wood part 7

Step 14:

-Attach Y axis endstop to acrylic part on left side

-Insert the M3*16 screw through the wood part 8

-Then insert M3*60 pillar and M3 spring 8mm to the screw (to hit the Z endstop)

Step 15:

-Then insert M3*16 screw and M3 spring 8mm to the M3*16 pillars on wood part 6

And now we have successfully assembled a Tower Simple XL mechanical parts.

Next time i will publish the updated firmware and electronic parts assembly guide.

Step 16: Electronic Parts List

1. LCD 2004 *1

2. Arduino Mega 2560 *1

3. Ramps 1.4 *1

4. A4988 StepStick Stepper Motor Driver *4

5. 12V 40W Heating pipe *1

6. NTC Thermistor 100k

Step 17: Upload Firmware to Arduino Mega2560

1.Connecting Arduino Mega 2560 to computer.

2.Click install custom firmware.

3.Choose "TowerSimpleXL-2004" to upload (Ignore Warnings).

Download hex file from this thingiverse link:

Step 18:

1. Attach A4988 StepStick Stepper Motor Driver to Ramps 1.4 motherboard.

2. Attach LCD 2004 to Ramps 1.4 motherboard.

3. Attach Ramps 1.4 motherboard to Arduino Mega 2560.

Step 19:

Connect the power, more than 6 amps of 12v power supply.

I also designed a control box to install the control panel.

Download control box file from this thingiverse link:

Step 20: The Most Important Step

This is the most important step, I know you can't understand schematics, so, i hope you can understand the picture that i made.

Wiki of Ramps:

Step 21: Light It Up and Print Something

Finally completed.

Test, I print a xiaomi yi camera mount to replace the previous version and it works well. so meme.

Download xiaomi yi carera files from this thingiverse link:

Step 22: Place for Filament Roll

1. M4 shim *4

2. M4 16mm screws *4

3. M4 nuts *4

4. 624 bearing *4

5. Pipes 90mm diameter 13mm *2

This pipe can fit 624 bearing very well.

Step 23:

Attach M4 screws, M4 shims, 624 bearing and M4 nuts on mainbody.

It is convenient to roll filament.

If you like this instructable, please vote me on "3D Printing Contest" , comment and share this project with your friends who might like this instructable.

Thanks for watch.


Amir hossein1075 (author)2017-08-05

Which application should we use to uploud the firm ware?

baotriet made it! (author)2016-01-20

Thanks for your sharing.
My printer is made of acrylic with modified filament roll and x-axis.
Thanks again.

Vechai (author)baotriet2016-01-24

size X axis ? 150mm or more ?

nizamshahrin (author)Vechai2016-10-26

I downloaded all the files, and I only have Solidwork. So, few file can be opened while other can't. Could you suggest me what software suitable to view the drawing (as I need to know the sizing and dimension before laser cutting it)? Thanks


use corel software

Alim211113 (author)2017-07-13

For teh level 17 we need to which program or which program you used and which version plz help me tnxx

theg51 (author)2017-06-12

How many extruders do we need in this printer?

jhunt22 (author)2017-03-28

Also, I can't seem to find the parts information for the extruder - is there a particular one you recommend? Thanks

Gulfi (author)jhunt222017-04-07

Most of people have used MK8 Extruder

Gulfi (author)2017-04-07

I was wondering if this stepper motor can be used:

42 Stepper Motor 4 Leads 34mm 12V / 0.4A 26Ncm

ShahinK4 (author)2017-04-07


Thanks for the great design :P

I cannot find the extruder part instructions. can anyone help me how to get to it?


jhunt22 (author)2017-03-28

What sort of power supply is needed for this?

Lazaros_92 (author)2017-01-22

Hello friend. Did u used LM8UU linear bearings ?

sanyam jain (author)Lazaros_922017-02-02

Yes in here we use 12 of those

LucasR110 (author)2017-01-04

Hello, I uploaded Marlin to arduino, but nothing shows on LCD, and Cura says the printer is not connected.

sanyam jain (author)LucasR1102017-01-16

could you be more specific

MohamedE133 (author)2017-01-02

so i am done with the design and it is working really well but can you put a link with the actual code in c so I can modify it on arduino.

nuckles (author)2016-11-14

is the dollars in USD? or something?

AyushP2 (author)nuckles2016-12-31


EMatos5 (author)2016-12-01

Has anyone tried to scale this up? I'm personally looking to do 12" x 12" x Anything over 6".

AyushP2 (author)EMatos52016-12-31

I believe it is possible, but that would be whole new sizes of parts. However, the only mod I have done is a heated bed on this.

csochacki (author)2016-01-19

My work ;)

nizamshahrin (author)csochacki2016-10-26

I downloaded all the files, and I only have Solidwork. So, few file can be opened while other can't. Could you suggest me what software suitable to view the drawing (as I need to know the sizing and dimension before laser cutting it)? Thanks

csochacki (author)nizamshahrin2016-10-27


qiyanglu (author)csochacki2016-01-19

Awesome! Would you mind sharing the mods you used? Like, are you using a E3D hotend? How do you mount the hotend and the extruder? Thanks!

csochacki (author)qiyanglu2016-01-25

And printed mounting and extruder from this project

csochacki (author)qiyanglu2016-01-25

I use Lama3D hotend (

). All mod can view/download in my

qiyanglu made it! (author)2016-01-06

Finally would call it a built. A big thank-you to AlmusYang on this Instructable. Although it does not cover everything, but the design is really complete. For a newbie like me, I think this printer is easier to DIY compared with other popular choices such as Prusa i3.

2016-01-05 09.15.24.jpg2016-01-01 13.44.06.jpg
nizamshahrin (author)qiyanglu2016-10-26

I downloaded all the files, and I only have Solidwork. So, few file can be opened while other can't. Could you suggest me what software suitable to view the drawing (as I need to know the sizing and dimension before laser cutting it)? Thanks

AyushP2 (author)qiyanglu2016-01-18

So I calibrated my XYZ axis, so how do I get My E steps per mm buck up? What did you use and how did you calibrate it, because when I print the Universal filament filter it ends up looking like a dumbell, so please help. Thank you in advance.

qiyanglu (author)AyushP22016-01-18

Watch this video by Tom: Basically, try to extruder 100mm filament using the LCD controller and see how long it actually extrudes, then change E accordingly.

AyushP2 (author)qiyanglu2016-01-20

I've calibrated it, but what I find strange is that my calibration ends up at 116 e mm, then other calibration brings 122 e mm, than another brings 116 e mm and so on. My prints are still not coming out nice, is it bed leveling my problem because my first layers come nice, but the other layers are messed up. So what should I do and what settings did you use for Cura. Thank you for your reply in advance.

bondike (author)AyushP22016-01-27

I've found provided firmware... inconsistent - for one print I had to set e-steps to 162, the other day I had to set it to 1620.

qiyanglu (author)AyushP22016-01-20

Well, there are so many parameters that can affect your final results. I suggest having a look at this: to find out which is your problem. It is common to have inconsistent results for the E steps, and a difference of 6 is not so large. If you are printing PLA, a very important is the cooling. Try printing at a lower temperature and adding fans blowing onto your prints. Good luck!

AyushP2 (author)qiyanglu2016-01-25

I would like to highlight my issue, my printer isn't printing ROUND objects, but square objects are fine, how do I fix this

qiyanglu (author)qiyanglu2016-01-06

I feel like I need to mention some mods I did to my Tower simple. I really recommend reading dianusindustrial's blogs before building. At least for me it saved me a lot of time and money.

First, as you can see from the pic, I printed myself a fan shroud. However, this might not work for the extruder you got. Double check the STL file before printing.

Next, I printed a universal filament filter (, not shown in the picture. This is used to remove any dust on the filament and also for lubrication.

I strongly recommend getting a fan blowing to your print bed, otherwise you will get a lot of curling for the PLA. Also, calibrate your extruder before printing. Took me couple of goes to have just right E step per mm, otherwise you will have over or under extrusion.

Finally, not sure how effective this is, but for me it turned out putting six rubber bumpers (like this: under the printer helped reducing the vibration.

qiyanglu (author)qiyanglu2016-01-06

BTW, another thing I would like to mention is that for the Y axis stepper motor, the clearance is pretty tight, but it is the length of motor SHAFT not motor body that matters. I still used a 48mm long NEMA17, but had to use a hack saw to shorten the shaft by ~4mm.

Raipur made it! (author)2016-04-15

I am Making it with Complete Acrylic, am i require to take any special care in design or will it work

secondly i am having vibrations & jerks in movement of arms & axis on belt driven axis z is quite smooth

my build may be completed till tomorrow will upload pics then

Thanks to Author! of such nice detailed information

will seek further help once my build completes

pls advise if any one have symbolic solutions of it

nizamshahrin (author)Raipur2016-10-26

I downloaded all the files, and I only have Solidwork. So, few file can be opened while other can't. Could you suggest me what software suitable to view the drawing (as I need to know the sizing and dimension before laser cutting it)? Thanks

caraujo3 made it! (author)2016-08-09

Thanks for the knowledge shared here.

Pry-er (author)caraujo32016-09-04


Were there any problems associated with the fact that you printed all lasercut components in acrylic? I am hoping to make this soon and would like to know if this is suitable equivalent.

Cristian M.A (author)2016-08-31

Hi, i'm currently building one of this printers, but i have several questions:

1) How do I setup the Arduino board? I have Arduino IDE, but dont know what to do with it.

2)I bought an LCD12864 Display but I don't know if it will work with the board, and if it will, if it changes the configuration?

3)I don't understand where does the 4 NEMA 17 stepper goes (the one that is not for the axis), I seen pictures of it with the hot end .

4) What is the blue surface? is it a special tape or hot bed?

5) I could not find pillars, does any want know a piece that can replace them?

Manuel SebastianB (author)2016-08-07

friends could tell me what is the meaning of m3, m4, m5 in the materials list

naikas (author)Manuel SebastianB2016-08-22

Standard nut sizes.

Carlos GabrielP made it! (author)2016-07-27

My last print.

Carlos GabrielP made it! (author)2016-07-27

In Acrylic

Carlos GabrielP made it! (author)2016-07-27

Wood vibrates much . It is better in acrylic .
Excellent design, thank you very much .

Anthem1 made it! (author)2016-07-26

I couldn't help modifying mine a bit, made mine 200 x 150 x 150 build size and woodworked it out of plywood instead of laser cutting. I ended up changing to a Bowden setup to keep strain off the Y and Z axis due to weight. I must admit this probably wasn't the smartest move given the cheap extruder I put on gave me fits (poor design...which I modified to work) and I'm topping out the torque on my direct drive extruder motor setup. It just means I have to run this a little slower, between 15 and 25 mm/s. I had trouble initially with the firmware, I found it was a wiring issue in the end. Before I discovered my error I set up everything in Marlin and have been using that since. Thanks for the inspiring design, it was a fun build (my first) and I was definitely able to keep this under $200 US.

csochacki made it! (author)2016-07-20

My modyfication:

New electronic case

A larger bed 200x150 mm

MorganJ13 made it! (author)2016-06-21

This is a great design, I just finished building mine. It's not shown in this picture but I actually replaced the bed with an acrylic bed and it looks great and the PLA prints perfectly to it, I recommend it. I currently have a friend who is building your $299 printer and its coming out great! Thank you for this instructable!


About This Instructable




Bio: Maker
More by AlmusYang:DIY Electric Skateboard (high power version)A minimalist solution to make VR panoramaBuilding a 3D Printer Under 299$
Add instructable to: