Introduction: Building a 3D Printer

Picture of Building a 3D Printer

Hello and welcome back to another instructable from Switch & Lever!

We recently acquired a 3d printer kit, the Velleman K8200, a fairly low cost 3d printer with a high DIY factor, in that you have to assemble the printer yourself, complete with wiring and soldering.

In the following steps we chronicle the unboxing of the printer, the assembly and the printing and calibrating.

Step 1: Unboxing

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When picking up the box I was amazed over just how heavy it was, I had assumed that just some aluminium profiles and plastic parts wouldn't be back breaking to get home. In the end, that may be a good thing however, as weight tend to add stability to a construction as well.

The box was filled with bags and bags and bags of well labeled, or rather, well numbered, parts. Due to the weight I had half and half expected a heavy printed manual inside, but there was none. Instead the pieces came out and were ordered, going through the list of parts making sure nothing was missing.

Since everything seemed to be there, let's continue to the assembly part.

Step 2: Assembly

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Now that we have all the parts all that's left is just to put it together! How hard can it be, I built models as a kid, everything should just snap together, right?


The online assembly manual of the K8200 is very detailed, filled with photos showing every little step you need to take, every little bolt which needs to be tightened. You do however need to take pedantic care in assembling the printer, as failing to insert something in one step will lead to a world of trouble seven steps down the line.

In the end, the build was easier than I expected though, even though there were some hiccups along the line. You should have some experience in soldering before taking on this project however, and some general experience in building and mechanics definitely doesn't hurt either.

It was definitely a fun build, but it took a couple of days on and off to finish. Finish it did though, and we're on to maybe the most exciting part, actually making the printer produce stuff, not just standing as a shining monolith of technical prowess.

Step 3: Printing and Calibrating

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I made the mistake, perhaps, of thinking that ABS could be easily printed off the bat. I tried and I failed, and I failed, and I failed. Frustatingly I thought I had spent my money and time in vain, on something as useful as an ice cube in the Arctic. The printer did print, but nothing stuck where it should, and the quality was horrid.

Eventually, over time, changing settings with every print the hurdles were slowly overcome. Slow by slow the K8200 started turning out parts which were not only decent, but actually quite excellent in their quality, considering that it's a FDM printer after all.

Step 4: In Closing

Picture of In Closing

I hope you enjoyed this series of videos, and that it gave you a bit of an insight in how you can get a 3d printer yourself, without spending an arm and a leg, just a lot of your own time. If you have the money to spend there are better alternatives out there, yet I have no regrets in buying this printer. The alternatives are 3-4 times as expensive, and yeild not much better prints. I also, maybe most importantly, enjoyed myself immensely in the assembly and overcoming the issues the printer has.

If you would like the 3d model of the royal crown go to the YouTube page of the third video, the link is in the description.

Do you also have this printer, or perhaps a similar one also based on RepRap technology, please leave a comment below and tell us about your experiences.

Thanks for watching, see you next time!


prosperer888 (author)2015-09-09

Hai, i want to purchase 3d printer from aliexpress do you think it worth the price for $255.00

i already have ramps and mega

DanielS843 (author)prosperer8882017-05-04

acrylic heatbed base

kolger (author)prosperer8882016-05-06

Greetings: I'm very new to the 3D printing and I want to know what to look for in a printer. Cost is important (I'm cheap) and the degree of detail would have to be about what one would find on a 1/76th scale toy soldier. Maintenance and cost of use would also be considerations. Esentially, this is a 'toy' for me but eventually I'd like to see if there are more things I'd need it for.

jeffdewe (author)prosperer8882016-05-01

No its a acrylic frame, This is the one I got, Stainless steel frame, really solid.,searchweb201602_4_10037_10017_10034_10021_507_10022_10032_10009_10020_10008_10018_10019,searchweb201603_9&btsid=af997ed1-4e43-4706-aba8-5a19ee51224c

JustinJHCS (author)2016-06-16

It's a Kit Build is a loose term here

Medelis (author)2016-06-03

very COOL instructable

If you want to buy powerful & cheap 3D Printer...
auto leveling

(NO MORE wasting TIME - 30sek. & Ready To Go)
super basic to use (Cura 3D Printing Slicing Software )...MICROMAKE D1 ...

RaoA1 (author)2015-05-10

I m a M.E student working on a 3d printer capable of doing single color printing .How can i transform it in to multi color printing with dual extruder? please help

thank you

文杰谭 (author)RaoA12016-04-25

add another ecturder,you can study the ultimaker or makerbot

Switch and Lever (author)RaoA12015-05-10

I would suggest asking at one of the many communities dedicated to building 3d printers. Without knowing more I cannot guide you with your question, nor do I unfortunately have the time to do so. Good luck!

headslant (author)2016-03-04

Cool. Our school got this printer from a kind parent who donated the kit. between the lunches it took us a year to build it. :)

Yonatan24 (author)2015-11-26

I really like the look of that printer for some reason...
Too expensive for me...

Yonatan24 (author)Yonatan242015-11-26

Not that I would buy a printer because it looks good, I would buy one if it was a good quality one, I just like how it looks that everything is open

pgada (author)2015-09-17


Great instructable.

I could not understand the proper reason of using heat bed. Besides using it as platform for building entire 3D print workpiece, what are its other uses?

Simitro (author)pgada2015-10-21

You need a heated bed to print ABS, otherwise it wont stick to your bed and ruin your print.

cristiandc9 (author)2014-11-18

im sorry, i don`t speak english very well, but the title says building. i think have to say assembling

JoeI2 (author)cristiandc92015-08-17

Hey christian, I agree with you.

Hey christian,

i think you are looking for something like that?

Its an tutorial to build your own 3d printer. At this moment, there are only two steps of the tutorial, but we are working on it. Maybe you have a look :) The link shows the first steps of the 3d printer, making a calibration with a pen.

Looks nice, do you guys ill have a part list?

citylife (author)2015-08-01

Where can I buy this?

profort (author)2015-05-15

How would this printer compare against a delta reprap?

Switch and Lever (author)profort2015-05-16

Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps this would be more aptly asked at the forums?

palash0211 (author)2015-04-23

I'm a B.E student from Pune & I want to make 3D Printer as my final year project. so plz guyz help me & instruct me to make it from 0℅ to 100℅. All hardware, Software, Fabrication of cases. plzz

There are plenty of resources around the internet on how to build a multitude of DIY 3d printers. I would suggest starting there, as helping someone through the entire process would be extremely time intensive, and I doubt most people would have the time to. This is one of those areas where you either take a course on how to do it, with actual teachers, or you teach yourself using the material available online.

jdemers1 (author)2014-10-24

I love this printer. have you made any upgrades for yours? if been slowly adding and improving everything

gravityisweak (author)2014-10-20

Also, does this model have a heated bed? Heated beds are much more useful for the ABS frustration. ABS is typically considered much harder to print with at first than PLA. One last question, which file did you use for the Octopus in the pictures? It seems tons of people use this as a test print. (sorry if you answered any of these questions in the videos, I can't view them)

The model has a heated bed, but doesn't reach high enough temperatures to be useful for ABS. The octopus is from thingiverse, easily found by just searching for "octopus". Howcome you can't view my videos yet ask specific enough questions from parts which are only shown in the videos? I'm confused.

Sorry I should have been more clear. When viewing the instructables over the network at work, the videos just show up as blank boxes. I was reading the text and viewing the few images. The first one that shows 4 different things was enough.

ibenkos (author)2014-10-18

Smart idea! I really like this project. Thanks for shearig :)

Switch and Lever (author)ibenkos2014-10-21

Thank you!

Zach Sousa (author)2014-10-18

Excellent tutorial!


joehan (author)2014-10-19

Since the sucessor K8400 is on it's way i wouldn't recommend to buy a K8200 now.
I have two K8200 and i can only report good things (Well, the power supply ..) . On the other hand it should be clear that dragging around the print bed and a stepper motor will reduce print quality and reduces print speed. 3D printer technology improves continiously and i believe a K8200 is out-of-date. It's hardware parts are still great to play around with :)

Switch and Lever (author)joehan2014-10-21

That's great, I didn't know the new one was on its way. It looks quite different from this, hopefully the quality is an improvement as well.

mohamed4data (author)2014-10-19

Where can I buy this printer from? and how much?

That depends entirely on where you are in the world. Go to Velleman's website and look for their international distributors.

gravityisweak (author)2014-10-20

Nice! Good work noting that nobody should be getting a 3d printer or especially a kit without knowing that a LOT of tinkering will be required to get quality results. This is very much an early technology and 3d printers are extremely high maintenance compared to an inkjet printer most people are used to. What did you end up doing for software? Was it included in the kit or did you download some free open source stuff?

It's included, in the sense that you have to download it from their website. Repetier Host controls the printer, whereas Cura (instead of the recommended Slic3r) generates the gcode.

baecker03 (author)2014-10-20

what software are you using?

Which software am I using for what? Generating the gcode? Cura. Controlling the printer? Repetier Host. Making my videos? After Effects (mainly).

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