Even though we have access to a (sometimes working) 3D printer at our local hackspace my friend Kevin and I decided to build our own from scratch vs buying a kit or finished printer. The reasons being we'd get to learn how they work, we can pick the quality of parts and we like to make stuff.
After looking at various designs we decided on a Prusa i3. We hope to document the build from start to finish, initial calibration and our first prints.
For this Instructable we have obviously used information gathered from all over the Internet and that was a part of the learning process. A great place to start is the RepRap wiki, particularly the section on the Prusa i3
We had a lot of great advice from another friend Rob I met through my day job as an IT support person and also members at our local Hackspace - a big thanks to Ashley in particular.
The Prusa i3 is a part of the RepRap 3D printer family. It is a design from Josef Prusa, and the i3 stands for iteration 3.
It uses either a "single frame" or "boxed frame" and there are many derivatives from the original design. His original single frame uses a water jet cut aluminum frame but for our build we used a derivative - a laser cut plywood frame with braces designed by sgraber. It was cheaper to make and we were able to use the laser cutter at our local hackspace. The rest of the parts were sourced from vendors on AliExpress, eBay and local businesses.
We used the "vanilla" printed parts, but did make some small changes along the way.
To build this printer you should be comfortable with "making stuff", Arduino's, know how to use a multi-meter, solder and also know a little about electronics.