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.

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AlbertN115 days ago

This looks awesome! I was just wonder though.. How much did all of this cost in total?

SteveRoy (author)  AlbertN114 days ago

About US $580 or CDN $650 using quality parts. You could do it for less using knock-off j-head hotend and cheap heated bed, cheap RAMPS etc

ach1258219 days ago

How many hours did it take to build, once you had all of the parts and tools on hand?

SteveRoy (author)  ach1258219 days ago

It took us 2-3 months working on it one night a week at our hackspace. But we took our time and made sure the wiring etc was neat as we worked on it. It also took a lot of time to photograph and write the instructable as we progressed through the build. The 2nd and 3rd ones we built took a lot less time - probably less than 1/2 of the original build

RubenM126 days ago

Hi, Im am new in these things, The endstops v.1.2 could be optional?, and I dont understood well the pronterface theme, Is necessary install pronterface in each computer where I connect the 3d printer, or is saved i the arduino?

SteveRoy (author)  RubenM126 days ago


End stops aren't optional. You need them so the printer can go to a "home" position and know the limit of it axis travel. If you don't install end stops the axis motors will only go in 1 direction.

Pronterface (or Repetier-Host) is used to control the printer prior to sending the job to it to print. You could use an LCD controller with SD card option and print from that (I ahve since installed one and we print via that) but it's easier to get the printer setup via Pronterface - so yes you will need it installed on whatever computer you want to connect the printer to.

Thanks for reply my question!

Ammm how many endstops did you use? I read the material list, but it doesn´t appear

SteveRoy (author)  RubenM124 days ago

You need 3, one for each axis.

RubenM126 days ago

Another silly quiestion, jeje, I can print models of solidworks?. I mean with the extension .stl? And this 3d printer doesn´t has a ventilator???


SteveRoy (author)  RubenM126 days ago

We have added a cooling fan to the nozzle since I did this Instructable, it helps with bridging.

SteveRoy (author)  RubenM126 days ago

You use a program like slic3r or Cura to convert (slice) the stl file into gcode which the printer uses to print.

CK1011 month ago
Hi I would also look forward to that and maybe a video. But right now I need to know how to get the laser cut parts and the power supply. Which one did you guys get?
SteveRoy (author)  CK1011 month ago

Meant to say - if you search eBay for "12V LED power supply" you will find the type we used for the next build.

SteveRoy (author)  CK1011 month ago

For the power supply - For our build I used:

If you search for "12V LED power supply" you will find the type we used for the next build. We used a 30A for the second build

For the laser cut parts, since this build was a "vanilla" with 8mm and 10mm threaded rods we cut this frame at our local hackspace:



invintive4 months ago
This is fantastic! By far one of the most thorough guides I've been able to find! This will definitely help when I can finally start building a prusa of my own. Thank you!

P.S. I would look forward to a calibration guide