3D printers is an engineers dream, but sometimes the cost can be a dealbreaker. In this Instructable I will show you have to build a 3D printer for only 130$. Not only will this 3D printer save you BIG money, but you will also be able to print objects with the same quality as a branded printer! Don't be intimidated by assembling a 3D printer, see it as an oppurtuinty to expand and evolve your tech-knowledge.
One could probably write a book about the "best" 3D printer, so in
this step I'm going to write about the printer I use and think is a great printer for the majority of you reading this. Would you spend 3000$ for a 3D printer? Because that's the cost of the most known printer out on the market, the Ultimaker. Maybe you would, and obviously a lot of you already has. However, most of probably don't want to spend that kind of money. What if I told you that you could get a perfectly good 3D printer for only 130$? Well, that's the printer I use everyday and create beautiful high quality prints with. It's called the Anet A8, you can find it here:
HUGE COUPON: A8Desktop
Step 1: Gather the Parts
The Anet A8 3D printer arrives unassembled, but as mentioned earlier, this should not intimidate you! Your first step is to gather all the parts, and organize them in such a way you will easily find them. You can also remove the protective film from your acrylic frame parts. In case you like the "wooden" look of the protective film, you can actually keep it on.
Step 2: Assemble the Frame
Once the protective film have been removed from the acrylic parts, you can go ahead and assemble parts of the fram as shown in the pictures. As this is the main part of the entire frame, it's crucial to align the parts correctly.
Step 3: Hook Up the Y and Z Motors
5 motors are included in the package; X, Y, 2x Z and an extruder motor. In this step you will be hooking up the Y motor, but also the two Z motors. Once the Y motor is in place you can screw on the mechanical end stop tightly.
The aluminium H-plate screws on top of 4 bearings sliding against 2 metal rods going from the front to back of the printer. Underneath the aluminium plate you will hook up the drive belt, and tension the belt moderately. This printer use 2 stepper motors to control the Z-axis. Install them like seen in the pictures. While you at it you might just aswell attach the end stop for the Z-motors.
Step 4: Install X-Motor and Z-Axis Rods
Take the correct length of metal rods and place them vertically next to the Z-motors, at the same time you will place the threaded rods to the Z-motors adapters. Before placing the rods you should insert the X-motor holder (white).
Place the two horizontal rods through the white brackets, you may have to drill for easier insertion. You should also use the last three bearing guides, two on the top rod and one on the bottom rod.
Step 5: Attaching Extruder, Bed and Display
The extruder basically arrives in 3 pieces; extruder motor, fan 1 and fan 2. The smaller 40x40 fan will be attached on the left side, while the larger fan with an exhaust downwards should be place on front of the extruder.
Use the included screws and springs to fasten the bed, and make sure it's absolutetly level! Before thinking about cable management, you can place the display on the top frame piece.
Step 6: Connecting the Main Controller and Power Supply
Use the diagram on the third picture in order to successfully connect the wires correctly. Regarding the power supply, the chord has three wires (brown, blue and yellow), connect them according to picture number 4. The main controller has a red and a black wire, connect these to number 4 and 7 on the power supply.
The holes made for the power supply was correctly aligned and forced me to drill my own. You may have to do the same.
Step 7: Software and Firmware
In order for the printer to work you have to install a software called Repetier Host:https://www.repetier.com/download-now/
Repetier Host makes you able to place the specific object you wish to print, you can also resize, move and rotate your object. However, to start the printing process you also need to slice the object. Slicing is when a computer transforms your object into coordinates for the printer to understand where it should go and do at that specific point. Download this slicer:https://ultimaker.com/en/products/cura-software
Step 8: Improvements
Cooling and the distance between the extruder and bed is what impacts the print quality the most. That's why it's important to have a good cooling nozzle, preferably a nozzle that blows air inwards in all directions. Print this cooling nozzle for higher quality prints: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:683604
There's a lot of things that could wrong during a print, and while we can't control them all, there's one important risk we can improve. That's a better filament holder. Sometimes the material tangles and even hinders the filament from entering the extruder. That's why I highly recommend you to build a better filament holder!
Step 9: Start Printing!
You are all set! Now you can start printing what you have always dreamed of creating. In case you wish to use CAD-software I recommend Fusion 360: http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/overv...
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