Plan B is an open source 3DP 3D printer. It uses binder and powder to create it´s parts. It can be built for €1000,- ($1300,-) if the parts are sourced right. It uses standard 3D printer parts and electronics, off the shelf inkjet components, 3D printed parts and a sturdy laser cut (or water cut) aluminium frame.

It has a step accuracy of up to 0.05mm and has a printing accuracy of 96DPI (coming from it's HP C6602 inkjet cartridge). The inkjet technology on Plan B is based on the inkshield. It has a printing envelope of 150mmx150mmx100mm and has a layer thickness of 0.15mm to 0.2mm. It's current speed is 60mm/s, though with better firmware this speed can easily be doubled.

It currently prints in special 3DP printing gypsum with matched binder. Additional materials are going to be investigated.

All the information in this instructable is going to be a condensed version of the information I have on my own site: Ytec3D.com/plan-B and http://ytec3d.com/plan-B-building/. For the sake of readability, this instructable only contains the necessary information, no deep explanations of what and why. All files can be downloaded on my site and are free to use, if there is any file missing, please tell me so and I will add this file as soon as possible.

*A special thanks to:

  • AMR europe, for the 3DP printing powder and advice on 3DP printing. Without this Focus and Plan B would not have been possible.
  • Marin Kaçaj, for spending the past half year helping me develop a decent slicer for Plan B. As soon as it is stable I (or he) will share it.

(Plan B is entered in the Epilog Challenge. If I would win, I would use the laser cutter to make Plan B more friendly for consumer laser cutters, replacing all but a few aluminum parts for laser cut plastic parts.)

Step 1: What Is 3DP Printing

How 3DP works

3DP uses the same technology used in normal inkjet printers. It prints in a special powder a special binder. The different starts after the layer is done. The 3DP printer will deposit a fresh layer of powder over the previous layer and start printing on the new layer. When all the layers are printed, the printer uses heat to strengthen the part. When this heat cycle is done, the print can be removed and 'depowdered', removing all the powder that is not bound but does stick to the part. This powder is removed with air. When the part is clean, it can be infiltrated with wax, epoxy, or CA glue to add strength.

Possible materials:

  • 3DP printing gypsum, a fancy mix of gypsum and different powders bound with a binder that contains mostly water, but a lot of mystery. All trade secret of course;
  • Ceramic powders with Maltodextrine added, bound with rice wine or vodka [source];
  • USG hydroperm or other high quality dental plasters, bound with rice wine [source];
  • Sugar and mystery binder.

(For everyone who wants a more detailed analysis of the printing material and binders, go here.)


  • Higher accuracy due to smaller and more controllable nozzles;
  • No support material needed, the material supports itself;
  • Full color potential, Inkjet can print in full color, Plan B is not yet capable of this;
  • Excess material can be reused;
  • Many different printing materials;
  • Possibly cheaper materials.


  • Powder printing is by nature a bit messy;
  • Part often require post processing;
  • Powder printers need to be filled to the height they need to print, regardless of the size of the part;
  • 3DP can only print in one material at a time;
  • Hollow parts need escape holes to evacuate the unbound powder inside;
  • Thin walls and rods are fragile until post processing.
<p>Hi,</p><p>what is the difference from this one(<a href="http://pwdr.github.io/" rel="nofollow">http://pwdr.github.io/</a>)?</p><p>I'm trying to start on this 3d thing as a hobby, but the specs sometimes change at software only, i'm a bit confused :)</p>
<p>Hardware wise not much. Both are powder and inkjet printers, both use the HP C6602A and both are decent, but more there to prove a point an be useful as a stepping stone. Both are at this point no longer supported.</p><p>If you want to start a 3D thing as a hobby, I advice against powder. It is difficult, messy and has very limited uses. Start with FDM or DLP. </p>
<p>thank you, for the answer (and specially for the advice, i will certainly take this into consideration). </p>
<p>i've worked on the 660pro quite a bit, but would love to see this design adapted a bit more for a home version. What are your thoughts about a 5 cartridge build (cmyk&amp;clear)?</p>
<p>I saw this project in Make Magazine's annual 3D printing issue, congratulations and keep up the good work! </p><p>I think you might be interested in reading this article I wrote about a new powder bed &amp; inkjet 3D printer design based on a robotic arm. Maybe you can get some ideas from it. <a href="http://engineerdog.com/2015/05/18/powder-bed-inkjet-3d-printing-like-youve-never-seen-before/" rel="nofollow">http://engineerdog.com/2015/05/18/powder-bed-inkje...</a></p>
<p>I am currently building this for my Masters research so first off thank you for adding links to all your parts. I'm in the US and I cannot find sheet metal in metric thicknesses. I was going to to use 3/16&quot; and 1/4&quot; thick aluminum sheet, would having this larger thickness compromise the design?</p>
<p>With this design, I'm guessing you need to have the print head further from the powder surface than it would be over paper, just to avoid clogging the jets. The greater distance could result in more randomness in the binder placement. Other thought: what is the viscosity of your binder versus ink jet ink?<br><br>One thing I didn't understand, why do you have two feed bins instead of one?</p>
<p>The distance from the printhead to the powder is a bit much and it can be closer. The limiting factor here is not powder clogging up the nozzles but the carrier of the cartridge being in the way. The viscosity is quite a bit like water. The surface tension I can't test here.</p><p>The double feed piston is indeed an extra motor, but it is there for a good reason. Speed. With a double feed piston, you only have to move the spreader to one side and then continue printing. The next layer it can move back. With a single feed piston you'd have to move back the full 300mm every layer. It might only be 3-4 seconds every layer, but multiply that by 200 layers (35mm) and you can add over 10 minutes extra to the print. A new layer currently takes already 11 seconds. I just won 30%, without any other modification.</p><p>Plan B was designed for speed. That's why there is a double piston. It is not even close to it's limit yet.</p>
I have an idea.use the uv resin and uv light.
<p>Is there a forum or online community for this project?</p>
<p>There isn't right now. </p><p>It wouldn't take hours to add a forum to my site, but personally I don't see the use for this yet, there aren't many people with Plan B's yet. On the other hand, maybe I need to be ahead of this thing. I will think about adding a forum to Y-tec3D and if you have a better suggestion please let me know.</p>
Dear Eng. <br>pleaseI was wondering why it doesn't print in color? <br>
<p>ever get the forum going? I want to upsize this sucker</p>
<p>There is a small forum online with a few active people:</p><p><a href="http://ytec3d.com/forum-index/" rel="nofollow">http://ytec3d.com/forum-index/</a></p>
You could just use Google groups. I'm on a number of projects that way. See Fabbscan. You could also put files up on Github. I think it would be a good idea to get something going so that you can get a community growing. Your printer is a big deal I think. It's a great start to a method I've thought too difficult to be viable in the near term, but you've proven me wrong. I'm excited to try it...right after I get my DLP printer from SeeMeCNC!
Wow, excellent work?<br>I love this. I wish you success
<p>What would you say the maintainability on the machine is like?</p>
<p>I installed Z-Printers from Z-Corp. for a while.</p><p>The results from full color version is quite impressing. But most of the time, if my customers wanted to print, nozzles were clogged. You can tell them about the importance of cleanliness, but they mostly don't obey...</p><p>In the end, most customers weren't happy with these machines. Maybe this could be enhanced with a cleverer &quot;Autocleaning&quot; mechanism.</p><p>Nevertheless, a very impressive instructable. Very cool.</p>
<p>While I haven't had this problem myself yet, I will most certainly keep this information in the back of my head when problems start occurring. Maybe it is because I remove the cartridge when I am filling up the printer.</p>
<p>yes! yes!</p><p>i have been waiting for something like this ever since i got into 3d printing. If i had the time/money i'd do this right away. you could make a nice profit if you sold this for $2000 asembled.</p>
<p>Selling is a bit risky right now. 3DP is closed domain until 20 December 2016. That's when the core patent for 3DP printing will expire. Until then, selling in large quantities is basically patent infringement and a bit too risky for my taste.</p>
<p>There will *always* be another bullsh*t patent claiming to own everything you want to do, and it makes no difference whether it's valid or not (more than half of all patents are invalidated when asserted - that's how lazy the USPTO is at examining properly), and makes no difference if you're infringing or not, because you do not have the minimum $2.5M it takes to either defend a suit, or challenge validity. </p><p>Your best bet - do whatever you like, but set up from outside the USA, so if the trolls come knocking, you can safely ignore them.</p>
<p>Remarkable! Voted you for all 3 categories! :D</p>
<p>Awesome job</p>
Why do the parts look scratchy or rough?
<p>good question. is it the powder the binder or the glue?</p><p>also with the glue is it the glue liquid or the vapour that helps strengthen it? I was thinking if the vapour is all that is needed a rotisserie over a pool of the glue might make for a more even application</p>
<p>The scale of the roughness I have is still a bit of a mystery to me. Even professional 3DP printers have a slightly grainy structure, but I will admit that I have quite a bit of it.</p><p>Right now I am not quite certain, but I think it is the accuracy of the nozzle, combined with the strength I bind with. The resolution of the cartridge might leave imperfections in the surface and the relatively weak binder might allow imperfections to form on the surface while cleaning.</p><p>With the glue it really is the glue strengthening it. The evenness of the application is already quite right, the glue gets sucked up by the part and instantly cures. Any more glue simply flows to the rest of the part or runs off. Vapour is merely a side effect of the glue, it reacts, heats up and in the process it vapourizes tiny amounts of itself.</p>
<p>really cool.</p>
<p>Wow, this is impressive. Thank you for sharing this! </p>

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