Picture of Poor Man's 3D Printer

My goal was to build a cheap and inexpensive 3D Printer for less than 100 Dollar/Euro

What are the features of the Poor Man's 3D Printer ?

- Fused deposition modeling ABS/PLA

- Heat bed

- use of open source firmware, modified version of Tonokip

- free host software, Repetier-Host

- bowden-extruder

- max. build size 40mm x 40mm x 40mm

- resolution 0.08mm

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Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

Parts i bought:

- Arduino Board Mega 2560 (on ebay from china): 10 Euro

- 2 pcs. Stackable Motor Driver Shield L293D 6 Euro

- Hotend MK7 MK8 noozle 0,4mm+thermistor+cartridge 20 Euro

- PTFE Tube 4 x 2mm & 2 pcs. 1/8" BSP 6 Euro

- Fan 30mm x 30mm 2 Euro

- MOSFETs,resistors,caps,LEDs,thermistor 5 Euro

Recyled PC/printer part:

- 4 pcs. DVD/Blu-ray drives, with stepper motors ! old cd drives can't be used because they work with dc-motors

- old PC power supply, 12V/5A and 5V/2A are required

- stepper motor nema17-like from old printer for extruder

- i use a modified gear (see pictures) from an old hp printer for the bowden-extruder, optional you could get an airtripper extruder for about 25 Euro

Things that every hobbyist has in his garage :-)

- many screws, nuts and washers M3,M4,M5

- lots of wires

- aluminium-sheet for the frame, you can also use wood

- some alu/metal profiles, see pictures

Step 2: Pictures from building the chassis

Picture of Pictures from building the chassis
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Step 3: Endstops

Picture of Endstops

use endstops from dvd drive !

Step 4: Counterweights

Picture of Counterweights
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I had to made counterweights for the z-axis because the x- dvd drive + Hotend are too heavy for the small steppers

The counterweight is simply connected through a cord and a pulley with the drive.

The weight of one counterweight = weight of (x drive + hotend) /2

Step 5: Extruder

Picture of Extruder
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The Extruder was build of a gear of an old hp printer deskjet 300. I remove the original stepper (too weak) and

replace it with a bigger one, i find two of them in an epson stylus color 600.

The shaft was shorten and milled grooves with a dremel, then a metal gearwheel was placed near the shaft.

The gearwheel has one groove too.

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Kikus31 made it!6 days ago

Hi, Great instructable, i trying to make one like you. It's not finish...

Chers amis francophone, si vous voulez aussi participer à la conception d'une micro imprimante, venez me rejoindre sur :

hcsaki5 months ago

Why is there a need for 4 dvd/blu-ray drives with stepper motors. Isn't 3 motors enough for the 3 axes?

Xixfas hcsaki9 days ago

You need 2 for the z axis.

VictorH43 months ago

what is the model of nema17?

nema 17 is the model

JaunS12 days ago
Hello, I have built all the hardware: physical structure, and have completed in entering the GRBLtoArduino and all the software. I have used the Universal GCodeSender and has successfully interpreted the software for is says " Grbl 0.8c ['$' for help] ". I've soldered the stepper motors (for I'm using steppers from dvd roms) to some salvages wire from a printer I took apart. I installed some female sockets in order to connect to the male pins on the CNC Shield ver. 2.01 . The orange light from the arduino flashes and in the Universal GCodeSender ver. 0.8 completes the operation b/c is says " ok " . I have no idea whats wrong. I know the steppers work b/c ive used a 9v battery to pulse the motors and they do indeed pulse. Ive used a multimeter to check its resistance and it works. I've checked the current on the motors once connected to the cnc shield and there's current. I have tested if the drivers are in fact getting power and they are. I've attempted the code " x=100 " , " $7=225 " but no motor movement. Can ANYONE help me ?
JuneC21 month ago

let me just ask one thing, can i use "RepRap J-head MKIV/MKV hotend" instead of that mk7/mk8 hotend?? as i live far away from germany, i need another one.

Gelstronic (author)  JuneC21 month ago
of course, you can use any hotend

can you explain the difference, please? i'm very new to these things. now i'm making the extruder, and it's not so easy..

JuneC2 JuneC21 month ago

also what's the difference between mkv and mk7?

Gelstronic (author)  JuneC21 month ago
mkv version 5 ("V")
mk7 version 7
dintid3 months ago

Anyway to tell if a drive's motor is stepper motor or DC motor? I just salvaged some old CD drives and some old DVD drives.. and some of the motors are identical across the devices!

Hopefully you've found the answer to your question by now but just in case: the easiest way to tell the difference is that stepper motors have 4 wire leads and tend to be more boxy looking, while DC have 2 and are more cylindrical. Hope that helped :)

Thanks. Yes I did. Also made a similar Instructable based on Ramps where I go Down to the very basics for novices.

I'll be sure to check it out :)

The various DVD/CD DC motors looked rather similar to the Stepper motor versions. Some DCs were boxy though, but not all.
Paulo132101 month ago


how did you calibrate the printer? i've got troubles with X ans Y motor, RepRap_printDoctor said that it could be L293 High temp so I cool it with fans then it could be current calibration of the pololu but i've got L293D. Is there a way to put a resistor somewhere to reduce current?


profort1 month ago
please tell me more I would like to build one but have very little financial resources.
kudrat922 months ago

fter everything done, i am getting problems with repetier host. the stepper motors are moving when I click on the axis home buttons but when i give a particular distance to travel, the axis are not moving. please tell me why?

marcc62 months ago

I am looking into building this printer. I do not know much about 3d printing yet. I found this kit on ebay -

Would it be better value for my money to buy this kit to build this printer?

Gelstronic (author)  marcc62 months ago
hmmm, now it works...
the kit is good but the price is a little bit expensive,
maybe you'll get it cheaper directly from china/HK ?
Gelstronic (author)  marcc62 months ago
the link doesn't work !
Denis3105022 months ago
Gelstronic (author)  Denis3105022 months ago
Yes, but don't use the L293 motor shield anymore, the ramps shields have become so cheap, look here for ramps 1.4 + 5 stepper driver + Mega2560.
thank sir i done moving all steppers coming soon I'll print something

I checked with as given photo but repitier host cant drive any of my stepper motor.

i connect all things as in given photo, only extruder and hotbed not connected and end stop too.

schame poor 3D.jpg

Hi gelstronic
i have done all as your given information and i upload Tonokip code in my arduino mega board and it's successfully uploaded,
but when i connect mega board with repeterhost software connecting is done, but after than no any motor response,

whats problem in this??

Paulo132103 months ago

Hello, I try to copy your printer but how did you manage in order that it don't become Hyperstatics mainly for up and down?

best regards

CK1013 months ago
jad518 months ago

Is it possible to run servo's directly off the Arduino without a shield if I use separate servo drivers and a separate temperature controllers?

Very nice work by the way :)

Gelstronic (author)  jad518 months ago

Servo drivers don't work for stepper motors, you need stepper motor drivers like these:
or buy them on ebay from china for much less.
And of course you don't need a shield but it's easier to work with.
Take a look at ebay for a ramps shield and 4 drivers from china
and you'll now what i mean !

what is the model of nema17 ?

where I can buy it

jad51 Gelstronic8 months ago

Whoops sorry I meant Stepper motors :) I really just need the pulses and limits from the Arduino. Thanks very much for the reply +1


I'm decide to make this using easy driver,

so is it easy to same drive with easy driver same as L293D stepper driver?

Gelstronic (author)  Brijesh Sondarva4 months ago
I recommend RAMPS
smartmiltoys4 months ago

Very nice! A larger build area could probably be had by scavenging three
printers. A fair amount of inkjets nowadays even come with A3 size

DMXM5 months ago


One question I have build one with ramps 1.4 and the moves works fine

but the abs material does not hold on the table.

What can I do

Thanks in advance

Gelstronic (author)  DMXM5 months ago

use some sugarwater or haispray

Gelstronic (author)  Gelstronic5 months ago

and show us a photo/video of your machine !

DMXM Gelstronic4 months ago

Ok I'll send you a video soon

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