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

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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

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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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SamusAran2824 days ago
Including the hole in the center and the bent up sides please? Thanks!!!
SamusAran2824 days ago
I'm totally gonna make this. Could you give me the dimensions for the metal frame please?
my $400 US printrbot can't even use abs but this one can very good

very good

pireto1 month ago

Good, could you update the shopping list?

Gelstronic (author)  pireto1 month ago

tell me what item you need ? Is there something you don't know/find ?

I need the MOSFETs,resistors,caps,LEDs,thermistor

Gelstronic (author)  pireto1 month ago

You could find it in the schematic, the thermistor is 100K,

I recommend to use a ramps like this it's cheap, easier and ready

to use

Gelstronic (author)  Gelstronic1 month ago

see also step 11

You changed the Stackable Motor Driver Shield for ramps?

Gelstronic (author)  pireto1 month ago
yes, i describe the reasons above
Gelstronic (author)  Gelstronic1 month ago

see also step 11

plz send me the cost
plz send the video too of its workin
shruti24931 month ago
May I get your mail id? Ill need a bit more help here
Gelstronic (author) 4 months ago

update, see above !

wzor Gelstronic4 months ago

Very bad prints.

ruisantos10 wzor4 months ago

Well, such a small design ( less than 3cm high? ) with a 0.4mm needle, on a really cheap printer, is good enough!

Possibly still requires some fine tuning to get the best out of it, but that's a part of making it your self.

This project made me to make my own as well! I'm building a similar one, but instead, the extruder will be fixed! the base will do the job. I hope :D

Can you tell me how I can determine the power those motors need? Mine are different from each other and no info (apart from serial number) is there!

Hi, this is shruti from india, wanting to begin making this kind of 3d printer. ! You said you were making one by yourself. I thought I might find help here. May I get your contact information please?
Gelstronic (author)  ruisantos104 months ago

With my first motor shields i use 5V for all kind of DVD steppers ( 3 different ones) and the motors were not too hot.

Now i use the A4988 steppers which operates with a minimum of 8 Volt and so i limit the current to 200-300 mA.

how do you limit the current with a44988 stepper?

That's it! a small screw that acts as a potentiometer. Just be very careful, as it is very sensitive to reach the current you need.

I regulated mine with very small increments until I reached the required Amperage for my motors, and double checked with a multimeter.

Gelstronic (author)  onecell3 months ago

The current is controlled with a potentiometer, have a look at the

A4988 stepper motor driver carrier

tnx man.

Well, that makes sense! I suppose they won't get that much hotter than on 5V.

I've been looking at the L293D shield which provides 4.5-36V and 0.6A continuous per phase, and allows 2 steppers each. And it can be stacked with more parallel H-bridges, to double the current! That's nice for upgrades.

Have you worked with those?

The A4988 seem more powerfull, but they're a bit more expensive too. Are they worth the difference in terms of performance?

Thank you!

jad511 month 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)  jad511 month 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 !

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

cloning2 months ago
is there any need of extruder controller?
Gelstronic (author)  cloning2 months ago

No, the arduino controls all the stepper motors incl. the extruder stepper

michaelgc3 months ago

Super cool! I have been looking into these for my middle school stem class.

Gelstronic (author) 3 months ago

also many thanks to Raphango and gravityisweak !!!!

Raphango3 months ago

WHOA MAN! Awesome!!!

Really gotta do myself one of those!

Thanks for sharing!

gravityisweak3 months ago

Incredible. I'm always amazed at what people can make by combining bits and pieces of other technology. Some parts from ebay, some scraps, some free code, and here is a 3d printer. Amazing. Also, nice print of the Make: robot!

I have been wanting to a me a 3d price printer for cheap and I have every part you made it with laying around the house thanks man good work.
Gelstronic (author)  limitlessIdeas3 months ago

sounds good, thank you and good luck !


i want to make it but i dont know about it programing and some sort of Gcode

Help me in programing at were i placed the Cad software Gcode

Kante Tech4 months ago

Does it have to be arduino mega and have you thought about printing out materials that are different than cubes to fully test the machine?

Gelstronic (author)  Kante Tech4 months ago

I think you could also use an arduino pro mini 324, and i have print other things, see step 12 !

g0l0v1nv4 months ago
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