This project describes the design of a very low budget 3D Printer that is mainly built out of recycled electronic components. The result is a small format printer for less than 100$.

First of all, we learn how a generic CNC system works (by assembling and calibrating bearings, guides and threads) and then teach the machine to respond to g-code instructions. After that, we add a small plastic extruder and give an overview on plastic extrusion calibration, driver power tuning and other few operations that will bring the printer to live. Following this instructions you will get a small footprint 3D Printer that is built with about an 80% of recycled components, which gives it a great potential and helps to reduce the cost significantly.

On one side you get an introduction to machine building and digital fabrication and on the other side you get a small 3D Printer built out of reused electronic parts. This should help us to be more conscious about the big problems related with e-waste generation.


Step 1: Step 1: X, Y and Z axes

Needed components:

2 standard CD/DVD drives from an old PC.

1 Floppy disc drive.

We can get this components at no cost in a waste station in our neibourhood. We want to make sure that the motors we get from the Floppy disc drives are stepper motors and not DC motors.


<p>I finally got around building one, be it a bit modified as I don't have access to either a laser cutter or a 3D printer for the extruder parts (okay, I DO have access to a 3D printer if I really want but thats not the point) so I had to hack my way through the build. But it works, and it works reasonably well actually. It set me back only $40,- on electronics, hotend and bowden tube!</p>
<p>Well Done, Could you please explain the calibration you have done for CD drive stepper motors ? what values did you use? </p><p>Thanks heaps </p>
Hi Hossein, I followed the procedure of this instructables, so I went with the default Marlin settings, moved 1cm and measured. Then calculated the difference between what should have been and what was actually moved, changed the steps_per_mm settings accordingly and repeated the process until happy. Then printed a test cube 10x10x10mm and measured. Changed the steps_per_mm again to fine adjust. It's no rocket science but you'll have to take a bit of time for this.
<p>Hello Again, I have a problem, My DVD stepper motors getting too hot, it reaches 80C, I reduce the voltage using the potentiometer on stepper driver to the minimum possible but still motors getting hot. </p><p>Please advise</p>
<p>There is no real solution for that, we are driving them way over their limits.</p><p>You could try and install cooling fins and have a fan blow over your printer (which is a good idea anyways for your print too) but yeah, they will heat up alarmingly.</p><p>You can also try and reduce the voltage fed to the board, make it 10V instead of 12V. No idea if that works at all, though.</p>
Just FYI, I know as an electrician that stepping down the voltage would increase resistance and therefore increase the temperature but however, increasing the voltage and therefore lowering the temperature would also decrease the resistance on all affected parts and increase risk of circuits arcing to one another which could possible fry some micro electronics. Just be careful when increasing or decreasing ?
<p>Actually, you are a little wrong here. You refer to Ohm's Law (U=I*R) and that is correct, however since the resistance is a constant (a characteristic of the motor) if you decrease voltage you also decrease the current running through the motor and that in turn decreases the temperature of the motor - and the power the motor can exert (since P=I^2*R). Increasing voltage would increase the temperature of the motor - quite rapidly, actually, since it increases exponentially. THAT would definately fry your electronics indeed.</p><p>So yeah, always be careful tinkering with the settings - but lowering the voltage is the safe side of things here.</p>
<p>Thanks a lot, I will do what you said. :) </p>
Man how did you do it what kind of knowledge does it take
<p>It's not that hard, I used the information from this instructable which is - be it somewhat unstructured - largely complete and just replaced all laser cut and 3D printed parts with hand-cut and crafted items. In terms of building, you should be familiar with saws, plywood, wood glue, bolts and nuts, and some basic metalworking skills.</p><p>In terms of getting it to work - the internet is your friend, starting with the Instructables website. Stepper motors, Arduino and RAMPS / Marlin are worlds on their own and you should read up on that so you have at least an idea of what you are doing. You don't need superduper Arduino programming skillz but you should be able to read the configuration.h file and modify the various items to your printer. You also need to understand the way steppers work to be able to troubleshoot any issues with them.</p><p>Other than that, only a little perseverance and motivation is needed ;-)</p>
<p>Hi, what a dimensions you use for &quot;Step 7: Building the Machine Structure&quot;? Can't find necessary scale in cad-file. 10:1 is too big. Pls, help.</p>
I honestly don't know. I printed it out on (I believe) A3 paper and stuck that together. I printed out two versions but that was over a year ago and I didn't bother documenting anything... So it was pretty much empirical for me.
<p>hey what psu did you use? like wattage wise</p>
Hi, since this printer only has very small steppers and no heated bed, pretty much any ATX power supply is already overkill so I just picked one off my pile of cr##. I think you could get away with, like, 12V/5A or so...
<p>Could you tell me or send PM with the list of things you used? Everyone says something different. Yours looks perfect.</p>
Hi, I don't really have a complete parts list as I just made it up as I went - but in short I used:<br>-Arduino Mega + RAMPS 1.4 kit including stepper drivers<br>-E3D-hotend knockoff complete kit<br>-Bowden PTFE tube<br>-Pneufittings (this all came from Aliexpress and Banggood, search for the best price with reasonable reviews)<br><br>-Two DVD-drives with &quot;large&quot; steppers (I first had one drive with a stepper of less than a cm dia, which was blatantly underpowered)<br>-One floppy drive<br>-A large stepper from an old discarded printer, gear &quot;modified&quot; with a small file for better grip<br>-A bit of polycarbonate as build bed<br>-A bit of veroboard to act as spacer between DVD-drive carriage and build bed<br>-A computer PSU<br>-Some plywood for the frame and misc.<br>-Some aluminium extruded profiles from the hardware store<br>-A bit of brass I had on hand, drilled and grooved, for the idler pulley<br>-Misc bolts and nuts, mostly M3, M4, M5, as needed to mount whatever you want to mount<br>-Some electrical wires from the bits-box and Aliexpress (for the 4-pin-connectors of the steppers).
<p>-A large stepper from an old discarded printer, gear &quot;modified&quot; with a small file for better grip.</p><p>Is this for the extruder? If so, how do I determine if a given stepper motor will be a good replacement for NEMA 17?<br><br>Thanks in advance for the answer :D</p>
That's indeed for the extruder. But honestly, I really don' t know how to determine if a stepper is suitable or not - I just went with the largest stepper with metal gear I could find and hoped for the best.
<p>I still dont know what completes a whole hotend kit. What i've took note so far is:</p><p>- JHead E3D V5 1.75 mm - 0.4 mm Bowden Extruder with 100K thermistor</p><p>- Aluminum Heat Block E3D V6 J-head MK7/MK8</p><p>- Some brass nozzle extruder with different sizes</p><p>- 3D Printer Cooling Fan</p><p>- Pneumatic Connectors PC4-01 1.75 mm</p><p>- PTFE Tube Bowden Extrude 1.75 mm</p><p>Is this what completes the set?</p><p>And for the bolts and nuts, where you bought them? Also at ali?</p><p>If you purchased the whole hotend kit in one item, could you link me that? </p><p>Thanks a lot!</p>
<p>The kit I used consisted of the alu heat block, alu cooler body, heat break, nozzle, pneumatic coupler, thermistor and heater cardridge. I completed it with a small computer fan I already had, some aluminum profiles to create the mount and a PTFE bowden tube 1.75mm including two connectors (it was a little set).</p><p>So what I BOUGHT was:</p><p>-The Jhead E3D kit</p><p>-The Bowden tube with fitting pneumatic connectors</p><p>If I was to order it today, I would order this:</p><p><a href="http://nl.aliexpress.com/item/E3D-V6-3D-Printer-J-head-Hotend-with-Single-Cooling-Fan-for-1-75mm-3-0mm/32336514653.html?detailNewVersion=&spm=2114.13010608.0.92.LdyoTd" rel="nofollow">http://nl.aliexpress.com/item/E3D-V6-3D-Printer-J-...</a> (received it a week ago, looks sweet - sweeter than what's on my eWaste printer actually)</p><p><a href="http://nl.aliexpress.com/item/1M-3D-Printer-PTFE-Tube-for-Long-distance-3D-Printer-J-head-Hotend-for-1-75mm/32639908963.html?isOrigTitle=true" rel="nofollow">http://nl.aliexpress.com/item/1M-3D-Printer-PTFE-T...</a></p><p>That should do the whole trick - apart from mounting it and the extruder stepper assembly of course, which goes on the other end of the tube.</p><p>Nuts and bolts can be bought at any decent hardware store, I collected a lot of them over time and store them in a drawer cabinet so I always have some at hand.</p>
<p>Hey man, sorry for the late reply.</p><p>I think that for the heat part this should do.</p><p>Do you think that this is enough for the extruder stepper assembly?</p><p>This extruder kit + the nema17:</p><p><a href="http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-MK8-extruder-aluminum-block-DIY-kit-Makerbot-dedicated-single-nozzle-extrusion-head-aluminum-block/32351220044.html?spm=2114.13010208.99999999.270.yVkyhK" rel="nofollow">http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-MK8-e...</a></p><p><a href="http://www.aliexpress.com/item/freeshipping-to-any-Country-4-lead-Nema17-Stepper-Motor-42-motor-NEMA-17-motor-42BYGH-1/969326211.html?spm=2114.13010308.0.141.UUQn7h" rel="nofollow">http://www.aliexpress.com/item/freeshipping-to-any...</a></p>
<p>I think that should do, I ordered this for <br>an other build I hope to get started on somewhere this fall or so, it <br>looks prettyh similar be it already with stepper and assembled: </p><p><a href="http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Arrival-High-Quality-3D-Printer-Aluminum-Extruder-Kit-NEMA-17-Stepper-Motor-1-75mm-1/32607807445.html?spm=2114.13010608.0.126.HM5C9g" rel="nofollow">http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Arrival-High-Qu...</a></p><p>Bear<br> in mind that for both ordered extruder kits you will need M6 thread <br>size pneumatic fittings - they don't come with the kit. </p><p><a href="http://www.aliexpress.com/item/5pcs-lot-PC4-M6-Pneumatic-Straight-Fitting-Connector-for-4mm-OD-tubing-M6-6mm-Reprap-3D/32463992479.html?spm=2114.13010608.0.58.HM5C9g" rel="nofollow">http://www.aliexpress.com/item/5pcs-lot-PC4-M6-Pne...</a></p><p>And also you will need something to mount it with, a bracket is not supplied.</p>
<p>The extruder kit has some kind of variations (Left Handed, Right Handed, ...) i have no idea what is the difference (probably the side the filament is extruded). I don't know if makes a difference in this build.</p><p>The tube i'm thinking about buying is this <a href="http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1M-3D-Printer-PTFE-Tube-for-Long-distance-3D-Printer-J-head-Hotend-for-1-75mm/32596468709.html?spm=2114.13010208.99999999.270.aQqFGA" rel="nofollow">http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1M-3D-Printer-PTFE-...</a> it comes with the pneumatic connectors. Do you think that this is M6 at the end? I'm afraid of buying the PTFE tube and Pneumatic with different sizes, so i looked at this, that is already there.</p><p>You mean like a bracket to hold the extruder to the case?</p>
<p>The orientation of the extruder does make a difference when you are replacing an extruder or if you have a specific location in mind where to put it. Also it is a matter of preference, I think. For this build, choose the orientation that is going to give you the shortest possible bowden tube without overdoing it - it actually works as a spring counteracting the - weak - DVDRom steppers.</p><p>You do indeed need to buy or fabricate a bracket to mount the extruder to the case.</p><p>The connectors to that bowdentube are NOT M6 - they are probably 1/2&quot; or so. It's the thread size that goes into the hotend - at least, the hotend I used on my printer. Different seller means different fabrication can mean different thread size. Keep an eye out for these things when ordering from China, I misordered stuff too in some occasions. Luckily the pricing is such that you can afford these kinds of mistakes every now and then, but still....</p>
<p>What i have bought so far (hope this also can help other people):</p><p>-Arduino Mega2560 REV3</p><p>-1.8m USB 2.0 cable</p><p>-RAMPS 1.4</p><p>-LCD 12864 Control Panel for RAMPS 1.4</p><p>-Nema17 Stepper Motor (17HS4401)</p><p>-5pcs DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver</p><p>-E3D V6 3D Print J-head hotend (with fan, aluminum block, 100K thermistor)</p><p>-10pcs 100K ohm thermistors (just to be safe, if some burns)</p><p>-5 nozzles with 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.8mm for V6 1.75 hotend</p><p>-10pcs Steel Bearings</p><p>-1m PTFE Tube with ID 2mm and OD 4mm for 1.75 filament</p><p>-4pcs OD 4mm M6 pneumatic connectors</p><p>-MK8 heat sink 40x40x11mm</p><p>-Cooling Fan 40x40x10mm 12V</p><p>-5pcs 4pin Female to Female jumper wire</p><p>-2m of 4pin wires</p><p>Missing (waiting to choose arm direction):</p><p>-MK8 Aluminum Block for the extruder (containing spring, MK8 screw, bearing, etc.)</p><p>Waste collected:</p><p>-2 DVD-Drives with step motors</p><p>-1 Power Suply</p><p>Need:</p><p>-1 Flopy Drive</p><p>-Polycarbonate for a bed (or other material)</p><p>-Case (probably i'll do some with MDF or plywood)</p><p>-Nuts, bolts, etc (i'll buy that at a local shop, as you told me).</p><p>Again, thanks a lot for helping me through this process!!</p>
<p>What do you need the steel bearings for??? The DVD drives already have their own smooth rods and bearings, no need to change a working assembly. I just took the entire assembly that holds stepper, laser carriage and smooth rods and mounted that to the frame of the printer.</p>
I'm thinking about making some rolls to put the filament coil (?) on top, so it can spin as the filament is pulled by the extruder. How you did yours?
<p>Ahhh..., good call. </p><p>My filament didn't actually come on a roll, as I only have some demo pieces which were just loose. </p><p>My next build will have a separate spool holder like you mention, only with just four bearings and some washers as flanges. It is actually on Thingiverse: </p><p>http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:46016</p>
<p>Yeah!! That's exactly they way i was thinking :O</p><p>Awesome!! Will save this for later! /o/</p>
<p>So, for this particular build. Which direction should i choose? I'm still clueless where each thing will be placed.</p><p>Hmm, so probably with a few metal plates a can do it.</p><p>Yeah, I've chosen a different type of ptfe tubes and connectors now with M6.</p><p>The price indeed is not a big problem. The thing is that those things from China take at least 3 months to arrive. So i'm worried about making mistakes and have to wait another 3 months..</p>
<p>I think the direction doesn't matter that much really, I chose to build my extruder so that it puts out the filament to the left of the printer, if watched from the front of the printer - and the tightening arm points slightly downward. But then again I just hacked my own extruder together, so ymmv. </p>
<p>Could you tell us how did you replace the 3D printed extruder ? i don't have access to a 3D printer at all personnally and this project made me so excited ! Thanks anyway.</p>
You can see a little in the photos of the back of the printer: I had a stepper motor from an old printer with the mounting plate still attached. I used this mounting plate and some aluminium extrusion profiles to build up the structure for the bowden tube and the spring spanner for the idler pulley lever.<br>The idler pulley is made from a piece of brass in which I drilled a hole and made a little groove, it spins around a bolt in the idler pulley lever which is a U-shaped aluminium profile in itself, and also hinges around a (bigger) bolt attached to the mounting plate. <br>The extrusion gear is simply the gear that was already on the motor, filed sharp with a small triangular shape file for grips.<br><br>My advise would be to look at the pictures of a &quot;real&quot; extruder (examples enough on Aliexpress and Banggood), then check what you have and how you can mimick the design. Thats what I did; just bodged it together with what I had on hand...
<p>Awesome, man!</p>
<p>You mentioned about 4 motors but in schematic you shown 5. why 2 motors in z-axis? </p>
It mentions printing some parts, will I need to already own a 3d printer in order to build this?
i have some question, you said that the print volume was small (10x10x10mm), is it possible to make a bigger print volume with a same part???? thank you
<p>My build volume is 37x37x14mm, 10x10x10mm was the test cube I printed because the 20x20x20mm was too big ;-)</p><p>If you want to go bigger, you'd need other parts, which brings you in a totally different game; you'd have to design your own sliders and drive gear instead of relying on the DVD players manufacturer to have that done for you. It will be harder, you will have to think and design a lot more yourself and it will probably be more expensive since you need beefier steppers etc.</p>
umm.......okey thanks, but do you have some 3d printed slider and the frame??? maybe you can help me?
<p>Hi, no. I didn't 3D-print anything for this printer (or for any printer for that matter). If you really intend to build something other than a very small printer built from DVD- and Floppy drives, this is really the wrong instructable for you. </p><p>There are plenty other instructables out there, though, for DIY 3D-printers. You should be able to combine the information provided here and in the other instructables (or anywhere on the internet, for that matter) to build your own, larger, printer.</p>
<p>Looking at different parts and I have a few questions. Does it matter if my power supply has the +4 or can it work with just a 20 pin? Also, any ideas as to what hot end is the hot end holder designed for? Thanks for any responses!</p>
<p>The 20-pin also carries +12V I believe and the current this little printer draws is not that much so you can use the wires from the 20-pin just fine.</p>
<p>Thanks! Glad to know I don't need to go searching! I look forward to having my own printer here at home!</p>
<p>I'm having trouble with this. Mostly in the testing of the motors. They're all very inconsistent. In that they don't really follow commands well in the manual control mode. They kind of jerk back and forth, but not consistently in one direction. And I've gone through four cd rom drives at this point, and they've all given me that result. Does anyone know if there's adjustments I need to make to the firmware? The connections are all giving appropriate voltages, so it doesn't seem to be a hardware issue.</p>
<p>To clarify, it does the same things with the NEMA 17 motor. When I put on another version of Marlin, the NEMA 17 can run just fine on every motor slot, so I'm really sure the controller is fine. Am I just having really terrible luck with the cd rom and floppy drive motors?</p>
<p>I think because your NEMA 17 is working fine with al stepper drivers, it might be a problem with CD drive stepper motor wiring. you need to consider phases. </p>
<p>Looks promising until step 9.</p><p>&quot;You will also have to 3D-print the direct-drive extruder parts...&quot;</p><p>Oh. :(</p><p>If someone said they can hack around needing it then I probably can too, but needing another 3D printer for bootstrapping the build is not cool.</p><p>Great idea and seems to work well for people though.</p>
<p>Look at my comments, I bodged an extruder together without printed parts so yes you can do it - or just buy a ready-made extruder from our Chinese friends (but that will obviously add to the costs).</p>
Hello! here is a picture of mine. After I started I get carried away ;-) so, it is almost finished, but still having trouble with the z axis. While tuning the Driver the motor runs. But when the pololu lose contact with the screw driver it stops. Any ideas? Thanks Guys!!
<p>What parts did you use to get the extra x and y length? I would like to do something similar, but have no idea what I need. Thanks!</p>

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