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>Hi, I can't find the stl files for the extruder idle, body, and hot end holder. Where can I find/get these?</p>
<p>Is it possible to make it with a bigger print volume? What changes would need to be made?</p>
<p>pretty much everything except the extruder, cnc electronics and psu.<br><br>the floppy disk stepper motors are a very limited length so you would need to greatly alter the build to increase the size</p>
<p>How is the name of the motherboard???<br>i can't find them anywhere</p>
<p>Perfect school project for everybody(thx!), wo want to start with 3d print. First print some motor-fan holder. Motor temperature stay be a problem. </p>
<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>I noticed a lot of people had questions on how I mounted the steppers, sliders, built the gantry, built my extruder, mounted my hotend.... so here are some more pictures, I hope they can be someone to some help.</p><p>Please note that my way is by no means the best way, it's just a way that worked for me. Also, I didn't design it, I just followed the tutorials here on 'ibles and on the internet such as the Marlin website - which is a great wealth of information.</p><p>Good luck!</p>
<p>Very helpful images regarding the construction of the printer. How did you attach the spacer board that holds the extruder to the drive head of the Z axis?</p>
<p>Can you send me please that extruder link?</p>
<p>I do not understand the request for a picture step-by-step?</p>
<p>Huh? What do you mean...?</p><p>I didn't request for a picture step-by-step...???</p>
<p>Hey man, i'm back.</p><p>I finally got the pieces and mounted everything together, but i'm having huge troubles with clogging/jamming/heat creep (i can't define what it is). My researches indicate that the problem is due to poor cooling near the heatbreak. Which causes the heatbreak to heat and the filament to expand inside and jamming everything.</p><p>The printer can't extrude for more than 10 seconds without stopping. I tried PLA and ABS with several temperatures and have the same result. The tip of the filament that touches the heatbreak expands a little and get stuck.</p><p>I saw that you have in this picture some kind of mod to help cooling. Can you give more details about that? I'm using E3D v6 J-Head from China.</p>
<p>Do you have a fan blowing over the cooler block? If not, then there is your issue. The cooler block should be cooled actively at all times, as close to the heat brake as possible. (i.e. you should try to cool the bottom fins too)</p><p>Also check the alignment of all the parts in your hotend. My hotend was not straight on the inside so I had to drill it out quite far before things started working. </p><p>Do you have the all-metal heat-break or one with a PTFE liner? All-metal can run higher temperatures but is also more prone to heat-creep so it is all the more important that you cool the cooler block.</p>
and please, can you show me other pictures of your cooler block plus fan?<br>and which filament you used? I failed with both pla and abs. I was able to print a few cm with AbS without clogging.
Yes, i tried with only the regular fan that came (a small fan with a blue tube) and didnt worked. Then i added another fan in the oposite direction and still does not work. <br>I have an all metal heatbreak.<br>One thing thats strange is that if i screw the heatbreak all the way in the heatsink, it will only stop with a small portion of the heatbreak inside the cooler block. <br>And when I screw the nozzle all the way in, the heatbreak has a small portion out of the heat block.<br>I tried to vary those positions. Screwing the heatbreak all the way in the cooler and not, and screwing the nozzle all the way and screwing the nozzle just enough to leave the heatbreak screwed in.<br>None worked and showed similar problem. The filament extrudes a little, then &quot;melts&quot; on the heatbreak just before the nozzle.
<p>Hi, i'm trying to work around it. Can you please explain how did you bypass the No3d printer problem. Thanks</p>
<p>Hi Pietro, you are trying to work around what exactly? And what No3d problem do you mean? I don't understand.</p>
<p>I needed to make myself clear whops :P</p><p>I am trying to build a cheap 3d printer for a school project ( i need children and teens to be able to play with it). The thing is i don't know how to get the extruder parts without another 3d printer/cnc machine. This made me courious about your hack! can you elaborate on that?</p><p>Thanks</p>
<p>Hi Pietro,</p><p>I believe I explained how I made the extruder once or twice in the comments, basically I got &quot;inspiration&quot; from other extruders. Most of what I did on my extruder was done only with a saw, drill, file and needle file, the exception being the idler pulley - but only because I have a lathe at my disposal. You could also make the idler pulley using a drill and round file if you put your mind to it.</p><p>I don't have any detailed instructions as I made it up while I was building it and I didn't take any pictures. Basically what you want to build is a stepper motor with drive pulley (in my case, the pressed-on gear filed sharp with the needle file), an idler pulley with a lever and a spring to keep the filament pressed against the drive pulley and a filament pickup as close as possible to the pulleys. It's no rocket science, pretty much everything I used is either scrap or aluminum profiles from the local hardware store.</p>
<p>i just finished building my ewaste 3d printer thanks for your information about materials list it's very helpful. i got some problem about feed rate. when it starts printing every thing works fine then the nozzle stops to feed plastic. i tried to increase temp to 210 C but no luck. Do you have any suggestion?</p>
Congrats on finishing the printer!<br>Your feed rate issue could have a ton of different sources, but I'd start by looking at your extruder. Is it skipping (really audible clicks and you see the gear &quot;jump&quot; back) or grinding over the filament? Does it really extrude 10mm when you tell it to? (severe overextrusion can cause hopeless underextrusion issues when the extruder loses its grip on the filament)<br>What happens if you try and assist the filament by hand?<br>You can resolve a lot of these issues by either increasing the current for the extruder stepper (but mind if it gets too hot), toying around with the steps_per_mm setting for the extruder, the sharpness of the extruder gear (mine was a discarded printer stepper with a pressed-on gear, of which I had to file down the teeth to get them sharp enough) and the tension of the spring that pushes the idler wheel against the filament (increasing grip but also drag).<br><br>If this all doesn't work, take apart your hotend and check the alignment. Mine was so badly fabricated that I had to drill it out all the way to the end and I pushed my bowden tube through - that fixed stuff, sort of.<br><br>Good luck on the troubleshooting!<br>
<p>Woohoo! thank you setsunakaede the source of problem is steps_per_mm setting of the extruder. I tried to feed manually from Repetier 1mm but my extruder feeded 1 cm instead so the plastic came out too much and it didn't melt fast enough. i calibrated it again and reuploaded marlin firmware now it works like a charm! </p><p>you really made my day ;)</p>
<p>Nice! Congrats, and that was quickly resolved!</p><p>BTW, I like the look of your printer, with the DVD housings as structure. Well done!</p>
<p>Thank you, i appreciate your help very much. i'm trying to improve my printer with a new bed and need some cooling system for stepper motors because they get too hot quickly after start printing for a few second.</p>
<p>Hello setsunakaede. I liked what you did with your printer. I just have a question: &iquest;What did you use as extruder? I see a little motor in the back of your printer, and I also realized that you didn&acute;t used any Nema Motor for the extruder, am I wrong? Or how did you do it? Thanks</p>
Hi Francisco, you are Right. I didn't use NEMA steppers, I just used what was at hand - in this case, a stepper from I think an old laser printer, or a scanner. The gear teeth were filed Sharp and everything else was leftover aluminium profiles, some Brass and some bolts, nuts and rings. And a Spring, of course. I just looked at how the readymade extruders function and copied their principle. <br>Because I just bodged it together, and didn't take any pictures along the way, I can't be much More specific than this I'm afraid. It all depends on what you Have and what you are willing to buy (and of course how handy you are. Luckily in China the readymade extruders are cheap if maling it yourself doesn't work)
<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>

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