Introduction: DIY 3D Printer From Scratch

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This is an exciting project for someone with some basic electronics skills. The project was originally started to show my Nephew how to build a 3D Printer from the ground up. The result is this YouTube video series (and this instructable) on how to build your own Cartesian style 3D Printer. It is modeled after the popular Prusa i3 open source printer. There are some custom parts I developed for this printer specifically. These too are open source and available on Thingiverse .

There is a YouTube playlist for the DIY 3D Printer Build


The full bill of materials and links to many of the products is available in this public google doc:

You can purchase the parts anywhere but there are a number of recommended parts in there. The list is updated often as parts change or refined. There is also some notes and FAQ on parts that is updated in the document.

Step 1: Building the Frame

The frame is a very straightforward process. You simply need to screw everything together. Some tips when doing the assembly is to make sure things are square and level. Since a 3D printer is a precision tool you need to make sure you tighten everything well. View the DIY 3D Printer from scratch video to get started!

Step 2: Y Axis Construction

This video covers the Y Axis construction. I used 2020 extrusion as the frame for the bed. This made it very easy to attach and lowered the cost overall. When assembling the linear rods its helpful that you have everything loose and ensure the bed moves smoothly. Once it does slowly tighten down things making sure each step of the way the bed continues to move smoothly.

Step 3: X Carriage Assembly

This step goes together rather quickly. For those of you familiar with 3D Printing you'll see we have this setup for a bowden tube. You can optionally make this a direct drive unit by changing up the X carriage itself. You just need to locate a different model on thingiverse.

Step 4: Z Axis Assembly

This ties everything together. You need to make sure you do not force anything into place. The machine is a precision tool and you should be able to assemble it easily when things are lined up. If they are not make adjustments to line things up do not force the process.

Step 5: SKR Mainboard Setup

This video breaks out the setup of the SKR Mainboard which is the the motherboard of the 3D Printer. This is very much its own topic but not part of the main steps of assembling your printer. Once you complete this you'll be ready for Step 5 which is inserting the electronics.

Step 6: Electronics Installation

This is the longest video and probably the most time consuming part of the process. You should take your time here and make sure you do good wire management. By this point you're very excited to get it running but taking time and care will make sure your printer lasts.

Step 7: Optional - Assembling With Wood

Once the video series was complete I was asked "What if I don't have access to a 3D Printer to print the parts". This video shows you how to build a printer without the 3D Printed parts but it's recommended you obtain the 3D Printer Parts from a local Makerspace or even places like Office Depot does 3D Printing now.

Step 8: Calibrate and Test Your Printer

Once you have your printer assembled you'll want to download a calibration cube from thingiverse and calibrate the steps on your printer. The default firmware is very close. Calibration can be its own instructable so we won't cover that here.

Good luck with your printer! Please let me know if you build it. As of the writing of this instructable there are about 10 of these printers currently being built and 2 already built in existence.

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