Introduction: DIY 3d Printer for Beginners
I have been fascinated about 3D printing since I was in college and now that I am about to start some projects that involves loads of 3d printing, I have decided to get one. The first step I took was choosing between a XYZ (Cartesian) or Delta 3d printer setup. After long googling and researches I concluded on Cartesian 3D printer for no particular reason really. I then searched the web for a reliable kit that had good reputation and good assembling instructions. If you will like to own a 3D printer of yours that you can build for under £200, then let's dig in. This is the first time i will be building something on this large scale, it was really daring because of loads of wiring. Anything could go wrong when you first connect to the power supply.
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Step 1: Materials
One more thing I must mention is that most of the kit I found were made from acrylic which can break sometimes (not always) so if you want a 3D printer that is not all full metal frame, go for the acrylic frame it will save you some bucks.
All tools required to build the 3D printer comes along in one kit so no need for scouting around.
Options you can to choose from
1) The full metal frame 3D printer that costs between £180 and £190 depending on your options
2) The acrylic frame 3D printer that costs between £140 and £155, also depending on your options. I encourage you to choose one with hot bed when buying one of this. It is really worth it.
They are both from the same manufacturer so they have the same assembly process and work really the same way, just quality of frame material.
As you can see in the picture above, I got the metal frame one.
Step 2: Assembling
Before starting assembling be sure to check all part lists for completion.
The assembling of the frame is going to take you almost 4 hours straight up if you do it in a go. I have attached a PDF with instructions on assembling and pictures to clarify some places I had problems with.
There is also a video attached here that shows the assembling process, so you have choices of hands to reach out to when you get stuck.
I recommend taking a video when opening your package to have evidence of any material damaged that has been sent to you.
Step 3: Wiring and Calibrating
The wiring is really pretty straight forward and please be cautious not to plug in to main power until you are 100% sure you have done the right thing. Wiring guide is attached here for you to follow. Wiring should take you less than a couple of hours if the instructions are followed very well.
Be sure to clean up all wiring and tie them up together with the plastic wires provided.
To calibrate the hot bed, follow the levelling instruction guide attached. It is really important you get this right to have high quality printing.
Step 4: Operating and Testing
Download a recommended 3d software that i really think is good for beginners. Repetierhost
It has really good features like controlling your 3d printer movement from PC as well as its temperature. After installing the software, the first thing you should do is change the baud rate under setting to match the baud rate of your printer (usually 115200).
Also the recommended settings for this printer when printing is:
Hot bed temperature at about 60 degree
Extruder temperature to 220-230 degree Celsius
Feed rate (the lower it is, the higher the quality but the higher the print time and vice versa). So you decide depending on what you want.
Use the CuraEngine slicer as I found it to work more perfectly with this printer and if you are well familiar with Slic3er slicer instead, go ahead and choose it. Both slicers were installed alongside the RepetierHost software.
After connecting to Repetierhost, try to manually control the printer and make sure it is working fine.
Test your printer by going to the menu on your printer LCD screen and run the assembling test under debugging, Everything should work fine if you have connected them well.
Step 5: Your First Print
After setting up your printer and connecting to RepetierHost, it is time to test out what you have been building. I have attached some STL files that you can try out or go on to thingiverse to look out for cool stuff you will like to print.
Load any STL file you want on Repetierhost and then slice with a slicer, go ahead and turn on the hot bed and extruder to pre-heat before the printing starts. It will indicate when the temperature has been reached then go ahead and click print. Be sure to watch the printer incase of any problem. There is an emergency stop button at the top right corner of the Repetierhost software (something you don't have in the printer itself). If it is not printing as expected, check the levelling of the hotbed again and make sure everything is connected properly.
Ever get stuck, comment below or contact the manufacturer.
I will like to tell you that i was really glad with my first print, its quality......and its smell of sugar...Ohh..., I felt like a......(don't really know what i felt like). But anyway it is really thrilling to have your own 3d printer and see it spitting out stuff.
Step 6: Build Cool Stuff
Now that you have a 3d printer, the printing material is the limit. Build cool stuff with them and share them on public domain for people to see and build as well. I am currently working on a robotic project in Uni right now, and this 3d printer will make life really much more easier. I will also soon be posting a project that is 3d printed and arduino based and I am sure you guys will love it
If you will like to get a reward for your investment, why not list your printer on 3dhub.com, where people can ask you to print stuff for them and you get paid. Just means that you have got to do more maintenance on your printer to keep printing good quality stuff.
Thank you for reading.............and..ah ah, don't forget to vote. I really would love to own a professional 3d printer.
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3D Printing Contest 2016