Building a 3D printer - tips, hints and links

Recently a friend, Chris, and I have embarked on the journey of building our own 3D printer. This is something I hugely recommend if you are into that kind of thing. It's taught me many things already and is amazing to see something moving that you've built. I'm in no way a mechanic, so this the kit car equivalent in my world.

This post isn't going to walk you though how to build a 3D printer, but is rather a collection of some tips and tricks we've learnt during the process, along with some links which have helped us understand. Think of it as your friend who has build a printer already, and is just sharing some knowledge to help you out.

The printer we have built/are building is the RepRap Prusa Mendal - (Iteration 2).

Hints #

Just some things to note if you are embarking on this journey. If you have something to add, tweet me!

  • It takes longer than you think (a lot longer)
  • A 3D printer is never finished, it just gets to a state of "being"
  • You'll always find something to upgrade - so save your pennies
  • Don't be too precious - you'll rebuild every bit of it at some point
  • If you have a local hackspace/makerspace (like Build Brighonton) become a member and go - there will be people to help and tools to use - there is a handy list of makerspaces
  • No two printers are the same - yours will look like another, but work differently (or you might pick up slightly different parts)

Links #

Many hours of research have led me to this point, you will probably want to do your own research, but these links have helped immensely.

Building

For building the printer, these two guides were hugely helpful:

The official RepRap guide - Big thanks to Neil Underwood for the videos!

Next day RepRap - Despite the name, it's hard to have a RepRap "next day"

Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a front-end developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Twitter.