Using 3D Printing to Print a 3D Printer

I built a d-bot 3D printer by using my other 3D printer to print out a lot of the parts for it.

 

It took about 6 weeks to print the pieces, and another month of long nights to get it assembled. Some pieces had to be reordered. Lots of nonsense.

Sam, why would you do this?

Glad you asked. The new printer is faster, ~2 times bigger, $100 less expensive, and generally better than my current one. The ability to use tools to create better tools is something that blows my mind. Plus, it’s just awesome to be able to download physical tools from the internet.

 

How does it work?

It moves a nozzle that pushes melted plastic around on a plane to build up a layer of plastic. Then, the floor drops down a bit, and it repeats the process. This builds up hundreds or thousands of layers that form into a 3D shape.

3D Printer Build Gallery

All the black parts are things that I printed.

Link to Build log

Let me see something you printed.

Here you go! (link)

What tools and parts do you need to build this?

A 3D printer, or a friend with one, some cheap electrical tools, and a bunch of wire, servos, and Arduinos (well, I burned a few controller boards, so if you’re good, just one). Parts list and 3D models can be found here. I didn’t have much electrical experience before this project, and I’m no expert now. The included guide was really thorough, luckily. Still, there was a lot of trial and error.

How much did it cost?

Around $650, plus a lot of blood, sweat, and time.

Would you build another one?

It would probably be a lot faster than the first time, but I think for my next printer, I’d get something lower-maintenance. Moving forward, I want to focus on 3d design and finishing, not leveling my print bed.