Home Forums Everything about everything else Building a 3D printer from scratch…

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
  • Author
  • #21043

    The background: My trusted Solidoodle 4 has printed about 15kg of ABS at 0.1 layer height since I bought it. It has been running for days on end and has eaten 2 sets of cooling fans so far. It it a good printer, but limited to 230C hotend temperature (PLA and ABS) and a build volume of 200x200x200mm. Due to wear and tear it is now slightly less accurate than when I bought it. I could upgrade it with a E3D hotend and new brass slide bearings, but this is cumbersome and requires recalibrating the special Marlin firmware.

    I could buy a Ultimaker, but want to stay with 1.75mm filament and direct drive (for flexible filament). The Solidoodle Workbench is next in line, but I don’t care much for dual extruder and auto bed leveling since it adds unnecessary bulk an weight to the printhead, reducing accuracy and print speed.

    So I decided to try and build a 3D printer from scratch (since winter is coming and the weather won’t permit flying anyway). Basing it on the Solidoodle Workbench (size wise and mechanical). I am still in the early development phase, but here is the intended setup:

    Smoothieboard 5XC controller board
    Nema 17 0.9 degree stepper motors
    E3D v6 hotend
    12mm Z and Y axis rods using LM12UU linear bearings
    10mm X axis rods using LM10UU linear bearings
    300x300mm silicone heated print bed (300w/24v)
    Print surface will be 300×300 mirrors on 300x300mm aluminium plate.
    PSU is still undecided.
    Build volume would be approx. 300x300x300mm
    Enclosure build from 6mm plywood (original Ultimaker style).

    Turns out there goes A LOT of parts into a 3D printer. From a pure cost point of view there is nothing much to be gained by building a 3D printer your self.


    Have you considered enclosing the total volume and insulating it, so that the heated bed keeps the whole volume at an elevated temperature?

    Otherwise sounds like a fun project, ultimately the advantage of building it yourself isn’t the cost, but how you understand/can modify it further.


    My current Solidoodle 4 is enclosed and it does prevent warping to a certain degree. It does however make it really hard to cool the filament prior to entering the heated nozzle same goes for the stepper motors. Also it makes it hard to feed the filament through the cabinet to the print head.

    Turns out the hardest thing to find is the 24v/600watt PSU I was set on, so I have to settle for a 12v/600watt version instead. 280watt for the heated bed, the rest goes into the stepper motors, electronics, print head etc. Too bad, since 24v would make for smaller wires and more efficient stepper motors (there is a 2A limit per motor on the controller boards stepper drivers).



    Now I don’t know how good it is.
    I bought a 12v 40 amp for my battery chargers.


    Well if I get things going I would like a large build area. Maybe 600 mm x 600 mm X 600 mm. And be able to print with a wide variety of materials. Maybe nylon, teflon, it would even be cool to print clay!!!!!


    Okay 600×600 mm is rather large. Lol! I was wondering the difference of the efficiency between the 12v and the 24v supply. I know the steppers are driven by the chip on the board and the voltage is less. I don’t know how much the current they actually send. So the heat bed and I guess the nozzle take most of the power?

    Also I was wondering if you could do a pictorial of how things go along the way? Also is it going to be like a reprap? I have mine up and running with the direct drive and it likes to shed it’s nuts and walk around the living room. I taped it to a box. I’ve thought about a Bowden extruder to reducing the vibration. What do you think?


    @Terje I have a Solidoodle 4 my self and i did the following mods that made it really great:
    – replaced the hotted with E3D and that did a lot!
    – replaced the z-axis threaded rod with a 3mm and that removed ALL z-axis problems
    – made the glass printbed update that i know you have done also.
    – adjusted the stepperdrivers witch also was a essential change.
    After the above chances my 0,1 prints is of similar printquality as Davids ultimaker 2 print.

    BUT i like tinkering and there is nothing left to fix and i want to take it a step further, so i opted in for the BigBox kickstarter. The Big Box is a hackable printer from the guys behind E3D and little box, you should really check it out its awesome!

    The Big Box


    Well I won’t change my current printer since I need it to print parts for the new printer.

    I have started to draw plans for a single extruder version of the bigbox with a estimated build volume of 300x300x450mm. I have most of the parts, but one problem: The footprint is going to be 550x550x700mm and I don’t really have the room or need for such a big volume printer… Would be cool though 🙂


    Cool but do you really need a that much printarea? And if so tell me what kind of craziness you are printing now? 🙂

    The original big box is 300x210x300, and as you probably know when you fill a printbed at that size prints take an eternity, so 300x300x450 would really take som time even with big layer heights, volcano and turbo speed.

    On top of that the heatbeds in that size is actually pretty power hungry. The latter is actually the thing that bums me most on large printers. It seems like a waste firering a 300×210 heatbed up for tiny 50×50 print. Maybe its just me who needs to buy a shitload of solar panels. 🙂

    For the record i think the BigBox designfiles is opensource, so you could actually print your own (and make it bigger if you are a crazy person).


    Aldi her in Australia is selling the cocoon create. Any opinions on the specs? I have no experience with 3D printing.

    Speed: 10-70mm/second (adjustable)
    Connection via USB or SD card
    Printer size: 400 x 410 x 400mm
    Max. temperature: 260°C
    Includes CURA software
    Supported filaments PLA/ABS/PVA/HIPS
    Build volume 200 x 200 x 180mm

    It goes on sale on Wednesday for AUD499, which is around US360.


    That is a great price on what is basically a Prusa i3 3D printer – you should get one 🙂

    The Prusa i3 is well supported and widely used so you should have no trouble figuring it out.

    – I would get one if I could get it in Denmark 😀


    @dkdarkness How is the project going?

    You should look into building a servodriven printer. In my oppinion servos steppers are really inferior to servos, hence most HQ cncs er servodriven.

    Take a look here: https://github.com/danithebest91/ServoStrap


    Well most parts reside in a big box under the bed, had to cannibalize some parts for another project. I’m considering building a normal sized (200x200x200 build volume) printer for now…


    Why not just upgrade the Solidoodle then? mine really print great after some pretty easy fixes.

    The biggest fix was z-axis upgrade to 3mm shaft and hotend upgrade to e3d, this got mine printing 50 microns like a champ. 🙂


    Got a good deal on a Wanhao Duplicator i3 V2. I’ve tested the model at work and you can’t beat the price/quality ratio 🙂 Took less than an hour of assembly and calibration to get the first acceptable print.

    Once I have my own up and running, I’llhave a go at upgrading my Solidoodle 4 🙂

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
  • The forum ‘Everything about everything else’ is closed to new topics and replies.