3d Printer Acrylic Prusa I3 Rework Single Sheet Frame

3d Printer Acrylic Prusa I3 Rework Single Sheet Frame

3D printers have become incredibly inexpensive, you can go a
fully workable unit for $200
– fifty-fifty without throwing your coin down a
crowdfunded abyss. Looking at the folks who notwithstanding buy kits or fifty-fifty build their ain 3D printer from scratch, investing far more than than those $200 and so many hours of work into a machine you can buy for cheap, the question “Why the heck would you practise that?” may justifiably arise.

The answer is elementary: DIY 3D printers done right are rugged workhorses. They piece of work every single time, they never break, and even if: they are an inexhaustible source of spare parts for themselves. They have exactly the quality and functionality you build them to have. No clutter and aught’s missing. However, the term DIY 3D printer, in its current ordinarily accepted employ, actually ways: the outset and the terminal 3D printer someone e’er built, which ofttimes ends in the
amazing thwarting motorcar.

This postal service is dedicated to unlocking the full potential in all of these builds, and to turning about any combination of threaded rods and plywood into a workshop-grade piece of equipment.

Taming Shaky Frames

The age of the shaky Mendel threaded rod frame is long over, it has been replaced by the age of shaky single-sheet Prusa i3 frames. Decent printing results crave a darn sturdy frame, so add together brackets and stabilizers wherever yous tin.

If you’re building a cube-style printer from aluminum extrusion, use bending brackets to stabilize the frame. If you’re building a Prusa i3 variant, brand sure y’all’re either getting a frame with stabilizers or
add together stabilizers
later. If you’re building a classic Mendel, add together stabilizer boards to the cross struts.

Facing 3D printed parts

PLA is a horrible textile choice for the 3D-printed portion of a DIY 3D printer, first for it’due south low melting point, and second for its brittleness. Almost any material will perform better, only at least ABS parts can last forever. Print them actually hot – at least 255 °C to get a proficient layer adhesion and they volition never fail on you. All the same: Ever keep a set of spares, because you tin. It needn’t exist a

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Yet, the absolute accurateness and surface quality of 3D printed parts isn’t generally as polished as the aluminum extrusion and sheet materials they attach to. When y’all adhere a 3D printed office to a flat surface using screws, yous accept basically two options to get a solid connectedness: Make the screws very tight – which well-nigh always breaks the 3D printed part – or employ a fine grit sandpaper to flatten the contact surface of the 3D printed role to get a expert contact between the ii. Once the screws apply a reasonable amount of pressure, the static friction betwixt the two surfaces takes over and provides a high resistance to shearing forces.

Drive systems

In conjunction with a rigid frame, both chugalug drives in various configurations (except for the H-bot) and spindle drives can attain a repetitive accuracy that exceeds the requirements of FDM in the X and Y management by magnitudes. However, the quality and longevity of any drive system depends a lot on the quality of the involved components. Eccentric pulleys or couplings, as well as components that introduce backlash, are the most common pitfalls here. Grinding belt teeth can cause vibrations, and so make certain all belts are running in the center of their pulley and idler tracks. Utilise flanged idlers or at least washers to prevent the belts from rubbing against other parts of the printer.

For the Z-axis, it’s worth mentioning that the quality improvement you may await from a stepper motor with integrated Acme lead screw shaft over the common threaded-rod-on-a-flex coupling solution is pretty insignificant – even in terms of longevity. Stainless steel M5 threaded rods in the Z-centrality allow for neat printing results and last for many years, fifty-fifty when exposed to the steady stress of machine bed leveling. In this example, the upkeep solution may be skillful plenty. Of class, large and heavy printer assemblies do indeed crave proper leadscrews.

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Linear guides

As long every bit your build doesn’t exceed the typical size and weight of a desktop 3D printer, avoid using linear brawl bearings in the X and Y axis, as they are a very common failure point. Their quality varies greatly depending on the manufacturer, and even if the cheap shot works seemingly great in the beginning, they won’t last for long. 3D printed plastic droppings and even fragments of their own assembly will sooner or afterward crusade them to cake. Tribological, polymeric slide bearings are the way to go hither. They are self-lubricating, maintenance-gratuitous and virtually concluding forever, at least by the standards of linear ball bearings. They are besides bachelor in Nippon standard compatible form factors as drop-in replacements for the commonly used LM8UU.

Don’t use multiple linear bearings in line to increment the angular stability of a wagon. There are prolonged versions available for nearly every linear bearing blazon , for instance, employ the LM8LUU form gene instead of ii LM8UU.

Motors and drivers

$iii difference, double printing resolution

Even if yous’re on a budget, think about using stepper motors with a 0.9° pace bending instead of 1.eight° for the X and Y centrality and for any ungeared extruder. They volition probably cost you $2 or $three more a piece, simply they double your mechanical resolution, which tin be extremely visible. Microstepping is corking for reducing vibrations, merely – contrary to popular conventionalities – does not increment the effective printing resolution. The following images ofYoda
heads show the quality difference quite clearly. They are printed at 0.one mm layer acme on the very aforementioned Prusa i3 from the very same G-Lawmaking — the just departure is the concrete step bending of the motors.

Information technology’s a dirty hack, simply it’s better than driving two motors from a single driver.

The rated electric current of your stepper motor drivers must be able to deliver the rated current of the stepper motors, as the stepper motors volition merely deliver their full torque at that current. Leave a margin of 20% to preclude constantly maxing out your drivers. Fifty-fifty if some retailers ship Pololu-style driver modules (i.eastward. A4988 and DRV8825) with (wrong-sized) heatsinks and thermal adhesive pads (of questionable quality), these heatsinks usually practice more than harm than good. Exit them out and stick to the 20% current margin, and you volition ever become the full torque.

Besides that, don’t wire multiple stepper motors to a unmarried driver, specially the tiny Pololus. If you can’t become your easily on a
proper port duplicator
with buffer capacitors for each commuter, a cheap and fully useable workaround is soldering female headers to one Pololu driver, add together male person headers for the motors, and backpack a 2nd on summit of it.

Controller Lath

The item choice of 3D printer controller lath generally depends on your individual requirements in terms of pure functionality. If you want a plug and play machine that works every time in any surroundings, avoid clones of Arduino based boards or other products that use cheap usb-to-serial bridge replacements, such as the CH340/CH341. They may somewhen piece of work, only long term plug-and-play driver support for all major operating systems might exist something that’s worth paying for since it eventually becomes part of the user experience.

Thermistors And Thermocouples

Know your components and but utilise temperature sensors that come with a trustworthy datasheet. Otherwise, the measured temperature volition only exist a slightly better guess. Make sure the sensor has a good thermal coupling to the heated bed or hotend heater block to allow the temperature controller to keep the temperature steady. Thermal chemical compound is the way to go here. NTC Thermistors typically don’t survive temperatures above 300° C required to print some engineering plastics, you lot’re locked in with thermocouples. Besides that, whether y’all measure the temperature of the heated bed and hotend with an EPCOS NTC, a Vishay NTC, a Semitec NTC or a welded tip Chiliad-type thermocouple does non necessarily matter, they are all authentic enough.

LCD Controllers

image source

” data-medium-file=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/800px-smart_adapter_9.jpg?w=400″ data-large-file=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/800px-smart_adapter_9.jpg?w=800″ loading=”lazy” class=”wp-image-212247 size-thumbnail” src=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/800px-smart_adapter_9.jpg?w=250″ alt=”ReprapDiscount SmartController (by Reprapdiscount, image source)” width=”250″ height=”167″ srcset=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/800px-smart_adapter_9.jpg 800w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/800px-smart_adapter_9.jpg?resize=250,167 250w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/800px-smart_adapter_9.jpg?resize=400,267 400w” sizes=”(max-width: 250px) 100vw, 250px”>

ReprapDiscount SmartController (past Reprapdiscount,
image source)

An LCD controller with SD-card reader turns your 3D printer into a stand up-lone factory. The classic RepRap Discount SmartController with a not-graphical display will admittedly practice for most configurations. There are clones around that piece of work just fine when used with the provided RAMPS adapter, merely some of them accept their connector column flipped 180°, so pay attention when you lot hook them up to boards with dedicated EXT ports for the brandish panel, such every bit the RUMBA.

The click-and-scroll menu near firmwares provide for the common LCD controllers may be a chip cluttered and dissatisfactory to apply, but that can be fixed quite easily and nosotros’ll encompass that later in this post.


A Raspberry Pi loaded with
OctoPrint, maybe fifty-fifty with an LCD touchscreen, greatly improves the usability and productivity over the sparse LCD controller. It lets you ship G-Code directly from the slicer to the printer over the air and allows you to conveniently control your printer through a pleasant user interface. However, it does add together several failure points to the machine. While the SPI connectedness betwixt the SD card and the microcontroller is pretty much bullet proof, you will near certainly experience a frozen Raspberry Pi or a hung OctoPrint sooner or afterward. It’s all the same rare, simply if you are using OctoPrint to stream Thou-code to the printer, make certain you add

M85 S30; activate xxx-second idle timeout

at the very beginning of your start G-code to activate the idle timeout and

M85 S0; deactivate idle timeout

at the very end of the end Chiliad-code to deactivate it again. The 30-2d timeout will kill the printer and close off all heaters in instance the OctoPrint host freezes or otherwise stops sending commands before the print finishes equally scheduled.


ABS layer bonding at 280° printing temperature is potent as hell and makes printing large, tough ABS models without neat and warping on the first endeavour a breeze. Total metal hotends are the way to go here, every bit PEEK insulators and PTFE liners that reach down to the melting zone outset degenerating at much lower temperatures. Then, use a full metallic hotend and at to the lowest degree a 40W cartridge for fast heatup time. Make sure the hotend sits rock-solid in information technology’s mount on the print head.


Bowden extruders practice have a certain backfire, but that’south not necessarily a problem when press ABS, PLA and Nylon. All the same, the 1.75 mm variants of flexible materials such as (insert distinctive term here)Flex are pretty much incompatible with Bowden extruders and at best extremely troublesome. If you’re planning to work with these, utilise a directly drive extruder. Even when using a direct drive extruder, make sure the filament is delivered to the extruder through a Bowden tube that is safely attached to a tube plumbing equipment on the spool holder. Setups, in which an extruder on a flimsy linear guide pulls the material correct off the spool typically deliver poor results equally the pulling forcefulness unpredictably deflects the print caput during the impress.

Get for hardened steel and precipitous teeth. The MK8 drive gear and the blackness hobbed bolt shown to a higher place are merely examples. Most regular hobbed bolts (right) wear out afterward the first meters and suffer from filament slip.

Most 3D printed extruder assemblies, such as Wade’s extruder or AirTripper’s Bowden extruder piece of work just besides as the more expensive ones you can buy. The almost important factor for the consistency and reliability of the extrusion is the drive gear. Go for a loftier-quality, hardened steel drive gear or hobbed bolt, with abrupt teeth and adept grip.

Heated Bed

Long heat up times are a productivity killer, and to reach the temperature fast – within 3 minutes or so, a regular PCB heated bed needs to have a power density of nigh i+ Westward/cm2
(6.five Westward/in2). To reach 110° (230 °F) under normal conditions at all, a heated bed should evangelize a minimum ability density of virtually 0.3 W/cm2
(2 Due west/in2). If you want to print materials like ABS, that require a high bed temperature, take the necessary wattage of the heated bed relative to its size into account.

Single sided PCB heated beds tend to breathe up and downwards, due to the non-uniform thermal expansion of the copper traces and the board material, which can result in a surface finish that is affected by banding patterns. The animation shows the issue quite conspicuously:

Single-sided PCB heated bed (left) / Double-sided PCB-heater (right)

Since loftier-quality prints rely on a Z-positioning accuracy in the tens of microns, even pocket-sized temperature fluctuations tin can cause a single sided PCB heater to innovate unwanted artifacts. Use double sided PCB heaters or other alternatives that don’t suffer from this outcome (i.e. silicone heater mats fastened to a solid slate of aluminum), along with a well-tuned PID control loop.

Modern heated beds, such as the Prusa MK42, achieve a more uniform temperature distribution by compensating non-uniform heat losses with a non-uniform power density, which helps a lot with making large structures stick to the build plate in its corners. In any example, always employ a thermal cutoff fuse attached directly to the middle of the bottom side of the heated bed.

paradigm source

” data-image-caption=”” data-medium-file=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/heatbeds1.jpg?w=400″ data-large-file=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/heatbeds1.jpg?w=800″ loading=”lazy” class=”wp-image-212355 size-large” src=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/heatbeds1.jpg?w=800″ alt=”heatbeds” width=”800″ height=”366″ srcset=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/heatbeds1.jpg 1986w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/heatbeds1.jpg?resize=250,114 250w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/heatbeds1.jpg?resize=400,183 400w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/heatbeds1.jpg?resize=800,366 800w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/heatbeds1.jpg?resize=1536,702 1536w” sizes=”(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px”>

Thermal image of legacy Prusa MK2B (left) and new Prusa MK42 (right) (by Josef Prusa,
image source)

The heated bed must exist mounted rock-solid to the frame or carriage it rests on. Don’t use loose aligning screws with wobbly springs to mount them, every bit they will seriously bear on the printing quality. Ideally, bolt the heated bed downwardly as directly as possible and utilise car bed leveling for the fine adjustment.

Enclosed build chamber

Enclosing your printer in a box prevents draft and the retained estrus allows you to impress larger objects from ABS with fewer distortions. The enclosure itself tin can be anything from a big enough box or a cute acrylic printarium. Every bit long equally the heat stays within, it will just work. Continue the electronics of your printer outside the heated build bedroom to prevent overheating of the motor drivers and power supply. Listen that actively heated build chambers also require actively cooled hotend-heatsinks.

Dual enclosed build chamber with glass sliding doors from a $50 OSB terrarium, because, why not?

Don’t add together insulation material to the underside of your heated bed, since it decreases the overall estrus output. Passively heated build chambers without excessive insulation can easily reach about 40° C or more, but past retaining the heat from the heated bed. Proceed maintenance easy by making sure the enclosure tin can exist removed without disassembling the whole thing, and well, a door would exist nice. In whatever case, avoid typhoon. When printing ABS and HIPS, even an improvised enclosure or merely a little cabinet is ameliorate than none at all.

Printing Surface

Regular window glass plates or mirrors are indeed able to withstand high temperatures, simply at 110° C the slightest impact lets them shatter. If you print on glass, which works not bad for materials like PLA and PET(-G), utilize borosilicate glass. For press ABS, HIPS, and also PLA, a Polyetherimide (PEI) printing surface is rightfully celebrated as the best option. ABS sticks to information technology stone-solid during the print, and yet just pops off afterward. HIPS and PLA piece of work but also.

From right to left: i/viii″ glass cobweb reinforced PEI plate, 1/4″ Garolite plate, Prusa MK2 heated bed, Makertum MK1 heated beds

Still, not merely is PEI an expensive material with kilogram prices in the hundreds of dollars, information technology is also in low supply, which led to increased use of sparse PEI adhesive films. These films do offer the same bang-up adhesion and printing feel but are quite frail and hands get damaged. For heavy workshop use, apply a one/eight“ PEI sheet instead. It might be slightly more expensive but will last forever and can fifty-fifty exist re-faced on a CNC mill once it shows wear. For an even press surface, the PEI sail must be stabilized, preferably by gluing information technology to a sheet of borosilicate drinking glass or aluminum with the help of a rut resistant transfer adhesive tape.

Don’t use heated aluminum printing plates with only a sparse film of PEI or Kapton on them. The high oestrus electrical conductivity of the aluminum overshoots the goal of keeping the contact layer at temperature and heats through the unabridged impress object to a point where it unremarkably gets too soft to support itself.

Information technology’southward worth mentioning that the best known printing surface for Nylon is still Garolite (aka. Tufnol). Nylon adheres well to it and fifty-fifty larger Nylon parts tin can exist printed reliably on Garolite.

Automobile Bed Leveling / Automated Mesh Bed Leveling

While the archetype servo-deployed probe ever worked somewhat expert plenty, the almost versatile, accurate and reliable sensor blazon for auto bed leveling is the contactless capacitive distance switch. Many builds, especially ones with a metal build plate (i.e. the Prusa MK42) or carrier, nevertheless use inductive sensors, merely these sensors ignore non-metallic printing surfaces (such as a canvas of glass, PEI or Garolite) and only respond to the underlying metal sheet. While this can, of course, be accounted for with an offset, that offset is rarely constant and uniform. Likewise that, all contactless distance switches have a certain accuracy, typically well-nigh ten% relative to an adjustable trigger distance. Mount them with a short trigger altitude, ideally ane or 2 mm, to get the maximum accuracy. Of course, any sensor needs to exist mounted stone-solid to the print head for accurate probings.


In that location are several not bad firmware projects out at that place, with the most celebrated ones being Marlin and Repetier. Marlin and Repetier have quite different approaches when it comes to their configuration. Marlin clones from a GitHub repository with two well documented and commented configuration files, i for the basics and 1 for the advanced settings. Repetier in contrast uses a website that lets you etch your firmware settings in a
graphical web interface and download the pre-configured sources. These sources as well comprise configuration files, simply they aren’t quite too documented every bit Marlin’s analogue.

When it comes to features and functionality, Marlin offers fewer features, but a rock-solid highly configurable and reliable platform worthy of a workhorse 3D printer. In contrast, Repetier offers many experimental features, including but not limited to virtual extruders for color mixing. It’southward the ideal firmware for exploring the frontiers of more than exotic 3D printing applications. Although, not all of its plentiful features are always well documented, which is bound to cause trouble if you’re just looking for something clean and reliable for workshop use.

Temperature Command Algorithms

Only a steady temperature lets you print high-quality models without banding and artifacts. A unproblematic blindside-bang temperature command switch does not provide the necessary temperature stability. The easiest and best way to accomplish a steady hotend and heated bed temperature is a PID control loop, and both Marlin and Repetier offering that choice. They also offer a
PID autotune program, which volition iron out any ripple in your temperature curve without compromising heat up times or overshooting also much. Repetier too offers an culling dead fourth dimension control algorithm, which in many cases works only besides. Still, the accuracy and effectiveness of a dead time control loop depend on the ratio of effective dead time and the polling/update interval of the command loop. This results in poor temperature stability on high-ability heating elements that happen to accept a dead time in the tens of milliseconds. Just use PID.

Cluttered LCD controller menus

The standard Marlin or Repetier firmware with activated brandish back up makes near every control option available through the scroll-and-click bill of fare. It’s consummate, simply besides cluttered, and lets yous navigate through four levels before yous tin move an axis.

image source

” data-medium-file=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/menu_marlin.jpg?w=400″ data-large-file=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/menu_marlin.jpg?w=500″ loading=”lazy” class=”wp-image-212248 size-full” src=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/menu_marlin.jpg” alt=”The Marlin menu (simplified, by open-electronics.org, CC-BY-SA, image source)” width=”500″ height=”336″ srcset=”https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/menu_marlin.jpg 500w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/menu_marlin.jpg?resize=250,168 250w, https://hackaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/menu_marlin.jpg?resize=400,269 400w” sizes=”(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px”>

The Marlin bill of fare (simplified, past open up-electronics.org, CC-By-SA,
image source)

For workshop utilise, merely a fraction of the entries are really required. Just remove unnecessary entries in the firmware source code. In the source of Marlin, that can be easily done by commenting out unnecessary items in the rather cocky-explaining ultralcd.cpp.

/* DISABLING "Control" Card  MENU_ITEM(submenu, MSG_CONTROL, lcd_control_menu);  */

You can also simplify the move menu to skip the feed rate pick:

/* DISABLING ORIGINAL MOVE Menu static void lcd_move_menu() {   START_MENU();   MENU_ITEM(back, MSG_PREPARE);    if (_MOVE_XYZ_ALLOWED)     MENU_ITEM(submenu, MSG_MOVE_10MM, lcd_move_menu_10mm);    MENU_ITEM(submenu, MSG_MOVE_1MM, lcd_move_menu_1mm);   MENU_ITEM(submenu, MSG_MOVE_01MM, lcd_move_menu_01mm);   //TODO:Ten,Y,Z,E   END_MENU(); } */  // ADDING CLUTTER-Costless Move Menu static void lcd_move_menu() {   START_MENU();   move_menu_scale=0.one;   MENU_ITEM(back, MSG_PREPARE);    if (_MOVE_XYZ_ALLOWED){     MENU_ITEM(submenu, MSG_MOVE_X, lcd_move_x);     MENU_ITEM(submenu, MSG_MOVE_Y, lcd_move_y);     MENU_ITEM(submenu, MSG_MOVE_Z, lcd_move_z);   }   END_MENU(); }

Fire Prevention

It’s rare, only 3D printers can catch fire. Utilize the safety features provided by the firmware, but don’t solely rely on them. Both evidently MOSFETs and solid state relays typically neglect in their conducting state, which tin can result in runaway heating with disastrous outcomes. Thermal cutoff fuses are $ane components, simply they are well able to forestall a rail heated bed from turning your workshop into a crater.

This $ane component is priceless. Use thermal cutoff fuses.

External Factors

Uninterruptible Press

If your mains power line is unsteady, or if highly inductive ability equipment happens to be turned on in the same workshop – cheap handheld plasma cutters for instance – it’s a good idea to operate your printer from an UPS (uninterruptible power supply). Fifty-fifty a brusque power failure during the printing process ruins the print, and a modest cheap UPS volition help you out in that case.

Filament Quality

Apparently, making great filament is a petty more complex than feeding pellets into a heated something with an auger. It requires accurate measurements and a closed feedback loop to actually keep the tolerances low. Filament defects I constitute in cheap, low-quality filaments range from trapped air bubbles, variations in properties, color, and bore. I fifty-fifty establish a spool of ABS that faded into PLA one-half-way through. All this does not contribute to reliable high-quality printing, and if half of the prints fail, it’s not fifty-fifty cheap. Then make sure you become a good filament that benchmarks your motorcar’s capabilities.

The Extra Mile

One cracking reward of DIY printers is maintenance. The availability of spare parts and documentation makes it possible, just it should also be fun to work on the machine. Tidy wiring, cable guides as well as a consistent colour code for voltages and signals across the printer will save you lot a lot of time, frustrations, and magic smoke as before long as y’all demand to revisit the internals of your machine a year or two afterward y’all initially built it.

I hope y’all enjoyed this compilation of learnings from more than 20 unique 3D printer builds. Almost open source projects maintain a detailed associates manual simply miss out on the details that make a car a nifty, reliable, and fun-to-utilise piece of workshop equipment. The article has grown long, merely hopefully fills plenty of the gaps to turn any DIY 3D printer project into a success. It’s as well bound to be incomplete, so add together your own findings in the comment section!

3d Printer Acrylic Prusa I3 Rework Single Sheet Frame

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