Skeleton 3D : Tiny, compact and transportable 3D printer

by Catastrophe, published

Skeleton 3D : Tiny, compact and transportable 3D printer by Catastrophe Nov 23, 2014

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02/02/2015 :
Native files are on github : https://github.com/Catastropheee/Skeleton3D

MAJOR UPDATE 01/13/2015 :
V0.9 is online. It's a fixed design.
BOM is on Github : https://github.com/Catastropheee/Skeleton3D
There is two possibility for the bracing :

  • PLA triangle (not recommended for high speed printing)
  • Steel triangle (highly recommended !!!)

Wood and steel plate dimension are online.

12/21/14 :
Little bug fixed.
Files translated in English.

MAJOR UPDATE 12/12/14 :
New support plate !!!
Use now : Plate_pusher, Z_left_support_plate, Z_motor_piece_1_2, Z_motor_piece_2_2, Z_right_support_plate, Z_support_plate_link and Z_top_connector.
Improvement :
-Better support of the plate
-Guidance and traction are now decoupled (Plate_pusher go in Z_support_plate_link)

UPDATE 12/08/14 :
We removed the .stl for the 4-rods guidance, because it generate more problems than solve.
We are now working on a new version, more stable of the "support plate".

UPDATE 12/04/14 :
We added the .stl for the 4-rods guidance on Z to have no overhang.
Also, I have upload a new version of the extruder with a support for the inductive sensor!
Now on twitter : https://twitter.com/Skeleton3D Follow us to have the last update!

UPDATE 11/30/14 :
We added an inductive sensor for auto-level.
We'll test the new improvement next week and if it's successful we will publish the new version

UPDATE 11/29/14 :
I add a 3mm version of the extrudeur (but it has not been tested)

We actually working on a new version to guide the plate as you can see on the last picture. The goal is to have a 4-rods guidance on Z to have no overhang. Moreover, this improvement stabilize more the Skeleton3D!

Hi folks,

Here is our new project : the Skeleton 3D
The goal for this printer is to be :

  • tiny
  • compact (280x280x290)
  • transportable (less than 5kg)
  • good printing surface (100x100x100)
  • easy maintenance
  • easy to build
  • inexpensive

If you like the project you can follow the evolution on :
www.skeleton3d.fr (register you on the mailing list!)

The BOM is available on our Github : https://github.com/Catastropheee/Skeleton3D

Bonjour à tous,

Voici notre nouveau projet : la Skeleton 3D !
Les objectifs de cette nouvelle imprimante est d'être :

  • petite
  • compacte (encombrement 280x280x290)
  • transportable (elle pèse moins de 5kg et sa structure permet de la déplacer facilement)
  • une bonne surface d'impression (100x100x100)
  • facile à maintenir et à construire
  • peu cher

Si vous aimez le projet, vous pouvez suivre son évolution sur :
www.skeleton3d.fr (abonnez vous à la newsletter!)

La BOM est disponible sur notre Github: https://github.com/Catastropheee/Skeleton3D

Video :


See the BOM on https://github.com/Catastropheee/Skeleton3D

SOON : I will do some plate ready to print!

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May 18, 2016 - Modified May 19, 2016

Hey... I'm almost done with my build, but I noticed that the X and Y end stop mounts would home the nozzle to the rear right? (At least how it's constructed in the diagrams and renderings?)
I'm planning on using a printrboard with this, which doesn't have MAX endstops... Anyone have any experience in homing to a MAX position on the PrintrBoard?

do you still active supervising and develop (litte improvements, maybe) your litte 'baby' printer?
i printed all parts, but now i have very small trouble..
the z-plate and the screws without nuts, directly into the right/left-support is not the best. a nut would be better...update?
i want to build the bowden-version, but cannot get the .stl here or by mail. could you help?
should i go to the reprap-forum and your thread there (http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?110,426848,page=8), are you active?

I'm using this little printer for almost 1,5 years now, with the Z plate as designed by Cathastrophe and it works perfectly , without bending or other problem.
The native files , as described on the details page, are on Github https://github.com/Catastropheee/Skeleton3D. These are STP files , that you can open/modify in any 3D drawing software that supports it, like Inventor, Freecad etc . That's how we ( me and a few friends ) modified the extruder http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1013294

New Wade extruder for Skeleton 3D
May 18, 2016 - Modified May 18, 2016
PhatJustice - in reply to toz

I noticed the same thing. I wish they released in OpenSCAD so I could help evolve it with some mods... However lateral tension is mitigated by the Z bearing/rods compressing holding it together. The only weakness is with vertical movement, where if they decouple, the Z carriage will move independent of the bed mount... and even if it doesn't break, there's enough vertical flex that would possibly cause the Z bed to pivot along the Y axis... so hopefully your bed (laser cut or otherwise) is thick enough to not flex.

Sep 8, 2015 - Modified Sep 8, 2015

hi, wonderful printer. i will build one..
as on most other projects, some bare mini-help would be appreciated:
What print settings? abs/pla? fill 40%, ....
1-5 assemble steps/picture would be realy helpful...
i will go into adventure, but would really be pleased if you could provide a mini-help to build this thing...

------later on:
i printed the 4 bottom connectors with my cheap chinese prusa i3 in 10.5 hrs. i sliced it in cura, with 40% infill...(maybe to much..)

This comment has been deleted.

Wow... I have an old Prusa Air2 and I print around 20% infill, and I was done in 4 hours, for the four feet!
The bearing clamps for the top X/Y axis I printed nearly 70%.

are there any instructions on how to assemble this printer. I am still in the shopping phase but a set of instructions or a youtube video would help me figure out what parts to buy in what order. any help would be greatly appreciated.

No sorry, if you want I have some pictures. PM me your email.

I have the list and I want to build one but I have never built a 3D printer before so I might be asking a stupid quesiton but... What is a MK7. Any time I try to look it up it just comes up with a vitamin supplement. Any help and/or links would be greatly appreciated.

This comment has been deleted.

If you type it in, in the box on top right of this screen , where it says " enter a search term", you won't find any vitamin supplement, but the MK7 exstruder that is meant by the term "MK7". In this case , it is the MK7 extruder drive gear , i Gues , you are looking for : http://reprap.org/wiki/Drive-gear

So why this printer instead of the Tantillus? http://reprap.org/wiki/Tantillus

Because it is easy to assemble with ready available parts ( in Europe anyway ) , gives a superb print quality, and works perfectly with a normal extruder, no bowden.
In fact, it is so good that I am looking to build a 20 x 20 x 20 cm version as second printer, to replace the i2, i still have for bigger parts.


That seems unlikely, the Skeleton3D has all the same major components, motors, electronics, hot end, it also uses several threaded rods, but the Tantillus dons't. The Tantillus looks like it has fewer non printed parts, so it is probably cheaper.

Sorry for the late reply, but I've decided to settle on the Skeleton over the Tantillus.
My reason? Tantillus is a mess of standards. There is a mixture of SAE, gauge, and metric threading all over the place. It's a nightmare to source parts... Where as with Skeleton I just buy a bag of m3 screws and cut them to length as needed. The M5 "leadscrew" is the only odd one there... and everything else is 8mm/M8.

Tantillus is good in that the lasercut frame speeds up assembly and calibration... but that wasn't as good of a trade off.

You make some valid points, also the designer of the Tantillus, Sublime, seems to have vanished, his site for the Tantillus is no longer up. Best of luck with your Build.

Thanks! It (Skeleton) looks kind of complex to figure out, but it'll come together.
The Tantillus laser cut panels were all over eBay one month and gone the next. However, you can still find them at MakerFarm...
Good luck to your builds too! :)

This comment has been deleted.

Hey! I think there is a mistake in the BOM. The BOM says in total 11 LM8UU but I think this printer needs in total 14 right?

Indeed, sorry, I don't have time to update the BOM :(

Yes, they are 14...

how big of a build plate do you need to print it?

Except for the "support bobine" a plate of 100x100mm is enough.

If the parts are bigger than probably around '80'mm I can't print em' till I replace the y motor in my printrbot simple wood, cause ya have to pull the whole 6/(#5]<[|<>%* thing apart! Anyway thanks! The parts that won't fit I can print at my local library.

And it's me again :D
I assembled the Skeleton a while ago and finally wanted to finish it now. I am at the heat bed and really consider switching the z_plate_support_left/right with the older version you posted on github. The current plate support is really fragile in my build and and the screw connections between the support plates and the support link are bulky to tighten. Also the wood suport plate seesaws quite a bit if I apply some gentle force to it. I can see how the link bends. So why did you choose to exchange the old support plate, which is out of one piece, with a component that needs more screws and is more vulnerable to bending ?

New one is stronger and have less bending.

I'm sorry but I didn't save the old version....

Hey Catastrophe
I wonder if the X/Y axis are compatible to Ultimaker dimensions ? What I want to do is print a Ultimaker hotend mount. Namely this one: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:159987
It is really small and would help pushing the print limits a bit further. Also using different fan mounts would be possible.

E3D hot end smallest mount / J-head mount for the Ultimaker

No this does not fit! The Ultimaker uses 6mm steel rods and therefore the linear bearings a smaller.

Sorry for the late reply.
You're right Ultimaker uses 6mm rods.

Too bad because this mount was really sleak by the first look but no wonder if it only has to deal with 6mm rods and bearings.

Good day. I would also like to receive the reel mount stl. Thanks in advance.


I put it on Thingiverse : "support_derouleur" and "cone_bobine_derouleur"

thank you so much !!! Print plastic to join your community!

Great :)

Hi Catastrophe,

are the STL files for the "Dérouleur de bobine sur roulement" available somewhere?
Thanks in advance

Send you by email!

I can figure out where to plug the Inductive sensor. Can you help me out? Thanks

I plug it on 12V on the ramps and I use a LM7805 to convert the signal 12v to 5v

We're having a hell of a time trying to print the parts with an i3. Do you need a specific slic3r config to get these parts working? Would you be able to share your slic3r config on github that you used to print the parts so we can check if we're doing something wrong? Thanks!

You need to rotate some parts.
I don't use slic3r for my part, I use Cura.

Ah OK. Which parts need rotating?

Almost all of them!

Hey Catastrophe
I've seen on some pictures that you had another Z Support plate (left & right) and Z Top Connector combined all in one piece which looked sturdier and "better".

Could you please upload them or is this part abandoned ?

It was remove because it was not enough sturdy!

Could i made my Twoup 3d printer todo end up like that? Im really new.

Ask to punkrockseb, he is currently doing that with his twoUp

Thanks ill look for him

Jan 29, 2015 - Modified Jan 29, 2015
punkrockseb - in reply to pacodestroyer

So basically: Yes.
You can use quite a lot of the stuff from a TwoUp for the Skeleton. You will get a bigger printer area than the original but you also have to deal with the basalt heat bed which is really heavy.

The LM8LUU bearings are perfect for the belt_guidances and the hotend support.
Alot of the screws can also be re-used.

As the linear rods are all 290mm on the TwoUp you need to trim two of those so that the support_pulley_x & y fit. The rods are 4mm to long.
A hint on the threaded rods: Cut them 1cm longer then needed and trim after you put all the stuff together in a dry run. I didn't do it and cut the threads too short so I couldn't mount the motor_supports :)

You'll see when you assemble it all.

Also you can re-use the MK7 gear of the TwoUp extruder if you decide to go with a bowden extruder.
You will need those small bearings which go in the support_pulleys.
Belts: I went with new T2 belts and pulleys (16 teeth in my build; Catastrophe uses 20 teeth I think).

One problem I encountered when trying to assemble everything was that some of the TwoUp rods were very slightly warped which apparently makes a huge difference in if you get it all square or not.

Hey I have another question or problem. I have now assembled all the machincal parts for the X/Y system but when the "Support hotend" is completely in the front and I move it left and right, there is a huge deviation of about 3mm on the linear guides.

See this video:

Any ideas ? All the distances between the "Top connectors" are equal.

I don't know if there is something I have to consider when assembling this machine. So I just guessed how everything fit together and that there is no specific order on how to put it all together.

That's look weird.
Same remark as Alnoa, make sure you have a square top.
You have no problems on X ?
What is the length of your X/Y smooth rod ?
Try to do the same thing but with a motor.

Have you received my last MP ?

I printed the top connecters laying on their side so the print time was reduced. Does it matter in which alignment the connectors are printed ? Is it better to print them in a "standing" position ?

I always print the connector in "standing" position.

Got you PM but the reply function does only work through thingiverse so I somehow forgot to write back. Thanks for the answer !

About the square top. How to I measure the angles if I cannot measure with a square ?
Do you mean that I should measure the distance between corners which are across ? Like from a "X" ?

make sure you have a square top ( distances between oposite corners )

Jan 26, 2015 - Modified Jan 26, 2015
punkrockseb - in reply to Alnoa

Turned out my left-over precision steel rods were not so precise anymore. 3 of 6 rods are slightly warped. They are 290mm long and have a deviation of about 0.5-1mm over that length.
Found that out after printing the top connectors again (sigh), really carefully adjusting their distance to each other and then inserting the recycled steel rods from my QU-BD TwoUp. This messed up the square angles like hell.
The fcuk, even after it's death the QU-BD TwoUp gives me headaches...

At least, you have the reason of your problem :)

Jan 12, 2015 - Modified Jan 12, 2015

The english BOM is only partly English. Okay I know 'moteur' means motor but as this design is really nice so should be the documentation aswell. A machine is only as good as it's documentation.
I think I miss the "sensor" part as I don't know what kind of switch you used e.g. I don't know which part to get so it fits on the extruder with the sensor slot. I could order some sensors which might fit maybe but I would rather like to know what I acutally need or what is intended to fit.

P.S. Sorry for being so picky :) but I have often stumbled over great things here on thingiverse or the internet in general and all that is spoiling the fun is being unprecise and lack of proper information. No offence !

Hi punkrockseb,

As you can see on thingiverse, I translated the name of the .stl in english on the 21st of december. The English BOM has been updated the last time 2 month ago The current files are just not update and still have the french name of the .stl.

It's a lot of work to keep a "Work in progress" BOM update.

I'll update the new BOM tomorrow with all the last option (sensor included).
Thank you for your remark.

Jan 12, 2015 - Modified Jan 12, 2015
punkrockseb - in reply to Catastrophe

Great ! Thanks !

I have printed all the parts except for the "Support Hotend" and the extruder. Really a fancy little printer. I really like the portable design. Had the same issue with carrying the printer over to a friend and fiddeling with all the wires and fragile (in case of transportation) construction of most other printers.

If you need any help with the English translation you can drop me a PM.

Normally all the files are update on Github.

Don't hesite to send me a PM if there's something wrong.


Would it be possible to just move the motor mounting plates down more to align with the frame rods and just use the rods themselves to mount a 608 bearing with some spacer instead of using the current extra part? This could do away with the 2 bearing supports for the X and Y and have the parts for the belt holders be just 1 identical part. I also noticed in the french PDF you make a reference to a printed support but it is no where to be found (48/2 - Equerre de Stabilisation). Could you upload that here, or maybe the Github? Thanks.

Jan 13, 2015 - Modified Jan 13, 2015
punkrockseb - in reply to Catastrophe

Good thing with the assembled model !

[EDIT] Oh I just saw the assembled model was uploaded long ago. Havn't seen it on github. Anyways this really helps understanding the assembly.

Good idea to use longer threaded rod to support a 608zz for the belt.

The BOM is not update, I'll update it tomorrow!

Thanks, just seemed to fit with everything else reprap. I strongly believe less parts more functionality is always a good thing. Printing up the parts slowly, Might have it built by the end of the week, really excited for this build since I've been having a bit of a wobble problem with my current T framed printer. Looking forward to the speed and stability increase. Thanks for the design hopefully some day you'll release the design files and more people will start to modify the parts with tweaks and improvements.

Natives files are on Github :)

Une nouvelle année synonyme de projets et de réussite

Joyeux Noël!
Un grand projet!

oué BONANé.
Champagne, puisse la SKELETON3D aller le plus loin possible.

Hi! I love this design. As I was thinking abot building a CoreXY or H-Bot or all-that-staff, I have tought about this system. Nice that someone has taken me the pain ahahhaha
Now serious: wanna ask you the speed it gets, as I have a Rostock and would like to use bowden, and have similar speeds.
Another thing: I will be using aluminium M6 rods, with printed bushing (to reduce weight)

Thank you :)
I don't use bowden, but Chipsa develops a bowden version. I don"t know its speed. Personnaly, with a direct version, I print at 90mm/s.

How about its vibrations and noise? I know there are videos, but nothing can compare to be there, you know.
Could this be a replacement for a delta?
Also, how is the quailty of the impressions at that speed?
Thanks a lot!

If you want to know more about the bowden version, speed and noise ask here to Chipsa : http://www.thingiverse.com/make:109193

Skeleton 3D : Tiny, compact and transportable 3D printer

Congratulations! I'm riding with print area 20x20x20. What is the weight of this table that u used?

Dec 23, 2014 - Modified Dec 23, 2014
Catastrophe - in reply to Ornando

On the Skeleton the surface is 100x100x110 (millimeter)

How are you securing the extruder drive shaft with the main gear, bearings, and MK7 gear into the extruder body? Is it just a friction fit between the 605 bearings and the body?

I have printed and assembled much of this design. (Great design by the way) But the extruder shaft assembly is fairly loose and slides out too easily. I don't see any way to secure it in place. It seems like the only thing that would hold it in is a tight fit between the bearings and the body.

Hi chriskoz,
The extruder shaft assemvly is "force fit". It doesn't move at all.

Hmmm... the bearings just slip right out in my case. It doesn't take any force at all.

I guess I need to make some adjustments and re-print that piece. Thanks.

Weird... do you use 625zz or 605zz ?

I'm using some 605rs bearings I had on hand.

I just print an extrudeur and the inside is 13.95mm.
Normaly the 605zz is 14mm outer.

The 605rs is 14mm. But, I'm measuring 14.15mm on the extruder bore I.D. I'll check my calibrations and print it again.

Once again... thanks for your help.

It's normal.

I can made a mistake in the file !

I didn´t found any information about the pulleys. What kind of pulleys you are use, 16 tooth ???

I use 20 Teeth GT2 Aluminum Pulleys 5mm Bore .

Dec 13, 2014 - Modified Dec 13, 2014

Hola soy de Argentina y acabo de terminar de armar esta maquina, la verdad que es excelente, solo tiene algunas debilidades en el eje Z, ya que la dimensione para trabajar en un area de 200mm x 200mm y la cama caliente tiende a tener juego, por esa razon rediseñe el soporte de la cama caliente haciendolo mas robusto y los resulpados fueron excelentes.

Rediseño de soporte de cama caliente para impresora Skeleton

Justo iba a ponerme a hacer uno yo! Jajajajaj caben dos rodamiento en cada varilla o solo uno? Gracias!

Buen trabajo.
¿Es lo que usted puede poner su modificación "Remix"?

is there anyway you can show how the fans are mounted looking to see how you mounted the fan on the extruder and the fan with the fan cone, I see it calls for a 30x30x10 and a 40x40x10 fan i take it the 30x30 is for the extruder and 40x40 for cone to cool part as it prints.
thank you so kindly.
i really like the build so far will upload images once i have it done along with a video to support the build with youtube.

I upload a new picture of the fan.
It would be great if you can do a video of the build :)

Hello, I wanted to congratulate you for this design I love, I will build a machine, I wanted to consult you if possible you send me a .stl of the whole machine assembled I will be very useful to assemble, thank you very much, sorry for the English is a translation yet =)

It's online!

I will do this very soon!

Started printing the parts for this today. I will post when the build is finished. Awesome design!

Thank you woodywong!

I just noticed today's update. It sounds like I should just build it without the added "guide plateau" parts for the time being.

We are currently doing some print test.
I'll release the new parts very soon :)

Hey Catastrophe,

could you please upload the adapted Connecteur_infrieur, Connecteur_suprieur and the 2 aditional supports for the plateau?
I found the 605zz's at Amazon and the MK7 at Reprapworld.
Thanks in advance


I'm impatient to see the first "I made one" !!!

Since it's not finished yet, I must say for now " I am making one" :-)
Thanks for the parts.
I am slicing them and get them ready for printing

Hi marcething,

All is online :
See "Guidage_chariot_avant_gauche", "Guidage_chariot_avant_droit", "Connecteur_infrieur_guide_plateau" and "Connecteur_suprieur_guide_plateau".

Also, I have upload a version of the extruder with the support for the inductive sensor !

What are the settings you are using to print the extruder?
The front site where the hotend goes , is so thin that it is not printed nicely when you use a layer thickness of 0,15mm .
Should i go even thinner or can you redraw the front side of the hole where the J-head ( or Aluhotend or other ) a litle thicker ?

I update a new version, with 0.5mm more on the front side and with support directly in the .stl.

It's already printing :-)
Could you advise where to find the MK7 for 5 mm shaft and 605ZZ roulement?
I don't find them at my usual shop

Look on ebay :) "mk7 drive gear"

I, also am now waiting for the upgraded parts. All prints are done, metal cut, and electronics are ready to go.


Hi mondo50m,

The news parts are online !

Hi Catastrophe
I certainly decided in favor of your Skeleton 3D :-)
I already started printing the 3mm version of the extruder.
I'll better wait for the new "connecteur supérieure" and "connecteur inférieure" and the 2 new parts that are on the orange Photo, that support the print bed. They come next week after testing, if I understood correctly (?)

Nov 28, 2014 - Modified Nov 28, 2014

Great design,
There is just one thing I'd would like to have aditionally , if possible.
As I guess you have to original drawings, could you plaese adapt the "partie mobile" and "Extrudeur" of the extruder for use with 3mm filament (instead of 1.75), please?
Thanks in advance

It's done ;) but not tested !

Nov 28, 2014 - Modified Nov 28, 2014
Catastrophe - in reply to marcething

Thank you,
I will be a little bit busy this week-end. So I'll do this monday !

This comment has been deleted.

Please ! Post a good pic of printed models. I want to see wall quality.

Picture post !

Hi Karabas,

We are waiting for a 30x30 fan to modify our ventilation.
When it will be done, I'll post some new picture!

How much would it cost to build it? And electric parts, where can I get them? I'm really interested in building one for my brother and one for me.

Nov 26, 2014 - Modified Nov 27, 2014
Catastrophe - in reply to thetoo

Maybe around 250$ or less.
You can get an arduino mega + ramps 1.4 in a lot of different store ;)

Is the hotend not cooled ?

As you can see on the first picture or video, the hotend is cooled by a fan :)

Oh yes I havn't seen it :)

I was wondering where I could find a parts list for this printer (for the electronics etc.) Thanks

Hi 3dflyer,

The BOM is on the Github : https://github.com/Catastropheee/Skeleton3D
If you don't speak English use BOM_English.pdf and BOM_Skeleton3D.pdf

I will do a proper BOM in English soon!

Do you have a video of it running? Looks great!

Very cool! I like that build you have there :)
Will have to try that some day ;)

Thank you :)

Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need :)

Nov 23, 2014 - Modified Nov 23, 2014
RepRapOsterlen - in reply to Catastrophe

You guys haven't thought about using 10mm wather pipes that are extremely lightweight instead of heavy rods.
I used chromed ones for my build and work great with printed lm10uu bearings.
Its one solution to cut weight.

Nov 24, 2014 - Modified Nov 24, 2014
Catastrophe - in reply to RepRapOsterlen

Good idea,
but I think 5kg is a good weight, because if it's to light the vibration increase.

That's a good point but it would help to make it not so top heavy that the smooth rods do now at the top.
I like the design so I will share it on facebooks reprap groups :)

You're right, I'll try to do this in the next version!