3DPrintMi - Print. Make. Innovate.

by gyronictonic May 31, 2013
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Hi, I'm thinking of doing this build as my work is currently borrowing an old Bitsfrombytes Rapman 3.1. However, I want to find out at as much as I can about the build before I start as I don't want to get stuck along the way. I have a few questions:

I noticed the build is meant to be well documented, but I can't seem to find much about the extruder or the hotend. I'm also not sure what electronics I can/should use. If the electronics needs to be built up that's fine as I'm an electronics engineer and don't mind even designing the PCB and firmware if needs be, but would prefer a ready made solution that's not Arduino based if one exists.

Any help would be appreciated, once I get mine up and going I'll try get a few friends of mine involved to make a few more and improve upon things if we get that good at it. My main concern is around the lack of extruder and hotend details, the rest I can figure out if needs be.


This uses the ever popular and standard Mega2560 with Ramps 1.4 setup that most DIY 3D Printer builders use. The electronics are arbitrary though and any competent builder will make almost any setup work. Mine ran a cheap ramps 1.4 kit from china and it worked fine. The extruder is "Step 27: Assembly - Extruder Mount". Personally I would used a Prusa i3 extruder instead, this way you can use a hobbed bolt instead of a direct drive gear.

gyro uses standard rod spacing in his design so a lot of X carriages will will work.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:479892 This is a good X carriage if you want double pressicion but you will have to use the direct drive extruder by radus also.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:68296 this isn't double precision, but will allow you to use a standard greg's extruder

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:18379 this is what everyone starts with I believe...

I am using something more like this http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:76660 myself.

If it's not clear yet..you can use basically any hotend you want j-head, e3d, etc etc...they all follow a standard everyone designs around.

Double XY Prusa i3
by radus
prusa i3 aluminum frame w/ aluminum upgrades
Greg's Wade reloaded - Guidler, Tilt Screws, Fishbone Gears
Prusa i3 parts (extruder and carriage, x-end vertical, and z-top stabilizers)
by ch1t0

Thanks for the response. I'm new to this all, I only have about a weeks experience with a 3D printer and decided building my own would be a great learning experience and I would then have one for home. I foresee many questions along the way, I'm starting off by printing the parts slowly over the next couple weeks and trying to source some of the bought mechanical parts. Any recommendations on the print quality for the parts? I plan on building the whole thing out of ABS and using a layer thickness of 0.5mm or 0.25mm. Would there be an issue if I printed the whole thing at 0.5mm layer thickness? (I don't want to run my printer at work for too long each day as I want it to be free if work comes around for it). Oh, and any recommendation of fill percentage and pattern? Was thinking of going 30% fill with hexagonal fill.

Bellow I asked Gyro the same question.

"I usually print at .2mm layer height, 40% infill." this is good enough but any layer height should work really...The layer height will only improve your overhangs and quality. Also what nozzle diameter are you running the rule is layer heigh is 70% <= nozzle diameter. For a .5 layer height you need at least a 0.7mm nozzle which sounds HUGE for someone starting new...I've heard of 1mm nozzles but those are for really fast and big printers. Standard is 0.4mm or 0.35 If this is the case stay within 1.5 - 0.3mm layer height and your extrusion width should match w.e diameter your nozzle is. IE. 0.4mm nozzle 0.4mm extrusion width. Send me a message if you have any other questions.

cris11368, thanks for responding to gmutch's questions, really appreciate it!

In terms of the extruder, I use a custom direct drive setup using a slightly modified replicator 2 lever.

I noticed I didn't post a link to it and made a few edits to the description. The direct drive vertx is modular and you can pair it with most hotends available (E3D, Ubis, Jhead, Hexagon, etc). Just need to match the correct mount and place assemble it with the direct drive extruder.

gmutch, printing it at 0.5mm should be suffice and I recommend to print ONLY in ABS. Printing in PLA will be at risk of deforming by the heat generated from the nema17 motors and heated build plate. 40% is good enough, 30% being the bare minimum.

Direct Drive Vert-Xtruder

Yeah, I remember having a bunch of questions when I first met you back at maker faire, just seems right that I help anyone else who shares the same interest.

Hello, I have different kind of mount for the Z axis carriage would it be possible to modify the design to fit the kind of mounts I have. Thanks in advance.
Ps: my mount is not a normal m8 nut it's cylindrical with a flange at the bottom.

Can you post a picture? I can't visualize this in my head.

What does your setup look like in regards to where your electronics and filament sit? Do you have a case for your electronics? Do you have a filament spool stand of some kind?

What layer height would you recommend for this? Infill?

I usually print at .2mm layer height, 40% infill.

Ah thanks, Also, I met you at the faire in NYC!! It was a pleasure speaking with you and I hope to post up a picture of my finished build someday.

Let me know if you run into any kind of trouble. I just uploaded a few files with updated parts and a new BOM. Can't wait to see some pictures!

I have finally got all the electronics on there, I'm having a problem of leveling my Z-axis. How do you align them right? one seems to always be a bit off from the other and just ends up pushing the nut out of the holder or both just push themselves out and motors just keep spinning.

I had another idea, is it possible to adapt a rack and pinion setup to the design without having to modify too many of the parts. Maybe something that could be mounted to the existing rods?

I use a credit card and place it between the Z axis and Z motor housing. Adjust the Z-axis by turning the leadscrew by hand until it touches the credit card. Perform on both sides.

I looked at using a rack and pinion setup but didn't seem too practical. I've read on forums people using a R&P setup but it tends to wear out.

kuddos on providing STEP files, but archiving them in zip rather than .rar would have been preferable. Zip is ubiquitous and can be extracted without needing an external program on most current operating systems, rar requires special software.

I did not know that and thanks for letting me know. Just uploaded the Zip file. Let me know if this works out.

great build. should have mine up and running tonight

Sweet! Take some pictures if you can, would love to see them

Hello friends!!!!!!!!!!!! I living in brazil, and i would like build a copy of this 3dprintMI, but i dont have much resources too. Can someone help me ???? thanks

I can print the parts you need and ship to you.

Hi, I havebeen searching for the last half an hour for the STLfiles that I will need to print out all the parts.I must be dumb as each time I click on a link that says is the way to find the STL files I arrive at another site that tells me to go to this next link and I end up back to where I started. WHERE can I find the elusive STL files?
PLEASE LET ME IN ON THE SECRET. Thanks in advance.

There's a button on the right side saying "download this thing" and a screen should pop up. You can select each part to download and or click "download all files" at the top