In the following years the 3D printer market exploded, and at some point even got mainstream with little €1000,- plug and play printers you could buy at the supermarket. So I lost interest. The idea of building one did stick at the back of my mind however. And over time I did collect some parts like a set of stepper motors, some extra Makerbeams and some electronics.
Until recently I got inspired by pictures of the Printrbot Simple Maker kit . This amazingly simple design is probably the most minimalistic printer possible, yet it performs remarkably well for it's price, which is as low as US$350 for a complete kit. Now US$350,- is absolutely a good price for the full kit, but unfortunately that only works if you live in the USA. Once you get it to Europe the total price has become a whopping €550,- (= US$ 590,- !) which more or less defies the idea of a 'cheap DIY printer'.
While looking for additional pictures of the PrintrBot design I also found the R360 Printer by Replicator warehouse :
So I wondered if it would be possible to build this specific design using standard Makerbeam parts.
And I did not want to spend too much money on it so I spend quite some time to find the cheapest parts....
- Makerbeam starter kit.+ extra set of right angle brackets. ( €100 )
- Acme rod (trapezoidal thread) with nut . ( €20 ). This one used to be hard to get, but nowadays most 3D printer shops sell the standard 30 cm version that is used in the RepRap Mendel (MakeMendel,VanAllesEnMeer (Dutch) )
- Flexible coupling 5 mm to 8 mm.n (€6,50) Any 3D printer shop has these in stock
- 2 pcs Aluminium pully, T2.5 (€ 6,50)
- 1 m. of T2.5 5mm Timing belt (€4,50)
- 12 pcs. LM8UU linear ball Bearings (€12,-) (€1,- / each is really good deal ! Kromhout Electronixs (Dutch))
- 3 pcs. NEMA 17 stepper motors (€30,- (special package deal, might be hard to get them that cheap now..))
- Funduino Mega 2560 R3 Module (Arduino Mega compatible board) (€15)
- RAMPS 1.4 interface board (€18, including the Motor Drivers)
- 4 pcs. 4988 Motor Driver (Polulu or compatible)
- Geeetech MK8 All Metal 3D Printer Extruder (DealExtreme) (€45)
- AT Power supply (second hand, from an old PC)
- Lots of Ty-Raps
- 16 Hose clamps, 12-22 mm (€10)
- 2 pcs. 1m. 8mm. Steel Rod (€15)
- Heated bed (€15)
- 16x24 Photo frame (€1,50)
- 12V/ 20 A Power Supply (€24,-)
(Actually a little less since not the whole MakerBeam kit is used)
Again, the US$350,- for the the PrintrBot Simple kit seems like a bargain. You probably have to buy all parts in really large quantities to get that low. Not to mention the US$179,- TIKO 3D , or the US$199 Genesis UNO ..
And with the colourful DaVinci minimaker entering the local toy-shop, 3D printing definitely entered the realm of consumer goods.