Homemade 3D printer

Homemade 3D printer

Alex writes –

How to make a 3D-printer for your home lab with $340 cnc kit and some junk. It uses cheapest plastic waste or powder paint as raw material to produce freeform models from STL files. Also there are links to original open-source 3D model file reader and step motor control application.

3D-принтер – Link & translated site.

12 thoughts on “Homemade 3D printer

  1. yeahrightlikeanyarestillavailable says:

    So, the translated site is pretty good, except….

    He says he uses a typewriter needle to sinter the plastics powder. Is this just a bad translation? Because, a google for “typewriter needle” gives no real results…

  2. aplumb says:

    Powdered paint as a raw material – brilliant! Hadn’t thought of that one.

  3. albanetcsr says:


    This is a desktop machine that can create objects of arbitrary shape from computer models. The objects can range from parts for cars and office equipment, to dishware, furniture, toys and props. With different source materials, it’s possible to make colored and even glowing objects.

    3D printer is essential at home, in the office, workshop or lab. Majority of people nowadays do not have a 3D printer, because the cost of such machines can range from $20K-100K and the materials are $2-10 per gram. To make our 3D printer accessible and cheap we used the following ideas:

    – as a source material, it uses inexpensive and widely available powder paint, or even ground plastic shavings will do
    – we use our “Kulibin” CNC construction kit as a base to make the machine as cheap and reconfigurable as possible
    – to melt the powder, we use heated nichrome wire (needle) instead of the laser
    – powder supply is a simple gravity feed instead of a more complex mechanical dose-and-spread system
    – open source software

    The frame is very similar to the milling machine constructed from the same kit.
    Printing needle is a nichrome wire included in the “Kulibin” kit. It requires 3-5 volts, so it can be powered from ATX supply with PWM power regulator.

    The needle sinters the powder, tracing the cross-section at each layer of the model. Powder feed (and the needle) moves along the Y axis, depositing the powder in front of the needle. The needle can also move along X axis and go up/down.

    For now we made the working area several times the size of the printed object, so that there would be enough powder on the edges to support itself. Another option would be to print a “fence” around the object in each layer.

    The electronics use our standard scheme to control 5 steppers. Merging the STL file manipulation app with our stepper control app, we get the final code (available from the site)

    Now let’s load the source material and reset the coordinates manually or using the sensors from our radio construction kit. Here is a couple of printed objects (photos).

    Now, the printer is very slow but the speed can be improved. By the way, unlike most machines, 3D printers work the steppers very heavily – the number of X axis steps is proportional to the cube of the object volume. Thanks to that, we discovered that not only russian stepper (SM-200) is more reliable than its chinese equivalent, but it’s also capable of continously maintaining twice the speed.

    The machine is practically insensitive to ocassional coarse powder and other impurities; fairly stable with sand, dust and water (in the powder). You can print not only with plastic, but pretty much with everything that melts at 100-300C, i.e. with sugar, wax, acrylic etc. Also with mixes like plastic+sand, plastic+metal powder, powder paint+sugar powder etc.

    To obtain the plastic powder we tested several household coffee grinders – and the champion is Bosch brand. Powder paint is widely available at the cost of $4-12/kg.

    We have made previous attempts at 3D printer, but the lack of cheap and quality mechanical base prevented us from doing so, which is what prompted us to create the “Kulibin” CNC contruction kit.

  4. Anonymous says:

    where can I get the cnc kit?

  5. 3d printer says:

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