The 3D printing technology has become very popular over the past couple of years, though getting into the hobby might still be too expensive for many people due to high prices. There are plenty of affordable 3D printers that you can come across for sale, but if you’re looking to take it a step further, you can even make your own.
Arduino has given aspiring programmers one of the best opportunities to create devices that can accomplish a wide range of tasks, and 3D printing is no exception.
Top 5 Best Arduino 3D Printers
Over the course of this guide, we’re going to take a look at some of the best options you have when looking for an Arduino 3D printer project. We’ll look at projects that range from simple and barebones all the way up to some of the most versatile machines that you can hope to make on your own.
Frequently Used Parts
These printer kits are slightly different in their construction and control approach. However, there are a couple parts that you will need for any type of Arduino 3D printer:
Arduino Uno R3 controller – the defining factor of any Arduino project is the Arduino controller, with the most popular being the Uno R3. This is the core of any Arduino 3D printer build as it stores the control program used to actually run the printer.
3D printing pen or hot end extruder – any 3D printer requires a way to apply the filament to your prints, which is what these parts are used for. These parts act as the core of the mechanical part of a 3D printer by turning your rolls of filament into your own projects.
Heated bed – heavily recommended for any printer that you plan to actually use. Heated beds keep your printed objects from warping by keeping them evenly heated.
Without any further delay, let’s get right into our five best DIY Arduino 3D printer projects.
1. EWaste 3D Printer
If you want the easiest Arduino 3D printer project to accomplish and you aren’t looking to spend too much money on the building materials, the EWaste is probably the best choice. This 3D printer project has a fitting name since it can be made out of parts that would otherwise be wasted.
Of course, you can’t expect to get exceptional performance out of this simplistic Arduino 3D printer, but what it offers is valuable in its own way. First of all, this 3D printer gives you an inexpensive option that you can practice your DIY skills on before moving on to a bigger project.
Apart from its small size, this 3D printer is actually surprisingly capable, so if you aren’t looking to make anything bigger than the print bed, then the EWaste may be perfect for you. In the end, you get what you pay for, and you should be able to build this 3D printer.
2. Ultimaker Original+ 3D Printer
If you don’t like the thought of having to scrounge around for parts and you would want everything to come straight out of the box, there aren’t many options that can hope to match the Ultimaker Original+. Ultimaker is known as one of the more experienced 3D printer constructors, so reliability is assured.
Many DIY 3D printer projects can have questionable build quality, but you shouldn’t have any problems with the Ultimaker Original+ as long as you follow the instructions closely. One of the best parts of this 3D printer is that it’s designed to be modular and upgradeable so that it can keep up with new advances in Arduino 3D printer technology.
If you’re tired of waiting around all day for your DIY 3D printer to complete a project, you’ll be happy to hear that this model has a max print head travel speed of 300 mm/s. The level of detail that can be achieved by this 3D printer is almost unmatched by other, user-sourced 3D printer plans thanks to the higher build tolerances.
3. Materia 101 3D Printer
The Materia 101 is another excellent option if you’re looking to avoid sourcing your own parts and you merely want to buy a kit. This project is actually made by Arduino themselves, as they undoubtedly saw the immense popularity of 3D printers powered by their chip all around the world.
This 3D printer is available both pre-built and in a kit that you assemble yourself. We will focus on the kit version since there’s more to discuss with the added assembly process. Putting this 3D printer together was rather straightforward thanks to the clear and detailed instructions. Of course, we would still recommend a bit of DIY experience with Arduino devices in the first place.
Since this device is open-source, you’ll find that the whole community can improve it and create detailed plans, so you’ll want to be active online to get the most out of it. While the Materia 101 may be relatively pricey for its size and building capabilities, it features much better construction quality when compared to other machines.
4. Tinkernut Labs 3D Printer
If you want to test your DIY capabilities with a more complex project that involves quite a bit of work, then this 3D printer from Tinkernut Labs may be what you’re looking for. When it comes to this plan, you have quite a bit of leeway when it comes to choosing the materials that you use to create it.
You can use nearly anything for an extruder on this kind of 3D printer, but the plans recommend co-opting a 3D printing pen for the purpose. In the end, this should be the most economical option, as well as the simplest one for beginners. While this printer may miss out on some reliability, it’s all up to how you choose to build it.
If you want the most effective 3D printer possible, this project may not be the best option for you. You’ll find that the Tinkernut Labs 3D printer is more of a test of your skills when it comes to using Arduino. For those of you looking to improve your DIY abilities and get a 3D printer out of the deal, this is by far the best choice.
5. 3D Printer/CNC Machine Hybrid
If you want more than just a 3D printer out of your DIY project, you can also make an Arduino device that also functions as a CNC machine whenever needed. Keep in mind that this won’t be a cheap project, and it may end up costing just as much as a 3D printer that’s already been made.
Of course, the main benefit that you get with this machine is superior versatility, as you’ll be able to use it as a CNC mill or a 3D printer whenever you want to. Since there is such a significant DIY element to this build, you’ll find that much of the quality, as well as the machine’s capabilities, will depend on the work that you put into it.
If you aren’t experienced when it comes to DIY projects using Arduino, then you’ll probably want to get some practice before you tackle a blueprint like this one. Of course, one of the main benefits of plans like these is that you can also use any parts you have lying around in the build, which will save you some money.
What is Arduino?
Before getting to know about the 3D printers, it is important to know what exactly Arduino is. It is a hardware and software platform for many electronic devices, mainly targeted at enthusiasts who tinker with the systems and the programming to make cool projects.
Over the years Arduino has become an integral part of numerous scientific projects ranging from the simple everyday instruments to the most complex semi-industrial ones.
Learning and understanding the inner workings of this system has become very popular among engineers and tech buffs. Hence why many instructional books like the ones shown here have popped up to help both newcomers and experienced Arduino buffs alike
It is being used as an open source platform by a lot of people, ranging from the hobbyists to the programmers. The most efficient users don’t just make use of the existent Arduino but keep adding more and more to it to improve its performance, making it sort of an open-source project shared between the enthusiasts.
With the rapid growth of 3D printing technology, it was only a matter of time since the Arduino professionals figured out how to use the platform to create cheap yet functional Arduino 3D printers. The well-known platform allows potentially infinite customization for those who know how to use it.
Reasons Why You Should Build Your Own 3D Printer
Let’s go over some of the reasons why you may wish to build your own 3D printer using Arduino, as you may be wondering whether or not you’re better off buying a pre-built option.
A Learning Experience
One of the best parts of building your own 3D printer is that you’ll be able to benefit from the experience, as you’ll likely have learned a thing or two by the end of it. If you have already used Arduino or if you plan on doing so in the future, you’ll be able to take advantage of that experience.
Of course, having DIY experience does more for you than just in the domain of Arduino, as you’ll grow handier in other areas as well. Problem-solving is a universal skill that can help you out in many different situations.
This will depend on the project that you pick, but you’ll often find that building your own 3D printer using Arduino will be much more affordable than opting for one that’s already made. One of the main areas where you save is in the assembly of the 3D printer, as you’ll be doing that yourself. Without a manufacturer adding to the price of raw parts, you’ll also save a lot on the machine itself.
Regardless of whether you buy the parts in a kit or if you buy them separately, building your own 3D printer can often be more economical, but you also have to consider your needs. If you require high-precision printing capabilities, then you’ll want to make sure that you have a machine made of quality parts.
You May Have Materials Lying Around
Another reason you can save quite a bit of money by building your 3D printer on your own is that you may already have some of the materials that you need. You’ll find that some 3D printers can be made with parts that are as simple as a disc drive’s motor, such as the EWaste.
Of course, if you already have some Arduino projects laying around, then you’ll be able to save even more money in the making of your 3D printer. While you’ll have to cannibalize some of your Arduino devices, the best part is that you can always put them back together again once you’re done.
Things to Consider Before Building Your 3D Printer
Let’s take a look at some of the most important factors to account for before you build your own Arduino 3D printer.
Print Area Size
You’ll need to think about the size of 3D printer that you’re looking for before making your purchase, as that will determine what you’ll be able to build in the first place. While smaller printers will be easier to assemble, they won’t be able to print out anywhere near as many items.
If you’re experienced enough in the field of Arduino projects, you may figure out a way of adding a useful heated bed to an existing project. This part will ensure that your new DIY 3D printer won’t create warped objects since the heated bed prevents separate parts of the printed object to cool before the rest.
As your 3D printer gets larger, keeping it reliable will be harder work since there will be more moving parts. With any 3D printer, you’re always balancing the aspects of size and convenience, and that’s still the case with a printer that you’ve made yourself.
What You Plan to Build
Of course, if you plan on making a DIY 3D printer, then you’ll need to account for the things that you want to make with it. Having an idea of what you’re going to build using your 3D printer means that it will be much easier for you to choose a plan that will work best for your needs. Filaments available for use with the printer are important since different materials provide different properties to the printed objects.
The main underlying issue here is precision. Larger, bulkier builds won’t suffer much from less precise Arduino 3D printer builds, while delicate projects, like tabletop miniatures or complex art pieces, may be rendered impossible to print by an insufficiently precise printer. If you don’t know what you want to make with your 3D printer, choosing the right one is often like taking a shot in the dark, so put some thought into it.
The History of Arduino 3D Printers
The story behind the Arduino 3D is very interesting. The idea originated in February 2004. It was the creation of the Adrian Bowyer who designed the concept of a machine that makes it possible to self-replicate even when working online.
He got the sponsorship and ultimately the dream came true with the first print by the RepRap 0.2 prototype. The success of this venture encouraged Massimo Banzi and David Cuartielles to come up with the first ever Arduino 3D printers. It was labeled as the second generation of the RepRap’s open source 3D printers. This integration of RepRap and Arduino was a real revolution that exhibited outstanding results at a very low price.
The MakerBot first was fitted with a RepRap Motherboard v1.1 with a Sanguino. Unlike other traditional motherboards, it was added with additional pins and the RAM was two times better. The storage was also increased. All these added features made it a great addition for the Arduino.
A massive leap in the world of Arduino 3D printers came in the form of the Ultimaker. The creators were not happy with the previously existing systems. This dissatisfaction regarding the RepRap models led to the creation of Ultimaker in 2011. The basic idea was to create something that could be assembled without any problem.
We hope that this guide has helped you find the best 3D printer project so you can make your own using Arduino. As you can see, there’s a rather wide range of choices available, each of which caters to a specific budget and required level of build quality.