Tag Archives: Prusa i3

Project: 3D Printer from scratch. Part 5 – Trial and error. And finally success!

With all the mechanical parts assembled all that is left is firmware calibration – or so we thought.

With all basic calibration done we noticed on prints that the X and Y axises were shifting. as shown below. Looking around and asking on communities this seems often to be due to when the stepper motors skips steps or the timing belt slipping.
We tried everything suggested, from cooling stepper drivers, motors, tightening belts and turning down acceleration in the firmware but nothing worked.

It was first when we loosened the belts and ran the motors we noticed that the pulleys were slipping off the shafts. This was because the pulleys screws were biting into the brass pipe which we used to bridge the gap between our motors and the pulleys did not provide enough friction. When we loosened the belts even less friction was applied between the brass and drive shaft and the slippage became apparent.IMAG1013 IMAG1012 IMAG1011 IMAG1020   IMAG1022 IMAG1023 IMAG1024

After buying some metal epoxy to fixate everything together we are able to finally produce perfectly straight prints!

The print above are some holders for a spool where I designed the feet myself.
It’s quite an amazing feeling to draw something in a 3D program one day and to hold it the next.

Project: 3D Printer from scratch. Part 4 – Assembly

With all the parts delivered it was time to assemble.

I’m not going to go through the whole build process. But it consisted of loads of screwing around (pun intended) and It’s not the prettiest build but i honestly don’t care about looks. It’s function I’m after.

To make a long story short here are some pictures of the build process:
IMG_0730 IMG_0714 IMG_0715 IMG_0716 IMG_0717 IMG_0718




IMG_0724 IMG_0725 IMG_0726 IMG_0727 IMG_0728



One issue we had was that the motors shaft diameter was 4mm and the pulleys had 5mm. We solved this by buying a brass pipe with 4mm inner and 5mm outer diameter.
We then cut the pipe and screwed them on. This kept the pulleys from rotating in an elipse and gave us a nice smooth circular and even rotation.

Not being the most experianced DIY guys we spent about half a billion hours on assembly. But in the end it worked and we managed to produce our first ever print!


Project: 3D Printer from scratch. Part 3 – Electronics, issues and blowing fuses

The last parts were delivered from ebay on the 3rd of march. This took a bit longer than usual as I managed to order during the chinese new year.

With all the parts at hand i decided to start building, while the paint on the frame dries I started working on the electronics.

I converted a old Corsair cx430 to work with the printer. At 12v and 430W the supply can output about 35 amps which is more than enough.
Here is a picture of the Mega 2560+RAMPS 1.4 with 5 stepper drivers mounted, 5 motors connected and the hotend connected.

The firmware I’m using is Marlin. Marlin is a deviation on Sprinter and has LCD support amongst other improvements.

Image of the motors, both Z axises are running.
From left to right:
X axis, Y axis, 2x Z axis, Extruder motor.

When connecting the LCD I noticed something was off, the display shows garbage and nothing can be read from it.
The almighty google suggest multiple possible errors.
First thing to troubleshoot is to see if there is any noticable soldering junk creating crosstalk, I checked both the LCD PCB and Mega2560+RAMPS PCB but I could not find any. I then proceeded to checking the Marlin code to see if I had made any configuration errors.
Unfortunately I had no luck there either.
As a LCD is not required I decided to move on. When the printer is up and running I will probably deal with the LCD errors.

Then I went ahead and configured the endstops. This proved an issue. I’m using 4 pin Mech Endstop v1.2. I had a hard time figuring out which pin did what and after more google I found out more people had made the mistake to wire them wrong and burn the arduino board.
My approach was to connect a LED to the endstop and a tiny bit of voltage from the PSU.
Unfortunately my calculations were off and I managed to burn the fuse on the PSU! 🙁
Here is an image of the PSU, next to the big brown cable is the burned fuse.
Soldering off the power cords and fuse and from the PSU was easy, however with the PSU built to be compact it was not easy to solder a new 3A fuse.
Here we can see the PSU out of the case with the old fuse on the side.

With the endstop issues solved and PSU works great the main job left is to assemble the printer.
More updates to come!

Ps. More images
IMG_0710 IMG_0703 IMG_0700 pronterface

Project: 3D printer from scratch. Part 2 – Printed parts delivery


I got a box yesterday with some mysterious contents.

Opening it revealed the table of contents, delivery took exactly one week.

I’m very pleased, this is the exact ebay item i bought

Since images can tell the story better than I can this post will be mostly  pictures.

All included parts scattered on the floor, cat was not included in the box.20140204_075933
For those wondering, these parts were ofcourse themselves printed. Gears are made using PLA filament and the rest are printed with ABS filament.


Closeup of the gear teeth
IMG_2740 IMG_2738
Usb flash drive for scale
IMG_2749 IMG_2746   IMG_2745

Project: 3D printer from scratch. Part 1 – The Shoppingcart.

I’ve always wanted a 3D printer, but the pricetag has been so high that I’ve gotten discouraged in the past.

However with the increasing community support of open sourced 3D printers the accessibility and price has dropped significantly if you’re willing to do some manual work.
As this is not an easy task to build a 3D printer, and that it will most likely mostly stand idle I thought it would be good to have a partner in crime. Knowing my brother also wants a 3D printer I approached him and we decided to build one together.

After a period of research I decided to build the RepRap Prusa i3.

The RepRap project (Link) is an open source 3D printer project founded by Dr. Adrian Bowyer. The build area is about 20x20x20 cm or 8x8x8 inches. This enables about 8000cm3 or 8 litre build.

The filament is about 40 USD/1kg which allows for a ton of prints.

The finished product should look something like this, but with an LCD display and SD card slot to enable standalone printing.

Prusa i3

Before we can begin building we need the parts. With budget in mind I’ve decided to shop the bulk of hardware from Ebay.

Here is the shopping list:


  • 1x Prusa i3 Printed parts (boxed variant)
  • 1x Greg’s JHead Extruder (cold end)
  • 1x M8 hobbed bolt (to pull the filament)
  • 1x J-Head Pre assembled Hotend – 0.3mm nozzle – 1.75mm filament (includes thermistor and resistor)
  • 1x HotEnd Aluminum mount plate for J-Head
  • 1x HeatBed mk2
  • 1x Aluminum Bed mount plate
  • 1x 10k ohm thermistor
  • 1x red 3mm LED
  • 1x Borosilicate glass
  • 5x Nema 17 stepper motor (1.8° stepping angle)
  • 10x LM8UU linear ball bearing
  • 2x 5x5mm coupling (D20L25)
  • 2x GT2 5mm pulley
  • 2m GT2 timing belt
  • 1x LCD 2004 controller
  • 1x Arduino Mega 2560
  • 1x RAMPS 1.4 shield
  • 5x A4988 stepper driver + heatsinks
  • 3x Mechanical endstop switches
  • 1x 624 ball bearing
  • 4x 608 ball bearing


I also bought various cables, connectors and metal clamps, 40mm fans, but these do not need to be defined.

Cost: 420 USD included shipping. This comes out at around 2700 sek.

Next we need to buy material for the frame which I will aquire from the local hardware store.

We need:


  • Wood/chipboard to build the frame.
  • Centerless smooth metal rods
  • Threaded metal rods
  • A ton of nuts
  • Power supply (Any old ATX PSU should suffice)
  • Black paint for the frame


For build instructions there is a great unity 3d model build instruction to be found.


To be continued…