Feeling brave enough to build a 3D printer from scratch? Assembling your own cheap DIY 3D printer kit is an attractive low-cost option if you’re on a tight budget.
It’s also a fantastic way to learn the nuts and bolts of how 3D printing works — quite literally. There’s no better way to understand the fundamentals of fused deposition modeling than by putting together your own machine. It’s highly satisfying, too.
CAUTION: Each DIY 3D printer kit in this article take at least a few hours to assemble. If you don’t want to invest the time then check out: 2018's Best Cheap 3D Printer Priced Under $200/300/500/1000
If want to look further you can scroll down to the comparison table of the DIY 3D printer kits. They are sorted by price. Or read the next section to learn more about what means to build a 3D printer kit.
How long will it take to build your own 3D printer? Typical assembly times vary from kit to kit. Much also depends on the quality of the instructions provided. Usually, these are available online, and you can freely review them before you make a purchase.
That said, most of the kits in this list will end up taking you at least four to eight hours. That’s because this article, unlike earlier versions, exclusively features full DIY kits — no semi-assembled 3D printers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this option is going to be more complicated than buying a fully assembled and tested machine. While there will be supporting documentation and guides available to help you on your journey, you’ll be flying solo for the most part. Fortunately, there are great communities that will help you.
The most affordable DIY 3D printer kit on this list is the Startt from iMaker, which has an astounding price tag of $119 dollars. It’s a Prusa i3 clone that’s expressly pitched as an educational product to appeal to parents and teachers, and the print quality is best described in terms of “good” and “adequate”. Perhaps not the most advanced or sophisticated DIY 3D printer kit available on the market, but it’s intriguing how far the price of a basic machine has fallen whilst still being able to perform key functionality.
In the eyes of a minimalist maker, the Tronxy X1 is a cheap DIY 3D printer kit is a dream. This oddly designed machine doesn’t look like your average Cartesian printer, but still manages to provide a nice build size (150 x 150 x 150 mm³) and high resolution printing.
If you’re looking for a DIY 3D printer kit but need something budget-sized and budget-priced, take a good hard look at the Tronxy X1.
The Geeetech Prusa i3 Pro W came out end of 2017, giving us yet another take on the Prusa i3. Build time should be roughly 8 hours.
What makes this model stand out is a Wifi option, which will set you back an additional $20 roughly. Geeetech even developed an app so you can control your printer from your smartphone.
The Anet A8 is a cheap DIY 3D printer kit with a large build volume and standard NEMA 17 motors to navigate the print-space. Best of all, the Anet A8 comes stock with an extruder and heated bed that makes it capable of printing a diverse selection of filaments.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard about the Anet A8 before, as it has quickly blossomed into one of the go-to cheap DIY 3D printer kits. This machine is definitely recommended to those looking for a quality project printer. You will definitely need to tinker a bit to achieve the perfect print, but the endless array of 3D printable upgrades and modifications will have you constantly improving your Anet A8. Find more about the Anet A8 upgrades and mods here: 25 Must-Have Anet A8 Upgrades and Mods
DIY 3D Printer Kit Review: 2018 Anet A8 Review – The Most Popular 3D Printer
Well-known for their CR-10, Creality3D also produces a number of other 3D printers, including the Ender 2. What stands out with this DIY 3D printer kit? Why, its small footprint and equally small price tag, of course! Additionally, at approximately three hours of assembly time, it’s one of the easiest printers on this list to put together.
DIY 3D Printer Kit Review the Facts: Creality Ender 2 3D Printer: Review the Facts Here!
The Tevo Tarantula is a cheap DIY 3D printer kit with an all-metal frame construction. Extruded black anodised aluminium is used for the frame material, with laser cut acrylic plates for the control box, and ball bearing V-Groove wheels for smooth and quiet operation.
An optional upgrade to consider is an auto-leveling feature, which uses a proximity sensor and modified firmware to detect the aluminium print bed. This is nifty because you won’t need to re-adjust the print bed each time a print is performed.
DIY 3D Printer Kit Review: 2018 TEVO Tarantula Review - A 3D Printing Fixer Upper?
Confusingly, the Anet A6 is a model upgrade over its wildly popular sibling, the Anet A8. Despite a raft of improvements to its frame structure and makeup — including switching the x-axis carriage rods from one on top of the other, to side-by-side — it is still entirely a DIY 3D printer kit. Additionally, Anet has added a larger LCD screen paired with a rotating knob, which supposedly gives an easier experience navigating the printer’s menus.
Thanks to its aluminum frame, the A2 is a departure from other Anet models, which tend to sport acrylic. This DIY 3D printer kit also quite compact for its build volume. On the other hand, as with other Chinese 3D printers, it does have some issues out of the box (some of which can be resolved with printed mods). Nevertheless, the decent print quality and easy assembly are more than worth the low price.
As one of the most affordable delta-style DIY 3D printer kits on the market, the Anycubic Kossel has become a popular option for those looking to build a kit without breaking the bank.
Aside from a sizable 180 x 180 x 320 mm³ build size, this inexpensive DIY 3D printer also offers an all-metal hot end and two cooling fans. The “Upgraded Pulley Model” featured here is equipped with a stronger frame construction, high torque stepper motor, stable rotating speed and uniform extrusion force, and feeding filament smoother. Despite this handful of upgrades, the Kossel DIY 3D printer kit remains affordable for anyone on a budget.
Unsurprisingly, Tronxy has cut some corners with the X3 in order to provide an affordable 3D printer. As with its big brother, the X3S, users report a rather grueling experience putting this DIY 3D printer kit together due to missing instructions and a plethora of necessary tweaking. Despite that, the X3 is said to produce surprisingly high quality prints.
While it’s hard to beat the quality that comes with the Prusa i3 MK2S (or MK3 for that matter), some makers must be more frugal when making their first DIY 3D printer kit purchase. For those searching for a truly cheap 3D printer kit, the Prusa clone from Geeetech is an option that could be worth a look.
Priced at under $200, this FDM 3D printer kit offers all the basics and more. Believe it or not, the Geeetech model includes a Wi-Fi module and cloud 3D printing solution. You also get a heated bed, high-resolution prints, and the ability to operate the printer as a standalone machine.
FLSUN’s Prusa i3 is a sturdy machine with an aluminum frame. Thanks to upgrades over the previous model, there are now two fans to cool the extruder and filament. The build volume of this DIY 3D printer kit is a standard 200 x 200 x 200 mm³ and it features both a maximum resolution of 100 microns and a heated print bed. Available upgrades include an LCD control panel and an SD card reader.
The Tronxy X5S is the big brother to the X3S, replacing it as one of the bestselling DIY 3D printer kits on the market. What makes it so popular? How about the combination of its enormous build volume and low price tag? Just keep in mind that putting it together is no easy task, and maintaining it may require replacing some cheaper components. For that reason we generally recommend this monster for dedicated and experienced makers.
DIY 3D Printer Kit Review the Facts: Tronxy X5S 3D Printer: Review the Facts Here!
If you’ve been researching the best DIY 3D printer kits for any length of time, you’ll have seen a great many clones of the Prusa i3. It’s a popular design because it’s open source and capable of producing excellent results. But, if you can afford it, we highly recommend buying an Original Prusa i3 directly from the chap who designed it, Josef Prusa.
Although the highly anticipated Prusa i3 MK3 kit is already making rounds, you can get your hands on the equally dependable Prusa i3 MK2S without shelling out as much cash.
The current Prusa i3 MK2S kit, priced at around $725, offers an avalanche of features, including a hefty build volume, speedy printing, automatic bed leveling, and a heated bed with “cold corners compensation”. You can even upgrade your Prusa with dual-extrusion, or even go all the way and convert it into the new MK3 model. While price is usually a determining factor for a DIY 3D printer kit purchase, many community members will tell you that it’s worth the extra investment to obtain the one and only Original.
DIY 3D Printer Kit Review: Original Prusa i3 MK2 Review: Best 3D Printer Kit of 2017
The Original Prusa i3 MK3 is the most recent iteration of the DIY 3D printer kit that sparked a wave of clones. It features a number of improvements over the MK2S, including filament sensors, power outage recovery, enhanced control electronics, a removable magnetic bed, and a more reliable aluminum y-axis.
Since its release, the clones have slowly been catching up to the MK3 in terms of capability. Still, they’ll be hard pressed to match its ease-of-use and astonishing performance.
DIY 3D Printer Kit Review: Original Prusa i3 MK2 Review: Best 3D Printer Kit of 2017
License: The text of "15 Best Cheap DIY 3D Printer Kits of Summer 2018" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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