3D printing technology allows you to create physical objects from digital files. While commercial 3D printers can be expensive, you can build your own basic 3D printer from scrap electronics and hardware for under $100.

Building your own 3D printer is an enjoyable DIY project that lets you learn about electronics, 3D modeling, and manufacturing. This article will walk you step-by-step through sourcing components, assembling the frame, wiring up the electronics, calibrating the machine, and printing your first models. With some creativity and patience, you'll have your own desktop 3D printing system up and running in no time.

Sourcing Components

The most important parts of a 3D printer are the frame, axes, extruder, and electronics. Here's what you'll need to source for your build:

Frame and Axes

The frame provides the structure to mount the other components. The axes allow motion in the X, Y and Z dimensions. Good options include:


The extruder pushes out thermoplastic filament to build up layers. Parts needed:


The electronics control all components and motion. Key components:

Assembling the Frame

With the components sourced, it's time to assemble the frame:

Adding the Electronics

Now it's time to wire up the electronics for motion control and heating:

With the electronics installed, the printer can now be controlled to move the toolhead and extrude plastic!

Configuring and Calibrating

Some key configuration steps are required to calibrate the printer before printing:

Getting the calibration right is crucial before starting on your own prints. Take the time to dial in settings and alignment.

Modeling and Printing Objects

Once configured, you're ready to start printing objects! Here's a quick overview:

With your DIY printer up and running, let your creativity run wild to design and fabricate your own parts and gadgets. Have fun printing!

Improving Print Quality

Here are some tips for troubleshooting and improving the quality of your printed parts:

Don't be afraid to experiment with settings and hardware tweaks. Desktop 3D printing is a constant learning process!


Building your own 3D printer from scrap parts is an incredibly fun and rewarding maker project. By understanding key components and how to source, assemble, configure, and operate the printer, you can fabricate your own low cost 3D printing setup. Let your creativity run wild to design imaginative models and bring your ideas to life! With some persistence and ingenuity, you'll be producing great printed parts in no time. Happy printing!