Perpetually investigating the intersection of the human experience & technology.

3D Printer Build

Can I Build a 3D Printer in Less Than 2 Months?


3D Printer Build



Area of Study: Fabrication

Duration: September 2017- November 2017

Team Size: 1 person (individual)

Role: Engineer; Developer

Keywords: hardware, fabrication, 3d printing


The Problem

3D printers are becoming really popular. Okay, that's not really a problem. HOWEVER, it is a problem when you don't know how to do something that's becoming popular. So, I built my own 3D printer.,


The Frame

Great things have small beginnings. This is bottom of the metal frame that supports the movement of the heat bed on the Y axis.


The Heat Bed

The heat bed is comprised of two main components. The metal piece sits below the black overlay -- this is the part that heats up. A thermistor is sandwiched in-between the two pieces to take measurements of the bed as it heats up. The bed needs to be at a certain temperature for the print to proceed.


Wiring & Arduino

All motors and the heat bed are wired to an Arduino which allows you to control the printer with your computer via a USB cord.


Computer Hookup

The firmware was uploaded to the unit via the Arduino IDE. I then use Repetier-Host to upload STL files and print. Repetier-Host allows for control of various features of the printer, such as the heat of the extruder and the heat bed.


The First Print Job!

This was the very first thing I printed. It was a simple hollow cube with translucent green PLA. It was extremely exciting for everything to finally be working.



A 3D printer is comprised of many parts, and with a greater familiarity with these parts, I'm able to effectively troubleshoot issues that I have with my 3D print jobs. I wouldn't have such insight into issues if I hadn't constructed this myself.