Yo Dawg.

The most exciting thing about a 3D printer is that you can print another 3D printer with your printer.

Printing another Printer is the point of owning a 3D Printer.

More importantly you can print the next model of your printer with the previous printer.

Turns out, that about up to 80% of the parts (by number) of a 3D Printer can be printed.

I endeavoured to do just that.

The parts are available in 6 “build plates” which are simply mutliple parts printing at once.

Here are my videos of printing the 6 groups of parts.

It took me about 6 weeks to get all of these done, as I was only able to print on weekends.

There was blood, sweat and tears with this print!

Step 1 – the Feets

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I start out enthusiastic and full of hope. The feet are printing well and I am happy. You can almost hear the naivety in my voice.

You can hear my son in the background. He had just discovered banana’s and this was very exciting for him.

Step 2 – Clips & Stands – oh my!

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In which I point out the clips being printed. This lots of odd bits and bobs that are used to hold the rods together.

It took a few tries on this build plate as the clips are so tiny, if the bed temp is not good enough they warp and flip off.

Step 3 – Z-Xis Stepper Motor Holders

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An easy build. The parts are nice and easy to print with no trickiness.

Step 4 – Z-Axis runners – The Emotion starts to show

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I show you the software that controls the printer. You can see an image of where it thinks it is printing. Running totals of Temperatures are monitored.

I am on blue plastic here as I ran out of purple.

These parts are the ones I show to people and ask them how it would be machined using traditional methods. All the fitter and turners I’ve spoken too have said that it would be non-trivial.

The emotional starts to show. I show you the junk pile. It is a growing feature of any 3D Printer!

Step 5 – Extruder Bits

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I give you a tour of the printer.

The emotion is coming on strong now. I am starting to crack – everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

Errors include:

  • My laptop crashing
  • The printer pcb crashing
  • The plastic falling on the printer and knocking over the z-axis.
  • A Power failure
  • Ran out of plastic
  • The plastic getting knotted

Step 6 – Gears!

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The end is nigh! Nearly at the end!

I show some gears that are being printed. This shows that 3D Printing is a serious endeavour as you can print a gear to any spec within the resolution of the printer.


Mission Accomplished!

After I printed all the parts, I put them in an ice cream box and gave them to my Grandfather so he can build his printer.

It was incrediably fulfilling to print the parts for another 3D Printer. It felt like I had come full circle with the project.

The next steps for me are to print another 2 sets of parts – one for my Father and another as a spare set for me, in case some break.

After that I’m going to delve into the areas of electronics and try to build a few more printers myself.



4 Responses to 3D Printing a 3D Printer

  1. lisa says:

    Hurrah. Nice one.

    • Andy says:

      Heh , I was getting quite emotional about it on the 5th plate.

      Now I’m going to hurt myself again and print another few sets.

  2. Lawrence says:

    Can’t wait to see how he printed the integrated circuits (must be REALLY high resolution) and especially the firmware. Guess some of it just has to be stolen (or maybe bought) the old fashioned way.

    The next step of course is to have the 3D printer reproduce itself WITHOUT ANY HUMAN HELP. Self reproducing automata are where it’s at!

    • Andy says:

      The circuits cant be printed yet – only the plastic.

      When we get multiple materials in 3D Printer then one of the material can be a type of solder that owuld enable us to print circuits.

      currently you buy the circuits from an onlin shop for about $200.

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