Evolution of a Blog

This blog has evolved as I have as a maker. It starts at the beginning of my journey where I began to re-tread my tires in the useful lore of micro electronics and the open-source software that can drive them. While building solutions around micro-electronics are still an occasional topic my more recent focus has been on the 3D Printing side of making.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

3D Printer - Adventures with a Prusa I3 RepRap

What has an Arduino with a giant shield on top of it as a brain, five giant servos, moves in three axis, and can replicate itself?   Not exactly a robot but a 3D printer.   Decided that I absolutely had to have one.  Knew that I wanted to build a kit, both to save some money, and for the experience of it all.

Did some research on the various kits out there and decided on the Prusa I3.   The Prusa I2 or Mendel seems to be one of the most popular kits out there and the I3 is an easier to build, improved version, of the Mendel.   Then started to look for places to buy one.

On Arrival
You can buy the pieces individually getting the hardware and frame from one place, the electronics from another, and the printed bits from yet another.   You can even source the hardware yourself.   I decided that buying a complete kit was the way to go.   I also decided that I wanted a RAMPS based printer.   Options were starting to get limited.   I ended up with buying from the 3D Printer Czar in Hong Kong.

As Assembled
The kit was $500 with another $80 for over night shipment to the UK.   This was less than any other kit that I had found.   I ordered the kit on New Years Eve.   The shipment promise was within seven days and it shipped within that window on the Monday after New Years Eve.  It arrived in the UK the next day and then the waiting on the government began.   Two weeks later it had finally freed itself from customs and the tax man and after paying my 80 quid of taxes I got my printer kit.

I am going to describe the rest of this project in a series of posts covering the following:
Obligatory Owl
In the meantime, here are two videos showing the project at the point of some initial calibration and then doing a first large print:

In Action

Printed Spares and a Filament Roll Stand


  1. Just finished your series on 3D Printer Czar's Prusa I3 and was wondering if at this point you would still buy the kit again?

    1. It is all circumstantial but probably not at this point. Not because of the problems that I had with the kit as I think they have been or will be remedied, but because there is a seller here in the UK with basically the same kit, at the same price, but local. He is on eBay, has excellent feedback, and sells a whole range of 3D printing stuff. If you don't have local access to a kit within the same price point I would go with the 3D Printer Czar but only after an assurance that they have improved 'parts in the box' controls.


    2. A local vendor makes all the difference. I am partially holding off due to an upcoming 3D Printer Festival in my area, but will likely be making a purchase soon. Thank-you for all your feedback.

    3. I will probably do a lessons learned post but a couple things to keep in mind. I would start with PLA as the lower temps make it easier to work with. Don't mix PLA and ABS in the same extruder as I think the PLA encourages nozzle jams when it gets to ABS temps. If you have access to someone with a working printer...assemble with the bed leveling gizmos that I show in my improvements page as you will be glad to have them when you start to calibrate. Same thing for the adjustment thingy for the z-axis. If you don't have access to a printer then plan on doing these soon after you are printing! Finally, I would not get white parts again! This is a CNC machine after all and white is not a friendly colour. Good luck and have fun!