3D printer kits can be rather expensive, so it’s always nice to find a way to reduce the overall cost. However, there is a difference between purchasing the cheapest printer kit available and actually having a kit that will work as well as the pre-made 3D printers.
Building your own 3D printer not only saves you a lot of money, but also gives you a powerful insight into how these machines work. Not to mention that you’ll be able to reap the rewarding feeling of building something so complex yourself.
DIY printer kits simply give you the necessary components for a 3D printer and give you instructions on what to do. You can get both partial and full DIY kits, but bear in mind that even partial DIYs can take a couple of hours to complete.
If you’re feeling brave and want to cut the cost of your 3D printer down, keep reading our article. We’ve found the top five best 3D printer kits available on the market, as well as the main factors to consider when purchasing your own kit.
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Our Top Pick
Can’t wait to get your hands on your new DIY 3D printer kit?
Luckily for you, we’re going to fasttrack you to find out our favorite option on the market, which is the Comgrow Creality Ender 3 3D Printer!
This printer kit is a partial DIY so it takes less time to build, the end results of your prints will be very high-quality and detailed, and Comgrow offers technical support for you to use for the entire duration of your printers lifetime, so there’s always help on hand.
Best DIY 3D Printer Kits - Comparison Table
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Best DIY 3D Printer Kits - Reviews
First on our list is a very popular 3D printer kit, the Ender 3 from Comgrow. This kit is a partial DIY and comes with a few pre assembled pieces for you to fit together yourself. This should take you about 2 and a half hours, and you’ll need to supply around 20 nuts to secure it all together.
This printer offers fast results and your progress won’t be lost if you suffer from a power outage. This is beneficial as 3D printers used to not hold this power, so if something stopped your printer, you’d have to start all over again.
Comgrow insists that this is an excellent gift for kids to give them the opportunity to learn more about the art of 3D printing. Moreover, it is also good for STEM products and students looking to get into this field. Using this printer will give you excellent results that are high-quality and quick.
The brand offers lifetime technical support for you and they have tested your printer before sending it to you, so you don’t have to worry about a faulty product right out of the box.
This 8.6 x 8.6 x 9.8 inch 3D printer is made from industrial grade materials to make it both safe to use and long lasting. It is another partial DIY kit, and the eight pieces that you’ll receive are mostly already assembled.
This means that you only need to fit the last pieces together and it shouldn’t take you any more time than two hours.
You’ll be alerted when the printer runs out of filament so that you don’t need to be watching over the process for the entirety of the time. Thanks to this warning, you’ll be able to continue the printing process without having to stop it.
This printer is smart enough to pause the process if you happen to accidentally remove the SD card. If this happens, you can simply put it back in and the process will resume. Overall, this is a great DIY kit for beginners or kids.
Next we have a full DIY 3D printer kit from REPRAPGURU. This kit gives you free reigns on the building process, without you having to alter any of the materials.
This means that all of the pieces have been soldered, cut, and drilled before being sent to you, but then the rest is up to you.
The fact that you essentially build the whole 3D printer from scratch gives you much more of an insight into how the model works so that you can appreciate the printer even more.
The build area is 8 x 8 x 7 inches which means that you can print larger items, and it is compatible with MAC, PC, and Linux.
The manufacturer offers you free customer tech support from the USA so that you can always have help if you need it.
This DIY 3D printer kit has taken other customers up to 10 hours to completely put together, so make sure you clear your schedule before tackling this project.
Next up we have another 3D printer kit that requires a partial DIY. It comes with mostly large pieces that have been assembled prior to shipping to make the task easier for you.
In fact, this printer will only take around 30 minutes to put together, making it the ideal option for children and students.
As this printer is already semi-assembled, you may find that it actually works to a higher standard because professionals have had a hand in the whole process.
This is likely to be helpful and a relief to beginners.
The printer itself can detect when its running out of filament and can be stopped without worrying about the loss of the pattern. It is very easy to use and doesn’t cause a lot of noise pollution when you use it.
Moreover, this model is made of aluminium and will withstand a lot of usage before it falters.
Despite what the name of this 3D printer may indicate, thie kit from TRONXY is a full DIY model and requires more time than a partial DIY kit. That being said, this kit is ideal for people who want a challenge.
There is an automatic levelling system in place that allows you to get better positioning without the hassle. This saves you time on both printing and worrying about the safety of your product.
This product is very sturdy and reliable, and there are countless customer testimonials stating how high-quality the end result is from this 3D printer.
It comes with lifetime technical support and all of the parts have been tested before leaving the manufacturer.
Best DIY 3D Printer Kits - Buyers Guide
That concludes our favorite DIY 3D printers that are available on the market. These machines can be a confusing and tricky subject for beginners, which is why it is also very important to know which factors to consider when looking for your new DIY project.
Keeping the following information and considerations in the back of your mind when comparing different models may help you in choosing the best option for you.
There are different types of 3D printers, as well as different DIYs, which we will also look at now.
Types of 3D Printers
There are four different types of 3D printers that differ in the technology they use. The first, and potentially most commonly used, is a Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) printer.
This involves a heated filament and long tubes that create different shapes to carry the printing material to the plates.
These printers are typically quick, easy, and cheaper, but the quality of your printed model may not be what you had envisioned.
The next is Digital Light Processing (DLP) printers, which use light photons to melt the printing material and mold it into shape. The end result of this process is a smooth model that will print rather quickly.
In fact, DLP printers offer a better performance than FDM printers in both of these respects.
The third type of 3D printer is called a Stereolithography (SLA) printer, and this uses the method of melting and solidifying the material.
It uses chemical reactions and light photons to create the desired end product. SLA printers give you excellent results that are very detailed, but this process is slower than DLP printers.
Finally, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printers are similar to SLA models. However, instead of using liquid resin, like SLA printers, SLS uses powdered resin to create the new product. Lasers are used to solidify the powder in individual layers, giving you excellent high-quality detail.
As you can see, SLS printers are the most desirable type of 3D printer to use as they offer the best results.
Having said that, they’re often much more expensive than other models and require more knowledge into the craft. FDM printers are most commonly used for beginners or people on a budget.
Partial or full DIY?
As we’ve already established, you want to purchase a 3D printer DIY kit so that you can save some money and create your printer yourself.
But, do you want to go all the way and fully DIY your model, or purchase a partial kit that saves you some time?
Partial DIY kits come with some pre-assembled pieces that you put together yourself. These are much better for beginners as you don’t have to spend as much time trying to build a 3D printer.
They can take around 1-3 hours to build and will come with instructions on how to slot the pre-assembled pieces together.
On the other hand, full DIY kits offer you a more complex task of building the 3D printer from almost nothing. Sure, you’ll get all of the pieces to put together and the instructions, but this can still be a hard task. For this reason, these are less suitable for beginners.
You may find yourself working on a full DIY 3D printer kit for up to 10 hours.
In our list, we have included both partial and full DIYs for you to choose from, depending on your skill level, amount of time you want to invest into your printer, and how confident you are.
What do you want a 3D printer for?
Now that we’ve narrowed down your search a little, let’s determine what you want your printer for. The purpose of your 3D printer will determine what type of model you purchase, so it’s important to know what you want your printer for.
Beginners find that FDM printers are much more beneficial for them as they’re easier to use and cheaper to run. However, if you want to create more intricate models rather than simple designs, SLA or SLS printers will suit you better.
If time is of the essence for you, a DLP printer will keep your busy schedule intact.
We’d suggest choosing an FDM printer if you’re a beginner, no matter what the most important factor is. Choosing an SLS, SLA, or DLP printer before you have practiced with an FDM may cause confusion and frustration, leading you to not want to use your printer again.
As DIY 3D printers can take anywhere from one to 10 hours to build, this indicates that there are going to be a lot of instructions for you to follow.
If you’ve ever built a piece of flatpack furniture with only a booklet to help you, you’ll know that instructions can sometimes be hit or miss.
The last thing you want is to spend money on a DIY kit, only to find that you can’t build it thanks to the vague instructions. In case of this, you should make sure that the customer service offered by the manufacturer is helpful and responsive.
Do this by checking the customer reviews and seeing if anyone else has had a problem with this before.
Moreover, if you cannot see any bad reviews concerning the customer service, make sure that the manufacturer actually offers assistance. If they don’t you’ll be on your own when building it, which may be far from ideal if you’re a beginner.
Even if the customer service offered isn’t the best, all hope is not lost. If you choose a popular model that many people use, you may be able to find much more information about it online than if you were to purchase a kit from an unknown manufacturer.
Having a model that more people are talking about will give you a support blanket that you can use to get help with your 3D printer.
Not only will you be able to access more information about the building process, you will also be able to find useful tips on how to use the printer.
Choosing a popular DIY 3D printer kit is advised to beginners so that they’re not left on their own when beginning their journey into the world of DIY 3D printers.
DIY 3D printer kits are designed to reduce the cost of your 3D printer, but don’t just go for the cheapest option that you can find.
Choosing the most inexpensive version may force you to deal with poor quality control, missing or incorrect hardware, and poor instructions.
While we’re not saying that all of the affordable DIY 3D printers on the market are going to be poor quality, this is definitely a circumstance in which you get what you pay for, so be mindful to check previous customer testimonials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cheaper to build your own 3D printer?
In the short run, yes it is cheaper to build your own 3D printer. You can do this either by purchasing a DIY kit or collating the materials yourself.
Having said that, some people have found that building their own 3D printer was more troublesome than it was worth due to faulty mechanisms.
In that case, it may be cheaper in the long run to buy your 3D printer so that you know it is made with high-quality materials and a professional manufacturing process. That being said, where’s the fun in that?
What can you make with a cheap 3D printer?
Cheaper 3D printers are usually FDM printers, and they’re used to create basic models of things. These are typically smooth designs with not much detail on them, including plastic animals.
You can really make anything you want with a cheaper 3D printer, just be aware that you won’t be able to achieve intricate details with an FDM printer.