It was just last week that we saw the cheapest assembled 3D printer become available to consumers around the world. That was when New Matter’s MOD-t 3D printer launched their Crowdfunding Campaign. Priced at $149 for the first 500 backers, $199 for the next 500, and $249 for the rest, it proved that 3D printers could be cheap enough for most consumers to at least consider purchasing.
One man, by the name of Tarkun Gelstronic has taken this a step further. He put himself out on a mission to create a 3D printer for less than $100. What he came up with was really quite amazing. Gelstronic didn’t just want to create any 3D printer that he could; he wanted to create a quality 3D printer that could print in multiple materials and include a heat bed.
Keeping the price under $100 didn’t even seem to be all that challenging for Gelstronic. The only parts that he ended up purchasing, were the Arduino Board Mega 2560 (10 Euro), a Stackable Motor Driver Shield (6 Euro), a Hotend (20 Euro), PTFE tube (6 Euro), a fan (2 Euro), and some additional small parts (5 Euro).
One of the major ways that he was able to keep the price so low, was by recycling old computer and printer parts. He obtained 4 stepper motors from old DVD and Blu-ray drives, a power supply from an old PC, a NEMA 17-like stepper motor from an old printer, and a modified gear from an old Hewlett Packard printer, which was used for the bowden extruder.
Other than these parts, that he salvaged from old equipment, and the few parts that he purchased, that was really it. Of course, he had to use a bunch of screws, washers, nuts, wires, etc., but these were things that he and a lot of people would have lying around in their garages. For the frame of the printer, he did cheat slightly, and used some aluminum sheet metal that he had lying around. However, he points out that this could be replaced with wood, a resource that most people have somewhere in their home. If not, the aluminum could be purchased easily for under $25.
Gelstronic ended up spending only 49 Euros (approx. $67) on everything he had to purchase. If you throw in the old DVD drives that were salvaged, as well as the salvaged PC power supply, stepper motor and the small parts that you probably already have lying around your house, the total probably wouldn’t even come close to $100. The best part is, the printer actually works! Here are its specifications/features:
- Fused deposition modeling ABS/PLA
- Heat bed
- Use of open source firmware – a modified version of Tonokip
- Free host software, Repetier-Host
- Max. build size 40mm x 40mm x 40mm
- Resolution 0.08mm
Mission accomplished, and then some!
You can see in the video below that the print process is bit noisier than what most of us are used to hearing from a 3D printer, but this is understandable, considering the vast amount of old, recycled parts that were used in its construction.
Here are Gelstronic’s hand written schematic:instructables via hackaday]