Build Your Own Cheap Ad(str)apto 3D Printer with Common Hand Tools

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FIKE87NIB0MLCZ4.LARGEHe calls it the “Ad(str)apto,” and it’s a 3D printer built entirely – excepting the hot end, electronics, and drawer glides – with homemade parts and hand tools.

Heinrich Schlechter is a South African software developer, and he says he wanted to build a “cheap, quick and very ‘hackable’ bootstrap printer loosely based on the RepRap ‘Adapto'” machine.

RepRap Adapto

RepRap Adapto

The Adapto sprang from the RepRap movement. Founded back in 2005 by Dr. Adrian Bowyer, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering from the University of Bath in the UK, the RepRap family of 3D printers has grown to include hundreds of variations.

With a build volume of 200 x 200 x 200 mm, the Ad(str)apto is indeed a work of magic, chiefly for the simplicity of its construction and the commonality of the tools needed to build one.

“This Instructable will cover everything that you need to build your very own 3D printer,” Schlechter says. “We will not go into great depth regarding the electronics or software, but will provide you with enough information and links to sites to get you started.”

He says he and his partner first printed a ‘Quick-Fit X carriage and Extruder – LM8UU’, designed by RichRap, and with that, the project was off and running.

According to Schlechter, a great deal of the build relies on joining together plastic brackets using the solvent welding method which works with ABS plastic materials.

To create your solvent, he suggests you pour a bit of acetone into a container that won’t be affected by the solvent–he suggets that most plastic food containers will serve the purpose well. By placing the sides of the parts which need to be joined in the into the acetone, and pushing the wet edges together serves to “weld” them together, after about 30 minutes, the joined parts are fully cured.

Adstrapto cheap 3d printerYet another feature of the build which saves both time and money is the use of readily available drawer runners.

“These drawer runners are the reason why you can build a very robust printer for such a low price – you get fairly precise movement on all the axes for the price of a single pair of linear bearings,” Schlechter says. “They are easy to work with and take apart, they offer a smooth linear motion, but are rigid enough for precision printing.”

To find them, he suggests that a quick Google search for “ball bearing drawer runners” will result in the needed parts for just about $2.00 per pair.

As for tools, the list is fairly simple as well. If you can get your hands on an electric drill, a Dremel tool, a jigsaw, a coping or hacksaw blade, an 8mm combination wrench, a 5mm socket, an M5x0.8 Tap and T-wrench, an array of 2.5, 3.0 and 4mm metric Allen wrenches, 3-5mm drill bits, a small hammer and center punch, a utility knife, a square ruler and a pencil, your toolbox is complete.

He also recommends that you use your Ad(str)apto to first print a calibration block you can find here on Thingiverse. “The first thing that you will want to print is not that exciting but unfortunately it is necessary,” he notes of the calibration block.

You can read Schlechter’s very detailed and comprehensive Instructable on building the Ad(str)apto for more details.

Have you ever built your own 3D printer or used a RepRap-based printer? Let us know in the Ad(str)apto forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below of the machine, as well as more photos.

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