The best DIY 3D printers are not only cheaper than high-end 3D printers but deliver astonishingly good results. For engineers or hobbyists who love to tinker with electronics, 3D printer kits can be a pleasure to put together.
Check out one of the best 3D printer kits here: the Ender 3 Pro. Here’s why we like it so much:
- Cheap, high print quality, and easy to use
- Open source and large community of users
The problem is that, while there are tons of options for 3D printer kits, not all of them are good quality. Obviously, building your own 3D printer is infinitely more satisfying when you have one of the best DIY 3D printer kits available.
3 Tips For Buying 3D Printer Kits
1. Look For Positive Reviews In DIY 3D Printing Communities
The world of 3D printer kits changes quickly. Every year new kits are developed and sold by many different companies.
It’s hard to keep up with the pace of change, but that’s where online communities come in, such as the community for the Ender 3 Pro. We recommend checking around on various forums where 3D printer hobbyists hang out.
3D printing communities to check out:
- Reddit’s r/3dprinting
A good one to start with is the DIY 3D printing forum on Reddit. There you will find expert reviews of various 3D printers and kits by other people who have been in the DIY 3D printing world for a long time.
Example: Ender 3
[READ THIS PART]
The Ender 3 is officially our top pick for the best 3D printer kit
If you are just looking for a quick recommendation, we absolutely recommend the Ender 3. It is hands down the best kit across all parameters that we considered for this guide.
Here is the link again: Ender 3
2. Avoid Acrylic Frames
Avoid acrylic frames as much as possible. Acrylic frames are a bad idea for 3D printers for several reasons:
- Acrylic warps over time so the alignment of parts will be off
- Acrylic is not sturdy and shakes while printing
- Acrylic is susceptible to heat and melting just like other plastics
Many of the cheapest 3D printer kits use acrylic frames in order to cut costs and save money. But they are not sturdy enough to produce good results for a long time.
The problem is that acrylic frames shake way more than metal frames making it difficult to avoid z-wobble. They will also warp over time so that things like screws and other parts will no longer align properly.
You could run into this problem with, for instance, the kit from RepRapGuru. Even though it is cheap, that acrylic frame will ensure that the printer will stop working after a year or two.
3. Customer Service Is Important
Putting together a 3D printer kit is often tricky and things can go wrong. Sometimes kits arrive with missing parts or instructions that are unclear. And if you get a dud then you will need a refund.
Why customer service is important:
- Help building the kit
- Replace broken parts
For these sorts of issues, it really is important to have good customer service available. Unfortunately, many kits are sold by third-party brands from China that have no real company or staff behind them.
So make sure the kit you have comes from a reputable company with a solid customer service email or phone number that you can contact as needed. Good customer service is also one signal that the quality of the kit is worth the investment.
Example: Lulzbot Taz 6 (FAME 3D)
The Lulzbot Taz 6 (FAME 3D) is a fantastic higher-end 3D printer, and the company has traditionally offered fantastic customer service. FAME 3D recently bought Lulzbot though, so we’ll have to see if this tradition of quality continues.
Best DIY 3D Printer Plans
Before we dive into the best 3D printer kits, let’s take a look at some of the best DIY 3D printer plans. If you are into tinkering, then putting together your own 3D printer using just a plan can be a lot of fun.
Why go with plans only:
- More challenging
- Source your own parts
- Complete customization
With the right 3D printer plan, you can source all of the parts yourself and build a custom machine that works exactly as you want it to. The best part is that, with today’s range of parts available, the possibilities are nearly endless.
You can take the frame and power unit of a Prusia clone, upgrade to TMC drivers, install an E3D hotend, and then put in a print bed with a higher heat tolerance. Unlike with a kit, the sky is the limit when you source the parts yourself.
Here are some of what we think are the best DIY 3D printer plans out there:
- Kelly, James Floyd (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 182 Pages - 10/31/2013 (Publication Date) - Que Pub (Publisher)
- Hartkop, David T (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 44 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
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- Floyd Kelly, James (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 482 Pages - 06/03/2011 (Publication Date) - Apress (Publisher)
Best DIY 3D Printers: 25 Best DIY 3D Printer Kits
1. Creality Ender 3 DIY 3D Printer: The Best DIY 3D Printer Overall
We’ve already mentioned this, but the Ender 3 is one of the most popular DIY 3D printer kits on the market. It is beloved by online communities, like r/3dprinting on reddit.com for it’s low price, ease of use, and fantastic print quality.
One of reasons that it is so popular, besides the sturdy frame and high quality build, is that it is open source. That means you can customize it and upgrade it with third-party parts. This is a huge bonus for DIY makers.
2. Prusa i3 MK3 3D Printer Kit: The Best Prusa i3 Kit
The Prusia i3 Mk3 is one of the most famous of all RepRap style 3D printer kits. The quality of the Prusia i3 is so high that many of the designs of other kits on this list are based on the Prusia i3 series. These are called “Prusia i3 clones,” or just “Prusia clones.”
You can buy Prusia i3 3D printers as a kit or pre-built. As such, this kit is not necessarily meant for the hardcore tinkerer. The kit is just a way of getting the Prusia i3 Mk3 at a discount.
3. Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer v2: The Best Prusa i3 Clone
Calling the Monoprice Maker Select 3D printer a Prusia i3 Clone is perhaps a bit disingenuous since it is really a clone of a clone of the Prusia i3. Nevertheless, it is still one of the best 3D printers on the market.
While less of a kit and more of a standard pre-assembled 3D printer (it does require a small amount of assembly), this printer is a great example of how the Prusia i3 series has influenced the DIY 3D printing space.
4. Creality Open Source CR-10: Best Open Source DIY 3D Printer Kit
Like the other Creality brand DIY 3D printer kits like the Ender 3 and Ender 5, the Creality CR-10 is open source and highly customizable. We recommend upgrading to the CR-10S if you can for extra features like dual Z leadscrew and filament-runout sensor.
Quick warning: thermal runaway is disabled in the firmware by default, so make sure to reflash the firmware before printing with the CR-10.
5. iMakr Startt 3D Printer Kit: The Cheapest DIY 3D Printer Overall
If you are looking for a cheap DIY 3D printer, we suggest checking out our list of the best 3D printers under $300. These printers are super cheap and still usable. In fact, they are the best on the market for beginners in our opinion.
But if you really are looking a dirt cheap 3D printer kit, check out the Startt 3D printer kit from iMakr. The quality of this printer is actually pretty good considering that it is one of the cheapest 3D printer kits we have ever seen.
6. Best DIY SLA 3D Printer Kit: Instructable – DIY High Resolution 3D DLP Printer
It is honestly not very straightforward to make your own DIY SLA resin 3D printer. But if you are up for the challenge, you can find some great plans instructables.com.
Otherwise, check out our guide to the best SLA 3D printers on the market. If you want to work with resin printers, then that is the article for you.
7. HE3D K280 Delta DIY 3D Printer Kit: Best Delta 3D Printer Kit
Delta printers are very hit or miss in terms of quality and reliability long term. They often suffer from tons of z-wobble and their rods need a lot of care and greasing.
That being said, they do offer a phenomenal amount of build space. Check out the HE3D K280 Delta DIY 3D printer kit for a decent example of a Delta 3D printer that you can assemble yourself.
8. Geeetech Rostock 301 Mix Color
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9. RepRap Guru Prusa i3 3D Printer Kit
10. Tronxy X1 Desktop DIY 3D Printer Kit
11. Tronxy X5SA 3D Printer Kit
- Core Component: 3D printer Core xy frame provides higher stability, guarantee model quality; Remote extruder MK8 nozzle improves good printing with high precision; Cooling fan with two-way heat dissipation design maintain cooling efficiency
- Functional Design: One-key auto leveling, quick work, save printing time; Double z-axis design, increases the bearing capacity of the hot bed and reduces errors in 3D printing; High wear-resistant silent pulleys, ensure printing speed and service life
- Professional Industrial 3D Printer: Printing build volume - 330x330x400 mm. FDM 3d-printer X5SA pro, Professional DIY assembly machine fits for experienced printer enthusiasts and a DIY enthusiast or a beginner who is willing to spend a lot of time assembling and learning 3D printing
- Resume Printing & Filament Detection: TRONXY X5SA PRO can resume printing even after a power outage or any other unexpected stoppage, Sensor detection supports when the filament runs out - Sound an alarm- Automatic stop -record printing progress. Replacing the filament, continue printing
- More services: TRONXY provide lifetime technical support and will give you a satisfactory answer. If you encounter any problems when installing and using the 3D printer, please find your order and click Contact Seller
12. Tevo Tarantula 3D Printer Kit
- LCD Screen – The LCD screen is integrated into a plate that you can slide into the front of the Tarantula pro. On the old Tarantula, this was not like this at all. The screen was on a plastic bracket with a wire going to the control board.
- Metal Plates – On all of the brackets there are green aluminium plates on the Tarantula pro, this will make it more sturdy. The old Tarantula it had black acrylic plastic, that can break easily if you don’t watch what you are doing.
- Bed Size – Tarantula Pro 235 by 235 X and Y with a Z of 250, the standard Tarantula had 200 y by 200 x by 200 z.
- Volcano Hotend– The Tarantula pro 3D printer comes with a faster printing hotend, it also comes with the TEVO Little Monster and the Tevo Flash. The standard Tarantula comes with Chimera slower printing speeds
- Titan Extruder – Tarantula Pro Lightweight made with ejection moulded parts for better performance, The old tarantula is an MK8 extruder not lightweight less performance.
13. Sovol SV01 3D Printer Kit
- ★ Direct Drive Extruder ★: Sovol SV01 features with direct drive extruder and dual Z lead screw, greatly increase its printing stability and maintains great printing quality even under high-speed printing. SV01 can support multiple filaments, such as PLA, TPU, ABS and etc.
- ★ Meanwell Power Supply ★: Built-in branded Meanwell power supply ensures stable and sufficient power, heat up the hotbed and nozzle fast. Certified power supply also can protect your printer from unexpected power surges. SV01 is shipped partially assembled in 3 parts, Headache-Free to complete the whole assembly process. Takes approximately 20 minutes to assemble.
- ★ Removable Glass Plate ★: This 3D printer comes with a flat glass plate on the regular heated bed, greatly resolving warped bed issues. No matter for small or large model, it can ensure you to get perfect layer lines every time.
- ★ Semi-Assembled Kits ★: Sovol Direct Drive Extruder 3D Printer comes with several partially assembled kits, just only take you at most 30 minutes to assemble and install. very easy to assemble.
- ★ Sovol Support ★: All of our products are shipped to the consumer directly from the manufacturer, we provide lifetime technical assistance. Professional customer service has always been a cornerstone of our company philosophy.
14. Geeetech Prusa i3 Pro W
- 1. Open Filament System: ABS/PLA/Flexible PLA
- 2. Reliable print quality: High layer resolution and low tolerances provide smooth surface finish and stable object texture. Easy to assemble and adjust: Simplified and custom-fit parts, time-saving and reasonable build.
- 3. Increased stability and reliability: 6mm thick, high quality wood panels and reinforced structure allow the Pro W to work smoothly.
- 4. Cloud 3D Printing Solution: Use a WIFI module for wireless 3D printing. (Attention: The WIFI module is not included and must be purchased separately)
- 5. EasyPrint 3D App: With printing and control features, a gallery of free 3D models and a 3D printing community. Combined with the WIFI feature, the EasyPrint 3D app offers great 3D print cloud experience.
15. FLSUN Prusa i3
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16. LONGER LK4 3D Printer DIY Kit
- 【90% Pre-assembled】The new arrived LK4 simplifies assembly. The complicated parts such as cantilever, gantry, and nozzle have been assembled before leaving the factory. 90% of the assembly process is completed in advance. It saves 50% of the assembly time compared to other printers, and ensure better printing quality.
- 【2.8” Full Color Touch Screen】Easy to operate, brand new friendly UI to preview model and printing process on screen, offline printing. Say goodbye to the traditional manual knob screen.
- 【New Aluminum Frame & Resume Printing】Better printing quality and durable with sturdy new frame. Stylish outlook. Resume printing after power loss; Filament run out detection system automatically suspends printing when the filament runs out.
- 【Built-in Safe Power Supply】This 3d printer is hidden designed, power supply placed under the flatbed to ensure users' safety. And with the power of 280W, the heat bed temperature can up to 100℃ within 4 minutes, 25% faster than other printers.
- 【Warranty and Support】LONGER devoted to developing all kinds of 3d printers, we have a professional tech and after-sale team and provide 12 months warranty and 24hrs technical support.
17. XVICO X3 Pro
18. SainSmart Coreception CoreXY 3D Printer Kit
19. Creality Ender 5
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20. Vertex kit
- Print technology: Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)
- Layer resolution: standard: 0.1 mm (maximum: 0.2 mm - minimum: 0.05 mm)
- Build plate: 215 x 240 mm (8.46" x 9.45")
- Build volume: 180 x 200 x 190 mm (7" x 7.8" x 7.5")
- Print speed: 30 mm/s - 120 mm/s
21. Aibecy JGAURORA A5
- 【Solid Metal Frame】Adopt professional sheet metal structure, reduce resonance and maintain high precision.
- 【Smart Touch Screen】2.8'' color touch screen provides better user experience with convenient operation.
- 【Gapless Feeding System】Unique feeding system smoothly load filament and print more exquisite models.
- 【BDG Innovative Platform】 Black diamond glass, 0.25mm planeness. Easily take the model off by hands. No tape needed for the platform.
- 【Filament Run-out Detection】 Built-in filament sensor would pause printing when filament is or about used out, which can avoid the extruder continue working without filament and reduce the failure rate of printing.
22. Creality 3D Printer CR-10 Mini
- 【WARRANTY FOR ALL USERS】🎁Our experienced 3D printing engineers are available 24/7 to offer you lifetime technical support as well as our 1-Year limited manufacturers replacement part. If you are not satisfied with the results of your prints, contact us and we will work with you to provide assistance until you are printing like a pro!
- 【ENHANCED STABILITY AND RELIABILITY】🎁aluminum plate ensures more stable printing
- 【EASY TO ASSEMBLE】🎁Further simplified structure means fast assembly and easy adjustment, which saves you both time and energy and simple and suitable for DIY customers
- 【MORE CHOICE ABOUT 3D PRINTER FILAMENTS】🎁Supports multiple 3D printing filaments: ABS / PLA / TPU and so on
23. Sintron 3D Printer Kit
24. Anet 8
- 220 x 220 x 240mm printing volume：220 x 220 x 240mm printing volume, just right for you.Made from piano-black laser-cut acrylic frame. To maintain the garage-built feel and the handmade charm.
- support ABS / PLA / Wood / Nylon PVA / PP / Luminescent：Multiple 3D printing filament supportable, support ABS / PLA / Wood / Nylon PVA / PP / Luminescent.
- Unassembled DIY kit：It is unassembled DIY kit, provide you an unforgettable step-by-step learning experience of 3D printer from scratch. As long as you have a passion for creativity, you can not afford to miss this product.
- Operating system&Working environment：Windows XP / Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10 /Mac / Linux. Temperature: 10 - 30 Deg.C, humidity: 20 - 50 Deg.C.
- Widely used：Suitable for a wide range of customers, young or old, professional or amateur etc.
25. JGMAKER Magic 3D Printer
Conclusion: Best DIY 3D Printers
At last, we have come to the end of this guide. Hopefully, we’ve helped you find the right kit for your needs. It can be hard to sift through the options, but if you keep a few key points in mind, you will find a good DIY 3D printer.
First, remember that the best DIY 3D printers have big communities and great customer service. It is important to have a big community and good customer service so that you can troubleshoot and replace broken parts easily.
Next, look for 3D printer kits that are open source. Open source 3D printer kits are highly customizable and give you an added layer of expansive optional upgrades to choose from as your skills and needs grow.
Finally, avoid acrylic frames whenever possible. They warp over time, and they are not as sturdy as metal frames.
That’s it! Thanks for reading this guide. Happy printing!