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How cheap can I get a reprap?

Posted by Klasanov 
How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 24, 2013 04:03PM
And what are the more expensive parts? I am assuming the motors and controller are what make up most of the cost?

I can't afford to spend much more than $300, but I would like something that is quality. I'm ok with building myself if that would lower costs (but I would have to figure out how to do that)
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 24, 2013 05:28PM
There are several different opinions here on this. The plastic parts and the construction should be cheapest, and once that is done you can focus on motors and electronics. Read thru this forum carefully at the options. Use the wiki for looking at parts required. The prusa iteration 2 mendel variant is very cost competitive printer to build.

Parting it together over time may be best because it is something you will not have working right away, even if you purchase a kit. Things end up costing more as you find out more about what you need.

Costs that I think are worth it. The electronics. I recommend Ramps electronics, but your choice may be different. if you have electronics skills you can buy parts and build the drivers yourself, but in the end it can be more expensive to part the components. The one exception is gen 7 electronics, which seem affordable to build if you can make your own circuit board.



What I would recommend is researching a specific electronics setup, and asking the community about that specific setup. Same for parts and for slicer programs, and for cad programs.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 24, 2013 07:48PM
You wrote: "I can't afford to spend much more than $300, but I would like something that is quality."


If you build everything yourself, you can easily make a Prusa Mendal, which is a very good machine, yourself, for next to nothing. Plastic parts sell for about $100 for a set, but you can make all of them out of solid wood, like Oak, if you watch one working on youtube, it's not hard to see what they do. Also, if you look at the stl files on Github, you can see how to make them. If Oak is too expensive for you, you could cut them out a pine stud easily enough. The quality will depend on your woodworking skills. You can buy cheap steel rods and straighten them, and then thread the ones that need threads, and polish the ones that need that, and then harden them yourself. The quality will depend on your machining and metalurgy skills. There are all sorts of free designs available for making your own, working hotend out of odds and ends. ( I would recommend that you use a normal resistor to heat it with though, instead of an "efficient" one, as they apparently do not produce any heat). The quality will depend upon your scavenging and instruction following skills. There are templates available online, and schematics and BOM for building a Ramps 1.4 yourself, which is a very nice unit. As for a controller, I would recommend that you buy an Arduino 2560 for about $60, because that plugs right into Ramps 1.4, and there is a lot of support for that board. Of course, you could also look at the Ramps 1.4 schematic and design and build your own controller. You'd have to examine the firmware that is currently available too, if you go that route, or write your own firmware. The qualitiy of all of that of course, depends upon your electronics fabrication skills, your microcontroller designing skills, your firmware programming skills, and lastly your access to decrete electronic components. Good quality stepper motors are very easy to find in surplus places for cheap. Belts and hardware can also be scavenged from old printers, and can still be of very high quality, and in good condition. Again, quality depends on your scavenging skills.

Other than that, you'd need some wire to hook everything up.

A bit of patience and effort and you could have a really high quality machine for as little as $50 (or less!).

Good luck!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/24/2013 07:51PM by Tekwizard.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 24, 2013 08:58PM
Tekwizard Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A bit of patience and effort and you could have a
> really high quality machine for as little as $50
> (or less!).

False hopes. The electronics alone will run him at least 50 dollars regardless what he tries. The cost of motors runs about 15 a piece or you might can get some second hand or run off to the city dump and hope you find what you need but I seriously doubt you will make any working RepRap (dropping any resemblance of quality) for 50 dollars. Now a RepStrap possibly but most of it will be via scrap and even then around 100-150 US dollars.


_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 01:24AM
What is a repstrap?
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 02:31AM
"A repstrap is a 3D printer cobbled together from whatever parts you can find, which will eventually allow you to print the parts for a reprap machine, or to simply use as a stand alone machine."

So basically a 3D printer built along the lines of a reprap but with no printed parts (initially) and generally lower quality mechanisms such as draw sliders as linear rails.

I don't know if something like a converted mill falls under this label though?
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 03:41AM
AFAIK, the WolfStrap is still the cheapest design. It works reliably and is great for tinkering.

For more precision and slightly faster printing, look at the Mantis Electron. For much faster printing at the Mendel90. Wood is a great material for frames.

The most affordable electronics is the printrboard or Generation 7 Electronics, AFAIK.

If you see signs of self-advertising - well affordability and hackability at a good quality level are the goals I design for smiling smiley


Generation 7 Electronics Teacup Firmware RepRap DIY
     
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 07:51AM
Tekwizard Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As for a
> controller, I would recommend that you buy an
> Arduino 2560 for about $60, because that plugs
> right into Ramps 1.4, and there is a lot of
> support for that board.

No argument about the quality of the Arduino Mega 2560, but you can do a lot better than $60. I bought mine for $19 from dx.com. They ship free from Hong Kong, which takes a while, and require a signature, which is a bit of a pain, but their prices are good. I don't see any that cheap currently over there, but eCrater has has them for $25 recently. And, before you ask, both of these were Arduino Mega 2560 r3. The dx.com one was a knockoff, saying "Design in Italy" on the back, but the eCrater one was "Made in Italy", making it a genuine Arduino.

Shop around a lot on these things, and you can do pretty well for yourself. The prices fluctuate a lot, so if money at this level is an issue, track the prices, and buy when you think you're getting a good deal. Good luck with it.

Regards,
aeronaut
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 09:31AM
Dark Alchemist Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> False hopes. The electronics alone will run him
> at least 50 dollars regardless what he tries. The
> cost of motors runs about 15 a piece or you might
> can get some second hand or run off to the city
> dump and hope you find what you need but I
> seriously doubt you will make any working RepRap
> (dropping any resemblance of quality) for 50
> dollars. Now a RepStrap possibly but most of it
> will be via scrap and even then around 100-150 US
> dollars.

Scrap printers abound everywhere, and in some places people actually have to pay to get rid of them. If he dropped into just a few businesses and asked, he's sure to come across some that would be happy to give them away for free just to get rid of them. They consist of controllers, always have 2 precision axis with stepper motors, and all sorts of hardware that is excellent quality that can be salvaged. If he ends up with the older dot matrix printers, they will have stronger parts and motors and are often legal sized. Depending on his salvage and technological skills, he could build himself an excellent machine (due to the inherent quality in the printers) for free.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 09:44AM
Yea good luck getting usable firmware onto those parts. Even JTAG-ing to an ARM and changing it is a daunting task. Even if you could figure out which leads you needed anyways....

At the very least I would suspect one has to buy proper components and build a board with them. Which however cheap, is still not free.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2013 09:45AM by xclusive585.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 09:50AM
Tekwizard Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Dark Alchemist Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > False hopes. The electronics alone will run
> him
> > at least 50 dollars regardless what he tries.
> The
> > cost of motors runs about 15 a piece or you
> might
> > can get some second hand or run off to the city
> > dump and hope you find what you need but I
> > seriously doubt you will make any working
> RepRap
> > (dropping any resemblance of quality) for 50
> > dollars. Now a RepStrap possibly but most of
> it
> > will be via scrap and even then around 100-150
> US
> > dollars.
>
> Scrap printers abound everywhere, and in some
> places people actually have to pay to get rid of
> them. If he dropped into just a few businesses and
> asked, he's sure to come across some that would be
> happy to give them away for free just to get rid
> of them. They consist of controllers, always have
> 2 precision axis with stepper motors, and all
> sorts of hardware that is excellent quality that
> can be salvaged. If he ends up with the older dot
> matrix printers, they will have stronger parts and
> motors and are often legal sized. Depending on his
> salvage and technological skills, he could build
> himself an excellent machine (due to the inherent
> quality in the printers) for free.

This is true but around where I live you will never find anything with steppers in them and if you do the steppers are of the wrong type/voltage/amperage etc...

So, around here at least, you would be spinning your wheels as they say and for businesses they mostly lease machines now to save money and every 2 years the company comes to collect them and give you a newer machine. I hate that because I remember the older days of just a decade ago you could find all sorts of electronics surplus around here.


_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 09:53AM
xclusive585 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yea good luck getting usable firmware onto those
> parts. Even JTAG-ing to an ARM and changing it is
> a daunting task. Even if you could figure out
> which leads you needed anyways....
>
> At the very least I would suspect one has to buy
> proper components and build a board with them.
> Which however cheap, is still not free.
Exactly my friend. Everything he is doing (the OP) I did for mine since I broker than broke but the electronics part will be at least 50 when you add all of the drivers (shoot they are 48 USD alone for 4 of them) to add to your electronics board. A Chinese made Arduino (I will not do that to the makers of Arduino in Italy as it goes against my beliefs in knowingly buying rip off products) is around 20 dollars, then add a board to go with it and the stepper drivers we are looking at around 100-130 for that alone so it is better to buy a Rumba or a Smoothieboard with the drivers on them.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2013 09:54AM by Dark Alchemist.

_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 10:13AM
It is not very difficult to make a breakout Centronix cable that connects directly to a printers controller. From there, you can can access everything you need to. You could also just connect to a computer normally, and access the ports inside your computer to control it. If you used two printers and two different ports -ie lpt1 and lpt2, you'd have control over 4 independant axis that could be modified. All of the drivers to control the motors come with a used printer, and are correctly rated for the motors, and the microcontroller part already has uarts to communicate with a host. Most printers do not operate at 120volts, that voltage is stepped down inside the unit to 12 or less volts. If you use a breakout cable, most of the firmware we use is open sourced and can be adapted. It really isn't that much work when you think about it. I wonder if you've tried knocking on any small companies doors and asked them? Some of the older dot matrix printers are fit for trading in and are often just taking up space.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 10:36AM
I would assume one thing about a hefty old dot-matrix; the parts in it would be of good quality.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 11:44AM
xclusive585 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I would assume one thing about a hefty old
> dot-matrix; the parts in it would be of good
> quality.

One from 1980's would rock your world and I wish I still had the ones I owned.


_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 11:47AM
Tekwizard Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It is not very difficult to make a breakout
> Centronix cable that connects directly to a
> printers controller. From there, you can can
> access everything you need to. You could also just
> connect to a computer normally, and access the
> ports inside your computer to control it. If you
> used two printers and two different ports -ie lpt1
> and lpt2, you'd have control over 4 independant
> axis that could be modified. All of the drivers
> to control the motors come with a used printer,
> and are correctly rated for the motors, and the
> microcontroller part already has uarts to
> communicate with a host. Most printers do not
> operate at 120volts, that voltage is stepped down
> inside the unit to 12 or less volts. If you use a
> breakout cable, most of the firmware we use is
> open sourced and can be adapted. It really isn't
> that much work when you think about it. I wonder
> if you've tried knocking on any small companies
> doors and asked them? Some of the older dot matrix
> printers are fit for trading in and are often just
> taking up space.

I wish as the old dot matrix printers are long gone and you assume the OP has electronics knowledge, working knowledge, to do all of that while I never assume anything. Fact is I do scoff at the BOMs I have seen on the internet which assumes (there is that word again) you can find the stuff as junk and just be handed the items. Know what is horrible? Try Craigslist and see what ancient pieces of junk go for. They used to be a come and haul away now they are 25 to 50 dollars and I suspect it is because or REAL USA economy is in a horrible state so people are trying to make gas money now.


_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 11:57AM
xclusive585 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I would assume one thing about a hefty old
> dot-matrix; the parts in it would be of good
> quality.


Dot matrix printers are still manufactured today. They are used in applications requiring printing on multi-layered forms. So, they don't have to be that old. They are far superior to inkjet printers because they are usually used in industrial applications, such as printing waybills within a company. The hardest used part in them is the head because of the constant hard impact of tiny steel pins against a rubber roller. The motors and the rest of the printers never wear a tenth of their life before the head is finished its life, and that is the primary reason they get retired - the heads are too expensive to replace. Another reason is sometimes due to software changes within a company that no longer support the printers. Because of the impact from the head, and heavy duty requirements such as manipulating tractor fed media, the mechanisms are built very strong and reliable. In the 35 years that I've been servicing printers, I have seldom seen this type of printer retired with less than excellent condition motors and most of the mechanics that would matter to converting to 3d printing. I also see a lot of them gathering dust in IT rooms and in smaller companies, their closets because no-one bothers to figure out how to dispose of them. I don't take them because I have a much better class of junk than that.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 12:30PM
Let's just assume you don't have anything free laying around. And lets go with the cheapest price.

QTY 5 NEMA 17 Stepper Motors $25.00
QTY 1 Sanguinololu Unassembled $35.00 (eBay - From China)
QTY 4 StepStick Drivers $7.50 (eBay - From China)
QTY 1 J-Head Hot End $54.99 (Hotends.com, I would not go with a cheap substitute on this)
QTY 12 LM8UU Linear Bearings $12.00 (AliExpress.com)
QTY 1 Power Supply 12 VDC $35.00 (AliExpress.com)
QTY RepRap Prusa Plastic Parts $50.00 (eBay)
QTY 1 Set Threaded Rods - M8 or 5/16" $17
QTY 1 Set Smooth Rods - M8 or 5/16" $17
QTY 100 Hex Nuts and Washers $15.00
QTY 1 Pk 608 Skate Bearings $9.00

Total $299.99

You have a penny left over! You still need wire, solder, springs, screws, nuts, belts, heated bed, zip ties, kapton tape, and time. Not very likely that you will get below $400.00.

In many cases, you will probably want to avoid going with the cheapest thing you can find. Some vendors that sell cheap offer virtually no support. I would go with Botronicz over the other Sanguinololu boards, but only because I have purchesd there many times, without issues.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 12:34PM
Tekwizard Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> xclusive585 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I would assume one thing about a hefty old
> > dot-matrix; the parts in it would be of good
> > quality.
>
>
> Dot matrix printers are still manufactured today.

Okidata is a prime example of a sturdy workhorse that is used in many many industrial workshops (automotive uses them a ton).


_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 12:38PM
jcabrer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Let's just assume you don't have anything free
> laying around. And lets go with the cheapest
> price.
>
> QTY 5 NEMA 17 Stepper Motors $25.00
> QTY 1 Sanguinololu Unassembled $35.00 (eBay - From
> China)
> QTY 4 StepStick Drivers $7.50 (eBay - From China)
> QTY 1 J-Head Hot End $54.99 (Hotends.com, I would
> not go with a cheap substitute on this)
> QTY 12 LM8UU Linear Bearings $12.00
> (AliExpress.com)
> QTY 1 Power Supply 12 VDC $35.00 (AliExpress.com)
> QTY RepRap Prusa Plastic Parts $50.00 (eBay)
> QTY 1 Set Threaded Rods - M8 or 5/16" $17
> QTY 1 Set Smooth Rods - M8 or 5/16" $17
> QTY 100 Hex Nuts and Washers $15.00
> QTY 1 Pk 608 Skate Bearings $9.00
>
> Total $299.99
>
> You have a penny left over! You still need wire,
> solder, springs, screws, nuts, belts, heated bed,
> zip ties, kapton tape, and time. Not very likely
> that you will get below $400.00.
>
> In many cases, you will probably want to avoid
> going with the cheapest thing you can find. Some
> vendors that sell cheap offer virtually no
> support. I would go with Botronicz over the other
> Sanguinololu boards, but only because I have
> purchesd there many times, without issues.

I like your BOM and wondering where you are getting the steppers at for 5 a piece and the other hardware items (threaded and smooth rods) at for those prices. Do you have a bom up with all of the sources because that is 150 less than I could get but I went with a rumba at 99 so 100 more than your exact BOM (50 more due to my motors being 15 not 5 a piece which leaves 50 dangling).


_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 03:36PM
[www.indiegogo.com]

I found this. The 199+ deal seems to contain a lot of things.

Would this be useful for what I'm wanting to do? It looks like its missing fasteners and other stuff and is just an electronics kit.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 03:38PM
Dark Alchemist Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> jcabrer Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> > QTY 5 NEMA 17 Stepper Motors $25.00
>
> I like your BOM and wondering where you are
> getting the steppers at for 5 a piece and the
> other hardware items (threaded and smooth rods) at
> for those prices. Do you have a bom up with all
> of the sources because that is 150 less than I
> could get but I went with a rumba at 99 so 100
> more than your exact BOM (50 more due to my motors
> being 15 not 5 a piece which leaves 50 dangling).

+1 to that. Especially the steppers. 25$ for 5?! LOL, where? I'll buy em right now.
You're looking closer to 70$ delivered for the cheapest nema17's you can find...
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 04:04PM
Klasanov Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> [www.indiegogo.com]
>
> I found this. The 199+ deal seems to contain a lot
> of things.
>
> Would this be useful for what I'm wanting to do?
> It looks like its missing fasteners and other
> stuff and is just an electronics kit.
Grab that 99 dollar one as it is pretty much most of what you need and it is all in one but the indiegogo ends in a few hours so you need to hurry if you are going for it.


_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 04:13PM
What would I still need after that? Heated bed? And then fasteners and plastic parts to hold it all together?
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 04:45PM
Dark Alchemist Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I like your BOM and wondering where you are
> getting the steppers at for 5 a piece and the
> other hardware items (threaded and smooth rods) at
> for those prices. Do you have a bom up with all
> of the sources because that is 150 less than I
> could get but I went with a rumba at 99 so 100
> more than your exact BOM (50 more due to my motors
> being 15 not 5 a piece which leaves 50 dangling).


Stepper motors for around $5 each I get From Tony.
The smooth and threaded rod are the type you would find in the hardware store. They are not the greatest, but we're going for cheap, not perfection, in this post.
One of the best investments you can make, if you are going to build a reprap, is to avoid using printed pulleys. I would also ditch the fender washers on the roller bearings as soon as you can print, in favor of belt guides like these by Hoeken.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 04:56PM
Tony seems to be out of 25 dollar ones and is at 37 and 14 shipping. sad smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2013 04:58PM by Dark Alchemist.

_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 05:29PM
Klasanov Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What would I still need after that? Heated bed?
> And then fasteners and plastic parts to hold it
> all together?
Pretty much.


_______
I await Skynet and my last vision will be of a RepRap self replicating the robots that is destroying the human race.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 25, 2013 06:40PM
Dark Alchemist Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tony seems to be out of 25 dollar ones and is at
> 37 and 14 shipping. sad smiley

Tony's Listings expire on Fridays, which is probably why you are not seeing much in the selection. I just gave him a call, and he says he will have new listings up in about $40 minutes. The $25 for five deal is my price, because we're neighbors. $35 for 5 is probably more in line with his usual pricing, and it depends on the motor.

If you contact him directly, he will probably give you a better price than on ebay. PM me if you want his email.

Tony says he uses two accounts to sell under. I'll ask what the other is in the morning.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2013 10:03PM by jcabrer.
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 28, 2013 12:42AM
Just bought the 149 dollar deal from indiegogo/rumba. I'm thinking that means I still need an extruder, belts, and fastenings.

I think I have someone who can get me the plastic parts printed out for free (I came across this whole thing because I met someone who has a 3d printer). Is it at all possible for the frame to be plastic also? Or is that not a good idea?
Re: How cheap can I get a reprap?
January 28, 2013 07:07AM
look on [www.thingiverse.com] i think someone has done it, but in my opinion it is better using something other than flexible abs being used to ensure the frame is rigid.
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