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This is a log of my experiences in a first printer build. After looking at the various developments I settled on the Prusa i3 as a good starting point because:

  • Simple, well tested design with active development
  • Good build instructions
  • Plenty of support & community knowledge


I did a lot of reading on the Wiki, Forums, GitHub and others before I made a choice. There is a lot of variation in designs so I wanted to ensure I chose something stable for my first build. I considered the timber frame initially and a possible repStrap pathway but I don't have a lot of timber working tools and needed a working printer as soon as possible and before I could get more adventurous so I chose the single aluminium frame Prusa i3 quite early on in my research


I purposely selected the parts for my printer from the best buys I could find to compare the cost of a kit. All up I spent around AU$550 (although I have more parts than I require). There are some excellent kits for around that can match this price so this would be better value for money with less compatibility/quality issues if you purchase from a reputable dealer. However, if you wish to understand a lot more about the machine, like me, then go the hard road and use the mistakes as cheap training.

  • How to get it? - Printable STL part files - Printed Parts from Lithuania through eBay AU$44 for the set. Not sure I would use this design again as I have a few concerns that I'll document along the way
  • How to get it? - Laser/waterjet cut DXF files - I used the basic frame design and had 2 laser cut. AU$40 each. Not a good idea... see below
  • NEMA 17 1.8° Stepper Motor, 2 Phase Bipolar - eBay purchase from USA. New & S/Hand for AU$6 each. OEM No: 42BYGH3903L-02. I purchased 6 to give me a spare
  • Mk V J Head - Purchased from a local RepRapper who had upgraded to a 1.75mm Bowden Extruder. I also got his extruder parts & 3 rolls of 3mm filament
  • PCB Heatbed MK2a - This was also purchased from my local RepRapper along with a Mk3 and a sheet of glass. In total he charged me AU$70 for this and the Nozzle etc
  • I purchased a Chinese electronics kit for AU$69 that included: RAMPS 1.4, Mega 2560, 5x DRV8825 Driver Boards, 12864 Smart LCD Controller with SD slot, 3x Optical End-stops
  • 12v 40A Strip Power Supply $70. I oversized this substantially to keep it running well within its range as the quality was dubious
  • Other vitamins were mostly cheap Imported parts


The drives and printed parts were the first parts purchased.