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Build a DIY Actobotics 3D Printer

November 12, 2015
Build a DIY Actobotics 3D Printer

We’ve always thought it would be awesome to see a 3D printer made out of Actobotics and sure enough, we’ve had a few customers send us their builds.  Hunter Leonard recently share his DIY 3D printer out of Actobotics and it’s really cool!  His entire project from receiving the parts in the mail to the mechanical completion of the printer was a little over two months.

Printer close up


3D printer close up


3D printer side view


3D printer side view 2


Electronics Close up


What difficulties/challenges did you run into while designing/building? 

The most difficult aspects of this build were how the stepper motors and threaded rods on the Z axis would be mounted. The rods weren’t perfectly straight, which caused the motors to want to wiggle around. Instead of fastening the motors to the channel, I had to loosely restrain them with zip ties so they can wiggle around with the rod without cogging or getting stuck. The other problem which I had and still have has to do with the software side. I chose to use Marlin on a RAMPS 1.4 board, which after tweaking the configuration file to my printer, it worked fine in manual mode with the arrow buttons on Pronterface. Then when it came to my first test print of a cube, the Z axis only went down about 3 cm, and the X axis only moved in one direction away from the home button. I have a friend still trying to help me solve this problem. The most rewarding thing about the build process was that I was able to invision the printer and purchase all the parts I needed on the first visit to, without drawing out, labeling, or making a list of parts before hand.

What inspired you to build it?  Where did you get the idea?

What mostly inspired me to build this printer was the fact that I had an unused RaspberryPi sitting on a shelf, and while talking to a friend who also had one and was big in RC like me, we were wondering if 3d printing would be a good option for replacement parts. This was about a year and a half ago, and we thought that we could make a printer which was controlled with the RaspberryPi.  Although I didn’t use the Pi in the long run, I still kept the original idea of making the frame myself and making RC parts with it (which I will get to once the software issues are fixed).

What is your favorite part about this project?

It is being able to tell family members and friends about what I have made. They all think that 3D printers are some alien technology that costs thousands of dollars.  They are blown away when I tell them that I made one myself for about $700.  Now the printer isn’t completely done yet, but I hope what will be even more rewarding than the looks on my friend’s faces are the things that I will design and print. My ideas and my imagination will now have an easier way from becoming just a thought to an actual object.

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