If you’re a hobbyist and a tinkerer who wants to get into 3D printing, the best way is to build your own 3D printer. You can purchase and assemble DIY 3D printer kits that combine your favorite childhood pastimes with your new obsession!
The big reason for building your own printer is the cost savings associated with it.
You might wind up saving hundreds of dollars if you opt for a DIY printer.
The hidden advantage is how much you’ll learn about your printer while putting it together.
An excellent way to think about it is you’re trading a few hours of your time in exchange for a deep understanding of 3D printing.
Table of Contents
- Best DIY 3D Printer Kits At A Glance
- Why DIY Printers?
- How To Build Your Own 3D Printer?
- How To Choose The Right DIY 3D Printer Kit
Best DIY 3D Printer Kits At A Glance
Now let’s look at some of the best DIY 3D printer kits on the market. All of these are FDM-style printers, so there’s no need to worry about resin or dangerous chemicals.
- Creality Ender 3 Pro (Editor’s Choice)
- Prusa I3 MK3S (Top Pick – Best Overall)
- Creality Ender 3 (Best Value)
- Tronxy XY-2 PRO
- Tronxy X5SA Pro
- Geeetech A10
- Anet A8 Plus
- Creality CR-10 V2
- Anycubic Kossel Plus
Quick Reference Table
|3D Printer||Volume (mm)||Resolution (μm)||Assembly time (hrs)|
|#1 Creality Ender 3 Pro||220 x 220 x 250||100||2|
|#2 Prusa i3 MK3S||250 x 210 x 210||50||7|
|#3 Creality Ender 3||220 x 220 x 250||100||3-6|
|Tronxy XY-2 Pro||255 x 255 x 260||100||3|
|Tronxy X5SA Pro||330 x 330 x 400||125||4|
|Geeetech A10||220 x 220 x 260||100||1|
|Anet A8 Plus||300 x 300 x 350||100||3|
|Creality CR-10 V2||300 x 300 x 400||50||1|
|Anycubic Kossel Plus||180 x 180 x 320||100||4|
The first 3D printer I’ve ever bought – the Ender 3 Pro is the big brother of the popular Ender 3.
It’s a great 3D printer if you like to tinker and modify, however, owning an Ender 3 Pro is a learning experience.
Because of it’s popularity you have the support of one of the largest communities of makers. If you need help with leveling your bed or calibrating your settings they’ve got you covered.
That said, a well-calibrated and upgraded Ender 3 Pro can go toe-to-toe with a Prusa’s print quality.
This kit is really easy to put together, and it quickly connects to your computer to make for easy printing. It took me about 2 hours to put together the semi-assembled kit following the 12-step pamphlet.
And that’s with leveling the bed too.
The big thing about this printer is how accurate and sturdy it is. It’s really hard to find another printer that can do what the Ender 3 Pro does at the same price point.
The Ender 3 Pro is the best 3D printer under $300.
The Ender 3 Pro is easy to use, has a lot of useful upgrades over the 3, and it has a decent build volume.
This printer is a great pick if you’re looking for an affordable, jack-of-all-trades type of printer, want a printer that’s easy to set up and use, and aren’t afraid to tinker around to achieve high-quality prints.
If you can afford this beast, it is hands-down the best 3D printer in its class. Prusa is the company that blazed the trail for other DIY printer companies to follow. The proof is in the fact that their printer is called the “original” – it’s so good that other people use it as a skeleton to make their own.
The i3 MK3S is the most expensive kit on this list because it is fast, reliable, and super easy to use.
Compared to the Ender 3 Pro the Prusa i3 MK3S has automatic bed leveling so your prints can be beauties on the first try.
This printer also has a magnetic print bed, a new extruder, a ton of sensors, and a lot of features.
There are two versions of this printer:
You can save over $200 if you get the DIY kit version.
It took me about 6 hours to assemble the kit. The kit comes with detailed setup instructions and you can also supplement this with more info on their site. Additionally, this printer has plenty of info available online from different forums and videos (YouTube is your friend!) that will detail exactly how to assemble it.
This 3D printer is super easy to use because of the iterations that the company has gone through to bring this printer to market. It’s worth mentioning that this printer is open source, so you can feel free to tinker and experiment with your setup.
If you’re into exceptional print quality right out of the box then the Prusa i3 MK3S is for you. It is a reliable, well built machine that performs consistently with minimal maintenance. On the rare cases you need help or advice, Prusa also offers tech supports and a community of passionate fans.
There’s a reason why this printer is was our #1 choice in the best 3D printer under $200 review.
No 3D printer seems to fuse quality and affordability quite like the Ender 3. With the right settings and patience, this printer can achieve quality as good as printers 4x the price.
The older generation of the Ender 3, it has all the quirks you’d expect from the old guard 😉
Like the Ender 3 Pro, it allows you to continue printing after losing power. Likewise, the heated built plate allows for easier printing and lets you print tougher filament materials.
You can read more about the Ender 3 vs. Ender Pro here.
This 3D printer is perfect for beginners and tinkerers.
Next up is the XY-2 PRO from Tronxy.
It has a reasonable price tag, a good print volume, and it looks pretty cool. It also has a sensor that detects when you’re out of filament, and it automatically stops the print.
It has auto-leveling, which makes the setup for printing more convenient. As a bonus, the folks at Tronxy put a touchscreen on this printer! These features are almost unheard of from a printer at this price point.
The XY-2 PRO is one of the easiest DIY 3D printer kits to assemble and start. If you have any problems, you can refer to their included instruction manual.
If you’re still stuck, you can use your lifetime technical support that comes with every purchase of a Tronxy kit. This means that their service technicians will help you with any questions or problems you have.
Looking at another printer offered from Tronxy, the X5SA Pro is an upgraded version of their smaller printer.
The build volume is enormous on this guy (in fact, the largest on this list), and the price tag is still really fair for what you get – granted it’s pricier than others on this list.
When they released the X5SA, there were some concerns that were voiced by the 3D printing community. Tronxy was quick to fix them and released the X5SA Pro with all of the fixes.
Some of the fixes include a more robust x-axis, more stability overall, better materials used for the framework, fewer vibrations, and better precision.
The assembly time is around 4 hours, and it offers the same technical support that the XY-2 PRO offers. If the price tag is shocking, compare this printer to a premade model that might cost double the price.
What you get in this printer is a reliable workhorse. It has the same great features and touchscreen that the XY-2 PRO offers, this one is just a lot larger and sturdier.
The A10 from Geeetech is more of a middle-of-the-road type of printer. The price, build volume, and resolution is all in the middle of this list.
It also includes a sensor for when your filament runs out, and it will allow you to print remotely.
Building it is pretty easy, too. There’s a lot of resources online to help guide you through the process. This is a good pick if you aren’t crazy about either extreme of the printers available.
If you’re looking for a DIY 3D printing kit that has a little bit of everything, the A10 is a good pick.
At first glance, you’ll notice the A8 Plus has a big build volume, a great display, and sturdy metal framework. These are the leading factors of why the price point is a little higher than others on this list.
You also get a heated build plate and a nozzle hot enough to print most commercially-available filaments. The machine is very robust and sturdy, which leads to better accuracy than the standard A8.
The wiring and assembly will take around 3 hours and isn’t that difficult based on our experience. If you get stuck, there are countless posts about how to assemble and troubleshoot your machine. This is largely due to how popular the brand and printer are.
Overall this is a good pick if you are looking for a bigger printer that’s sturdy and reliable.
You were warned, there’s more Creality on this list! This slot is reserved for the CR-10 V2 from them, their biggest and baddest version.
The build volume is massive, and the printer is sturdy. Like other Creality DIY kits, the assembly time is around an hour and is really well-explained.
So easy, in fact, it’s easy to forget that it’s a DIY kit.
A lot of people will claim that this printer is the best kit option around the $450 price range, and it’s hard to disagree.
The printer also boasts pinpoint accuracy with its prints. Overall it’s hard to find fault with this printer, and the community is in love with it.
This printer is the perfect option for people who are a little more serious about their kit, people looking to print large items such as cosplay armor or props, and people who need an easy-to-use and assemble printer.
The last printer on this list is the Kossel Plus from Anycubic. This printer might look a little funkier than the other printers, and that’s because it’s a delta printer.
These don’t work like traditional xy (or cartesian) style printers.
The benefit of a delta printer is you won’t have printing problems associated with slack in the belts.
There’s a lot to explore when it comes to delta printers. To simplify things, when it comes to DIY 3D printer kits, the Kossel Plus is the best delta option.
The framework is sturdy, and the assembly is really straightforward with a lot of videos and articles online about assembly.
The assembly is essentially 7 parts being put together. The extruder and heated build plate get hot enough to print almost any commercially sold filament. Kossel Plus is a very accurate unit and is a fun technology to watch print.
Overall this printer is great for anyone who wants to improve accuracy and precision in their prints. It’s also a good pick if you want a conversation piece since it’s an atypical 3D printer.
Why DIY Printers?
The big reason for building your own printer is the cost savings associated with it. You might wind up saving hundreds of dollars if you opt for a DIY printer. The hidden advantage is how much you’ll learn about your printer while putting it together. An excellent way to think about it is you’re trading a few hours of your time in exchange for a deep understanding of 3D printing.
How To Build Your Own 3D Printer?
The actual process of building your own 3D printer is going to vary from kit to kit. The overall idea is you’re building it from scratch and doing everything except for the coding. The kits will include all of the pieces and detailed instructions for putting them together. It’s a lot like a Lego set.
For most of the kits, you just need to screw pieces together and connect some ribbon cable between pieces. For the most part, it’s no different than building a piece of furniture from IKEA, with some added steps after for troubleshooting.
No matter which kit you decide to go with, it will come with instructions, and there will be videos and blogs online to help you along the way.
How To Choose The Right DIY 3D Printer Kit
As you’re going to see soon, there’s a lot of different options for DIY 3D printer kits. So how do you pick the perfect one? Ultimately it comes down to what you’re looking for in a 3D printer. The criteria for picking a DIY 3D printer kit is the exact same as if you were to buy a printer off-the-shelf, the only difference is that you have to build these printers yourself.
You’ll see that these DIY kits have a wide range of prices, build volumes, precision, and features. Additionally, some printers have added features that lead to more convenient or reliable prints. Before you read some of the product reviews, you might want to think of some applications you’ll be using your printer for.
While you’re reading along, take a look at the highlighted features and consider if they are meaningful to you in your application. Now, there is something to keep in mind. Since these are all DIY kits, there are “assembly times” associated with each printer. This is how long it might take you from when you receive the package to when you make your first print.
Keep in mind that the printer only has to be assembled once, then it will be ready for continued use. In other words, along assembly time shouldn’t deter you from buying a printer that has great specs and features that you’re looking for. Refer to our product review table and take a look at the specific reviews below!
No 3D printer seems to fuse quality and affordability quite like the Ender 3 Pro. With the right settings and patience, this printer can achieve quality as good as printers 4x the price. Great for beginners and tinkerers.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to picking the best DIY 3D printer kit. Hopefully, the information here will help you make the most informed decision to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for! Keep in mind the different features and attributes that you’d prefer for your printing projects and take a look at the printers on this list to see which will best meet your needs.