While the number of assembly steps can vary from printer to printer, construction is usually straightforward and not terribly difficult.
When shopping for a 3D printer, rather than focus on assembly requirements, you’ll be better off focusing on the features you want in the finished product.
Features like a heated bed, build size, filament detection, resume-print capabilities, software and material compatibility, and ease of use will be more important to you in the long term.
If you want the fun of putting a printer together and want one of the finest 3D printers available, the decision is easy.
Go with the Creality Ender 3 Pro. Tons of awesome features. High-quality prints. Heats up fast. Fun to put together. Perfect.
Best of all, it comes with a removable, flexible, magnetic build plate to make removal of your prints a breeze.
The Best DIY 3D Printer Kit
Machine size: 440 x 410 x 465 millimeters / 17.3 x 16.1 x 18.3 inches
Machine weight: 8.6 kilograms / 19 pounds
Build volume: 220 x 220 x 250 millimeters / 8.6 x 8.6 x 9.8 inches
Compatible materials: Filament, metal, wood
The Creality Ender 3 Pro is a popular model. You won’t need to look hard to find a community with troubleshooting tips and inspiring projects.
The Ender 3 Pro has an innovative design that’s great for tinkerers. You can adjust and customize easily.
The crucial resume-print function allows the process to resume if there’s a power loss or error. The MK-10 extruder reduces plugging risk.
Assembly can be tricky for first-timers, but many online tutorials simplify the steps.
The cost is reasonable for beginners but with precision and performance that will please any experience level.
- Heats up quickly.
- Offers great printing stability.
- Magnetic print surface is easy to remove.
- May be difficult to assemble for first-timers.
- Parts seem cheap.
The Best Budget Pick
Machine size: 22.1 x 22.1 x 24.89 centimeters / 8.7 x 8.7 x 9.8 inches
Machine weight: 8 kilograms / 17.6 pounds
Build volume: 220 x 220 millimeters / 8.7 x 8.7 inches
Compatible materials: Polylactic acid, ABS, PLA filament
The Ender 3 model from Creality3D has some quirks, and you might need to tinker.
However, for beginners, you can’t get the same affordability and quality in another model. The hardware interface accepts microSD and USB.
The wheels are smooth and durable, but the motor is noisy.
It’s simple enough for kids to use (with adult supervision). However, when it comes to the assembly, a suggested two hours, you need a patient adult.
The upgraded extruder reduced plugging risk and bad extrusion. The resume print function, much like the Pro version, can resume printing even after a power lapse.
- Resume print function for consistency.
- Updated extruder reduces plugging risk.
- Offers lifetime technical support.
- Tray is not perfectly flat.
More DIY 3D Printer Kit Options
Machine size: 388 x 340 x 405 millimeters / 15 x 13.4 x 16 inches
Machine weight: 12.4 kilograms / 27.3 pounds
Build volume: 150 x 150 x 150 millimeters / 6 x 6 x 6 inches
Compatible material: Filament
The Adventurer 3 Lite is simple to assemble, but it doesn’t come with much starter filament.
You can print the day of delivery, but you won’t print much. The Adventurer 3 is an excellent tool if you’re constructing figures or small pieces.
- Sleek and simple design.
- Full-color touch screen.
- Removable build plate.
- Some customers received a 250 V AC plug that is not compatible with most US homes.
- Parts may be hard to replace.
Machine size: 41 x 40.51 x 45.20 centimeters / 16.1 x 16 x 17.8 inches
Machine weight: 11 kilograms / 24.25 pounds
Build volume: 210 x 210 x 205 millimeters / 8.27 x 8.27 x 8.07 inches
Compatible materials: Metal, filament, wood
The Mega S has an easy three-step setup. The rigid metal frame minimizes shaking and improves the print quality.
A dual z-axis makes the machine more stable and quieter when printing. You can save yourself some space with a compact machine size.
A patented microporous coating covers the printing platform surface.
The layer provides excellent adhesion when printing, but creations easily detach from the bed when it cools.
The Mega S is another DIY 3D printer with a resume-print function.
You also get lifetime technical support and access to 24-hour customer service.
The instruction booklet covers helpful information like bed leveling, slicing setup, print parameters, and troubleshooting tips.
- Ready to go right out of the box.
- Sensor detection when you run out of filament.
- Patended microporous coating.
- Screws may come loose.
- Print surface wears easily.
Machine size: 22.2 x 22.7 x 38.3 centimeters / 8.7 x 8.9 x 15.1 inches
Machine weight: 4.25 kilograms / 9.37 pounds
Build volume: 130 x 80 x 165 millimeters / 5.1 x 3.2 x 6.5 inches
Compatible material: Resin
The Photon Mono model is a resin printer. Resin yields high-quality details, but you might experience some trial and error before you earn those results.
The Anycubic comes with a one-year warranty and a lifetime of technical support.
The z-axis rail improves stability and reduces errors in layers.
With an ultraviolet (UV)-blocking transparent cover, you can watch the process and be safe from 99.99% of emitted UV light.
- Ultra-fast performance.
- Extremely stable.
- Cover blocks 99.95% of ultraviolet rays.
- Tends to lock up/freeze while printing.
- Small print area.
Factors to Consider Before Purchase
When you buy a DIY 3D printer kit, you have a few factors to consider.
Build volume, price, materials, and the precision you need should all be taken into account before buying.
When you DIY, you control the level of difficulty. By using a kit, you have everything you need to begin in one box.
As you learn, you can modify. You can upgrade or change out parts as you like.
Rather than an enclosed platform, most DIY 3D printer kits have open build areas.
You have a larger build area because you don’t waste space surrounding the frame. With a larger size, you gain a larger build volume.
When the construction is complete, there’s still more to do. You’re responsible for regular maintenance. Cleaning, tightening, and testing are all necessary.
When you use a kit, you have all your parts chosen for you.
The advantage is you have everything you need to start, but you’ll need to buy additional pieces to customize later on.
However, customization is optional. You might be happy with what you got.
What Tools Are Needed for 3D Printing?
Many of the DIY 3D printer kits named above include some tools. Any tools you need for building will be in the kit.
But what about the tools for everyday operation?
Nozzle Cleaning Kit
Every time you print, you use the nozzle. Frequent use requires regular maintenance. Nozzle cleaning kits will have tweezers and needles.
You’ll find nozzle cleaning kits on Amazon and any retailer that sells 3D printers.
Most cleaning kits have one size of tweezers, but it’s helpful to have a variety. You wouldn’t use an industrial tweezer to remove a splinter.
If you don’t buy from a kit, look for point-tip and pointed-slant tweezers.
Pliers are necessary. Cutting, cleaning, adjusting, and securing are some of the common uses.
Again, the importance of having more than one size at the ready can’t be overstated.
Screwdrivers are great to have around. Whatever you need to tighten or tinker with, screwdrivers will help you strengthen connections.
Chances are you’ve tightened everything, secured, and built everything perfectly. Well, maybe don’t risk it.
You’re dealing with high temperatures and precise cutting tools. Protect your eyes. These goggles have an anti-fog coating and protect your eyes from harmful UV light.
Fine cutting creates fine particles. You won’t want to breathe in the remnants of wood, metal, or other materials discarded by the process.
Mat or Safe Surface
We mentioned that waste particles naturally occur during the printing process. Place your printer in a space that’s okay to get a little dirty.
Save yourself a mess by placing your printer on a heat-safe mat or other protected surface that can handle getting dirty and being near that much heat.
Depending on where you’re printing, there are probably other people in the building. If it’s just you, it’s still a good idea to have an operational smoke detector.
When you’re working with high temperatures and delicate machinery, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Markers, Tape, and Rulers
Markers or sharpies help with marking measurements, labels, or anything else that you need to note.
Painters or masking tape can do the same. You need a ruler to know the measure you’re marking.
Airtight Storage or Desiccant Gel
Filament materials are preserved by staying dry. You might recognize desiccant packets or silica gel as those little bags you find stuffed into boxes that say, “Do not eat. Throw away.”
The inedible contents keep your products dry effectively. An airtight storage container is an extra layer of protection.
Building your 3D printer is like completing a jigsaw puzzle. It’s not about the number of pieces you put together―what you need is patience.
Doing it yourself means you might place a few wrong pieces together or tamper with incorrect settings before doing it right.
Is Assembling a 3D Printer Easy?
Beginners can put together a DIY 3D printer kit, but users with previous 3D printing experience can have as much trouble as a beginner.
If the jigsaw is missing pieces or a shape wasn’t cut correctly, you might have to improvise.
Having some experience helps, but the key to succeeding is to fiddle with the pieces.
Other than stubbornness, there are a few things you need to know before starting a DIY 3D printer project.
Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own 3D Printer?
The massive trend in DIY didn’t stick around just for the thrill of having a project. DIY is cheaper.
You can save hundreds of dollars―yes, hundreds―by tinkering with a kit.
Wrapping It Up
Some of the 3D printers featured here require more assembly than others. However, as stated earlier, this alone should not be your deciding factor.
Most people are looking for easy print removal, multiple filament capabilities, large build volume, and accurate prints.
The Creality Ender 3 Pro will not disappoint. Great for beginners and pros alike, you’ll have no trouble assembling and getting started with amazing prints right away.
The flexible print bed alone makes this printer an excellent choice, but the high-tech features sure don’t hurt either!
Last update on 2021-05-18 at 15:29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API