Best DIY 3D Printer Kits : 2018 Edition
DIY 3D printer kits are the cheapest and most customizable type of 3D printers on the market making them a very popular choice when picking a 3D printer.
You learn a lot from building your own 3D printer from scratch and it’s a huge advantage to be able to know how to replaces or even upgrade parts of your printer. I will be showing you the best DIY 3D printer kits currently on the market.
Maximum Print Size
Hictop Auto leveling monitor desktop 3d printer kits
USB/SD Card Only
Excellent/ Quick Responce
1 year warranty
REPRAPGURU DIY REPRAP Prusa I3 V2 Black 3d printer kit
USB/SD Card Only
90 day warranty
Click on the table of contents below to skip to something specific you are wondering about or keep reading on.
- 1)HICTOP Auto Leveling Desktop 3D Printer Prusa I3 DIY Kit
- 2)REPRAPGURU DIY RepRap Prusa I3 V2 Black 3D Printer
1)HICTOP Auto Leveling Desktop 3D Printer Prusa I3 DIY Kit
The brand new HICTOP DIY 3D printer kit is currently the best kit in the market for the price at around $400. It’s a quick printer producing very high quality prints. It comes with a heating bed which is very desirable when it comes to printing as it increases the quality of your print and minimizes error by avoiding deformation.
HITCOP is one of the most trusted 3D printer making companies out there. They always provide high quality customer support and excellent products. Most of their 3D printers become top seller proving the quality of their product and valuable support.
What is the difference between DIY 3D printer kits and regular 3D printers?
A DIY 3D printer kit is a do it yourself printer which comes in pieces and you assemble it yourself. Generally the instructions come in the form of step-by-step pictures which means you will have to tinker and be patient when building your printer.
Regular 3D printer are more expensive because they are already built. They are normally enclosed with transparent plastic protecting the print while it’s printing and also protecting you from the hot parts. DIY 3D printer kits on the other hand are open type printers so while it’s printing the hot parts are exposed.
How essential is a heating bed?
Heating bed has become quite common and a very popular feature with DIY kits, it dramatically improves the quality of your prints and lowers the chances of error. Both printers i am reviewing come with heating beds. The heating bed which is the surface that you print on can heat between 50-100 celsius which varies depending on what material you use.
The main job of a heating bed is to keep the print at an even temperature so that the print cools evenly. If the cooling process is uneven this can cause warping and deformation which was quite common before when heating beds were not as regular.
What is the difference between a single extruder vs a dual extruder?
The extruder is a hot piece that melts your printing material to form your print. A single extruder 3D printer can only take one color printing material per print producing only a one color print. The nice thing about a dual extruder 3D printer is that you can have dual color prints by inputting one color in one of the extruders and your secondary color in the other.
The great advantage of getting a DIY kit is that you can customize your 3d printer, with the ability of making into a dual extruder 3d printer. There is a lot of interest for dual extruder 3d printers but there are not many out there. Getting one of this kits and adding a second extruder is the cheapest and best options for a lower budget.
Which printer offers better warranty?
HITCOP offers a one year full warranty on the parts of the printer.
REPRAPGURU DIY offers a 90 day warranty for the parts to make sure everything is working right. If you do decide to return the printer then you pay for the shipping.
2)REPRAPGURU DIY RepRap Prusa I3 V2 Black 3D Printer
The REPRAPGURU DIY is one of the most sold and highest rated DIY kits. This is not surprising as the company who makes them is highly trusted and offers the best customer service in my opinion. This 3d printer has a solid build with high quality parts. It comes with a heating bed to ensure higher quality prints and has a nice printing size.
You really can’t go wrong with this printer, it already comes with everything you need to build it with clear instructions. If you need extra help or have an issue you can always call their customer support.
What are some good add-ons?
A big advantage with DIY 3d printers is that you are able to modify and buy add-ons for your printer. One of the big add-ons people ask for is a self-leveling bed which is basically a sensor that levels your heating bed for you, without that add-on it can take quite some time and be quite tricky to do it accurately. The HITCOP printer already comes with this add on, the reprapguru DIY does not but can be added.
Another really cool add on as I mentioned before is a second extruder. This would require some modifications but it can be done and there are guides online. This allows you to print with two different color materials at the same time.
What is the best material to use?
The recommendation by the makers of both DIY printers is PLA plastic material as it is the easiest and cheapest to find. It is also easier to use and produces more consistent results.Another nice thing about PLA material is that it’s made from plant based material making it environmentally friendly. PLA filament come in almost every color, and many fun types of PLA such as magnetic, glow in the dark and special effects.
Note: Neither printer comes with much filament. I recommend that if you want to start printing after you finish building your printer, that you buy some PLA printing material along with your printer.
The second most common type of material used is ABS which a harder/sturdier material and can also have its own advantages depending on what you are printing. Both this printers are also able to print with wood,HIPS,and flexible materials which are not very common as they are trickier to use and more expensive.
Are DIY 3D printer kits easy to assemble?
3D printer kits comes with many pieces and step by step instructions that are not always super clear. I have seen generally to assemble this type of kits takes between 2-8 hours with a lot of tinkering and figuring stuff out yourself. This is why reliable and quick responding customer support like what HITCOP and REPRAPGURU have is a huge plus when it comes to DIY kits.
If tinkering and building stuff is not your thing then I would suggest an already assembled and ready to go 3D printer, check out my other review about the best 3d printers under $500.
I would personally choose the HITCOP DIY 3D printer as it is already a very complete 3D printer with both auto leveling and a heating bed, saving you time and also producing high quality prints. I also like the fact that it has a bigger print size. HITCOP has excellent costumer service which is also important when getting a DIY printers.
The REPRAPGURU DIY 3D printer is also an excellent choice with outstanding customer support and comes with high quality parts. Being the favourite DIY printer in amazon in sales and ratings says a lot about the printer. It has a smaller print size and no auto leveling which can be added but it is also cheaper than the HITCOP printer.