3D Printer Kit: Is It For You?

So, you’re diving into the world of 3D printing? Congrats! But wait, instead of buying a ready-made printer, have you considered starting with a 3D printer kit? Let’s unpack this thrilling journey together.

Introduction to 3D Printer Kits

What is a 3D Printer Kit?

A 3D printer kit is essentially a set of components that allows you to build your own 3D printer from the ground up. Unlike pre-assembled 3D printers that you can use straight out of the box, these kits require you to put together the parts, often including the frame, motors, wiring, and extruder. This process offers a hands-on approach to understanding the mechanics and technology behind 3D printing.

Why Choose a 3D Printer Kit?

Choosing a 3D printer kit is ideal for those who enjoy DIY projects and have a keen interest in learning how machines work. It’s not just about assembling parts; it’s about gaining insights into the functioning of each component and the system as a whole.

Benefits of Starting with a Kit

Cost Savings

  • Lower Initial Investment: 3D printer kits are generally less expensive than pre-built models. This cost-effectiveness comes from the fact that you are doing the assembly yourself, saving on labor costs associated with the manufacturing process.
  • Economic Upgrades: Since you understand the printer’s build, upgrading parts is easier and often cheaper. You can source components independently, often finding more affordable options.

Learning Experience

  • Understanding the Mechanics: As you build the printer, you learn about every part and its function. This deep understanding is beneficial for troubleshooting and maintenance.
  • Electronics Insight: Building a 3D printer also involves wiring and electronics, offering a practical lesson in basic engineering principles.

Customization Potential

  • Personalization: With a kit, you have the freedom to modify or upgrade parts according to your requirements, something not always possible with pre-assembled printers.
  • Tailored Performance: You can fine-tune your printer for specific tasks or materials, optimizing its performance for your unique projects.

Top 3D Printer Kits in the Market

Over the past few years, several 3D printer kits have gained traction due to their performance, cost-effectiveness, and community support. Some of the frontrunners include:

1. Official Creality CR-10 Smart Pro


  • Design: Large build volume (300×300×400mm) with HD camera, LED light, and a flexible PEI bed. It’s designed for creativity and practicality.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: Equipped with a wide-angle HD camera and LED light for monitoring the printing process remotely.
  • Performance: High-quality brass nozzles, capable of temperatures up to 300°C, and all-metal dual-gear direct extruders. It promises high accuracy and reduces clogging.
  • User-Friendly: CR-Touch auto bed-leveling, manual options for beginners, and a responsive 4.3-inch touch screen.
  • Finish Quality: The magnetic spring steel sheet ensures excellent adhesion and a smooth surface, avoiding warping.


  • Comprehensive design for DIY, home, and school use.
  • Remote monitoring enhances convenience.
  • Versatile for various materials.
  • Easy to use for beginners and professionals.


  • Assembly might be challenging for absolute beginners.

2. Anet A8 Plus


  • Upgraded Hotbed: Large printing size (300x300x350mm) with an aluminum substrate heatbed and glass panel.
  • Mainboard: Enhanced safety with over-current and short-circuit protection.
  • Frame: All-metal frame for stable structure and high precision.
  • Operation Method: Movable LCD display with an ergonomic and efficient knob button.
  • Self-Assembly: A DIY version allowing an in-depth understanding of assembly and construction.


  • Large printing size is suitable for various projects.
  • Safety upgrades on the mainboard.
  • Stable and precise printing with the all-metal frame.
  • User-friendly operation interface.


  • Self-assembly might be time-consuming and complex.
  • Limited information on customer support and warranty.

3. Original Prusa i3 MK3S+


  • Latest Version: Comes with a US Power Supply and 8GB SD card.
  • DIY Kit: A self-assembly kit, with a fully built and tested option available.
  • Automatic Features: Mesh Bed Leveling, IR filament sensor, and filament auto-loading.
  • Quality Components: Gates belts, Bondtech drive gears, EINSY RAMBo motherboard.
  • Extras: Includes a free sample of Prusament PLA.


  • The latest version with improved features.
  • Automatic calibration and filament handling enhance ease of use.
  • High-quality components ensure durability and precision.
  • Beginner-friendly with fun assembly experience.


  • Higher price point compared to other models.

Voron 2.4 CNC Parts and Accessories by Heegkqu Store

Heegkqu’s range of Voron 2.4 CNC parts and accessories offers a comprehensive upgrade and assembly solution for 3D printing enthusiasts. With a focus on quality, ease of installation, and aesthetics, these products are designed to enhance the performance and usability of Voron 2.4 3D printers.


  • Sturdy and Durable: The aluminum alloy frame ensures high temperature resistance and minimal deformation, promising long-term stability.
  • Lightweight Design: Reworked parts with CNC technology for precision, strength, and ease of installation.
  • Excellent Craftsmanship: Precision milling and correct anodizing make for a perfect fit and aesthetic appeal.
  • Packaging and Contents: The kit is well-packaged for protection, including all necessary hardware and a spare screw set.


  • High-quality materials and construction.
  • Visually appealing design in red and black.
  • Precise and easy to install.
  • Simplifies the wiring process.
  • Durable and well-organized components.
  • Good value for the price.


  • Might be intimidating for beginners.
  • May require some technical expertise for installation.
  • Limited applicability outside of Voron 2.4 R2 models.

The Heegkqu Store’s Voron 2.4 CNC parts and accessories present a robust solution for 3D printer enthusiasts looking to build or upgrade their Voron 2.4 printers. While the quality and design of the components are highly praised, potential buyers should be aware of the technical expertise required for installation and the additional costs associated with shipping and import fees, especially for international customers.

Each of these 3D printers offers unique features suitable for different users, from beginners to advanced enthusiasts. The Creality CR-10 Smart Pro is feature-rich and versatile, the Anet A8 Plus offers a large printing size and safety features, while the Prusa i3 MK3S+ stands out with its high-quality components and beginner-friendly design. Your choice would depend on your specific needs, expertise in assembly, and budget considerations.

Components of a Typical 3D Printer Kit

When delving into the world of 3D printing, especially with a DIY kit, understanding the components you’ll encounter is crucial. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll typically find in a 3D printer kit and their roles in the printing process.


  • Function: Motors are key components that drive the movement of the printer. They are responsible for moving the printer head (which deposits the filament) and the printing bed (which holds the object being printed).
  • Types: There are usually several motors, including the X-axis motor (moves the head left and right), Y-axis motor (moves the bed forward and backward), and Z-axis motor (moves the head up and down).
  • Alignment Importance: Proper alignment of these motors is critical. Misalignment can lead to imperfections in the printed objects, such as uneven layers or skewed prints.

Heating Bed

  • Purpose: The heating bed is a platform where the object is printed. Its primary function is to ensure that the first few layers of filament adhere properly during the initial stages of printing.
  • Leveling: Leveling the bed is essential for a successful print. An uneven bed can cause issues like poor adhesion, warping of the object, or incomplete prints.
  • Manual vs Auto-Leveling: Depending on the printer model, the bed can be leveled manually or automatically. Manual leveling involves adjusting screws or knobs under the bed, while auto-leveling uses sensors and firmware to adjust the bed level automatically.


  • Role: The extruder is the component that feeds filament to the nozzle. It’s essentially the “hand” that holds and pushes the “pen” (nozzle).
  • Types: There are two main types of extruders – direct drive and Bowden. Direct drive extruders are mounted directly on the print head, while Bowden extruders are mounted on the printer frame, with the filament fed to the nozzle through a tube.
  • Maintenance: A well-maintained extruder is vital for high-quality prints. A clogged extruder can lead to under-extrusion, where not enough filament is deposited, resulting in weak or incomplete prints.
  • Cleaning and Care: Regular cleaning of the extruder is essential. This includes checking for filament debris and ensuring the gear that feeds the filament is clean and functional.

Step-by-Step Assembly Guide for a 3D Printer Kit

Assembling a 3D printer kit can be an exciting yet intricate process. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you through each step. Remember, patience and precision are key!

Stage 1: Frame Assembly

  • Building the Foundation: The frame is the skeleton of your 3D printer. Start by carefully assembling the main frame components. This usually includes the base, sides, and top structures.
  • Stability is Key: Ensure that the frame is stable and perfectly level. A misaligned frame can lead to significant problems later, like uneven printing. Use a spirit level to check this.
  • Tighten, but Don’t Over-tighten: While it’s important to secure all screws and bolts, over-tightening can warp the frame. Tighten just enough to hold everything firmly in place.

Stage 2: Motor Installation

  • Identifying Motors: Your kit should include separate motors for the X, Y, and Z axes. Identify each motor and its corresponding position on the frame.
  • Securing Motors: Install the motors to their designated positions. They should be tightly secured but ensure they are not misaligned due to over-tightening.
  • Wiring: Carefully connect any wires or cables to the motors. This might involve delicate work, so refer to the kit’s manual for guidance.

Stage 3: Bed Installation

  • Attaching the Heating Bed: Attach the heating bed to its designated position, usually on the Y-axis frame.
  • Leveling the Bed: Once secured, check the levelness of the bed. It should be perfectly horizontal. Adjust as necessary, using either manual adjustment knobs or the auto-leveling feature, depending on your model.

Stage 4: Extruder and Hotend Assembly

  • Mounting the Extruder: Attach the extruder to its place on the frame. This is where the filament will be fed into the printer.
  • Attaching the Hotend: The hotend, where the filament is melted and extruded, attaches to the extruder. Ensure it’s securely in place and that there’s a clear path for the filament to travel from the extruder to the hotend.
  • Final Checks: Double-check all connections, both mechanical and electrical, to ensure everything is in place and aligned correctly.

Final Tips

  • Reference the Manual: Always keep the assembly manual close. It’s your primary guide for specific instructions and diagrams.
  • Take Your Time: Rushing can lead to mistakes. Enjoy the assembly process as a learning experience.
  • Test Runs: After assembly, do a few test runs with simple prints to ensure everything is working as it should.

Fine-Tuning Your Printer Post Assembly

Once you have assembled your 3D printer, fine-tuning it is crucial for achieving the best printing results. This process involves making small adjustments to ensure everything works harmoniously. Let’s dive into the key aspects of fine-tuning your 3D printer.

Bed Leveling

Bed leveling is one of the most important steps in fine-tuning your 3D printer.

  • What is Bed Leveling? It’s the process of ensuring the printing bed is perfectly flat and at the right distance from the nozzle across its entire surface.
  • Why is it Important? An unleveled bed can lead to poor adhesion, uneven prints, or even damage to the printer.
  • How to Level the Bed:
    • Using a Piece of Paper: Turn off the printer and manually move the nozzle to different corners of the bed. Slide a piece of standard printer paper between the nozzle and the bed.
    • Adjustment: If the paper slides with no resistance, the bed is too low. If you can’t move the paper or it’s pinched too tightly, the bed is too high. Adjust the bed height using the knobs or screws until the paper slides with slight resistance.
    • Repeat: Repeat this process at multiple points on the bed to ensure even leveling.

Extruder Calibration

Proper extruder calibration is essential for accurate filament feeding.

  • What is Extruder Calibration? It’s the process of ensuring that the extruder is pushing the correct amount of filament through the nozzle.
  • Significance: Incorrect calibration can lead to too much or too little filament being extruded, resulting in poor print quality.
  • Calibration Process:
    • Print a Calibration Cube: A calibration cube is a standard 3D model used to calibrate and test 3D printers.
    • Measurements: After printing, measure the dimensions of the cube with calipers. Compare these measurements to the intended dimensions of the cube.
    • Adjust Settings: If the measurements are off, adjust the extruder’s steps per mm in the printer’s settings. This ensures the printer feeds the correct amount of filament.

Safety Tips During Assembly of a 3D Printer

Safety Tips During Assembly of a 3D Printer

Assembling a 3D printer can be an exciting and rewarding DIY project. However, like any other technical task, it involves certain risks. To ensure your safety and the proper functioning of the printer, here are some essential safety tips to follow during assembly:

Turn Off and Unplug the Printer

  • Power Safety: Always turn off and unplug your 3D printer before making any adjustments or assembly steps. This prevents any accidental electrical shocks or short circuits.
  • Why It Matters: Working on an energized printer can be dangerous, especially when dealing with its electronic components.

Organize Wires and Components

  • Tidy Workspace: Keep your workspace organized. Ensure that all wires and components are neatly arranged and not tangled.
  • Benefits:
    • Reduces Risks: An organized workspace minimizes the risk of accidents, such as tripping over loose wires or spilling liquids on electronic parts.
    • Easier Troubleshooting: If something doesn’t work correctly after assembly, an organized setup makes it easier to troubleshoot and identify issues.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Wear Protective Gear: Depending on the task, use protective gear like gloves or safety glasses, especially when working with sharp tools or components.
  • Be Aware of Heat Sources: Be cautious around the printer’s hotend and heating bed. They can reach high temperatures and cause burns.
  • Ventilation: Ensure good ventilation in your workspace, particularly if you are soldering or if the printer is in a small, enclosed area.
  • Follow Instructions Carefully: Always follow the assembly instructions provided with your printer kit. Improvising or skipping steps can lead to malfunctions or safety hazards.
  • Avoid Force: If a component doesn’t fit easily, don’t force it. This could break the part or damage other components. Instead, double-check the instructions and ensure you’re using the correct parts and methods.
  • Child and Pet Safety: If you have children or pets, ensure they are kept away from the assembly area to prevent accidents.

Upgrading Components in the Future

Upgrading your 3D printer’s components is an excellent way to enhance its performance, print quality, and user experience. As you become more familiar with 3D printing, you might find certain areas where your printer could do better. Here are some common upgrades and their benefits:

Silent Stepper Motor Drivers

  • Purpose: These components are designed to reduce the noise created by the stepper motors of your 3D printer.
  • Ideal for Home Environments: If your printer is located in a living space, reducing noise can make the printing process less disruptive.
  • How They Work: Silent stepper motor drivers control the way electricity is delivered to the motors, resulting in smoother and quieter operation.
  • Additional Benefits: Besides reducing noise, these drivers often enhance the precision of motor movements, potentially improving print quality.

Auto Bed Leveling Sensors

  • Automating Bed Leveling: One of the more tedious aspects of 3D printing is bed leveling. Auto bed leveling sensors automate this process.
  • Consistent Print Quality: These sensors ensure that the bed is perfectly level before each print, leading to consistently high-quality prints.
  • Time-Saving: Once installed and configured, these sensors save you the time and hassle of manually leveling the bed for each print.
  • Types of Sensors: There are various types of auto bed leveling sensors, including inductive, capacitive, and touch sensors. Each has its own advantages and compatibility considerations.

High-Quality Nozzles

  • Enhanced Precision: Upgrading to high-quality nozzles can significantly improve the precision of your prints. This is particularly beneficial for prints requiring fine details.
  • Material Compatibility: Some premium nozzles are made to handle abrasive materials like carbon fiber-infused filaments, extending the nozzle’s life.
  • Reduced Clogging: Better nozzles often have smoother internal surfaces, reducing the likelihood of filament clogging.
  • Material Options: High-quality nozzles come in various materials, including brass, stainless steel, and hardened steel. Each material has unique properties suitable for different types of filament.

Tips for Upgrading

  • Research Compatibility: Before purchasing any upgrade, ensure it is compatible with your specific 3D printer model.
  • Gradual Upgrades: Consider upgrading one component at a time. This helps in understanding the impact of each upgrade and troubleshooting if issues arise.
  • Community Advice: The 3D printing community is a great resource. Check forums and user groups for advice on the best upgrades for your printer model.

Why Kits Might Not Be For Everyone

Building a 3D printer from a kit can be a deeply rewarding experience, but it’s not suited for everyone. There are several factors to consider before diving into a kit project. Understanding these can help you decide if a kit is the right choice for you.

Time Investment

  • Assembly Duration: Assembling a kit is time-consuming. It’s not a one-hour project; it can take days or even weeks, depending on the complexity of the kit and your experience level.
  • Learning Curve: Beyond assembly, there’s a learning curve in understanding how the printer works, which adds to the time investment.

Technical Skills Required

  • Mechanical Know-How: You’ll need a basic understanding of mechanical components and how they fit together.
  • Electronics Skills: Some knowledge of electronics is necessary, as you’ll be dealing with wiring, circuit boards, and possibly soldering.
  • Troubleshooting Ability: Kits can have parts that don’t fit perfectly or electronics that don’t work as expected. Being able to troubleshoot and find solutions is crucial.

Patience and Persistence

  • Trial and Error: Expect a process of trial and error. Parts may not fit right the first time, or the printer may not work perfectly on the first try.
  • Ongoing Adjustments: Even after assembly, continuous tweaking and calibration are often needed to get optimal printing results.

Lack of Instant Gratification

  • Not Plug-and-Play: Unlike pre-assembled printers, kits don’t offer an immediate printing experience. You won’t be able to start printing right out of the box.
  • Building vs. Using: Some people are more interested in using the printer rather than building it. If you’re eager to start printing immediately, a kit might not be suitable.

Cost vs. Time

  • Initial Cost Savings: While kits can be more affordable than pre-assembled printers, this saving can be offset by the time and potential additional tools or parts you might need.
  • Value of Your Time: Consider if the time spent assembling and tweaking the printer is worth the savings.

Personal Experience and Takeaways

Building my own 3D printer was a journey filled with challenges and learning curves. The first time I misaligned the motors, it resulted in skewed prints. But with each hiccup, I learned more about the printer’s mechanics. The satisfaction of watching it print flawlessly after weeks of tinkering was unparalleled. My takeaway? Patience and persistence are key. And when in doubt, the community forums were always there to lend a helping hand.


So, are you up for the challenge? A 3D printer kit offers more than just a device; it provides an experience, a journey of discovery. Happy building!


  1. Can beginners handle 3D printer kits?
    Absolutely! Just pick a beginner-friendly kit and follow the manual closely.
  2. How long does assembling a kit take?
    It varies. Some take a few hours, while others might require a weekend.
  3. Are kits more prone to errors than pre-assembled printers?
    Not necessarily. As long as you follow instructions and calibrate correctly, you’re good to go!
  4. What if a part in my kit is missing or broken?
    Most companies offer excellent customer service. Reach out, and they’ll sort it out.
  5. Can I upgrade my DIY printer with commercial parts?
    Absolutely! One of the joys of DIY is the ability to customize and upgrade.


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Daniel Brooks

Join me the author of Explore 3D Print, on an exhilarating journey through the captivating world of 3D. Discover the endless possibilities of 3D printing and immerse yourself in a vibrant community of enthusiasts. Explore, learn, and unlock the limitless potential of this fascinating realm.

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