3D Printer Ideas

In order to build a 3D printer, such as the Prusa i3, it is common to need printed parts. In order to get around this you can start with a design that uses common parts from a home improvement store. Such builds have been labeled RepStrap, a mash up of Reprap and bootstrap. I am currently looking into designing my own RepStrap using as many parts from local home improvement stores as possible. Early last year I start to purchase some parts that I can’t find at Home Depot, mainly the stepper motors and the controller. I have lumber to build the frame, rods and nylon bushings (simple rings) for the sliding mechanisms and threaded rod to move the Z axis. I still need the following:

  • Belts and pulleys to attach the carriages to the motors
  • A hot end to melt the filament
  • Filament
  • An extruder

I am going to use the following ideas for some of these parts:

Belts and Pulleys

Nylon braided fishing wire

A more recent option I have seen is to use nylon braided fishing line of high strength to drive the axis.


  • Easily obtained at local sporting good stores
  • Very strong and has been shown to keep tension


  • Still need a spool to attach to the motors to give the line enough travel to move the plaform back and forth.

Threaded Rod

Threaded rod can be used to drive all axis. It is cheap and easy to work with.


  • Cost effective
  • Readily available
  • Easy to mate to motors using clear plastic aquarium tubing


  • Considerably slows print speeds

Hot End

This will need to be purchased. I talked with the designer of the J-head on the #reprap channel on Freenode and will be purchasing from his shop.


So many choices and too far away to even contemplate it so far.


I could make a hobbed bolt and run a direct drive extruder, but at this point I believe it may be far easier to buy a premade extruder.