What is 3D Printer?:

A 3D printer is a device that creates three-dimensional objects by depositing materials layer by layer based on a digital model or blueprint. It works by adding material rather than subtracting it (like traditional machining methods) and can produce a wide range of objects with various shapes, sizes, and complexities. 

in this tutorial we will see how to make 3D printer with arduino device.

Why Arduino?:

  1. Affordability: Arduino boards are relatively inexpensive compared to other microcontroller platforms, making them accessible to hobbyists and enthusiasts.

  2. Open-source: Arduino's hardware and software are open-source, meaning the design files and code are freely available for modification and distribution. This fosters a large community of developers who contribute to the platform and share their projects and knowledge.

  3. Ease of use: Arduino boards are designed with simplicity in mind, making them suitable for beginners with minimal programming or electronics experience. The Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) provides a user-friendly interface for writing and uploading code to the board.

  4. Versatility: Arduino boards can be easily integrated with a wide range of sensors, actuators, and other electronic components, allowing for flexibility in project design and functionality.

  5. Community support: Arduino has a large and active community of users and developers who provide support, tutorials, and resources online. This community aspect can be invaluable for troubleshooting issues and finding inspiration for projects.

Overall, Arduino offers a convenient platform for prototyping and building DIY projects like 3D printers due to its affordability, accessibility, ease of use, versatility, and strong community support.

Component You Need:

To start off, you have to start collecting the components and supplies to start yourself off. The following are the boxes you have to tick off.

  • A  Arduino Board: The brain of the printer, responsible for processing commands and controlling the movement of motors and other peripherals. Common choices include Arduino Mega or Arduino Uno.
  • A ramps 1.4 controller board: This is used for interfacing purposes like connecting the end-stop switch, the heatbed, the stepper motor driver, the hotend, and a host of other components with the Arduino.
  • Optical end-stop switch: This is a sensor switch that comes with two markings. NO or NC (Normally Open/Normally Closed). They function as triggers when the XYZ axis of a printer reaches its endpoint. They can be used at any time to stop and start movements.
  • NEMA 17 stepper motor: This is a motor that allows the user to set the speed of revolutions for the movable parts of the printer. The average motor has about 200 steps, but you can get a bigger one.
  • PCB heatbed: This keeps the extruded plastic parts warm at all times to prevent them from warping.
  • Power supply: A 12V/20A power supply is needed to run a simple kit. These power metrics are the minimum you should go for success.
  • LCD Display:refers to a visual interface component integrated into a 3D printer, typically consisting of an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen. This display is used to provide real-time information and control options to the user during the printing process. It may show details such as print progress, temperature readings, menu options, and status messages, allowing users to monitor and interact with the printer without needing to rely solely on a computer interface.

The Process:

Step 1: Build the Frame:

Building the frame of a 3D printer is a crucial step in the construction process. Here's a basic guide on how to build the frame:

  1. Gather Materials: Collect all the necessary materials for building the frame. This typically includes aluminum extrusions, brackets, corner connectors, screws, and nuts. Make sure you have the correct sizes and quantities according to your printer design.

  2. Cut Extrusions: If your aluminum extrusions are longer than needed, measure and cut them to the appropriate lengths using a saw or a specialized aluminum cutting tool. Use a square or a miter box to ensure precise cuts at right angles.

  3. Assemble Base Frame: Start by assembling the base frame of the printer. Lay out the extrusions on a flat surface according to your design specifications. Use corner brackets and screws to securely join the extrusions at the corners, forming a sturdy base.

  4. Add Vertical Supports: Attach vertical extrusions to the corners of the base frame to create the uprights of the printer. Use corner brackets and screws to connect the vertical extrusions to the base frame securely.

  5. Install Cross Beams: Install cross beams or additional extrusions between the vertical uprights to provide stability and support to the frame. These cross beams will also serve as mounting points for various components of the printer.

  6. Secure Connections: Double-check all connections and ensure they are tight and secure. Use additional nuts and bolts if necessary to reinforce critical joints and prevent wobbling or misalignment.

  7. Check Alignment: Use a level or a square to check the alignment and squareness of the frame. Adjust as needed to ensure all sides are straight and perpendicular to each other.

  8. Test Stability: Once the frame is assembled, test its stability by gently shaking or tapping it. The frame should remain rigid and stable without excessive movement or flexing.

  9. Mount Components: Once the frame is built and stable, you can proceed to mount other components of the printer, such as the motors, electronics, print bed, and extruder, according to your printer design.

  10. Finalize Assembly: Complete the assembly of the printer by attaching all necessary components and wiring them together. Follow the assembly instructions provided with your printer kit or design.

By following these steps, you can successfully build the frame of your 3D printer, providing a solid foundation for the rest of the assembly process.

Step 2: The Display:

The display in a 3D printer serves several important purposes in the process:


  1. User Interface: The display provides a user-friendly interface for interacting with the printer. Users can navigate menus, select print files, monitor print progress, and adjust settings directly from the display without needing to rely on a separate computer interface.

  2. Real-Time Monitoring: The display allows users to monitor important parameters such as print temperature, print bed temperature, print speed, and elapsed time in real-time. This helps users ensure that the printer is operating within optimal conditions and allows for timely adjustments if needed.

  3. Status Indication: The display provides visual feedback on the status of the printing process, indicating whether the printer is heating up, printing, cooling down, or encountering any errors or issues. This helps users quickly identify and address any problems that may arise during printing.

  4. Error Messages: In case of errors or issues during printing, the display can provide informative error messages or prompts to guide users on how to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. This helps users diagnose and fix issues more effectively, reducing downtime and improving overall print quality.

Overall, the display plays a crucial role in enhancing the user experience and facilitating the operation of the 3D printer by providing intuitive controls, real-time monitoring, and informative feedback throughout the printing process.

Step 3: Preparing the Y-axis and Z-axis

Preparing the Y-axis and Z-axis for a 3D Printer involves several steps to ensure proper alignment, smooth movement, and reliable functionality of these crucial components.

  1. Y-axis Preparation:

    • Install Y-axis Linear Guides: Mount linear guides or rails along the Y-axis frame to provide smooth and precise movement for the print bed.
    • Attach Y-axis Motor: Install the Y-axis stepper motor at one end of the frame, which drives the movement of the print bed along the Y-axis.
    • Connect Y-axis Belt or Lead Screw: Securely attach the Y-axis belt or lead screw to the stepper motor and the opposite end of the print bed. This mechanism translates the rotational motion of the motor into linear motion, moving the print bed back and forth along the Y-axis.
    • Ensure Alignment: Check and adjust the alignment of the Y-axis components to ensure they are parallel and perpendicular to the printer frame. Proper alignment is essential for smooth and accurate movement.
  2. Z-axis Preparation:

    • Mount Z-axis Linear Guides: Install linear guides or rods vertically along the printer frame to guide the movement of the print head or hotend assembly.
    • Install Z-axis Stepper Motor: Attach the Z-axis stepper motor to the printer frame, typically positioned at the top or bottom, depending on the printer design.
    • Connect Z-axis Lead Screw or Threaded Rod: Securely connect the Z-axis lead screw or threaded rod to the stepper motor and the print head assembly. This mechanism allows for precise vertical movement of the print head assembly along the Z-axis.
    • Calibrate Z-axis Endstop: Adjust the Z-axis endstop switch to ensure proper positioning of the print head at the start of each print job. This ensures consistent and accurate printing height.
    • Check Vertical Alignment: Verify that the Z-axis components are aligned vertically to prevent any binding or misalignment during operation.

By following these detailed steps, you can effectively prepare the Y-axis and Z-axis of your 3D printer for optimal performance and reliable printing.

Step 4: Preparing the Bed

  1. Clean the Bed Surface: Ensure that the surface of the print bed is clean and free from any debris, dust, or residue. Use a lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol to thoroughly clean the bed surface.

  2. Apply Adhesive: Depending on the type of print bed material (e.g., glass, PEI, BuildTak), apply an appropriate adhesive to promote adhesion between the printed object and the bed surface. This could be in the form of adhesive sprays, tapes, or specialized coatings.

  3. Level the Bed: Use the printer's bed leveling feature or manually adjust the bed leveling screws/nuts to ensure that the bed is perfectly level. This step is crucial for ensuring that the first layer of the print adheres evenly to the bed surface.

  4. Set the Bed Temperature: Depending on the type of filament being used, set the bed temperature to the recommended temperature for optimal adhesion. This information can usually be found in the filament manufacturer's guidelines.

  5. Calibrate Z-Offset: Adjust the Z-offset or nozzle height to ensure the correct distance between the nozzle and the bed surface. This step helps in achieving proper first layer adhesion and print quality.

  6. Perform Bed Adhesion Test: Before starting a full print, perform a small test print to verify bed adhesion. This helps in identifying any issues with adhesion early on and making necessary adjustments.

  7. Monitor First Layer: During the initial layers of printing, closely monitor the adhesion of the print to the bed surface. If any issues are observed, such as warping or lifting, pause the print and address the problem before continuing.

  8. Clean and Maintain Regularly: After each print, clean the bed surface to remove any residual filament or adhesive. Regular maintenance helps in ensuring consistent adhesion and print quality over time.

By following these detailed steps, you can effectively prepare the bed for 3D printing, ensuring optimal adhesion and successful print outcomes.

Step 5: Make the Connections

The next part involves making the wiring connections of all the components that you have already laid down. All the electrical components like the ramps. The drivers and the power supply have to be linked properly for them to run as designed. To avoid entangling the wires, make sure you deal with one connection at a time, ensuring that they don’t cross each other unless there’s no other way around it.

Step 6: Make Alignments

The bed you created earlier has to align with everything else, or you may experience a lot of trouble getting the models right. Start by aligning your bed, rotating it clockwise and counterclockwise until you create some space between the hot-end tip and the bed. The margin of error should be between 0.5mm to 1mm. Anything larger than that will have the printing guy misfiring.

Step 7: Programming

  1. Choose Firmware: Select a suitable firmware for your 3D printer. Popular options include Marlin https://github.com/MarlinFirmware/Marlin , Repetier, and Smoothieware .

  2. Configure Firmware: Customize the firmware configuration to match your printer's hardware and specifications. This includes settings such as stepper motor steps per millimeter, bed size, thermistor type, and endstop configuration.

  3. Install Arduino IDE: Download and install the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) on your computer. This software allows you to write, compile, and upload code to the Arduino board.

  4. Open Firmware Sketch: Open the firmware sketch (source code) in the Arduino IDE. This file is typically named 'Configuration.h' or similar, and it contains all the configuration settings for your printer.

  5. Modify Configuration: Make any necessary changes to the configuration settings in the firmware sketch. This may involve uncommenting or editing specific lines of code to match your printer's setup.

  6. Compile Firmware: Verify and compile the modified firmware sketch in the Arduino IDE. This process checks for syntax errors and converts the code into a binary file that can be uploaded to the Arduino board.

  7. Upload Firmware: Connect your Arduino board to your computer via USB and select the appropriate board and port in the Arduino IDE. Then, upload the compiled firmware to the Arduino board.

  8. Test Printer: Once the firmware is successfully uploaded, power on your 3D printer and test its functionality. Verify that all axes move correctly, the endstops trigger properly, and the heating elements reach the desired temperatures.

  9. Fine-tune Settings: Adjust any additional settings or parameters in the firmware as needed to optimize print quality and performance.

Step 8: Run the Machine 


Running a 3D printer machine that utilizes Arduino involves several steps:

  1. Ensure all electrical connections are properly and securely connected.
  2. Power on the printer's power supply to provide electrical current.
  3. Verify that the display screen is properly connected to the control unit (Arduino) and functioning correctly.
  4. Power on the control unit (Arduino) by connecting it to a computer or compatible control unit.
  5. Upload the firmware specific to your printer onto the control unit (Arduino) using appropriate software such as Arduino IDE.
  6. After uploading the firmware, you can control the printing process through the display screen and by using the available buttons.

These are the basic steps to run a 3D printer machine that utilizes Arduino. Be sure to consult the printer's user manual for specific instructions or additional procedures.