Opinion on buying a reprap kit (without printed parts)

First time on forums, but wanted an opinion.

I want a cheap reprap kit with rods and everything included except for the printed parts. I have a print and play printer right now, so I’ve had some experience with taking apart and putting back together various parts. I do want to put together my own reprap now that I’m more comfortable with 3d printing.

I see a lot of kits on wholesalers from China, and I don’t mind a bit of tinkering. But I can’t seem to find a kit that includes the rods? I can 3D print out the parts that need to be printed (and honestly, I’d like to do this myself with my trusted filament). Any suggestions? Past experiences? Some of these kits look dirt cheap: https://www.3dprintersonlinestore.com/diy-kit

Have you checked out any ok the diy kits listed here: 3dhubs 2016 ?

The one thing I can say about sourcing pre-built printers or kits is that they may or may not be using outdated electronics and hence outdated firmware which could be a hassle if not impossible to update. It is generally easy enough to replace the electronics with something different however it is just an added cost.

Make sure the kit is using an Arduino Mega or at least Arduino compatible board. If you see something that is using unique electronics, make sure you search around to see if it is a current model or can be upgraded easily.

I would also like to recommend visiting the RepRap.org website as they list a handful of open source designs that you can build. Some are more straight forward then others though so you will have to size them up. I personally chose to build the Adapto as it had a simple construction and fairly decent documentation.

I definitely recommend building a printer yourself as it gives you a much greater appreciation and understanding of how it all works. Good luck and let us know what you have decided.


I did take a look, but the kits there are a little out of my price range. Even the cheapest Prusa Steel for $500. I’m mainly looking for a low cost way to make a 2nd 3D printer, working with what I have now. Since I’m not looking for the best kit and already have a reliable 3D printer, it’s more of a fun project. Thank you for sharing the link though, because that 3D Hubs list is stellar.

How much did your Adapto build eventually cost? And did you purchase a full kit, or source the parts yourself?

Yeah, really looking forward to understanding 3D printers more!

I don’t dare say how much it cost as the price could vary greatly depending on where you source your materials and what country you are in. I have purchased most of the materials from eBay (some locally and some overseas) and AliExpress. Glass and Aluminum bed material sourced from locals as well as fasteners. I think it would be difficult to build a printer for an ultra cheap print without sacrifice but saying that you can always upgrade your build.

If you are going to purchase from eBay or AliExpress, I suggest buying from sellers with at least a few hundred sales and with 99.5% or higher ratings as it can be very hit and miss. Always review negative feedbacks for things such as “seller doesn’t respond / I haven’t received my goods / I received wrong item” and stay away from those.

I would like to say that all printer designs aren’t created equal. There is give and take to some of these designs. These are some of the aspects that I have gotten out of my experience building a printer.

Build Material Cost - Some designs take more material to build but that may not be a bad thing as it could allow for a more solid build and faster printing speeds.
Printable Area - More than likely the standard size printable area (210x210x150mm?) would be sufficient for 95% of your prints. A larger printer can make printing slower (axis weight) but naturally would allow you to print a larger model in one go without splitting the model and gluing/bonding each part together. ABS plastic bonds excellent with itself using ABS juice (abs plastic dissolved in acetone).
Weight of Axis - Heavier axes weights can slow your print speed down. Generally due to the inertia overcoming the motor holding current causing the axis to jump steps.
Heated Bed - A heated bed with help keep parts stuck to the printing surface, even PLA but absolutely required for ABS
Extruders - A Single extruder works great for the majority of prints but a dual extruder design would allow many other benefits such as different nozzle size used for faster printing, different colors in the same print, or different filament materials possibly used for dissolvable support material.
Hot Ends - Cheap hot ends may not be able to handle high enough temperatures for ABS let alone exotic materials. Look for “All Metal” hotends.

I think the next printer I will build would be a box frame type where the print bed only moves along the Z axis. Similar to the Ultimaker.

I hope that this information helps you. If anyone else has different experiences or can add to this list, I would love to hear from you.


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Thank man for this indepth info! Always been a bit hesitant with eBay and Ali, but the prices are really tempting. Good tip with the negative feedbacks.

Having a dual extruder would be the dream.

Good luck on your next build!


If you really want a cheap one with metal parts, try here. Yeah it’s from China, but it’s not too bad. I have one. But, the customer service isn’t great, and I seemed to talk to them a lot because some parts didn’t even fit with each other. (They’ll ship messed up parts for free though)