What am I doing?
I am building a Prusa i3 MK3 “clone”, out of parts bought from different sellers and stores, basically as cheap as possible while still being as close to the “real deal” as possible. I try not to spend money on stuff that is not essential to the benefits of the MK3.
Because the MK3 is an awesome machine that I really like, but for me it is too expensive. Also, I always like a challenge and this right here is surely more difficult than just buying a kit and assembling it in an afternoon. This documentation of the project should not only show you the progress, but might hopefully help someone get his own MK3 if he is on a budget and ready to tinker a bit!
Also, I can print all of the printed parts myself which saves quite a bit of hassle (in case something doesn’t fit, I can reprint anytime) and money, as I’m running a highly modified Anet A8 for around one and a half years now. It creates pretty nice results, but it took a lot of fine-tuning and also quite a few repairs, which have helped me understand better how these things work.
I expect the MK3 clone to run a lot smoother through the use of the original TMC2130 drivers, easier to use through the bed-leveling sensor and more quiet through - again - the TMC2130s and the use of the original Noctua extruder fan. This will allow me to print faster, waste less time on calibration, run longer prints (also overnight) and maybe also try flexible materials, a thing that I didn’t try yet as I run my A8 in a bowden-configuration which should make printing flexible very hard.
All of the non-printed parts will be around 200€ or 250$, but it may vary (both upwards and downwards), for example I wasn’t able to buy from Aliexpress, so I paid a little bit more and got everything from Banggood or local stores. On the other hand, this meant shipping times were reduced by a lot!
Keep in mind that the frame will be cut from wood that I already have or that I will buy for a cheap price. If you don’t have the equipment, you might need to have it cut or machined which will also add to the cost.
While I’m waiting for orders to arrive, I have already printed out almost all of the 3D-printed parts. As soon as I have “enough pieces” to build part of the printer, I will document what I do with pictures and post the progress here on the blog.
I’m not sure that I already have all of the pieces, so I won’t release my BOM (bill of materials) with the prices and links just yet, but I will certainly do so as soon as possible.
Thanks to Thomas Sanladerer who “cloned” the Prusa i3 MK2 and Jules Gilson who did the same and helped me out a bit as well! Definitely check out their video series on YouTube. And if you can’t wait to get the BOM for the MK3 from me, these guys have released theirs for their MK2’s, so… might want to check those out.