3D printers have gotten a whole lot cheaper in the past year or so, but those of you willing to go the DIY route can build one for about the price of a hot new release for your console. With $60 in your wallet and an old junk PC, you can build your own 3D printer.
You may also want a set of instructions to make the process go a little smoother, and thankfully they’re readily available. Behold, the $60 e-waste 3D printer by Instructables user Mikellc. He figures around 80% of the required parts can be easily reclaimed, and I’m guessing a lot of you probably have most of them laying around your home office, basement, attic, or closet.
First on the reclamation list: a pair of 5.25″ optical drives. You’re also going to need a trusty old 3.5″ floppy drive, which might be a little harder to come by. The last time I worked in retail I would have gladly given away pulls if someone came looking for them, so you may want to check with a local shop or two. Electronics recycling centers may have some they’re willing to part with, too.
The drives provide the motors you need to move the extruder on the printer’s x, y, and z axes — make sure the floppy you pick has a stepper motor, not a DC one. You’re also going to need a standard PC power supply. The form factor shouldn’t matter too much, but make sure you’ve got a good 12V rail and ground to work with.
There are a few other parts you’ll need to buy, and access to a CNC machine will make building the chassis a bit easier. Oh, and some pieces need to be 3D printed — which might put you in a bit of a pickle if this is the first 3D printer you’re going to lay hands on. You can always get Shapeways or a UPS Store to print them for you.