In 2011 I became interested in 3D printing. Being able to design and print objects was (and still is) an amazing concept to me. After reading more into it I decided to buy a Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D printer kit, which was the go-to 3D printer kit for hobbyists at the time.

A couple years later I ran into the limitations of the Thing-o-Matic printer and I wanted a 3D printer that was more rigid and had a bigger build volume. Instead of buying an off-the-shelf printer I decided to try to build something better on my own. I liked the versatility and features of Makerbeams (10×10 aluminium extrusion), so I chose to build the frame of the printer out of those.

In this article I will share some details and pictures of the 3D printer. While building the printer was a great learning experience, I don’t recommend anyone to go down the same route as I did and build a 3D printer out of Makerbeams. Aside from not being that rigid, they also are not very cost effective compared to 20×20 or 30×30 extrusion.

Front view of a DIY 3D printer made out of Makerbeams and 3D printed components.
The 3D printer.

The printer went through many iterations (as can be seen by the various colors of plastic used in the printer) and I have experimented with several motion systems during that time. In the end I ended up settling on the CoreXY motion system.

Top view of a coreXY motion system.
The CoreXY motion system
Image courtesy of corexy.com

In short, the CoreXY motion system allows the stepper motors, which are generally the largest part of inertia in a 3D printer, to remain stationary. As a result larger accelerations and faster printing are possible.

Further details and pictures of the 3D printer are shown below.

Image Gallery

A time-lapse of the printer in action.

Technical specifications

Kinematics: CoreXY
Extruder: E3D Titan
Electronics: Smoothieboard, Raspberry Pi for wireless control & camera
Build volume: 200 mm x 200 mm x 280 mm (~ 8″ x 8″ x 11″ )
Other: Z-Probe

If you find this article useful, please share it or leave a comment. I love to hear your feedback and questions!

2 thoughts on “DIY CoreXY 3D Printer”

  1. Hi.
    I’m interested of building an core xy myself. This project looks just like a thing I need. I have a few questions tho.
    Could you mount a bigger heatbed to the same frame or you would need a bigger frame also?
    And did you use 10×10 makerbeam or makerbeam xl?
    I’m worried if 10×10 will be enough to make it rigid.
    Really interested of any cad and stl files if you would share them.
    Best

    1. Hey Ricky!

      thank you for your interest.

      I recommend going with something thicker/stiffer than the 10×10 Makerbeam that I used, especially if you want to go bigger. This printer already pushes the limit on the rigidity of the Makerbeams.

      I don’t have CAD or up to date STL files available, but if you want I can send you the .blend (Blender) file of the design. Just let me know.

      At the moment I am building a new 3D printer that is bigger and more rigid. If you are interested you can follow the progress here: https://clevercreations.eu/corexy-3d-printer-build-log-part-1/.
      I will put the .stl files of that printer on Thingiverse once it is finished, but I do not have an ETA for that.

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