Print your 3D printer

Yes it is possible to print your own 3D printer. It takes a lot of patience, either to print all the parts, but also for the assembly and adjustments.

In this blog I’m not going to show you how to make any electrical connections because the tutorial would be way too long, I take for granted that if you embark on a project like this, it’s because you’re very comfortable with printer design/repair.

I called it Kameleon because of the prototype that was made of my remaining filaments, but also because it is possible to modify it to have a different design or to print on a larger surface, in short the limit is your imagination.

If you make interesting changes then, I invite you to share them on Thingiverse, ideally, in a perfect world, I’d like you to keep the name Kameleon for people looking on Thingiverse to make changes to their printer.

IMPORTANT!! I live in Canada so it’s very difficult to find all the metric screws. Most of the screws are imperial but I still tried to get as close as possible to the metric format. Here in Canada the 10-24 and 10-32 have the same diameter, but still a little smaller than the M5 in Europe.

Now let’s get down to business…

Necessary materials

If you’re a handyman like me, you probably have most at home. I’ve made you a list of coins in case you don’t have all the right parts at home.

are the parts printed on your printer for example “XYZCH01a” is a printed piece.

Click here to see the list of parts to be printed in PDF format.

Click here to download the STL files.

You can also download it on Thingiverse

Materials

  • 1 Extruder (hotend) 12 volt
  • 1 12 volt heating bed (bed)
  • 8 rounds 10mm hole 4mm
  • 16 rounds 15mm hole 6mm
  • 1 screw M4 50mm
  • 2 screws 1/2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 8 screws 3/4″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 6 screw 1 1/4″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 12 screw 1 1/2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 2 screws 1 3/4″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 8 screw 2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 4 screws 2 1/2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 42 nuts 10-24 or 10-32

screws

The screws used on the project will be metric screws, but also Imperial. The imperial screws will have the diameter of 10-24 and 10-32, they are the same except that the screw 10-32 has more nets than the 10-24.

premounting

We will start with the premounting, it will be easier to make the final assembly of the printer.

Click on the image as needed to enlarge.

Wheel cage

You have three wheel cages to make.

Necessary parts are:

  • 6 Linear Rolling Chickens
  • 6 3/4″ screw with a diameter of 10-24 or 10-32
  • 6 Nuts 10-24 or 10-32
  • 3 XYZCH01d (printed parts)

A simple set-up, install the wheels, screws and nuts. It’s the same with the other two.

Z adjustment pulley

Necessary parts are:

  • Glue
  • An M4 nut
  • 2 ZCH03d

Another easy mount, a little glue on the parts (ZCH03d) and the M4 screw in the center and the trick is played.

I use ABSfilament, I mix with acetone to make glue but it’s only for savvy handymen, you have to be careful with acetone it’s a dangerous product for health.

Right-hand side Z trolley

Necessary parts are:

  • 4 Screw M3 12mm
  • 4 M3 nuts
  • 1 Copper nut M8
  • 2 Screw M4 12mm
  • 2 Linear rolling pulleys
  • 2 Vis 1 1/4″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 2 Vis 1/2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 4 Nuts 10-24 or 10-32
  • 1 XYZCH01a (already assembled)
  • 1 ZCH01dr
  • 1 CHA02a

Insert the copper nut and put the four screws with the four nuts to hold it in place. Screw the two M4 screws into the holes above the copper nut and do not screw them to the bottom.

Install the two linear rolling pulleys (rollers) inside the room (ZCH01a). Some wheels are more difficult to install.

The last piece and the arm to receive the chain. Install both screws with the nuts as in the picture. All you have to do is put the small two-wheeled cart inside.

Z trolley on the left side

Necessary parts are:

  • 8 Vis M3 12mm
  • 8 M3 nuts
  • 1 Copper nut
  • 2 Screw M4 12mm
  • 2 Linear rolling pulleys
  • 2 Vis 1 1/4 10-24 or 10-32
  • 2 Nuts 10-24 or 10-32
  • 4 Rounds, 10mm diameter and 4mm hole
  • 1 M4 50mm screw
  • 3 M4 nuts
  • 1 ZCH03d (already assembled)
  • 1 XYZCH01a (already assembled)
  • 1 ZCH01ga
  • 1 ZCH03a
  • 1 ZCH03b
  • 1 ZCH03c

Install the M8 copper screw with the four screws and nuts as well as the two wheels as before for the right side. Insert the four M3 nuts located on the sides of the piece (ZCH01ga). Screw the two M4 screws into the holes above the copper nut and do not screw them to the bottom.

Insert the M4 nut below the ZCH03b

Screw the ZCH03c part with two 12mm M3 screws, you also have to put the washers. Now you need the 50mm screw and three M4 nuts, assemble it all like the photo.

Another view for installing the Z adjustment system.

X Trolley

Necessary parts are:

  • 2 Bearing Skateboard
  • 1 Step-by-step engine
  • 1 GT2 chicken
  • 2 Linear rolling pulleys
  • 2 Vis 1 3/4 10-24 or 10-32
  • 2 Nuts 10-24 or 10-32
  • 2 Screw M4 12mm
  • 2 Screw M3 10mm
  • 2 M3 15mm screws
  • 4 M3 nuts
  • 1 XYZCH01a (already assembled)
  • 1 XCH01b
  • 1 XCH03a
  • 1 CHA01a
  • 2 XCH03b

You have to install the engine first, screw the two M3 10mm into the holes at the bottom of the room then hold the piece (CHA02a) higher and screw both M3 15mm (install CHA02a in the same direction as the photo).

Install the two bearings (skateboard bearing) and then the two plastic screws (XCH03a)

Insert the two linear bearing pulleys and then the engine part and finish with the two screws of 1 3/4″

Screw both M4 12mm. Do not screw them to the bottom.

Hotend/Fan

Necessary parts are:

  • 1 Mechanical Switch
  • 2 Fans 12 volts 30mm
  • 1 Extruder 12 volt
  • 8 Vis M3 15mm
  • 3 Screw M3 10mm
  • 2 Vis M3 20mm
  • 4 Screw M3 15mm
  • 4 M3 nuts
  • 1 XCH02a
  • 1 XCH02b
  • 1 XCH02c

Install mechanical switch exactly like in the photo and then put both 10mm M3 screws with the nuts.

Now you will take the switch and part XCH02a and screw them with four 15mm M3 screws. Install the extruder with both M3 20mm screws and M3 nuts. Install the fan on the extruder.

Put a 10mm M3 screw as on the image. Don’t screw too hard, it’s only caught in plastic.

Install the 12 volt 30mm fan on top with the 15mm M3 screws.

View from another angle.

Y Trolley

Necessary parts are:

  • 4 Linear rolling pulleys
  • 2 Spring (optional)
  • 2 Screw M3 10mm
  • 2 M3 nuts
  • 4 Vis 2 1/2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 2 Vis 3/4″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 2 Vis 1 1/4″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 8 Nuts 10-24 or 10-32
  • 1 YCH02a
  • 1 YCH02bb
  • 1 YCH02d
  • 1 YCH02V3
  • 1 YCH05a
  • 1 YCH02c

Start by assembling the trolley cage

Screw the two screws YCH02c.

Install the two linear rolling pulleys with the 1 1/4″ screws and nuts.

Insert the two M3 nuts into the YCH02bb room.

Install the two pieces YCH02bb and YCH02ba with 2 1/2″ screws and nuts.

It looks like this when it’s over.

Y and X guidance rail

Necessary parts are:

  • 4 345mm 10-24 or 10-32 threaded stems
  • 8 Nuts 10-24 or 10-32
  • 4 Screw M3 12mm
  • 4 M3 nuts
  • 4 YCH01a
  • 1 YCH01b
  • 2 YCH01c
  • 2 YCH01d
  • 1 SA01a (optional)

IMPORTANT the walls of these pieces must be printed at a minimum thickness of 1.8mm, otherwise during sanding it will make holes.

Insert the four stems into the pieces. Make sure the threaded rods move freely inside the rooms. Screw the nuts, but not too hard because you’re going to have to make some adjustment.

Now we have to make sure that the guide rail is straight. Use a large ruler that will go the length of the piece and then screw the nuts until the rail is straight. You have to be patient it can take a while.

Now you have to sand, personally I use a sandpaper with a grain 80, I also recommend it not to spend too much time sanding.

Use the SA01a tool to sand coarsely. Use thinner sandpaper for a better finish. You can also put a coat of paint to get a better finish.

Necessary parts are:

  • 4 420mm 10-24 or 10-32 threaded stems
  • 8 Nuts 10-24 or 10-32
  • 2 XCH01a

Install the threaded stems and adjust the stem by screwing the nuts on the opposite side of the curve. If you look at the photo, you will see that there is a slight curve, I had to screw to put it straight.

Once the guide rail is straight, you have to sand to have a good bearing on the rail.

If you think you’ve sanded well, you can try the X cart to check the correct roll.

Y adjustable belt holder

Necessary parts are:

  • 2 Small bearing for Y belt
  • 1 50mm M4 screw
  • 1 Screw 20mm M3
  • 1 YCH04b
  • 1 YCH04c

Insert the two M4 nuts inside YCH04c, then turn the piece on the other side and install the two bearings then the 20mm M3 screw to bar the two bearings.

All that remains to be done is to install the piece you just assembled and insert it into YCH04b and then put the 50mm screw as in the photo.

Assembling the printer

Printer structure

Necessary parts are:

  • 2 uxcell ball roll
  • 2 Mechanical switches
  • 8 Threaded stems 545mm 10-24 or 10-32
  • 8 Vis 1 1/2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 4 Vis 2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 16 Rounds 15mm hole of 6mm
  • 16 Nuts 10-24 or 10-32
  • 1 M4 50mm screw
  • 2 M4 nuts
  • 3 Screw M3 15mm
  • 6 Vis M3 10mm
  • 2 Vis M3 25mm
  • 6 M3 nuts
  • 4 FR01a
  • 2 FR01b
  • 2 FR01c
  • 1 FR01d
  • 5 FR01st
  • 4 FR02a
  • 2 FR02b
  • 2 FR03a
  • 1 FR03b
  • 1 Kameleon
  • 1 YCH04a
  • 1 YCH04b
  • 1 YCH04c

Printer base

First, you will assemble the rails (FR02a and FRo2b) of the Z on part FR01b, be careful to install it on the right side (see photo).

Then you have to sand on each side like the other rails.

Allow the threaded stem to protrude 35mm from the bottom of the nut.

Make sure the rail is straight, the quality of your prints depends on it.

Insert the base parts together (YCH01a, YCH01b and YCH01c). Once completed you will have the base square as well as the two rails of the Z.

Install the eight screws, washers and nuts around the base of the printer.

You have to cut the end of the screw that protrudes, otherwise it will hang on the chain.

Install the engines on each side.

These locations are for screwing the printer on wooden plywood, but this is only an option. If you intend to install plywood, then do so only at the very end of the printer assembly, then screw the FR01e part on the base (you need five in total)

Other parts to finish the printer

Necessary parts are:

  • 4 30mm spring
  • 1 8mm threaded stem (Z axis)
  • 1 850mm Courrois
  • 1 450mm Courrois
  • 1 530mm PTFE Tube
  • 1 Extruder
  • 1 Step-by-step engine
  • 1 12 volt heating bed (bed)
  • 1 M8 140mm threaded stem
  • 4 Vis 2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 4 Vis 1 1/2″ 10-24 or 10-32
  • 12 Nuts 10-24 or 10-32
  • 4 screws 2″ 6-32 with nuts
  • 1 M4 50mm screw
  • 3 M4 nuts
  • 4 Round 10mm hole of 4mm
  • 2 FR02d
  • 2 FR03c
  • 1 STF01a (optional)
  • 1 STF01b (optional)
  • 4 YCH03
  • 1 CHA02c
  • 1 XCH04a
  • XCH04b
  • 1 CHA02d
  • 2 FR03c
  • 1 EX01a

Install the assembled switch on the FR01d part for the Z axis on the left side of the printer.

It’s time to install the Y engine with the switch and part YCH04a, make no mistake, the switch installed earlier is at the front of the printer, the engine of the Y is in the back. Do not install the nuts right away, because you have to install the Y cart.

Lightly lift the Y rail and insert the cart.

Install the adjustable belt holder and then install the other two screws of 2″.

Now you can install the four nuts below the printer base.

You need an 850 mm belt, you have to pass it in the small bearing and then insert it into the piece YCH02ba (click on the image to enlarge the photo, you will see a little better).

Now you’re ready to install your heating tray. There’s a possibility that your heater tray doesn’t make it on the parts, but maybe you can drill other holes to install it, but I recommend you have exactly the same just to make sure the tray fit wheels don’t hang on the Y’s adjustment screw.

Now install the spring and the puck. It is important to install the washer below the spring because the spring will become hot and will melt the part in PLA.

Insert the nut inside room YCH03. I had to modify my heating tray, I installed longer screws and the screw format is 6-32 x 2″, in Europe it is equivalent to M3.5 x 50mm.

And lo and behold, install the fit wheels and we’re done with the heating tray.

Install the Z trolleys and adjust the wheels with both screws at the back of the trolley.

Install the threaded stems M8, the expected length for the stems are 320mm.

Insert the X cart on the rail, then place it on the Z’s trolleys, install the XCH04a piece to the left and place the two 1 1/2″ screws, but don’t install the nuts right away.

Now install the XCH04b piece, then install the other two screws and the four nuts.

You have three screws to install. The rear screw is a 15mm M2, the screw on top is a 10mm M3 and the screw on the side is a 20mm M2.

The M2 15mm screw at the back of the XCH04b piece must be screwed. As for the other two screws, they only have to be partially screwed, while waiting for the belt.

Pass the belt through the gear between the bearings.

Insert the belt into the XCH04a piece and then put the 10mm M3 screw on top.

Pass the belt in the XCH04b room at the bottom and then turn it over to the top by inserting it into the top cavity so that the teeth are well taken, then tighten the screw from the top and then adjust the screw to the side to tighten the strap. Cut off the excess curlers.

We will now start closing the top of the printer. First, place the two FR02d pieces.

Insert both FR03a into the FR03b piece and then insert the 3/8″ (M8) threaded rod of 495mm and put the two nuts.

Stick Kameleon in the center of the bar. You can use my great ABS filament and acetone technique to make your glue.

Install the bar and then screw the eight nuts.

To make a better finish install the FR03c part

Install the extruder with the four screws 10-24 (M5) 1 1/2″ (40mm) as well as the nuts.

Install the PTFE tube, the length is 530mm.

The Y chain is composed of twenty-three stitches, it is possible to put three plastic fasteners to hold the wires of the heating tray.

The X chain is made up of a minimum of twenty-three stitches.

You can also print the filament holder, print the STF01a and Stf01b parts, cut an M8 threaded rod at 140mm long.

Parts for the console

Materials

Amazon Canada

Amazon USA

Here’s the console, seen from all angles.

As I said at the very beginning of the blog, I’m not going to talk about electrical connections or even the programming of the Arduino Nano, but you have some pictures to give you a good idea of what’s inside. The power supply should not be longer than 205mm otherwise it will not enter the console. Also, the lid of the power supply must be removed so that the air circulates freely over the components.

And here’s the end result, I hope you enjoyed the experience. I know you had moments of frustration during assembly, but I did my best to make it as easy as possible, the biggest problem is the adjustment of the axes, but otherwise I’m sure it was pretty easy.

Kameleon Comparison Test with Ender 3

We will not hide, the printer Ender 3 and an extra ordinary printer that’s why I decided to compare the Kameleon with the Ender 3, it’s just to set the bar very high. Both tested were made with the same GCODE file made in Cura with all the parameters of the Ender 3. The only difference is that the Ender 3 has its own firmware and the Kameleon has Marlin 2.0 base.

Here is the print result of the Ender 3 vs. the Kameleon

In the two images at the top you can see the print result of the Ender 3

In the two images at the top we can see the print result of the Kameleon

Here you have a much more advanced test we can see that both printers have their strengths and weaknesses.

Ender 3

Kameleon

Here is the contents of my Marlin.ino file

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