Scratch Built 3D Printer Goes Big

There was a time, not so very long ago, that buying a reliable 3D printer was a fairly expensive proposition. Many chose to build their own printer instead, and for a few years, we were flooded with very impressive custom designs. But as you might expect, with the prices on decent 3D printers now having hit rock bottom, the custom builds have largely dried up.

Arguably, the only reason you’d build rather than buy in 2020 is if you want something very specific. Which is precisely how [Joshendy] ended up building the Big F… Printer or BFP. No doubt the F stands for Fun, or Friendly. Either way, it’s certainly something special. With a 300 mm³ build volume and heavy-duty Z axis, this fully enclosed CoreXY machine is ready to handle whatever he throws at it.

It did take [Joshendy] a few attempts to get everything the way he wanted though. In fact, the prototype for the machine wasn’t even CoreXY, it started as an H-Bot. In his write-up he goes over the elements of the BFP did that didn’t quite live up to his expectations, and what he replaced them with. So when wobbly leadscrews and a knock-off V6 hotend both left something to be desired, they ended up getting replaced with ball screws and an authentic E3D Hemera, respectively.

To control this monster, [Joshendy] is using OctoPrint on a Raspberry Pi and a BigTreeTech SKR Pro running Klipper. OctoPrint gives him the ability to control and monitor the printer remotely, complete with a camera mounted inside the enclosure to keep an eye on things, while the Klipper firmware on the SKR board pushes all the computationally expensive aspects of 3D printing onto the vastly more powerful ARM chip in the Pi. The end result is faster and more accurate control of the steppers through the TMC2130 drivers than would be possible otherwise.

If you don’t mind tinkering, a cheap entry-level desktop 3D printer is good enough for most of hackers and makers. If you need something more capable or more reliable, there’s always higher-end options from the likes of Prusa and Ultimaker. Very few people need to build something as serious as the BFP, but when the do, we’re glad they send them our way.

24 thoughts on “Scratch Built 3D Printer Goes Big

        1. Sorry to be “that guy” but you are both not quite correct.
          300 mm x 300 mm x 300mm = 30 cm x 30 cm x 30cm = 27000cm^3 = 27 liters
          That’s almost 1 cubic foot (0,953…), so Clayton was closer, I guess ;-)

          Or did I just miss the joke?

      1. pffuu. The beauty of metric system is that primitive imperial people will never get it (pun).

        a cube with 300mm (30cm) side is 27.000 cm3 or 27 liters. That´s 76 US Coca-cola cans (12oz cans)

        1. To be fair: Every comments using imperial units were correct… more a rusty calculus skill problem here. Flogging a dead horse: Imperial is defined in metric, 1975 US Metric Conversion Act, even NASA uses metric, only garages and sheds dwellers are stuck with the British Empire remnants. Professionals convert on the fly if needed.

          1. Actually, the inch was “de facto” already defined in metric, thanks to the initiative of Carl Edvard Johansson ( Also, I am pretty sure that any modern car will be using metric hardware, since that’s what most of the world is tooled for, so apart from specialist vintage mechanics, garages are on the way out too. What seems to be very persistently remaining in the Imperial standard domain is plumbing, which seems to use imperial sized fittings across the world.

  1. It looks like a pretty good build but I can’t recommend the 3D printer pulleys with tiny bearings. Those things wear out quickly. Use stacked, flanged ball bearings for long life.

    4 screws to level the bed? That’s so 2010s… 3 screws on a kinematic mount is “where it’s at” now.

  2. We bought an Ultimaker S3 here at work. The fan shroud is cheap and magnetically latched. Guess what? The $4k printer won’t latch due to a poor design with magnetic latches. Ultimaker apparently has known about the issue for 3 years and done nothing. Their software maybe good, but their hardware is under-engineered.

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