I live in two worlds. My 9 to 5 is software development. My homestead time is spent building hardware.
Right now, I’m building a fodder system that involves less tromping back and forth to the kitchen sink. Other times, I might be working on aquaponics, solar stuff or a better latch to keep the goats in.
The software work pays for the hardware.
It would be nice to spend a little less on the hardware. There’s a way that I can use my software skills to do it.
I saw a post on Facebook. This guy needed a new handle for his screen door. He printed it. Another guy needed a lawn sprinkler. He printed it.
These people are making their own parts out of ABS, nylon, PLA and a few other materials.
I could use one of these printers for so many different purposes.
- print parts for PVC greenhouse. Last year, my greenhouse failed because the PVC fittings cracked. What if I made my own, sturdier fittings?
- print parts for aquaponics. I made so many runs to home improvement stores, only to find out they were low on the fittings I need.
- print cases for electrical/electronics stuff. Like my solar setup. Paying $12 for a project box is ridiculous.
- print custom insulators for electric fencing.
- print parts for household repairs (like replacing that crockpot lid handle)
I could go on.
I also think printing plastic parts would be great for metal casting.
There are thousands of plans online and you can design your own parts as well.
So, I’m gathering parts.
There are two main kinds of 3d printers. One uses a laser. Not going that route. The other kind works a lot like a glue gun. Instead of a stick of glue, a plastic filament is fed into the hotend.
I’ve decided to build a specific model. It’s a Prusa (the designer’s last name) i3 (I assume i stands for iteration) rework.
Here’s what the Prusa i3 looks like…
You can look at the plans here.
I have some of the parts for the printer already. I’ll do my best to record my expenses and guess at the cost of the stuff I already have.
Don’t expect this build to happen quickly. I plan on assembly to begin in February but I probably won’t have all the parts until May. I hope to keep my costs under $400.
I’ll also do a few posts about designing your own parts.