Recommendation for 3d printer upgrade from Mendel

My Mendel was damaged during a house move, and I never got around to consider repairing it until now. As I have 0.9 step motors, fast-but-8-bit electronics etc… I thought perhaps an upgrade to a Prusa i3 might be advisable instead. If so, what material would be most advisable to manufacture the frame from given the facilities, or would you suggest I take another path? My aim is to not spend too much money, and get up and running fairly quickly…

Hi Mark,

I recently had a similar situation actually! (my old Mendel just stopped printing properly and I pulled it apart with plans to rebuild it into an i3 variant).

I wanted to get up and running quick though and not spend a great deal of money - so I grabbed an Ender 3 and have been having an absolute blast with it.

Approximately $280 AUD delivered and less than 2 hours to put together and get printing if taking your time.

Thanks for the pointer… the Ender 3 seems sweet for the price. I did think about something similar, but even ~$300 would be stressful for my finances at the moment which is why I was looking for a DIY solution where I could bits from my old printer - even if I’m not saving THAT much money, at least I can buy things bit-by-bit as I work through the build. I’ve had trouble finding info for DIY options (which is why I though I’d ask here) - DIY seems a little out of fashion for 3d printers.

After some more hours of searching the easier DIY options seem to involve lasercut frames, or else aluminium extrusions. The lasercut frames seem to be prone to wobble unless they’re made of steel, or at least aluminium… is bracing (for wood, acrylic etc…) ineffective? BTW, are HSBNEs lasercutting facilities even capable of cutting eg. 3mm steel plate? If so, are there facilities for powdercoating (or perhaps I’d need to go stainless)?

Some lasercut steel framed options


An option built from aluminium extrusion:
Hypercube 3d printer/CNC

I did find a very fun project, but one probably beyond my abilities (although if I found one or more collaborators I’d reconsider) ie. The Reprap Morgan (now up to v3 “Lilian”) Scara printer. Theres no BOM, let alone build instructions… and finding pipes of the correct diameter outside of South Africa seems like a mission, but it’s such a shiny printer. :wink:
…and video of an early prototype in action…