|My Prusa: mostly put together.|
In order to really optimize cost I broke down the project into a few categories which I called part groups. These are the categories I have chosen, keep reading for a quick explanation of each category.
- Printed Materials - The printed plastic parts.
- Vitamins - All the non-printed hardware.
- Stepper Motors - The five stepper motors needed.
- Hot End - All the parts needed for making the hot-end
- Electronics DigiKey - The electronic parts I needed to order from DigiKey.
- Electronics Mouser - The electronic parts I ordered from Mouser.
- Gen6 PCB - The cost of the bare PCB
- Filament - The plastic filament needed for a few prints and initial tests
- Print Plates - The wooden plates on which things are printed on.
I will be going over each section individually, but here is a summary of each category and how much it cost.
Printed Materials - $120.55
Vitamins - $171.55
Stepper - $105.70
Hot Tip - $70.29
Electronics DigiKey - $33.20
Electronics Mouser - $34.92
Gen6 PCB - $35.78
Filament - $20.50
Print Plate - $0.00
Total - $592.49
The printed materials were purchased on eBay as I mentioned in this previous post. The overall cost including shipping was $120.55. The vitamins cost me $171.55 total including shipping as I also mentioned in a previous post. This was a bit more than I would have liked, and if I ever build a second Prusa I will be buying the parts individually from McMaster Carr. For first timers, I would recommend just buying a kit as it is easier and much less of a headache. I believe that kits which include the printed parts and vitamins should cost about $200 total; though it is possible to save upwards of $50 if you ordered the parts separately and shopped around.
I actually made a mistake in the post where I talked about the stepper motors. Even though I said that I bought the motors from SparkFun, I ended up buying the motors from Pololu. The reason? SparkFun's stepper motors were out of stock and I did not want to wait for them to come in. I ended up cancelling my SparkFun order and put in a new order at Pololu. The total cost was $105.70 including shipping. In hindsight, I should have ordered these from Ultimachine because the motor shafts come with a nice flat edge on them.
|The first two parts of my hot end.|
|A blurry picture of my soldered custom electronics.|
I ended up getting three copies of the circuit board. The service I use to get PCBs made, gives you three copies of your board at $5 a square inch. The PCB came out to about 3.6 x 2 inches, so I spent a total of $35.78 for three boards (that is a little less than $12 a board). I will post much better pictures when I discuss my design in a separate blog post.
|PLA Filament from Ultimachine|
The last cost group is the print plates. As I was trying to spent as little money as possible during my initial built, I decided to use MDF print plates instead of aluminum or acrylic (or any of the other materials people use). My decision was made easy because my brother had some scraps of MDF around that he cut for me. The cost? Free.
All in all, I think I did a great job of keeping it cheap. Keep in mind, all the prices mentioned in this post include shipping. Sure, there were some areas where I cut costs where others might not be able to, but that's the nature of RepRap. What should you take from this blog post? It is indeed possible to get a fully functioning RepRap with less than $600 and a lot of free time. I'm not saying that there aren't millions of upgrades I would like to buy for my printer (e.g. heated print bed), but this post shows what it takes to get started with a "bare-bones" Prusa.
You can expect to see a separate blog post for most of these categories, where I will show you what exactly makes up each category while I discuss how my build went.
Do you see anywhere I could have spent less? Let me know!