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The Big 3D Print
September 8th, 2011

I recently printed what I believe is the largest single part printed by a custom designed, RepRap based, home-built 3D printer. The part measures 376 x 376 x 250mm [14.80 x 14.80 x 9.84in] and took just under 2 days to print with a .25mm layer height. More info/specs, lots of pics and a sweet time lapse video of the build are below.

The Part

I used Solidworks to design this cool looking part so that it would  max out my build volume on the printer. The part was designed and printed hollow, with a single wall thicknesses (0.5mm) and is made of fully recyclable ABS plastic (for example this is basically the same plastic LEGOs are made from). By printing the part hollow, as opposed to a complete solid, the part is much less likely to warp during printing. In fact, this part did not warp at all. It came out quite nicely and only required minimal clean-up with an exacto knife.

Here are some specs of the print from Skeinforge (The program that slices the 3D model and generates machine commands):

X axis extrusion starts at -188 mm and ends at 188 mm, for a width of 376 mm.
Y axis extrusion starts at -188 mm and ends at 188 mm, for a depth of 376 mm.
Z axis extrusion starts at 0 mm and ends at 318 mm, for a height of 318 mm.

Build time is 57 hours 37 minutes 32 seconds.
Distance extruded is 3112504.4 mm.
Distance traveled is 4144655.0 mm.
Extruder speed is 9.8
Extruder was extruding 75.1 percent of the time.
Extruder was toggled 41094 times.
Operating flow rate is 1.5 mm3/s.
Feed rate average is 20.0 mm/s, (1198.7 mm/min).

Cross section area is 0.077 mm2.
Extrusion diameter is 0.31 mm.
Extrusion fill density ratio is 0.61

Volume extruded is 238.7 cc.

Text has 3445976 lines and a size of 165227.0 KB.
Version is 10.11.05

Layer thickness is 0.25 mm.
Perimeter width is 0.5 mm.

Based on the extruded volume, 238.7cc, this part cost me roughly $5 USD worth of ABS plastic. As for machine electricity costs, we can round up that the machine uses 0.5kWh, so running for around 48 hours will cost approximately $2.50 USD at $0.10/kWh. So a very rough estimate for the total cost of this print is $7.50 USD.¬† You will also notice that the part was supposed to print for a little longer and was supposed to be a little taller, but unfortunately, after approximately 48 hours of continuous printing, the plastic extruder jammed. Hey, it took a lot of work to get to this point and it’s still a pretty big print! :P

The Part on the machine at the end of the print

Front view of the Part

The Part with a standard deck of playing cards for a scale comparison

The Part with a standard deck of playing cards for a scale comparison

Top Down view of the part

Another Angled view of the part

Angled view of the part

A look inside the hollow part. The dark bar is a support structure.

Written by

  1. Sea Shadow
    September 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Very nice! Would you mind sharing some tips on how to get such smooth arc surfaces? I have been fighting small blobs for quite awhile now.

    • Jim
      September 12, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

      The smooth arcs are a result of creating the STL file at a higher resolution with more triangles

  2. elise
    September 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    what is that part for?

    • Jim
      September 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

      It’s just a cool part I designed to max out my build area. People have been saying to put a piece of glass on it to use it as an end table. (It would actually need to be taller for that though)

  3. Deccker
    September 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    That is such a sick printer, pretty soon, itll be the printer that defines the wrold!!!

    • Jim
      September 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm #


  4. Andy
    September 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Can we get a parts list and specs for your machine?

    • Jim
      September 12, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

      Hey Andy, I am working on releasing a BOM and Drawings

  5. reprap
    September 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    What is your maximum feedrate on the X and Y axis?

    • Jim
      September 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

      20.0 mm/s

  6. Triffid Hunter
    September 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    Did it really take 3km of filament?

    • Jim
      September 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

      ah not really, that skeinforge output is not correct. Using my 1.75mm filament, it was probably around 0.1km

  7. phooky
    September 10, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    Congratulations! That’s a fantastically huge print.

    • Jim
      September 12, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

      Thanks Adam!

  8. Gert Joergensen
    September 12, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    That’s impressive – My machine should be able to print bigger, but I haven’t gotten there yet, due to the warping issue :-}

    I believe my tallest print still holds the record with regards to height – http://reprap.org/wiki/MegaMendel.

    I’ll take up the challenge as my theoretical build envelope is 766mm x 453mm x 497mm. But the 497mm in height was a bit of a hack – I’ll just settle for an object of some 750mm x 450mm x 450mm.

    Triffid Hunter – The 3km is the extrusion length at 0.5mm, the amount of 3mm filament used is more in the neighbourhood of some 0.150km – Still impressive though!

    Jim – My biggest problem is warping, and I noticed that your record print is composed of circular shapes, that, by nature do not warp. Have you got any experience with objects of other shapes, especially when you get to a height where the heated build bed’s effect decreases? Maybe we have a common challenge here?

  9. Gert Joergensen
    September 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Jim – Congratulations – It’s awasome! :-)

    I did drop a comment yesterday, but it seems to have been kicked off for some reason – I thought we were in this together – So please let me know if I stepped on someone’s toes!

    • Jim
      September 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

      Gert, my wordpress automatically flags a comment as spam if there is a link in it

  10. Gert Joergensen
    September 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    I think, I was a bit impatient – Sorry! :-/

  11. Craig
    September 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    I am a small business owner and I need a large 3D printer for some military sensor projects I am doing for SOCOM. If I ever get a Govt money I can buy one. For now I am going to have to build one. I came across your site today and I was amazed.

    This morning I bought the SpaceClaim CAD software so we can do our own sensor case designs in-house. Now I just need to be able to build the prototypes myself.

    If you produce the BOM and Drawings, put me on the list. I will be happy to contribute to help the effort.

    Great job. BTW, even if you only have a partial, I could start buying parts and perhaps begin some of the assembly.

    • Jim
      September 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

      Thanks Craig, I am working on it.

  12. yasir
    January 15, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    whats the minimum layer thickness?
    i.e high resolution properties?

    • Jim
      February 24, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

      As it says in the post, this print was .25mm layer height. With the right process and nozzle any layer height is possible.

  13. shahram
    March 26, 2013 at 4:41 am #

    Hi Jim

    really nice work
    I came across your link looking for 3D printers
    I have read the previous posts from 2011 and was also interested in building this printer
    i do not see any posts in regards to BOM and drawing since Sept 2011
    so is there any update?

    • Jim
      July 21, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

      Still working on it

  14. tgwms
    March 21, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    Hi Jim,

    Could I commission you to design and construct a similar 3D printer for me? I am in the market for a printer with a slightly larger bed.

    • Jim
      March 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

      Hello build plans, cad models and bill of materials are available in the Plans&BOM link on the left side of the page

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