Cardboard 3D Printer

This page is a stub for a design that's in progress.

This is my design for a cardboard 3D printer. It's a Repstrap style RepRap 3D printer.

The goal is to create a printer design that can be cut from cardboard using a hobby knife. In the RepRap style, the finished printer can be used to print copies of itself in plastic.

A secondary goal is for this printer to be very well documented and easy to build.

Initial Design

When I start designing, my mind immediately goes to the easiest and most available materials for me. 2×2 boards are both easier for me to get and easier for me to cut than cardboard. Somehow, I end up with wood for my initial design. I do think glued layers of cardboard could be easily substituted for the boards.

My thoughts on this design are that a 2×2 pine board only costs about $3 dollars. Build it from redwood and the price doubles to about $6.

The base is a sheet of glass from a standard 8×10 picture frame. These are readily available at the local dollar store for $1.

It would probably need metal drawer sliders. Those are expensive. I'll have to think a bit more about the movements.

New Design

Based on the wood idea, I started to redesign with cardboard in mind. Although I have easy access to wood and wood tools, many people would probably feel more comfortable with cardboard and a hobby knife. Here's the new design after spending a few hours laying things out.

One of the things I tried to work out here is where to put the pulleys (or gears) so that the top support would allow access to the entire glass plate. That necessitated making the extra length in the back of the platform.

Only the Y axis is movable at this point. I'm thinking that the X and Z axis will be on the top rail. Side to side and up and down.

Here's the design, a little further, with one of the sides hidden so you can see the pulley system.

So far, the design uses cardboard, a piece of glass, 2 rubber bands, and one stepper motor.


  1. Draw 3D Platform
  2. Printable and Cuttable PDF
  3. Create Other Hardware List
  4. Create Comprehensive Electronics List
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maker/cardboard_3d_printer.txt · Last modified: 2020/06/01 22:53 (external edit)