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Prusa i3 Build Manual

FolgerTech Prusa i3 Build Manual


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Basic skills required:


 A little better than basic understanding of electronics
 A little better than basic understanding of mechanical components
 A little better than basic computer skills

Tools/Supplies required:
 1/16 in hex key
 2 mm hex key
 2.5 mm hex key
 14 mm open end wrench (2 if possible, if not, an adjustable crescent wrench will do)
 Needle-nose pliers
 Cutting pliers
 Slotted screwdriver
 Phillips screwdriver
 Volt meter
 Soldering Iron
 Solder
 Sandpaper (coarse)
 Drill
 Drill bits (1/8 or 3mm)
 Metric calipers or measuring device
 Infrared thermometer (comes in handy to check your hot end and heated bed)
 8” x 8” 1/8” thick glass plate (Home Depot, Lowes or Local glass shop)
 3M Blue Painter’s Tape (model 2090) 1 7/8” wide

Don’t be scared! It’s fun! Let’s build a 3d Printer!


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 1:
Un-box everything and separate like parts it into areas you can grab from. (Acrylic parts, printed black parts,
screws, nuts, other hardware, rods, bearings, electronics, wires etc.)

Step 2:
Get out your calipers or ruler and separate out your screws into different size piles (believe us, it makes life
much easier). You should only have a few different types.

Let’s start building assemblies!


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 3: Build pulley wheels


We’ll start you off slow, grab the 2 small bearings and the 4 black plastic wheel halves, put the bearings in the
middle of them then press the other half on.

Put them aside for now.


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 4: Assemble Y axis idler bearing


Using one of the pulleys you made in step 3 and the part shown below, insert the pulley as shown. Use a M3
18mm
30mm screw to secure. Don’t overtighten as the pulley must move freely. If it is binding, sand the sides of the
16mm
pulley.

30mm
20mm

Set aside for later.


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 5: Assemble Y bearing holders * PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE NO


LONGER USED ON REV B I3 KITS

Using
The 3 of the linear
LM8UU bearings
bearings (small steel
are secured to thecylindrical pieces);
bed plate with slide themzip
3x 4"(100mm) into the
ties as3pictured
plastic bearing
below. holders as
shown below.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 6: Assemble Y carriage


Using the three Y bearing holders in step 4 and the acrylic “X” frame, attach the bearing holders to the frame
Note: Step 6 no longer needed on Rev B and higher
as shown below. Set aside for later.
Tip: Use one of the smooth steel rods to align the bearings.

REV B TYPE
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 7: Assemble X carriage bearings into carriage


Using 3 linear bearings, 6 zip ties and the x carriage, place the zip-ties through the carriage as shown.
Don’t tighten the zip ties at this point, we’ll do that later.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 8: Assemble Z axis bearings into Z carriage


Using 4 linear bearings, and both ends of the Z carriage, place the bearings in the carriage as shown. Use the
second bearing to push the first one in. It’s not critical that the bearings are pushed all the way in.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 9: Assemble left side Z axis carriage idler bearing


Using one of the pulleys you made in step 3 and the Z carriage from step 6, insert the pulley as shown below.
Use a M3 16mm screw and M3 Nyloc nut to secure. Don’t overtighten as the pulley must move freely. If it is
binding, sand the sides of the pulley.

Set this aside for later.


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 10: Assemble acrylic motor mounts


Assemble the motor mounts with the following parts using M3 16mm screws. Place the nuts in the cutouts as
shown. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, the acrylic frame will crack. Snug is just fine.

Repeat the process for the left side mount making sure the hole noted above is on the left side.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 11: Attach acrylic motor mounts to acrylic frame


Attach the motor mounts to the large acrylic frame with the following parts using 3 M3 16mm screws and
nuts. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, the acrylic frame will crack. Snug is just fine.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 12: Attach couplers to motors


Attach the flexible metal couplers to two of the smaller motors using the following parts. You can use the
small wedge shaped acrylic piece as a spacer. Tighten the coupler set screws with a 2 mm hex key.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 13: Attach motors to mounts on acrylic frame


Attach two of the smaller motors to the motor mounts on the acrylic frame with the following parts using 4x
M3 12mm screws and lock washers. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, the acrylic frame will crack. Snug is just fine.
Make sure the motor’s connection is pointing outward.

P.S.: I know the motor mount is on the wrong side, I hope you don’t make the same mistake. If so, it’s not a bad time to swp it to the other side. 
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 14: Attach vertical mounts to acrylic frame


Attach the two rear vertical supports to the acrylic frame with the following parts using 3x M3 16mm screws
and 3x M3 nuts for each side. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, the acrylic frame will crack. Snug is just fine.

Note RevB v2 frames have both power


supply and RAMPS mounts on both
sides
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 15: Build X assembly


Using the parts below, put the x assembly together.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Use the acrylic piece to space the pulley from the end of the motor shaft, use a 1/16” hex key to tighten the
set screws.

Mount the motor to the right side X motor mount as shown:

Make sure the motor’s connection is pointing outward.


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Insert the long smooth rods as shown, don’t put them all the way in yet, just enough to hold together is fine.

Grab the X carriage we built earlier, slide it gently on to the 2 rails in the orientation shown.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

You should have an assembly that looks like this:

Don’t tighten the zip ties until we mount this to the acrylic frame.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 16: Build the X endstop


Using the parts below, mount the endstop to the endstop holder.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 17: Mount the X endstop


Mount the X endstop to the smooth rod as shown:

Note: The endstop will not contact the carriage; it will contact the extruder motor which we will mount later.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 18: Insert smooth rods into the Z bearings on the X assembly
Using the shortest smooth rods, insert them into the Z bearings on the X assembly. Do this slowly to make
sure the bearings align themselves properly.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 19: Insert threaded Z rods into the X assembly


Using the 5mm threaded rods, insert them into the X assembly. Make sure the nut is pressed into the hex-
shaped hole on the underside of the mount. Do the same on the other side of the mount.

Tip: It helps if you have the nuts on both sides spaced the same distance from the end of the rod.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 20: Mount X assembly with Z rods to motors and frame


Slide the smooth rods into the holes on the motor mount and the threaded rods into the motor couplers on
both sides; tighten the coupler set screws with a 2mm hex key. You may need to adjust the width by
compressing the X assembly further on to the smooth rods. If it’s too close together, pull them apart a little.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 20a: Mount Z axis end stop


Assemble the Z axis end stop with 2x M3 12mm screws and nuts and mount to the right side Z axis smooth rod
with a M3 16mm screw and Nyloc nut as shown below:
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 21: Mount top acrylic rod keeper


Mount the two rod keepers on the top of the acrylic frame as shown; you may need to further adjust the
width to ensure they fit. Repeat for both sides, flipping the acrylic piece to match.

Set the acrylic frame aside for now.


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 22: Assembling Y threaded rods


Don’t tighten any of the nuts yet, we’ll do that later.

Take the 2 long threaded rods and 4 nuts and 4 washers and thread as shown:

Add 4 more nuts and 4 washers to the rods:

Add the 4 black end pieces to the rods and 4 more nuts and 4 washers:
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 23: Assembling Y threaded rods (front end cross rods)


Using 2 of the 3 shortest threaded rods, 10 nuts and 10 washers; assemble as shown below. Mount the Y idler
on the top rod.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 24: Assembling Y threaded rods (back end cross rods)


Using the 2 remaining threaded rods (one longer than the other), 14 nuts and 12 washers; assemble as shown
below. The longer rod goes on top. Mount the Y motor mount as shown.

Don’t tighten anything; we’ll have to adjust all of this soon.


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 25: Assembling Y smooth rods


Using the 2 remaining smooth rods (should be the longest ones); assemble as shown below.

Slide each rod into the Y carriage:

Insert the ends of the rods into the Y frame corners; repeat this for all 4 corners:
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Shorten the distance between the front and the back from the back side of the frame, this will look much
cleaner when it’s done,
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Use the Y carriage to adjust the width between the 2 rods at the end. It is important to do this on a flat surface
as we want the frame to be level and square. Use a square to make sure the rods are at 90 degree angles.
Tighten the nuts on the corners as you make your adjustments. We want the Y carriage to slide smoothly back
and forth without binding. When everything is tight, insert zip ties as shown and tighten.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 26: Mount the Y axis belt block to the carriage


Mount the Y belt block to the underside of the Y carriage with 2x M3 16mm bolts and Nyloc nuts.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 27: Assemble Y axis motor


Place the pulley on the large Y axis motor. Orient the pulley as shown and align the end of the pulley flat with
the end of the motor’s shaft. Tighten with a 1/16” hex key.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 28: Mount Y axis motor to mount on Y axis frame


Mount the motor to the frame as shown below, use 2 M3 16mm screws and lock washers. Make sure the
motor’s connection is pointing towards the front of the machine.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 29: Install Y axis GT2 belt (from bottom of Y assembly)


Using one of the GT2 belts supplied, install one end of it into the Y belt block as shown. Leave some of the belt
sticking out of the bottom of the belt block. Use a small flat blade screwdriver to press the belt all the way into
the groove in the block.

Run the belt through the idler pulley at the front of the assembly.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Run the belt around the Y axis motor pulley.

Now back into the block. The belt should be taught, but not super tight. If it’s a little loose, we have springs to
tension it included in the kit.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Align the motor and front idler pulley so that the belt is straight.

Use a zip tie on the two pieces of the belt that are sticking out of the bottom of the belt block to tie them
together, trim the excess belt.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

We want the belt riding in the middle of the motor pulley and the idler pulley. Move the Y axis plate back and
forth and adjust the motor mount and idler pulley accordingly.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 30: Build Y end stop


Using the parts below, mount the endstop to the endstop holder.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 31: Mount Y axis end stop


Mount the endstop to the Y frame on the right front as shown. The switch should contact the bearing holder.

On Rev B and C, this endstop is place in front of the corner and makes contact with the bed plate.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 32: Mount Y assembly to acrylic frame


Insert the Y assembly into the acrylic frame from the back. Put 2 large washers on to the longer threaded rods.
The longer rear rod will slide into the slots on the acrylic vertical supports.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Set the assembly down ensuring the 1 washer and 1 nut on the longer rods of the Y assembly are on both
sides of the acrylic frame.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Measure and tighten the nuts that are on both sides of the acrylic frame. The corners of the Y assembly should
be 70mm from the acrylic frame. Gently tighten the nuts on the acrylic frame, DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, the
frame will crack, snug is just fine.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Install a washer and nut on each side of the threaded rod that slides into the vertical acrylic support. Make
sure the vertical supports are at a 90 degree angle to the acrylic frame.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 33: Install belt on X axis


This is similar to the belt installation on the Y axis except the X carriage is the belt block. From the back, install
the belt into the right side of the X carriage.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Thread the belt through the idler on the right side (from the back of the printer) then around the motor pulley
on the left side.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Insert the belt (pulling taught, but not super tight) into the X carriage belt block. Join the ends with a zip tie
and trim the excess belt. If the belt is not tight, there is a belt tensioning spring included in the kit.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 34: Mount extruder assembly to X carriage


Mount the extruder to the X carriage using the 2 screws included (you may have to take them out of the back
of the extruder motor). The screw holes are on the back of the X carriage.

Congratulations! You have mechanically built a 3d printer!


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 35: Solder wires to heated bed


Solder the thicker wire to the solder tabs on the heated bed following the instructions on the bed for 12v
wiring. Your heated bed may vary; this one has a thermistor built in to measure the temperature. The other
type requires a separate thermistor (small probe). If you have a thermistor that is separate, you may need to
crimp connectors on the end of the wires and use a 2 pin plug (all supplied with kit). Mount the thermistor to
the underside of your heated bed near the center with the included Kapton (clear yellow) tape.

Please Note Rev B and higher kits now use a MK2b Bed with an pre-wired
thermistor. but you still need to wire the Pins 1,2,3 as listed below.

For this bed, use extra solder to tie pads 2&3 together.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 36: Mount heated bed to Y carriage


Use 4 M3 16mm screws, 4 springs and 4 of the thumb nuts to mount the heated bed to the acrylic Y carriage.
Mount the bed with the wires towards the back and the solder connections down. The thumb screws will
allow for bed leveling later.

Repeat this for all 4 corners.


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 37: Build Arduino Electronics with RAMPS board and Stepper Drivers
This is the “brain” of the printer, it is composed of an Arduino Mega 2560 board (programmable controller), a
RAMPS shield (provides all the necessary connections and for the motors, sensors, hot end and heated bed)
and the stepper drivers that control the power and signals to the stepper motors.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Install ALL the jumpers on to the RAMPS board as shown:

This enables 16X micro-stepping for the stepper drivers, which is where the precision is derived from.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

If your stepper drivers have heat sinks, peel the tape off of the back and apply the heat sink to the chip on the
drivers.

Align the stepper drivers as shown with the small potentiometer towards the top of the board and press them
down on to the board ensuring that the pins are in the connectors.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Press the RAMPS shield with stepper drivers installed on to the Arduino board

Make sure it is all the way pressed together:


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 38: Mount Electronics to acrylic frame


Mount the electronics to the right side acrylic vertical support using 3x M3 30mm screws and 3x M3 nuts.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 39: Mount power supply to acrylic frame


Mount the power supply to the left side acrylic vertical support using 2x M3 12mm screws.

Make sure the power supply is set for 110 volts!


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 40: Wire 110V power cord to power supply


Cut the included black 110v power cable and strip back ¼” of each conductor. Attach them to the power
supply where labeled G N L where Ground is the green wire, Neutral is the blue wire and Live is the brown
wire.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 41: Wire 12V power cords to RAMPS


Use the included wire to connect the 2 12V power plugs on the RAMPS board to the power supply.

The arrows note the 3+ and 3- DC terminals.


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 42: Connect fan, hot end and heated bed wires to RAMPS board
The fan wires may need to be extended to the RAMPS board first. Then
Next, connect
connectthe
thefan
Fanwires
wiresto to
thethe
12Vblue
+ and -.
screw terminals marked “D9” on the RAMPS board. Make sure the red wire from the fan goes to the positive
terminal on the D9 terminal.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Now, Connect the hot end wires (woven red fabric wires) to the screw terminals marked “D10”. Polarity is not
important.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Finally, connect the heated bed wires to the RAMPS board. When trimming the wires, make sure you have
enough slack for the bed to move to the front of the machine.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 43: Connect hot end and heated bed thermistors to RAMPS board
The thermistor wires will both need 2 pin connectors crimped or soldered to them. Make sure they have
enough slack for the bed to move to the front of the machine and for the extruder to move to the extreme left
of the machine.

Connect the hot end thermistor to “T0” and the heated bed thermistor to “T1” on the RAMPS board.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 44: Connect end stop wires to RAMPS board


The end stop wires are 3 conductor wires with a white
connector on one end and a black connector on the other.
Plug each white connector into each end stop and label
the black connector with its corresponding axis.

The Y endstop is located on the front bottom of the Y assembly.


The X endstop is located on the right side of the X assembly.
The Z endstop is located on the right side vertical rod right above
the stepper motor.

The orientation of the wires is critical; the red wires must


be on the right side. If you wire these backwards, you will
break the voltage regulator on the Arduino MEGA (it will
still work, but it will always have to have 5V USB power
through the USB port).

The connections start from the bottom for X Y Z and skip


one in between.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 45: Connect stepper motor wires to RAMPS


board
The stepper motor wires are 4 conductor wires with a white
connector on one end and a black connector on the other. Plug each
white connector into each stepper motor and label the black
connector with its corresponding axis. The connections on the RAMPS
board are located next to each stepper driver.
The Y motor is located at the rear of the Y assembly.
The X motor is located on the right side of the X assembly.
The 2 Z motors are located on the right and left side attached to the acrylic
frame.

Please follow the pictures for the proper wire orientation, if a motor
moves the in the opposite direction, simply rotate the connector 180
and plug back in to the board.

Note: The E1 port is not used, this is usually for a second extruder, in
this case, it is a spare stepper driver in case you have a failure.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 46: Adjust X carriage sides to the same height


Using a ruler, measure the distance between the top of the acrylic motor mounts to the bottom of each side
of the X carriage. There is no set distance, but they should be the same distance from the mounts. To adjust
the height, turn the threaded rods on either side.

Left Side Right Side


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 47: Set Z axis end stop to starting height


Using a ruler, measure the distance between the top of the acrylic motor mounts to the bottom of the Z end
stop. Set the starting distance at 50mm, this is higher than it needs to be, but it’s better to be safe than
cracking your glass bed.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 48: Set X axis end stop to starting point


Using a ruler, measure the distance between the right side X carriage and the end stop. Set it at 20mm to
start.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 49: Set Y axis end stop to starting point


Using a ruler, measure the distance between the right side Y front frame and the end stop. Set it at 35mm to
start.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 50: Mount your glass to the heated bed


Mount your 1/8” thick 8” x 8” square glass print surface to the heated bed with the 2 black binder clips
included in the kit. Apply 3M Blue Painter’s Tape (model 2090 works the best) to the glass print area.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 51: Install acrylic rod keepers to top of acrylic frame


Secure the 2 acrylic pieces (one for each side) to the top of the acrylic frame to keep the Z axis smooth rods
from moving up. Use 2 x M3 16mm screws and nuts to secure.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

Before proceeding

DOUBLE CHECK ALL OF YOUR WIRING


Prusa i3 Build Manual

Step 52: Set stepper drivers to correct Vref


The stepper motor drivers must be set to the correct current
settings. In order to do this, the machine must be powered
on. You will need a volt meter and a steady hand to measure
and adjust the potentiometers. The Vref is measured in mV
(millivolts). Adjust the potentiometer with the included
ceramic screwdriver to prevent shorts. Measure the Vref with
the positive probe on the potentiometer itself and the
negative probe on the top left pin. When you’re done setting
your currents on all the drivers, cover the rows of pins with
Kapton (clear yellow) tape.

Adjust the potentiometers so the voltage reads the following values:

X – 0.350V
Y – 0.550V
Z – 0.350V
E – 0.350V

Picture shown is for reference; yours should be installed on the machine and wired.
Prusa i3 Build Manual

This completes the assembly of the unit!

You did it! Take a breath and relax!

P.S.: You’ll have extra parts, they’re spares, you didn’t miss anything.